Understand the dog
Don’t pet a dog which doesn’t initiate contact with you. Even the slightest hint of contact, like tail wagging or eye contact, can be considered a sign for petting. Understand the dog’s mood by the wag of the tail. Let the dog sniff you and become familiar with you. If he stays back or acts a little grumpy, you should not pet him.
Be extra cautious around a sleeping, fearful, sick, or reserved dog. You don’t want to alarm them with sudden movements – greetings and pats.
Whether it is your own dog or an unknown one, you have to always approach the dog slowly, and preferably, bend down to their height.
Stop when the dog feels uncomfortable
When you approach the dog, if s/he moves away or shows any signs of discomfort, you need to stop.
Hugging your dog can be a routine for you. But do you know that some dogs get frightened and threatened when you hug them? Cuddling your furry companion for a pampering session is nothing less than rejuvenation, but you need to be cautious. Your pet may like the hug of one family member over others. If you notice the dog exhibiting any such signs, it is better to mould yourself as per the liking of the pet.
Petting your friend’s dog
If you want to pet someone else’s dog, you must ask the pet parent about the dog’s temperament and behaviour. If the dog is friendly with strangers you can slowly approach the dog and give an encouraging pat on the back.
Petting a stray
If it is a stray that you want to pet, be very careful as they are not vaccinated. You can foster the friendship with warm food, clean water and companionship. In no time, the stray will let you pet him.
Make it a play session
Bring in your pet’s favourite toys – ball, tug of war or a soft toy
and heighten the excitement before petting.
Don’t force your pet to interact with other dogs/humans
Just like us, dogs have friends and foes. So if your pet isn’t friendly with your neighbour’s dog, it is perfectly okay. Also don’t allow strangers to pet your dog when he is showing signs of wanting to be left alone.
Where to pet and not to pet
- Understand that each dog has individual choices, likes and dislikes. All dogs are different and have different preferences.
- When you understand how physical contact is affecting your pet, it helps you develop a positive relation.
- Generally, most dogs like to be patted on the chest, back and behind the ears. In fact, it is rightly said that ‘Give a dog a belly rub and you’ll have both a friend and a permanent job.’
- Many people think that dogs like being patted on the head. This is not true at all. It is quite common for dogs to lean away when you try to pat them on the head.
- Avoid petting on the muzzle, paws, top of the head and tail. Whatever you do, do it with love and affection. Happy petting!
(By: Kritika Manchanda)
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8 tips to make your dog happy
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