If you come across a strange dog and see its friendly face, you may wonder: Can I pet that dog? The first thing to think about is who benefits from the interaction. Is it in the dog’s best interests? If you decide that it is, the dog will most likely think that everyone will try to pet it. Chance encounters with dogs often prove to be beneficial to people. After all, it may even make them feel more comfortable around strangers.
How to ask a dog to be petted
If you’re not sure how to ask a dog to be petted, try to mimic the gesture that a human would use to greet a stranger. This way, the dog will see your hand and move toward it. Instead of reaching out to pet the dog, move into the dog’s space. A relaxed dog will let you pet its nose, which will indicate that it’s ready for interaction.
Despite what you may have seen on YouTube, not all dogs want to be petted. Despite what you might think, many animals actually prefer human interaction. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching a stranger to pet a dog, always ask for permission first. When in doubt, don’t force it. Petting a dog is an expression of trust and loyalty. Moreover, physical touch helps create a bond between humans and dogs, and can help them feel part of a social group.
If you’re not sure how to approach a dog and make him happy with petting, practice slow and gentle petting on areas where he feels comfortable. If the dog feels happy with your petting, he will lean toward you and may lick or show you the white of his eyes. Similarly, if the dog doesn’t feel comfortable, it will lean away from you and show its fear.
Once the dog is willing to accept your hand, you can start petting. First, reach out and pet the dog for a few seconds. Many dogs do not like the idea of a human reaching out of sight, but they are more likely to let you pet them if you approach them with your hand in front of them. If your dog refuses to allow the touch, wait for it to come to you instead of the other way around.
You may want to use a picture of a dog’s face and mouth to help you understand what the gesture means. If the dog is still, leaning into you and showing other signs of pleasure, it’s likely that he’s enjoying being petted. Otherwise, he may be stiff, waiting to be petted and licking his face. A licking hand may also mean he doesn’t like being petted.
The best way to approach a dog for a pet is to approach it in a calm manner. Never make it look like you’re threatening by extending your hand. Moreover, it’s best to approach a dog from the side, not from above. This will make it less likely to startle the dog. In addition to that, you need to be friendly and not show any fear.