How to Greet a Dog

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Here at Zen Frenz, we're so grateful that we’ve had the opportunity to meet and help so many pups. However, not all dogs react to meeting new people the same way. Over time, we’ve figured out the best way to greet a dog. Start by asking the dog’s person for permission to greet their dog. If they say no, understand that they’re only doing what they believe is best for their pet and don’t take it personally. Assuming they say yes, follow these steps:

  1. Don’t approach the dog. Pretend you’re ignoring her and allow the dog to approach you if she’s comfortable and interested.
  2. Avert your eyes. Sustained eye contact signals trustworthiness in most Western cultures, but in the dog world it signals aggression.
  3. Either stand straight or squat, but do not crouch over the dog.
  4. Keep your body loose and relaxed. Putting on an easy smile or slowly blinking your eyelids will signal to the dog that you are not a threat.
  5. Turn your body so you are not facing the dog. Again, being face-to-face is considered polite human behavior, but it can signal aggressive intentions to a dog.
  6. If you speak, use a calm, reassuring tone.
  7. If the dog shows interest by sniffing you with a relaxed posture, easy tail wags (not all wagging is friendly), and perhaps looking at you with soft eyes, then you can slowly offer the dog your hand for investigation.

8.Let the dog sniff your hand, if she wants to, and then gently pet the dog’s shoulder, neck or chest – not on the top of the head.

  1. The dog will clearly let you know if she wants more interaction or if she is finished with you. Respect her wishes.
  2. For dogs who are deaf or blind, take extra care not to make sudden movements that might startle them.
  3. If at any time during the interaction the dog backs away, stop what you are doing.


Overall, dogs have their own language and protocols for meeting strangers (dogs and people) and, if you’re really a dog person, you’ll respect their preferences. It’s not fair that the full burden of navigating life with another species should fall entirely on our dogs. If you know that your dog has difficulty dealing with new people, then we recommend trying some Zen Frenz products to help them with either social anxiety or to calm them down if they get very protective or energetic. Our most popular for situations like this are our Zen Bites and Zen Drops. Use these the next time meeting new people, to stay zen!

Works Cited

“How to Greet a Dog - 11 Tips to Help You Pass the Sniff Test.”, 30 July 2021,

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