National Dog Bite Prevention Week

“Hi, can I meet your dog?’

Usually, these words bring joy to a dog and their owner when they are out exploring the neighbourhood, but sometimes even the most playful and socially adjusted dog and owner can shy away from a meeting with a well-meaning visitor if that meeting isn’t handled properly.

Just like their owners, dogs have different personalities – they can be shy, friendly, playful, or cautious. Dogs can have things that they like and things they dislike – like meeting new people or being patted on certain parts of their body.

There is no reason that a pat for a new dog friend can’t be positive for both the dog and their new friend if everyone follows a few simple steps.

Today we’ll discuss both the responsibility of the dog owner and the person who wants to meet their dog. and also some tips to avoid being bitten by a dog.

Bite Prevention Tips

For the Dog Owner

  • Your responsibility to your dog is to protect them or not allow them to get into situations where they are potentially not comfortable. The last thing you want is for your dog to be scared or concerned and develop a long-term fear of other people outside of their home.
  • If you know that your dog is not comfortable being approached or if they recovering from an injury or illness and just not in the mood that day, do not be concerned or embarrassed about stepping in as someone approaches. Let them know in a pleasant, calm way that your dog does not like to meet new people. You can also simply avoid the situation by moving in a different direction or giving yourself more space around the person approaching.
  • If your dog does like to meet people then you should let them know how your dog likes to be pet after they follow the few simple steps outlined below.
  • Once you sense that your dog has had enough then continue with your walk so that the meeting ends on a positive note.

Steps to Meet a New Dog

Always ask the owner before you try to pet their dog. The owner knows best what the dog likes and doesn’t. Please respect the owner’s wishes they know best and are only looking out for their dog’s welfare. If the owner says “yes of course you can!” then follow these recommended steps.

  1. Approach calmly with your hand extended low towards their nose and let them sniff you. Don’t tower over the dog, as this can often scare them and they will step back away from you. Even though they could already smell you well before you put your hand out, it is still a gentle gesture that allows you and the dog to first connect.
  2. After the dog has smelled your hand, gently take your hand and pat or rub them under the chin or the side of their face.
  3. The dog (or the owner) will now let you know that they are comfortable and chances are they will want their backs or bellies rubbed.
  4. While everyone is still enjoying the meeting take your leave to end your visit on a positive note.

Our advice is that every time you meet a dog, even your own, you should start by petting them under the chin. It is a nice way to say hello and keep your dog’s trust.

How to Prevent a Dog Bite:

This advice is particularly geared towards children and when the dog is off-leash or running on its own.
If you see a stray dog do not approach it, even if you know the dog.

  • Stay very still until the dog moves on and don’t make eye contact.
  • Do not scream or run away as this may make the dog chase you.
  • Once the dog is gone then contact the owner or animal control to take care of the dog.

If a dog jumps up on you or tries to bite you.

  • Lie down on the ground on your stomach and stay very still.
  • Do not move until the dog is gone or someone comes to help.

If a dog tries to get you to leave an area (yard or room).

  • Back away slowly.
  • Avoid eye contact or staring at the dog.
  • If possible – keep something between you and the dog (knapsack, bike, etc.).

Our goal at Muttz with Mannerz is to help you dog be a well-mannered, happy companion wherever they go, if you require any assistance please visit our website at: or contact me directly.