Do you gasp every time you see a dog on a walk in your city? Do you spend more time greeting your friend’s dog than making small talk with your human friend? We promise you’re not alone. It’s hard not to love dogs. They’re cute, loyal, spontaneous, fun-loving, and always seem to want to make humans happy. But how do you make a dog fall in love with you?
It turns out, there are a few sure-fire ways to make sure a dog looks at you with nothing but adoration. Here are some tips to make any dog fall in love with you.
Give them time to warm up to you
According to Dr. Sophia Yin, who was a veterinarian and animal behaviorist, the best way to meet a new dog is to give them space and let them approach you. While it might be tempting to run up to a dog or stick your hand out for a lick, you’re better off staying outside of their bubble and taking your cues from them about whether they’re ready to be touched or want to play. This way you can make sure the contact is always comfortable and feels safe.
Be the friend with fun toys and treats
I mean, who doesn’t love a friend who brings snacks with them? Snacks are the foundation of all new friendships. There are also games like tug of war, fetch, or even “find the treat”, which can be great ways to bond with a new dog.
Of course, always talk to the dog’s owner before feeding them anything unfamiliar.
Talk to them (especially in a positive intonation)
Dogs understand quite a lot of human speech, and research suggests that praising a dog with a positive intonation activates the reward center of their brain. That means that telling your new dog friend what a good boy he is can be quite the treat.
Puppies, in particular, respond to high-pitched, positive tones.
Be respectful of their likes and dislikes
Dogs are unique, and not all dogs like being touched or petted. The best way to see if you’re making a friend is to pay attention to their body language. If you pet them, do they like it, or do they tense up or pull away? Are they showing interest in you or hiding behind their owner? If they pull away when you touch their feet or their tail, take it as a sign that they don’t like it and respect that—don’t push them.
A good rule of thumb is the three-second rule—try petting a dog (or touching their feet, or rubbing their chest) for three seconds, and then stop. If the dog shows interest in having you continue, go for it. If not, let it go.
Be willing to get goofy
Sometimes to get a dog’s attention, you have to be willing to get a little goofy. Run around, jump up and down, dart back and forth, anything that gets a pet excited and ready to play.
You’ll only want to do this once you’ve earned a dog’s trust, but having fun is a great way to strengthen your bond.
Be willing to get hairy
The truth is, if you’re going to make a dog fall in love with you, you have to be willing to roll with the punches…which might mean you’ll get a little hairy. I mean, dogs are covered in hair, and unless you want to spend all your time dodging their affection, it’s going to end up on you. And maybe a little slobber, too. So embrace getting a little dirty. It’s worth the love you’ll get in return.
Worried you’re not the apple of your dog’s eye? Learn how dogs choose their favorite people.