Hi Friends!  February is the month of LOVE and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate the ones you care about or give a special love graham to your secret crush.  I do love me some hugs and kisses from my favorite humans, and I take my job of supporting children very seriously, which entails lending a paw to hold, hugs, wet nose kisses, and snuggling up when situations get tough.  There are some dogs, however, that are not as welcoming to a big kiss from a stranger.  It is important to learn and understand how to safely approach a dog and the steps to take to ensure you both feel safe and comfortable.  Follow these simple rules for a successful meet and greet with a new buddy:

  • Always ask the owner to pet their dog before approaching, some dogs are scared and do not respond well to children or people they don’t know.
  • If you are given permission to pet the dog, approach calmly, come to its side, and gently pet its back, neck, or sides.
  • Don’t stand right in front of the dog, grab its face, or stare into its eyes- dogs can get scared and intimidated, just like young kids!
  • If you’re kind, friendly, and positive the pooch will give you the same respect!
  • If you see a dog walking alone, don’t approach it and get an adult for help.
  • Avoid dogs when they are eating, sleeping, chewing on a toy, or caring for their puppies. It can be hard for them to tell the difference between playtime and aggression.

A lot of dogs are friendly and love a good tummy rub- that’s why they’re known as “man’s best friend!”  There are always some bad seeds, though, and if you’re ever in a situation where a dog you don’t know comes toward you try to stay calm and follow these steps below to stay safe:

  • Move slowly and back away, go inside if possible or stand behind something (try not to run, as this will only scare the dog and it could make things worse.
  • If there is nowhere to go, cross your arms and turns sideways. The dog will sniff you, but will eventually leave you alone once it gets bored.
  • Yell for help and try to put something in between you and the dog like a backpack, skateboard, book, or sweatshirt.
  • And remember, don’t look dogs in the eyes, as they see this as a form of aggression which scares them and can cause them to lash out.

Many dogs are friendly and make great companions, but no two dogs are alike- just like people!  Be sure to use caution when meeting a new pal and give dogs the respect and love they deserve.

Happy Valentine’s Day Friends!

Love, Russell