How many of us were taught to extend our hand when meeting a new dog to allow them to smell it?

The “sniff test” is common advice that we have probably all done, but is no longer the advisable way to introduce yourself to a new dog.  Extending your hand towards a dog you don’t know could be seen as a potential threat, and trigger a defensive bite.  Instead, turn sideways, avoid direct eye contact, and possibly toss (don’t hand) the dog some treats.

Dogs have amazing senses of smell – they can gather information just fine from where you are, so go ahead and keep your hands safely to yourself!

About Angela Schmorrow, Behavior Specialist

Angela loves helping owners better understand their dogs using force-free methods and positive reinforcement that make training enjoyable for both people and dogs. She has a particular passion for helping dogs overcome fear, anxiety, and reactivity. Angela is a Certified Shelter Behavior Professional, a Karen-Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.