How to avoid getting jumped on by a dog
It's hard for me to fathom, but there are some people who just don't like dogs for whatever reason. And it's easy for me to see that there are a lot of poorly trained dogs. So what if you have to visit a friend with an iffy dog, or what if you see a strange dog off leash? Even dog lovers don't like being jumped on. And it always seems to be the uneasy people who get jumped on the worst. How do you avoid getting jumped on by a dog whose training history you do not know?
Avoid the jump
In dog society, the jumping behaviour is a joyous greeting. A dog meeting an old friend will jump up joyously and so will the friend. They bump chests and then go through a sniffing ritual. Why wouldn't humans do the same? Now imagine the body language an uncomfortable person projects to a dog. He is slightly tense, maybe an aroma of fear is coming out of him. He eyes the dog uneasily and of course, makes eye contact. If the dog is friendly, it wants to put the person at ease so what does it do? It greets him, doggie style. Putting your hands up makes things worse because now the dog (if it tall enough) has a ledge to put his paws on, so he can add insult to injury by licking your face. The dog is saying, "It's OK I'm friendly!" but the uneasy person doesn't understand the message. Hopefully we are smarter than dogs. The thing to do is ACT, don't REACT.
Some people advise telling the dog to "sit" but that assumes that it is an English-speaking dog and that it has been trained to sit, and also that it takes orders from people other than its owner.
Every dog should know how to sit (whatever word you use for it) but it is surprising how many don't. Even those that do, many dogs naturally only respond to voice commands from their owner. And for those easy going dogs who do whatever anyone says, some of them have been specifically trained to ignore orders from anyone but their owner. So it is generally not a good idea to assume that a strange dog will do what you tell it.
If you know the dog is basically friendly, you can go down on one knee, putting yourself at the dog's level, taking away his urge to jump. You want the dog to view you as large and in charge. What ever motions you make, go forward confidently. Greet the dog, human style, by speaking to him in a friendly tone and scratching him on the chin. He may just sit there, or he may roll over on his back, submitting to you and allowing you to scratch his chest. Once you've done this, the greeting ceremony is usually over and the dog will relax and go on about it's business.
If you are unsure of the dog you still need to appear confident. My strategy for unknown dogs is to stride toward them confidently but do NOT make direct eye contact. Keep an eye on them out of the corner of your eye. If they appear to be coiling for a lunge, or actually making one, merely turn your hip and shoulder toward them and change direction to an angle from your original direction. Direct your gaze in the direction you are going and pretend to be interested in anything excpt the dog. If the dog is a large one, lift your knee up high as you turn. This will usually deflect the dog. If he goes through with the jump, he will sideswipe you or miss you altogether.
Turning away sends a message in doggie language that says, "I am going about my business and not going to pay any attention to you." Most dogs wil respond: "Well then I am not going to pay any attention to YOU either." I don't think turning your back on a strange dog completely is a good idea because then you can't see what it is doing.
Most dogs that I see out and about are friendly. A dog owner with a mean or biting dog *should* muzzle it and/or have it on a very short lead when it is out somewhere where it might meet strangers. Most mean dogs are so nasty that their owners don't take them out much. Responsible owners take precautions when walking a vicious animal. After all, we are a litigious society. But once in a while a normally nice doggie will go ape-spit (such as my neighbor's dog when I tried to pull a porcupine quill out of its nose) , or a bad dog gets loose. If you see that type of situation brewing, your best bet is to avoid the situation.
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