How to Pet a Dog Properly

Are you the type who can’t see a dog without having to pet it? If so, it will be useful for you to set some instructions in the art of petting.

Dogs which are patted behave as men who are drinking: some get more and more friendly, others get more and more angry.


If you want to pet a snappish dog of the former category, there’s only the risk at the beginning of being snapped at. You must therefore hasten to pet on the sly — then go on petting.

If you want to pet a dog of the latter category, you have to pet to your heart’s content at once — and then take care to leave off petting just before the beast is getting so mad that it bites.

The pitch of petting varies according to whether it is a question of a big or little dog.


The petting of big dogs does, without doubt, yield the highest satisfaction to the petter. On the other hand, this also demands greater exertion, provided the dog is able to feel it. If you are no trained petter, you may get out of breath.

It makes the petting embarrassing if the dog tries to bite or to leap against you. Therefore, you should slip its head between your knees and let it be jammed there, while you ask somebody to hold its tail.

Then you can pet comfortably and without risk.

There exist dogs so big and ferocious that most people do not dare to touch them. For the impassioned petter, it is a particular gratification to pet such a one.

You steal onto the beast, tie it to the back of a tram, hire a taxi for yourself, and drive behind. While leaning out of the window you will be able to pet the dog as it runs.


When dealing with small dogs, the technique of petting is quite different.

While in the case of big ones you strike a brave note to encourage the beast (but in reality serving to stimulate yourself not to be afraid of it), in the case of little dogs you speak in an affectionate and patronizing tone, often purring.

In consequence of small dogs being not so tall as big ones, you have got to stoop more when wanting to pet them. This is fatiguing and makes your back sore. It’s therefore recommended to go down on your knees.

As it is often (particularly in winter) slushy on the pavement, you should — on account of your trousers — carry a scarf to spread before kneeling.

If you are petting a great number of little dogs, you will be inclined to get callouses on your knees; therefore you ought to have an air cushion.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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