Humane Society of West Michigan’s Always Ask Campaign:
· Always Ask the owner (or handler) if it’s okay to approach and meet their dog. Dogs have boundaries too, just like humans. Some dogs need their space or don't want to interact: and this is okay! This campaign is to respect the dog's need, not our own.
· Avoid eye contact - for humans eye contact gains trust but in a dog's world, that can signal aggression.
· Side up to the dog if the owner says it's okay. This is better than facing the animal. Side by side mimics dogs behavior with one another. This movement will make the dog feel safer with you.
· Don't crouch over the dog – that can feel threatening to them. Squat, or stand up straight. Let the dog come to you. Walking straight toward a dog can look like an threat for a dog.
· Don't pat the dog's head or back end right away. If the dog is open to touching, touch the dog with your open hand on his shoulder, neck or chest. Stop when the dog wants to stop. The dog will let you know by changing his position.