Avoid staring. “What works for humans doesn’t necessarily translate over to dogs.” Looking a person in the eye is polite, but canines read a locked gaze as a challenge. Learn to avert your eyes if you want to defuse a confrontation with a dog or encourage a pesky mutt to get lost.
Don’t be so upfront. “Walking straight up to a dog is in very poor taste.” To make a submissive dog more comfortable, move in an arc as you approach, the way another dog would. And be prepared to stoop to a crouch: To a dog, a towering figure is trying to assert dominance, and might be asking for a fight.
Don’t pat their heads. Even the friendliest tap on the noggin registers as a threat to a dog, though family pets learn to accept it. To make a dog happy, scratch behind his ears or on the chest instead.