How to Meet Our Dog

Dog body language is different from human body language. Even people experienced with dogs can have a hard time understanding dogs’ body language; similarly, my dog is bad at understanding human body language. She wasn’t exposed to many people as a puppy, so she is fearful and prone to interpret your behaviors in the wrong light – are you reaching to pet her or hit her? Are you looking at her or threatening her?

Wish is very friendly and fun with people who follow “dog protocol.” She keeps getting better over time, and meeting her is usually a positive experience at this point, but she can be very loud and disruptive with people she finds scary. And she can hold a grudge: more than one person has met Wish, decided she’s not nearly as bad as we said, talked to her in a stern tone or tried to pet her, and made a permanent enemy. Here are some tips to prevent this from happening.

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How to greet dogs

Meet outside, on neutral territory

If you meet Wish on a hike, you won\'t have much to worry about.

Wish is very afraid of strangers being in her home. If you’re coming to our house, we’ll meet a little way down the street. Then we’ll walk into the yard together, spend some time in the yard, and eventually move into the house.

Ignore the dog

At first, your job is to be boring and blatantly nonconfrontational. Keep your distance, don’t look straight at her, and chat with me and Ben about your day. She’ll probably come around to you by herself.

Things to definitely not do