How To Safely Introduce Yourself To An Unfamiliar Dog

How To Safely Introduce Yourself To An Unfamiliar Dog
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality it is estimated that 1,000 U.S. Citizens require emergency treatment each day due to a dog bite injury.   To minimize the potential risk of a dog bite, I’d like to share with you some safety tips that can help you and your family safely interact with an unfamiliar puppy or dog.
Hi.  I’m Tony Sos, a personal injury attorney in Orlando, Florida.  I’m also a father of young children, and like most kids, my children love to play with the puppies and dogs that we meet in the park.   Unfortunately, dog bites happen more often than you might think and over 60% of dog bite victims are children. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality it is estimated that 1,000 U.S. Citizens require emergency treatment each day due to a dog bite injury. To minimize the potential risk of a dog bite, I’d like to share with you some safety tips that can help you and your family safely interact with an unfamiliar puppy or dog.

  1. Never approach a chained dog, an unleashed dog, or a dog that is not accompanied by the owner.

  2. Always ask the pet owner permission before approaching the dog.

  3. Do not stare directly into the dogs eyes.  Staring into the eyes of a dog is viewed as a threat and the dog may instinctively begin to act in an aggressive manner.

  4. Just like humans shake hands when they meet each other, dogs like to sniff your hand before being pet.   Gently offer your hand with your palms down, for the dog to sniff you.

  5. Be sure to respect the dog’s space at all times, which means do not bend over the dog, or put your face close to the dog’s face.

  6. You will know if the dog is comfortable with you if after the dog sniffs you, he moves closer to you wagging his tail.

  7. If that happens, gently pet the dog one time and wait to see what happens.  Chances are the dog will tell you he likes it by moving even closer to you.


In my practice, I have handled numerous children and adults who have been severely injured by a dog.  We hope information like these safety tips can prevent you or someone you know from becoming a victim.  If you have questions about dog bites or your legal rights, please call me at 407-244-3000. For more information, please watch our video.