"Put your hand out so they can sniff," is NOT what to do when you meet a new dog.

"Put your hand out so they can sniff." We teach children from very young ages this method of meeting a new dog. It’s no wonder children get bitten more than any other segment of our population.

Just imagine meeting a person for the first time. Instead of reaching out to shake your hand, they raise their hand up four inches from your face and hold it there. After a brief time of holding their hand in front of your face, the person may then reach over your head and put their hand on the top of your head. Do you feel the tension and confusion created just envisioning someone greeting you that way? It’s the same for dogs; especially timid, previously abused, and not super socialized dogs. Frequently the result is the canine equivalent of "Back off you're being really weird, invasive and forward. I don’t even know you and I'm growling or snapping." At this point the dog is reprimanded and accused of being a bad dog, when in fact, it was the human’s inappropriate behavior that caused the whole situation.