University of Illinois Extension

What You Should Do

  1. Ask first!!
    • Always ask the person who is walking the dog if it is okay to pet the dog!  While most dogs are friendly, the owner knows best who can pet the dog. 
  2. Be calm and quiet.
    • This will help the dog stay relaxed and comfortable with you. Some dogs may be threatened by sudden moves toward them.
  3. If the owner says you can pet the dog,
    • Slowly put your hand out and let the dog sniff it.  Sniffing is how a dog greets you.  This is equal to a handshake for humans.
    • Rub the dog on the dog’s chest, side or back — these are the best places to pet a dog.  Many dogs DO NOT like it when you pet them on the head, especially if they do not know you.
  4. Thank the owner after you are done petting the dog.