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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The boy and I were at the northeast schutzhund even today. There were lots of dogs out and about which was a thrill for the boy. He wanted to meet EVERY dog. Since he was very little we have always taught him he needs to ask the owner, and if he gets the ok, let the dog sniff him, then pet on shoulder or chest (never on the head).
He met one guy and his dog and got the ok to pet. The dog was not paying much attention to the boy (there was so much stimulation) so the boy said "come on, sniff me so I can pet you". The man with the dog corrected my son telling him to just reach in there and give a good firm rub. He went on to tell my son that letting a dog sniff would cause him to be bitten and a dog would think he was weak and attack.
While I think he was a bit extreme in his words I began to wonder if all this time we had been enforcing a meeting style that did in fact invite biting...
So...do you have the dog sniff first or not?
 

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i think its a good thing to allow the dog to sniff first. Course i guess it also depends on the dog too. My dogs are all for attention and will happily sniff while getting the attention. If someone has another dog and askes to pet mine, my dogs will get pretty intense with the sniffing but kisses follow once they've gained their information.
 

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I don't think it's the sniffing in and of itself that you want for your son, but just so the dog acknowledges him before petting so he doesn't surprise the dog. That way you get a better idea if the dog is one that you do or don't want to pet by the attitude it will display beforehand too.
 

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Elaine makes a good point as well.
 

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It depends on the dog. If someone went up to Onyx with their hand out, she may take it as a threat because of her temperament. I always tell them to just ignore her and let her do the first greeting.
Kacie will shy away from people(after she's barked at them) and then will sniff their back, then be a friend if she chooses or ignore them walking away if she doesn't.
Karlo is aloof, but does like attention if people give it to him, he doesn't solicit it. He has the best temperament of my three.

As far as strangers approaching as you were today, I would never go in and give a dog a good firm rub that I didn't know. But that dog was probably use to it.
I think good manners for human/ dog greeting is to let the dog acknowledge first and then see how they react before touching.
Really, some dogs don't like to be "petted" by people they don't know. Its an invasion of their space.
Turid Rugaas has a great book and DVD on
canine communication, worth it to have in every school library!
http://www.canis.no/rugaas/
 

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I know for my two I tell people to do different things.
With Sobaccca they can just pet him. He couldn't care less about sniffing them and/or giving them any attention what-so-ever. He's got a great temperament so I never worry about anyone petting him. I've had kids stick their hands in his mouth (which he spit out), pull his ears, pull his tail, etc etc and he has no reaction other than to stand there and look at me with a pitiful look on his face. Otherwise he pays no attention to strangers.
Minna on the other hand is more timid, so I tell people to kneel down and let her come to them, rather than them approaching her. She's actually improved tremendously in the past week, and recently has not been acting shy at all -- I'm so proud of her.

So I think it is dependent upon the dog. But I think it is good practice for your boy to ask permission to pet a dog. I LOVE when kids come up and ask to pet my dog rather than just doing it.
 

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I generally let the dog sniff my hand before I pet them (unless it's a dog who already knows me and has greeted me.) I've found if you just reach out to pet, most dogs will turn to sniff your petting hand anyway and they seem to be more comfortable if they can sniff you before you touch them. I've never heard of anyone saying that will cause a dog to bite. If a dog is that aggressive I don't think they should be letting anyone approach the dog in the first place.
I don't understand how letting a dog sniff you would cause it to think you are weak, I just don't get the connection there. :confused:
 

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Perhaps he is more used to people who are nervous greeting dogs? I've had a lot of people who hold out there hand, then jerk it back when the dog actually goes to sniff. Behavior like that could lead to a bite - either from the dog viewing it as teasing, a game, or fear
 

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Perhaps he is more used to people who are nervous greeting dogs? I've had a lot of people who hold out there hand, then jerk it back when the dog actually goes to sniff. Behavior like that could lead to a bite - either from the dog viewing it as teasing, a game, or fear
That does make sense. But if someone is asking to approach a dog, and the owner knows the dog would bite someone's hand I would think they would tell someone to NOT approach their dog.
If a dog reacts to a hand being jerked away, that's not a dog I want to approach.
 

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I always tell people to let Dodger smell them before they pet him, mostly because he'll smell anyways, but it makes him more comfortable with the person if he smells them first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My son has been taught to approach slowly- and he does not have arms out or flail about....we live with a Beast after all :) He doesn't even look at the dog until he has spoken to the person.
Generally speaking both of my kids are pretty confident with dogs- because they have never been in a situation where a dog was a scary thing. That does not mean they are not aware of the potential or direspectful- they just aren't fearful or timid. They don't mind all the juices that come with a dog so they certainly don't shy away from sniffing.

My son actually asks "Can I meet your dog" with the expectation he will either be invited to pet, play or listen about the dog. All are satisfying encounters as far as he is concerned. One person yesterday said "well you can pet him, but he will jump on you" so he said he would just stand back and look.

He was really confused after the no sniffing comment. He (and we) thought that was the best way to go about being invited to pet a dog. He most certainly did NOT give it a firm rub as suggested. He patted its side/shoulder.
 

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Perhaps he is more used to people who are nervous greeting dogs? I've had a lot of people who hold out there hand, then jerk it back when the dog actually goes to sniff. Behavior like that could lead to a bite - either from the dog viewing it as teasing, a game, or fear
I have noticed a lot of people (especially kids) will reach out to pet a dog without letting them sniff first (often reaching over the dog's head) and when the dog lifts their nose to sniff their hand they jerk away and get scared.
I've actually had a few people say "oh, he's going to bite me!" or something to that effect when they tried to pet my dog without letting the dog sniff them first and the dog moved his/her head to sniff their hand.

Not all dogs care about sniffing your hand first, some dogs won't sniff your hand and that doesn't necessarily mean they don't want to be petted. Bianca for example, I've had people hold their hand out to her and just stay like that waiting for her to sniff, and then walk away when she doesn't sniff them I guess assuming that means she doesn't want to be petted, which is not the case. However I have not met any dog who would become aggressive because you let them sniff your hand (that would not be aggressive otherwise) so I usually give them the option.
 
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