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Eye Contact with a Dog

A dog’s natural instinct is to look away from another dog’s eyes to avoid challenging him. A stare is a challenge, and a fairly rude one at that. Dogs will naturally tend to look away from us, unless they are challenging us or we have trained them to do so. If we stare at them, it is confronting to them. A dominant dog will stare back, growl, and generally escalate aggressive behavior until the other party backs down whereas a very submissive dog will squat or roll and urinate in deference. When interacting with a new dog, it is ok to look at them. Ensure you blink, occasionally look away, and never stare at them. If you are meeting a nervous dog, look away and talk to them quietly while they take the time to sniff you without feeling vulnerable.

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