Saturday, June 19, 2010

How to pet a dog

Whenever me and Scout and Mommy go for walks people want to pet us puppies. They think we're cute, I guess.

Except you should know that most people do not know how to pet a dog. They do things that will make them someday get bit by a dog.

So I thought I would tell you the right way to pet a dog.

1) DO NOT ever try to pet a dog you do not know, and then only pet him if the dog's mommy or daddy says it is OK. We have lots of friends who are really super nice dogs, but even they will bite if they are scared. And trust me, a little child coming at you with her hands held up to plonk you on the head is very scary.

2) Do not look a dog right in the eyes. Just in case you didn't know, in dog language looking a dog directly into the eyes means, Hey, I want to be the boss of you. Let's fight it out to see who will be the boss. And if you are wearing sunglasses and a dog can't see your eyes, that makes us very, very nervous, because we can't read your face to know if you are a friend or a meanie. So take off the sunglasses.

3) Do not pat a dog on the head. First, we hate it because it does not feel good. Also, in dog language patting a dog on the head is another way of saying, I want to be the boss of you. And sometimes that means we are supposed to fight to figure out who is going to be the boss. We let our mommies and daddies pat us on the head but we don't always like it. We are a family and they are the boss of us and we're OK with that, as long as they keep the biscuits coming.

4) If you meet a dog and his mommy says you can pet him, the first thing you should do is wait until the mommy says, OK, now you can pet my dog. Maybe the mommy needs to make the doggy sit and get him ready to be pet. And you don't want to scare him.

5) When people meet, they use words to introduce themselves. But  to a dog, words are just a lot of blah, blah, blah. Us dogs use smell to get to know each other. I can sniff your clothes and know what other dogs you pet, what you ate for dinner, where you have been and if I've been there too, and if you are a nice person or not. So when you meet a dog, turn sideways a little so you are not scary, and let the dog sniff your hand or your purse or leg or something before you try to pet him.

6) Just in case you forgot already, dogs do not really like to be pet on the top of their heads. We put our paws on each other's necks and heads to say, Let's wrestle to see who is the boss. But we like to be pet on the side of our face, our chests, and with soft strokes from our neck to our tail. But you should ask the dog's mommy where her dog would most like to be pet. Because she pets him all the time and knows his favorite spots.

7) DO NOT try to hug a dog. Little children like to try and hug me and Scout all the time. But hugging a dog around the neck is the same as trying to strangle us or make yourself the boss of us. And you will definitely get bit if you do that. If you were walking down the street and a stranger came up to you and hugged you around the neck, that would NOT be fun, would it?

8) When you go to pet a dog, do not keep jerking your hands back every time our nose touches you. I don't know why people do that. But it is like teasing us and it makes us think you are trying to make us mad. Or that you have a biscuit you are trying to keep from us. And if you are like me, you will try and get that biscuit, even if it means taking a finger with it!

9) DO NOT try to pet a dog that is barking. Because even if a dog doesn't want to bite you, he might bite you on accident. Especially if you put your arm into his barking mouth.

10) Do not feel bad if you ask to pet a dog and the mommy says No. That is because sometimes dogs don't like to be pet, or they might be working or training and shouldn't be distracted. And just because you pet a dog yesterday does not mean you should just walk up to it and pet it today without asking its mommy. Dogs have bad days just like people. So maybe yesterday we felt OK being pet but today we feel cranky and will bite you.

So there you go! To pet a dog, ask his mommy, turn sideways and don't look right into our eyes, let us sniff you, and don't plonk us on the head.

Bandit & Scout (and our puppy pals)

Visit Mommy's new blog, Notes From The Funny Farm, and don't forget to follow us on Twitter!


Bandit said...

Hey guess what? Mommy and Aunt Jackie are working on some funny videos about how to pet a dog! HAHAHA, they are going to be great!

Love BANDIT!!!!!

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TrueToDogs said...

Great reminders! It's good to also remind ADULTS to behave the same way. The kids seem to "get it". I've had more adults try to reach out at touch my dog without warning. Yikes!
Again, great tips.

Anonymous said...

Great Post! Now Bandit and Scout need to write one for adults and college aged kids who think all dogs love them even if they are cowering or growling...

annie said...

so simple; great advice...annie

Anonymous said...

I was hoping it'd say preferred spots like ears or belly

Anonymous said...

Big thanks from a cat person learning to love a new puppy!