Pat, Pet, Pause!
Dogs are like magnets for many children, drawing them in with squeals of delight and grasping little fingers. Nevertheless, the same gestures, sounds, and posture that might reward a child with a chocolate chip cookie from Great Aunt Mable could result in a growl, nip, or worse from an unfamiliar dog. Fortunately, there’s a handy and highly alliterative way to remember how to greet an unfamiliar dog: PAT, PET, PAUSE.
PAT: Pat your leg to encourage the dog to come into your space. Don’t invade his.
PET: Pet the dog on his shoulder or side, not the top of his head or around his eyes or mouth.
PAUSE: Pause in your petting to give the dog a break and let him decide if he wants to continue or take a break.
It’s also important to add one more “P” to the beginning this phrase: PLEASE. Children (and adults for that matter) should always ask the dog’s handler before approaching an unfamiliar dog. And children should have their caregiver’s permission, too.
September 18, 2019
August 12, 2019