Think about this for a moment. How comfortable are you when someone is in your “bubble?” You know, that invisible space around you that you consider your own. Some people consider their space needs wider than others, depending on their own comfort level.
When I traveled to Europe in college, I quickly realized even when talking to people that the culture plays a part in the “respected space.” Americas, well, we require more. I typically stand about 3 feet from someone when I talk to a friend or in a professional setting, sometimes a little more space than that. With my kids though, they are welcome in my bubble space with their hugs and kisses.
Why would dogs be much different? We both have a “private space rule.” If you were unaware of this let me inform you now and if you have children, this is a great thing to teach them as well!
Rule Number 1:
Dogs that don’t know you don’t want hugs and kisses. Seriously, you just met… at least buy her dinner!
Rule Number 2:
If you are walking past an unknown dog then do a slight arc. What does that mean?! Well, let’s start with this. As human adults we are lateral. Just take a glance at our sidewalks. Children on the other hand are not. Have you tried to take them to the grocery store? You know what I am taking about.
In the dog world, walking directly toward another dog is a threat. So as you are walking toward or past another dog, slightly arc around him. Hopefully the picture from my book “Control on Leash” demonstrates for you an arc. Although this arc is larger, you can do smaller arcs in smaller spaces.
Rule Number 3:
When I meet a new dog, I don’t pet, talk to, or touch. I usually stand and talk to the owner, ignoring the dog. I allow him to sniff me. So, let him move to you. Let him sniff you. And don’t look him directly in the eyes (no long romantic gaze needed!), just ignore him until he looks more comfortable and relaxed. I think this is suppose to work in dating too, the “just ignore him”?
There you have it. The simple space rules with dogs, it doesn’t have to be complicated. What has been your experience? Share it with us in comments below!