Approaching a New Dog the Right Way
How Most People Approach a New Dog
Most see a new dog and approach him one of a few ways:
They either stand about an arms length away and hold their hand out for the dog to sniff.
Or stand close to the dog and reach down to pet it's head.
Both of these are stupid and incorrect. They each are intimidating to the dog and dangerous for you. By reaching your hand out for the dog to sniff, you are creating and easy target for them to bite should they decide they don't like you. By standing next to the dog and reaching down to pet it's head, you automatically force yourself to lean over the dog. This alone is highly intimidating by invading the dog's personal space. Going straight for petting a dog on it's head creates the same intimidating effect.
How You Should Approach a New Dog
The correct way to greet a new dog goes as follows:
Slowly walk until your about three feet from the dog. If they aren't showing any aggressive signs, crouch down and turn to the side so that the dog can approach your side. Let him sniff you and decide how he feels about you; when he's accepted you, you may pet him. Choose to do so by petting their chest or side.
Why this is correct:
By crouching down sideways at a short distance, you get down on the dog's level, making you less intimidating. You also are presenting yourself in the same way that dog's do when they meet each other.