(For adopters with children, “Childproofing your Dog” is a “must read”!)

Get permission from the owner before you pet Rover.

Many dogs are very friendly, but some dogs are not.  Make sure to ask the owners if their dog is friendly and if it’s okay for you to pet the dog; make sure to also ask your own parent or guardian before you pet somebody else’s dog.  And be sure to follow all of the safety tips!

“May I pet the puppy?” is what you say to ask an adult if it’s okay.otis_n_adaley[1]

It is also important to ask an adult before petting puppies, especially when the mama dog is present.  Mothers of almost any animal are naturally protective of their babies.

Petting under the chin is where you’ll begin.

After you have received permission to pet a dog, you should pet the dog under its chin or on its chest.  This way the dog can see where your hand is and what you are doing.  Many dogs don’t like to be petted on the top of the head.  They might think you are trying to hurt or dominate them.

A dog may sniff your hand in order to understand.

A dog’s sense of smell is much, much greater than our own.  Dogs use this sense of smell when greeting and getting to know newcomers.  If a dog smells you to get to know you, let him sniff the back of your hand.  This will keep your fingers out of the way as well as not threaten the dog.

If a dog has a bone, you must leave him alone.

If a dog has a snack, you must keep back.

If a dog is eating or is chewing on a bone or other item, he or she might think you are going to take it away, which could cause the dog to protect what it has by growling, snapping or biting.

Respecting their space can save your face.

It is common sense to keep a respectable distance between your face and the teeth of a dog, even if it is the family pet. Though humans bring their faces close together with others in affection, dogs may feel threatened and protect themselves by growling, snapping or biting.

If a dog is asleep, don’t make a peep.

If a dog is startled out of sleep, he or she might feel afraid or threatened and snap at you before waking up completely.  Dogs should not be approached or touched when sleeping.  Call the dog’s name and make sure that he or she is fully awake before touching the dog or getting close to the dog’s bed.

If you run and shout, it can freak a dog out.

A shy dog may think you’re the bomb if your behavior isn’t calm.

The way you behave can influence the way a dog behaves.  If you scream, shout, run, or swing your arms or feet around dogs, dogs are more likely to chase or attack you.

Shy or nervous dogs can be even more affected by rambunctious children.  Being calm around a shy dog can make them feel less nervous and more secure.

Quiet and slow is the only way to go.

If you are scared of a dog, do not run or scream.  It is safer to walk away slowly and quietly.   As you calmly walk away, try not to stare into the dog’s eyes or the dog might think you want to fight.

Whether you’re a girl or a boy, never tease or annoy.

If you are teasing or annoying a dog, they can’t tell you in words that they want you to stop; but they can tell you to stop by growling, biting, or scratching.