If you like dogs, you probably love petting them. For the most part, dogs love to be petted. It is a great form of communication and helps to establish a healthy, safe, and clear relationship between you and the dog. The issue lies in the fact that we really don’t know what we are doing when we are petting a dog.
Well, this sounds strange. “All I am doing is petting the dog! What is the big deal?” This is a natural and understandable assumption that we all (humans) make. This assumption often takes us down the same path that “The Bad News Bears” Coach referenced when he talked about “Assume”.
Most of the time, when we pet a dog, everything is great. But every once in a while, the dog will shy away or even nip when we try to pet them. When this happens, we are completely confused and have no idea what happened. We normally think that the dog is crazy or aggressive. None of this is true.
When we are in the process of petting a dog, we are using a form of communication that we normally overlook and often perform poorly. The issue is that this form of communication is the one most used by our dogs and the one that they use most when dealing with us or any other animal.
When we think we are being friendly and our dog is happy, our dog may be pensive and telling us to “back off”. We don’t see this, and bad things normally follow. We have a great article that will shed light on this issue. Please check out our dog training blog titled “How Should You Pet a Dog”.