How To Greet a New Dog You Don’t Know

Are you familiar with how to greet a new dog that you do not know? Let’s delve into some ways that you should address a four-legged furry friend that you don’t know.

Request Permission

Unlike humans, dogs are not able to tell you if they would love to lick your fingers or simply be left alone. So when it comes to how to greet a new dog that you are not familiar with, it’s best to get permission from the owner. You can simply begin with a question such as “Is it okay to pet your adorable pooch?”

The owner will then tell you if it is indeed alright if you pet the dog. However, if the answer is “no,” then consider simply smiling and walking away. Most of the time, well-meaning folks just simply move on with life after hearing a “no.” Keep in mind that pets do not use words to communicate, but their owners do. So, if you hear “no” despite seeing a wagging tail, then it is best to simply say “okay” and walk away. If the owner allows you to pet their dog, see how the dog responds and go from there. Even though the owner gave you permission, the dog may not want you to pet it.

Allow the Dog to Come to You

Another tip on how to greet a new dog that you don’t know is to allow the dog to approach you, assuming that you have permission from the owner. Be sure that the dog is on a leash and the owner is in sight. Many times, dogs are playful and happy. They just want to meet as many people as they can.

Instead of sticking your arm or hand out to pet the dog, simply allow the dog to come to you. If you are outside, you may fall to your knees and be at a lower level so that you can see the dog from a better height and in a better light. If the dog does approach you, allow the dog to sniff you and then let the dog see your hand as you begin to pet it.

Once the Dog Approaches, Use Appropriate Actions

After the dog approaches you, you can begin to greet them. Consider some very appropriate ways that are welcoming to dogs. You want to keep your pats to the dog’s sides as it may not be a good idea to pet the dog on the head. When you are learning how to greet a new dog that you’re unfamiliar with, the dog may feel a bit scared if you try to pet its head. This could result in you getting bitten by the dog. So, just keep the pets to the sides. Oftentimes, a dog will roll over on its back with the intent of getting a belly rub. If it’s alright with the owner, then go for it!


At the Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center, we are happy to provide a wide range of veterinary specialty and emergency services. It is important to have a “primary care” veterinarian to keep your new family member healthy and happy with routine vaccinations and health checks. But if you find yourself in the midst of a veterinary emergency, our team of experienced veterinarians is here to help! When it comes to visiting animal hospitals, we understand that the experience can be full of stress and worry, so we aim to make things as simple as possible. For more information, get in touch with one of our experts today.