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HSWM “Always Ask” campaign focuses on how to meet dogs

Say hello to Tugsly! He's an 8-month-old American Staffordshire/ Terrier, as well as a mix of other breeds. He was a stray found near the Humane Society of West Michigan, and he's ready to find a home with a loving family.

Families that can't afford to adopt are always happy to play and meet other people's dogs. However it's important to know how to interact with strangers' dogs to make sure accidents don't happen.

HSWM is launching their Always Ask campaign to teach others on how to meet dogs. Dogs have boundaries just like humans; some dogs need their space or don't want to interact.

The goal of this campaign is to respect a dog's needs rather than our own. By tuning into a dog's reactions, it should govern human behavior. Here are some other tips to follow when meeting another person's dog:

  • 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. That will make the dog feel safer with you.
  • Don't crouch over the dog: That's threatening to them, instead squat, or stand up straight.
  • Let the dog come to you: Walking straight toward a dog can look like an attack for a dog.
  • Don't pat the dog's head or back end: 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.

For more information or to adopt an animal, contact the Humane Society of West Michigan at (616) 453-8900.

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