Many American households own a pet, and the numbers show that just under 39 million of them own at least one cat, and a similar number may own a dog. Dogs and cats are two of the most popular pets in the United States, though many people also like to have pet birds, fish, lizards, rabbits, and even tarantulas. Any species will need proper care, and any responsible pet owner will know how to feed, groom, and play with their pet correctly. Some animals need more attention than others, but any animal might sometimes get sick or hurt. In that case, the owner should take their pet to a vet clinic, and animal vets at an animal hospital or clinic will know what to do. Emergency vet options can even save a life if a pet is badly injured, though most health concerns won’t be that serious. In everyday life, dog behavior training is something to take seriously, and as for how to greet a dog, there are some basic steps to follow. “How to greet a dog” involves some simple do’s and don’ts when it comes to meeting an unfamiliar canine.

How to Greet a Dog

Dogs don’t talk or shake hands like people do, but they still have some concept of friendly vs unfriendly behavior. Dogs may feel at east or unhappy due not to spoken words, but body language in people and other dogs. Human beings and dogs have lived together since the Stone Age, and both species know how to read each other’s body language with great precision. In fact, dogs have special muscles around their eyes that allow them to make more facial expressions than wolves can.

As for how to greet a dog, there are some behaviors to avoid, which dogs may often see as threatening. Prolonged eye contact can make a dog feel uncomfortable or even hostile, and a dog may not like it when a person crouched right over them. Petting the head is also discouraged, at least at first. A person is also urged against making sudden movements or loud sounds, as an animal instinctively expects such actions to be an attack. Extra care should be taken to not startle a blind or deaf dog.

A good idea is to crouch from a distance and allow the dog to approach on its own terms, and the person can extend their hand (slowly) and let the dog sniff it. A dog’s body language will show how it’s feeling, and the person can use that to gauge if they can pet the dog or if they should back away instead. A relaxed dog may wag its tail and pant casually, without growling, baring its teeth, or backing away. As for voice, a dog can gauge a person’s intent from their tone, and they will probably feel reassured if that person uses a gentle tone. In some ways, the person can talk to the dog the way they would a child.

Pet Care

A responsible pet owner will take their animal to the clinic for checkups, such as physical exams or getting shots. A cat or dog’s eyes, gums and teeth, claws, skin, fur, and ears will be examined for any issues, and a dog or cat may get medicine to kill and drive off internal parasites and skin-based pests such as fleas and ticks. Friendly dogs can be brought into the waiting room on a leash, and cats and small dogs may be brought in a carrying kennel. A pet that’s frightened by or hostile toward stranger should be kept in the car (responsibly) until it’s that pet’s turn to be examined.

At home, a pet owner should be vigilant for changes in the pet’s health or behavior. Yowling or other odd sounds may indicate pain or discomfort, and limping or excessive scratching means a problem is probably present. A dog or cat that’s let outside should have drinking water and a shaded area for sunny days, and during very hot weather, they shouldn’t be outside for too long. The same is true in cold weather, and dogs can have sweaters or jackets put on to help keep them warm. Dogs wet from snow can be toweled off when they come back inside.


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