My Australian Shepherd, Gavin, has always been a bit leery of meeting new people. He prefers to meet and investigate them on his own terms and in his own time. We always advise unfamiliar (to him) visitors to our home to follow some simple rules. Ignore him and his barking and allow him to come to you in his own time. When he does come over don’t look directly at him; offer him a treat and a nice chest scratch and talk to him in a calm, even voice and you will soon be fast friends.
For his part, Gavin has always kept his end of the bargain when approached this way. It’s people who often can’t follow instructions, imagining themselves a Dr. Doolittle universally understood by all animals.
Like the time we met our new neighbor the local animal control officer. He insisted that dogs “just loved him.” He couldn’t understand why Gavin growled and ran away as he made a beeline straight for him; speaking in a loud excited voice staring straight at him with arms extended as if he were a two year old that had just seen his first real life doggie.
Or the real estate agent I had to physically restrain after I told her to ignore the dog. I guess she didn’t understand that leaning directly over top of a growling/teeth baring dog you were told not to approach could get you snapped at. An incident by the way that has since caused me to never trust anyone I don’t know to follow my instructions around my dog.
Dogs have their own way of meeting and greeting both their two legged and four legged friends and it’s not the way we hairless apes prefer. So for some help with the do’s and don’ts of doggy greetings, I offer another insightful work of art from Lili Chin of DoggieDrawings.net. Links to the original images can be found at http://doggiedrawings.net/post/842176625.
Remember that there is no Dr. Doolittle gene and if we want our dogs to understand us as friendly and benign then we need to greet them using their language, not ours.