Think about this for a moment. How comfortable are you when someone is in your “bubble?” You know, that invisible space around you that you consider your own. Some people consider their space needs wider than others, depending on their own comfort level.

When I traveled to Europe in college, I quickly realized even when talking to people that the culture plays a part in the “respected space.” Americas, well, we we require more. I typically stand about 3 feet from someone when I talk to a friend or in a professional setting, sometimes a little more space than that. When my kids though, they are welcome in my bubble space with their hugs and kisses.

Why would dogs be much different? We both have a “private space rule.” If you were unaware of this let me inform you now and if you have children, this is a great thing to teach them as well!

Rule Number 1:

Dogs that don’t know you don’t want hugs and kisses. Seriously, you just met… at least buy her lunch 😉

Rule Number 2:

If you are walking close to an unknown dog then do a slight arc. What?! As humans we are lateral. Just take a glance at our sidewalks. In the dog world, walking directly toward another dog is a threat. So as you are walking toward or past another dog, slightly arc around him.

Rule Number 3: 

When I meet a new dog, I don’t pet, talk to, or touch. I usually stand and talk to the owner, ignoring the dog. I allow him to sniff me. So, let him move to you. Let him sniff you. And don’t look him in the eyes (no long romantic gaze needed!), just ignore him until he looks more comfortable and relaxed.

There you have it. The simple space rules with dogs. What has been your experience? Share it with us in comments below!




2 thoughts on “Space is EVERYTHING

  1. Olivia E. says:

    Great article! My dog growls at strangers when they hug, kiss, pet or pick him up. However, he does this with people he has seen several times and knows. How can I get him to atleast stop growling and start to like these people. Other people have suggested giving him treats while allowing the person to pet him, or is this telling him it’s okay to growl while being petted.


    • michellehuntting says:

      Hello Olivia! Sometimes I will allow people to pet while treating but not often. Many times doing so can stress a dog out even more. Imagine if you hate snakes and every day I rub them all over you and hand you money. Pretty soon the money will become a negative. Make sense? What I like to do is change how people look to the dog first by playing games like starting with teaching dogs to look at people and rewarding for that. I will even teach him to go to mat and make the mat a happy place where no one interacts with him so I can move the mat around town with me and soon his confidence is boosted because of Zen place– and soon people start to look and feel different to him. There are many additional things you can do as well. I teach these tech questions in my group class called Zen dog. You can find it on my website, Let me know how it goes! 🐾 -Michelle


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