Here are a few preventative tips when approaching dogs to ensure your safety:
1. Always ask permission first before approaching a dog on a leash since you don’t know what the dog’s personality is like. Not every dog is friendly. Best to ask the owner first.
2. Once you are given permission to greet the dog, approach it slowly with no sudden movements.
3. Get on the dog’s level but do not put your face in its face. Before putting your hand out to pet the dog, just let the dog sniff you, shoes, pants, etc. before you proceed. This gives the dog a chance to adjust to the situation by smelling their surroundings.
4. Slowly extend your hand in their line of sight. Best not to put your hand over their head to pet their back. If they can’t see what you are doing with your hand over their head, that could alarm them. Keep your hand in their line of vision, preferably under their chin.
5. Move your hand around the side of their head to pet them. If the dog is responding well to this spontaneous meeting, you can move your hand around the side of their head and pet them gently. If they like it, they will probably put their ear down and close their eyes. If they don’t, they will likely freeze still with wide eyes. This means it would probably be a good idea to stop petting them.