Greeting Dogs Properly is Your Best Chance to Establish Leadership When You’re House Sitting with Dogs
House sitting with dogs means you meet a lot of dogs, and all of them want to know if you’re a leader or a follower. When you use great manners to say hi, you gain a lot of credibility and respect, the dog sees you as a potential leader and your house sit is off to a great start.
How would you feel:
- If a stranger stared at you?
- If a stranger got very close and begin babbling incoherently?
- If a stranger touched you without permission?
As house sitters, we meet a lot of dogs and to each dog, we’re strangers.
When we meet them, many of us stare at them, invade their personal space, babble incoherently and touch them within seconds. Why?
Dogs don’t like it, and if given a choice, they’d ask you to stop doing this.
Always use your manners when meeting dogs.
What’s the Right Way to Greet a Dog?
Were you to ask a dog how they’d like to be greeted, they’d say “please ignore me. “
The Canadian, American, and Royal SPCA, thousands of veterinarians, dog trainers and behaviourists will tell you that when meeting a dog, the respectful and proper way to do so is to ignore the dog. Literally.
It tells the dog that you:
- Respect them
- That you’re not a threat
- That you’re a leader
To properly ignore a dog: don’t make eye contact, don’t touch them and don’t talk to them.
Looking a dog in the eye, in dog language, is a challenge which can lead to aggression but also indicates you don’t trust the dog. Build trust by avoiding eye contact.
Watch dogs meet and you’ll notice they don’t make body contact. They sniff. You don’t have to sniff, but you shouldn’t touch them, it’s impolite.
When a dog approaches you, they’re gathering information, not asking you to touch them.
Remember the babbling stranger? Dogs don’t speak human language. If you want to tell the dog you’re their friend, stand so that your sideways to the dog and do not talk.
This tells the dog you’re not a threat.
By following these rules: no touch, talk or eye contact, you’re putting the dog at ease as he learns about you, the stranger.
You’re showing respect in a way dogs understand and using your best manners.
When Can I Touch the Dog?
If they’re comfortable, they’ll touch you either with a body rub or a nudge. This is the dog’s way of giving you permission to touch them.
House sitting with dogs means that you want to establish trust, build your leadership credentials and nurture a calm dog.
We suggest that even if the dog gives you permission to touch them, don’t.
Wait until the dog is lying down and calm. Then, approach the dog and give them a pet under the chin or on the front of their chest. This might be 5 minutes or 2 hours after you first meet.
What you’re doing is rewarding them for being calm.
What if the Dog Jumps Up to Greet Me?
Sometimes, the dogs we meet have poor manners. In the dog world, dogs who jump on other dogs are always corrected for their poor manners.
If the dog jumps up to greet you, they’re not happy to see you. What they are is rude and disrespectful.
You should correct the dog immediately. This helps you establish leadership and tells the dog you’re not accepting his poor behavior.
Simply turn your back on the dog. In dog language, this means “I’m ignoring you because I don’t like what you’re doing.”
The dog may keep at it for a minute or two. Keep turning away.
House Sitting with Dogs is Easier if You Greet the Dog Properly
First impressions count, especially with dogs.
When you are house sitting with dogs, greet the dog using excellent manners.
By showing them respect, you gain respect so establish your leadership credentials and get the relationship off to a great start.
Dog Leadership for House Sitters
Greeting a dog is the first step in establishing your leadership of a new or unknown dog. Louise Read, her husband Tim and dog trainer Ashley Harrison have a combined 100 years of dog handling experience.
We’ve created Dog Leadership for House Sitters, a guide to leading dogs for specific to the unique requirements of house sitting.
We will show you tips, tools, tricks and techniques you can use on any house sit to help you create a great relationship with the dogs in your care.
The course offers a badge upon completion, that you can put into your online platform profile so that you stand out from other house sitters.
Learn more about Dog Leadership for House Sitters here.