One big problem when spotting a dog off leash is trying to decide if the pup is welcoming or wary! While I'd never recommend simply approaching all animals you spy as if they are friendly and disease-free, it's better to be safe than sorry and know how to react. Just like advice goes in the wild, running away is not a good option!
Citizen Canine is a great resource for advice on approaching a dog safely — Don't set yourself up as a moving target and brush up on these three tips that were news to me:
- Blink and yawn. No, seriously. Both blinking your eyes slowly and yawning send calming signals to dogs. (Makes a mental note to test out on hyperactive pup.)
- Be still sideways. Staring creates an automatic showdown between you and the animal. If he begins to approach, instead turn your head to look to the side and make no eye contact whatsoever.
- Plan your escape. Slowly move backwards or sidestep away from the dog. Do not run or turn your back on the animal which leaves you looking vulnerable!