We can all agree that dogs are one of the best things in the entire world, right? What is better than seeing a chunky little smiling pug waddle down the sidewalk? Not much. Whether you are dog crazy or not, it is likely that you encounter dogs on a regular basis. If you’re a dog lover like the Van Norman’s you may want to pet all of them. Wait before you do! There are rules to approaching a strange dog.

1. Ask for Permission

You see an adorable dog that you want to pet, what is the first thing you do? Before you even think about approaching, you need to ask the owner for permission. Although the dog may look friendly, you cannot be so sure. You may love all dogs, but they may not feel the same way about you.

2. Approach Cautiously

Once you have permission to approach the dog, do so with caution. Don’t let your excitement get the best of you! Remember, you are a stranger to the dog. You don’t want to startle them. Approach slowly and politely.

3. Allow them to Initiate

You have approached slowly and politely. Now it is time to let the dog initiate contact. Extend your hand and let them become familiar with you. They will probably give you a thorough sniffing. Don’t make direct extended eye contact with them as this can be interpreted as a sign of aggression.

4. Pet (Appropriately)

If everything has gone well up to this point, it is time to pet that adorable little guy! Pet them gently. Avoid petting along their neck or the top of their head. Do not thump them roughly on the side as some overly enthusiastic individuals may want to do. Finally, don’t overstay your welcome. It was nice of the owner to allow you to pet their dog in the first place.