Everyone wants a social and lovable canine companion, but just like people, dogs don’t have the desire to be social all the time. Even those who enjoy being around people need time to decompress. Sometimes this can be hard to catch, as there are dogs that are quite tolerant of our invasion of their space. However, dogs display different types of body language when they have no desire to be touched. Some dogs are very clear, dodging your hands or backing away from you to avoid any type of contact, but other, more subtle dogs may have a separate approach in asking you to back off. Understanding the types of signals to pay attention to and only engaging with a dog when they offer their consent isn’t just a good way to avoid bites, but it builds a relationship of trust and respect between you and your dog. 

If your dog:

Walks Away

A dog that walks away from you, or a crowd of individuals, and seeks solitude in a less dense area wants to have some times to themselves. Avoid following the dog or stopping the dog and allow the dog to take some time to hang out in a quiet space. 

Ducks or Darts away from your touch/approach

Any dog ducking away from you, isn’t interested in engaging in any contact. Instead of trying to coax them toward you, or cornering them, allow them some time and distance to approach you when they feel more comfortable. 

Try using the Three Second Rule:

If a dog chooses to engage with you, pet them for about three seconds and then stop. If the dog then prompts you again, pet them for another three seconds. This gives the dog the opportunity to choose whether to re-engage or walk away and decide that he/she is finished with the attention. 

Keep building a better relationship with your dog, and strengthening their bond with people by showing them a courtesy we show one another and asking them for consent. 

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