Petting cute doggies on the street can be very tempting... but tricky! Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Get the okay from the owner. Many owners have specific leash behavior rules (like the dog must sit before he can be greeted) so it's best to check in before you stick out your hand. You're also making sure it's safe to proceed as some of the nicest dogs around can still have leash aggression.
  2. Get the okay from the dog. Get down on his level. As a simple courtesy to the pup, slowly extend your hand for the dog to sniff. This introduces him to your scent, and double-checks that he is interested in your affections.
  3. Be gentle. Pet gently with short, even strokes. Start along his back while talking calmly... and looking out for wagging tails!
  4. Find pup's favorite spot. Most dogs catch on quickly and will soon be leaning their heads (and twisting their bodies) to get closer until you figure out where they like to be petted. If at any time he struggles to move away, stop.

You did it! Say thank you and move on!