5 Things All Kids Need to Know When They Approach a Dog

It can be so tempting for kids to run right over to pet a dog on the street or in the park, but not so quick! Before letting your kid approach a dog you are unfamiliar with, it is important that they have some knowledge on the best way to approach a dog. Dogs can be unpredictable around strangers and children, no matter how cute and happy the dog may seem from afar. Safety is the priority, and following these quick and simple tips can help ensure that you and your child have the safest and happiest interaction with a new dog!

1. Ask!

Before your child goes running over to that irresistibly adorable dog to give it some pets, teach them that they should always ask a parent or guardian for permission first. Once they have your permission, they should also ask the dog’s owner or handler for permission before approaching the dog. Not all dogs are friendly, so it’s very important to ask first. If the owner or handler says “no,” just give a smile and a little wave from afar instead! If the owner or handler says “yes,” proceed with the following steps!

2. Walk, Don’t Run!

Once the owner or handler has given your kid permission to approach their dog, your child will probably be super excited! Sometimes it’s hard for kids to contain their excitement to pet that fuzzy pooch, but teach them to take it slow. Make sure you and your child walk slowly and calmly when you approach the dog. You also need to make sure the dog sees you but don’t make direct eye contact with the dog. Running towards a dog might frighten it and looking them in the eye might make them see you as a threat instead of a potential friend!

3. Palm Up, Below Chin!

Now that you have approached the dog, slowly stretch your arm out with the palm of your hand open and facing up. Extend your hand slightly below their chin to allow them to sniff you. Let the dog sniff for a little bit and if the dog seems comfortable, feel free to give it a slow and gentle chin scratch or chest rub! If the dog growls, turns or backs away, snarls, snaps, or shows any other signs of aggression, do not pet the dog and leave the dog alone.

4. Pet, But Be Calm and Gentle

If the dog has accepted you and seems comfortable, pet away! Feel free to give the dog gentle pets on the ears, neck, working your way to their back, and so on. The pup may even roll over for some belly rubs! However, remind your child not to ever pull, pinch, or grab the dog’s ears, tail, or feet. Also, make sure your child speaks calmly; do not yell or scream.

5. Never Put Your Face in a Dog’s Face

No matter how happy the dog is to receive all of your love, do not put your face in a dog’s face. It is tempting to let a pup give you all the face kisses it has to offer, but you don’t know where that dog’s mouth has been and you don’t want to risk a bite to the face! Even the friendliest dogs, big or small, might nip out of excitement or have a sudden change of mind, so it’s always important to be extra cautious with this rule!

Stay Safe When Approaching A Dog

By now, you should have hopefully made a new furry friend! There are few things in this world that are more heartwarming than petting a dog, but it is always important to keep these tips in mind before approaching a dog. Remember: safety first! Happy petting!


Charleston Dog WalkerCharleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us and we know your pet is, too! We would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!