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They say there is no better friend than a dog, which is why nearly 44 percent of American households own at least one dog. The estimated number of pet dogs in the United States is 77.8 million, as of 2015. The number of dog lovers in America is consistently moving in an upward direction.
According to a recent survey by American kennel Club, the Labrador retriever has been the most popular dog in America for the 25th consecutive year. Labradors exhibit a pleasant people-loving personality with a gentle nature around kids, making them the most popular breed in the country.
Although a staggering number of Americans own a dog, petting one is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, there are a number of things which can drive a dog crazy, and you may not even be aware of them. If you showcase even a single red-flagged petting tactic, it will send most dogs running away from you. We have listed seven tips on petting dogs that will help you make a few pooch friends.
Use Body Language More Than Words
Unlike humans, dogs are not a vocal species. Contrary to the popular belief, dogs can't understand a vast majority of sentences. Although they can understand a few words like walk, sit, catch, etc., they are incapable of understanding the human language. In fact, dogs are expert human body language readers. They can sense your feelings before you can realize what you are thinking about. So, the next time you greet your dog, use body language rather than words.
Most Dogs Don't Like Hugs
Although people love hugging pooches, most dogs hate hugs. Primates love hugging and can express a number of things like support, love, and care through hugging; however, dogs don't have arms and they don't hug. In the world of canines, placing your forelimbs around someone is considered an act of dominance. Regardless of how much you love your dog, it is more likely to perceive your hug as an act of dominance. Although a few dogs will tolerate a hug patiently, most canine friends will retaliate.
Greet with a Proper Gesture
It is better to let a dog make first contact instead of reaching out to it. This is especially important to enforce with children, because they often tend to approach a dog without much thinking. If the dog isn't interested in acknowledging your presence, leave it alone. Avoid hovering over a dog while greeting because it is perceived as a threat. Direct eye contact can also be perceived as a threat. The best way to greet a dog is to turn sideways to come across as less threatening, then let the dog sniff you until it is comfortable. Once you are confident that the dog is comfortable, you can start caressing it by bending over slightly.
Never Pat a Dog's Head
If someone tried to pat your head, your reaction would be to pull your head back and lean away. You are also likely to feel annoyed about the invasion of personal space. Likewise, a dog too feels annoyed and leans away if you try to pat its head. In fact, most of the dogs usually perceive patting their head as a threat. However, plenty of dogs are comfortable being patted on the chest, the shoulders, and the base of the neck. As a responsible parent, it is your duty to teach your children the right way to cuddle a dog. When you pat a dog in a relaxed and gentle manner, it is likely to lean in for more.
Don't Force Your Dog to Interact with People or Dogs it Doesn't Like
Just like you, dogs have their favorite friends and enemies. If your dog feels threatened by strangers, don't force it to interact with them, as the consequences of doing so can be disastrous. In quite a few cases, dogs have attacked strangers because they felt threatened.
Don't Be a Control Freak
Although dogs love rules and discipline, they tend to get distressed if you exert too much control over their personal space. For instance, holding a tight leash on your dog is going to raise the level of stress, frustration, and excitement. A frustrated dog is a serious threat to people and other dogs. A stressed dog may bite even a friendly stranger.
If your dog intentionally bites a person for no apparent reason, you are likely to face a dog bite lawsuit. According to Jeffrey Penneys – Pennsylvania Dog Bite Lawyer, the dog owner is liable for medical costs, lost wages, and noneconomic damages if proven guilty. As there is no formula to calculate the extent of noneconomic damages, a dog bite lawsuit may cost the owner a fortune. If you think your dog is being odd, consult a therapist or a vet immediately.
Train Your Dog
Training is essential, as dogs like to know what's what according to their owner. Besides, you can easily control a well-trained dog. So, you have to train your dog to follow certain rules. For instance, you can train it to follow a few commands like sit, fetch, and stop, etc. A well-trained dog will remain calm – even around strangers, and especially children. If necessary, you can hire a professional dog trainer. Untrained dogs are like spoiled children who lack social skills and throw tantrums when they don't get what they want.
The way you pet a dog can make you its best friend, or a person who it is always trying to avoid. Petting should be calming and therapeutic for both the dog and the owner. With enough personal space and proper training, your dog may become the favorite dog in your neighborhood. These seven tips on petting dogs will help you turn your dog into a tail-wagging happy pooch.
(Image Source: Pixabay)