How To Pet a Dog?

Best to way to pet a dog properly is to look at everything from a dog’s point of view. Humans can argue forever about the right and wrong way to do things, but the dog is going to do everything a certain way.

We like to focus on mother natures interactions without the assistance of humans and use that information to make decisions about how to communicate with them.

Using this point of view, we come to the conclusion that we have some bad habits as humans and petting a dog shouldn’t be based on what we think is right but what the dog does instead.

Whenever two dogs meet each other they will sniff each other. They will do this quietly without sound if they are social and they will use a bark when they are nervous or not social dogs.

In this article we will attempt to give you the best information in different situations to assist you in knowing how to pet and when to pet the dog with some additional tips throughout.

Before Petting a Dog?

Making the decision to pet a dog should come with some caution. Before petting a dog, I would rather walk into a house and let the dog smell me. Using their nose can have a strong affect on acceptance in the dog community.

A friend of mine had a large pit bull someone gave away. This dog had bad social skills and would bark aggressively at anyone who came up to the gate.

Without using voice and exciting the dog to act more aggressive I would come by the gate and wait for him to smell me for a week before I would be around him without the gate between us.

That interaction time made him stop barking at me through the gate altogether and I would never push him to sniff me or come around me. Like a dog would do if they came to the gate not looking to fight, they would sniff each other.

Where to Pet a Dog?

Remember, dogs look at paw on top of them as dominating and depending on if the dog is comfortable being in that position it may cause you some discomfort.

Try not to pet a dog on the top of the head, tail, or any of the feet areas. Some dogs may look to defend themselves from this kind of “attack of them”. Just kidding, but there are safer areas you should approach.

Under the neck is not threatening, on the side of the body, and the chest area are better places to pet your dog. Never make the mistake of petting them wrong because it can turn out to be a bad situation in the end if they have places, they don’t want you to touch.

Dog Body Language?

If you see a stray dog, your friends’ dog, or your own dog we must be aware of body language that is going to tell us that the dog is in a good state of mind or a bad one.

For example, someone is mad, yelling, with their fist balled up are you going to try and start a conversation and give them a pat on the back?

I really hope not and that’s the same with dogs. Whenever the dog is displaying these behaviors you should never pet them

  1. Tail up
  2. Ears up
  3. Hair Standing Up
  4. Closed Mouth
  5. Side Eyeing
  6. Not Smelling you

Stay away from these dogs they are the same as the example I put in the earlier paragraph. This is the guy who is mad, yelling, with his fist punch ready.

On the other hand, you may want to consider petting the dog if they are showing these signs

  1. Tail down
  2. Ears down
  3. Hair Not Standing Up
  4. Open Mouth
  5. Sniffing
  6. Ignoring Your Presence (comfortable)

Using these two different sets of principles will tell you if a dog is showing signs of relaxation in your presence or is tense about you being around them.

Perfect Time to Pet a Dog

This section will be for a dog owner more so than petting someone else’s dog, but the principles are the same. Never pet the dog unless the dog is in a state of relaxation.

Petting a dog that is showing overexcitement, aggression, nervousness, and other non-calm behaviors will lead to more of the same.

After a long walk or run, some dog food, and the dog is laying down with their head on the ground this is the perfect time to pet a dog. We prefer you do it when the dog is sitting down or laying down for good measure.

Last thing you want to be doing is petting a dog for jumping all over you and the kids. Like we said before it will produce more of the same and owners should encourage good, not bad, behavior.

Exciting a Dog While Petting them

Quickest way to excite a dog is to talk to them in any fashion. If you want to excite the dog no problem, go right ahead but we are discussing this for people who don’t know why the dog is too excited.

Exercise is the number one way to give behavior modification for too much excitement. Second on the list is to not excite them with too much voice if you want them to remain calm.

Let the dog sniff you, pet the dog quietly, and don’t say anything. Whenever you call the dog over, engage in baby talk, and create a party scene the dog is going to party with you every time.

Check your own behavior along with giving the dog daily exercise of at least one to hours and you shouldn’t have much of problem with the dog showing too much excitement while petting.

Petting Submissive Dogs

Submissive dogs will pee on you when they get happy and it is not in a bad or negative way. Nonetheless we have pee on the floor when you call them, and it needs to stop.

Always lead with exercise to calm some of the excitement. Of course, that always number one with most behavior problems. Next don’t over excite with the voice and let the dog relax when they see humans every day.

I would recommend letting the dog meet other dogs and humans on walks and runs to keep them from peeing, but they will still meet people.

Lastly, have the dog around other dogs and they will see other dogs engage in different behaviors when meeting people and animals. Sometimes being around their own kind can produce a turnaround humans can produce.

Can You Pet to Relax a Dog?

In all my years of dog training whenever a dog is showing signs of aggression, violence, anxiety, whining, and other issues petting them makes the situation worse.

From one of the sections in this article we talked about when to pet the dog and that’s when they are already in a state of relaxation. Petting a dog before this time seems bizarre and counterintuitive.

Using different methods, like exercise, will get the dog to naturally and then reintroduce the affection at the end of a hard day of work.

Petting is for good behavior not for dogs who are not being good. When the dog wants to get pet, they will go in calm state using my method. When you want to pet the dog into compliance, they will show aggression and start whining to get pet.

Get compliance with exercise and disagreeing with bad behavior and the dog will fall into a great social place and you will be rewarded for many years to come making these adjustments.

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