Scenario: you are walking in the woods and an exuberant young dog comes gamboling toward you. You fear that the pup is going to jump on you.

DO NOT  bend forward at the waist towards the dog, extend your arm and waggle your finger. Dogs are not children – and kids often don’t respect this kind of flailing either. It’s hard to imagine a more counterproductive course of action. Dogs read body language. You are inviting the dog to make contact – getting your face and upper body (the target) closer to the dog and giving it an intermediate focus – your hand, with movement! – to amp the pup up further.

If the dog, after all you’ve done to confuse the issue, does not jump up (yay, Dinah) but instead just makes a couple tight laps around you and takes off, at the very least ignore the dog’s owner (assuming you can’t spare a smile and a nod). A steely glare may cause the owner to cry out “Sic balls, Fang!” the next time you see him (*grin* – not really).

Also – don’t let the dog jump on you. It doesn’t matter if it’s OK with you – it’s probably not OK with 95% of the folks out there. The dog has no way of knowing – short of body language (see point 1) – whether you are a 5 percenter or not, so like a good empiricist, he’ll test – it’s a moderate risk, high payback situation.

DO stand up straight and largely ignore the dog. If the dog does jump make a sound of disapproval – mine sounds like ‘ack’ as uttered by a baritone seagull – and use the word ‘off’ – ‘down’ may mean something else to the dog. Why not use ‘no!’? If the dog is a jumper, chances are decent that he has heard the word ‘no’ so much it has become background noise. Keep your arms at your sides or folded on your chest – if any of this is news to you, you don’t have the moves or the dog sense to do anything useful with them and if the dog is super-excited and mouthy you increase the chances of injury. If you just have to bump, hip-check the dog – turning your back can be just as effective.

That is all.

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