How to Correctly Approach a Dog That's Barking at You

Updated on July 30, 2019
Miss Lil' Atlanta profile image

I chose to write about dogs. They are magnificent and deserve a good home!

This guide will tell you how to correctly approach a barking dog, including what to avoid doing.
This guide will tell you how to correctly approach a barking dog, including what to avoid doing. | Source

We all know how awkward it is trying to greet a barking dog. Sometimes it's hard to tell if it's an aggressive dog barking at you or maybe just a dog trying to get your attention in order to say hello.

How to correctly approach a barking dog isn't always easy. In fact, it can be quite difficult and scary at times. But having the proper knowledge on how to rightfully greet a stranger’s dog (or your best friend's dog) can make the world of a difference on how a new dog reacts to you and you react to a dog.

With a few key basic strategies and know-how, you'll be able to deal with any barking canine in no time. Now here's what you need to know.

It can be difficult to know how to approach a barking dog.
It can be difficult to know how to approach a barking dog.

How Should I Greet a Barking Dog?

When a dog barks at you, here's what you should do.

Step 1: Approach Slowly

Slowly walk towards the barking dog, but still keep your distance. If he or she seems to be growing angry or aggressive, don't walk any closer. Give the dog some time, and try to read the dog's emotions thoroughly.

Remember: Sometimes it's best to let a dog come to you, instead of you coming to the dog. Many barking dogs will naturally keep their distance from you until he or she feels comfortable enough to see what "the new person" is all about.

Step 2: Step Closer and Avoid Eye Contact

If you feel safe to proceed in meeting distance with the canine, you may walk a little closer in slight precaution. Do not look the dog in the eyes. Dogs can often take direct eye contact as a challenge and might even attempt to attack you, though usually they will only snap or threaten if that's the case. The safest thing to do is just to look down at the dog's paws and away from the face.

Keep in mind, if the dog seems rather neutral or hard to read, give the barking dog some time to rest. Eventually, it should become quite apparent how the dog feels about you.

Usually when the dog stops barking or the dog barks grow more quiet, this may mean the dog is no longer in excitement or threatened by your presence—just as long as the canine isn't growling of course.

A cute Boston terrier.
A cute Boston terrier.
An adorable hound dog.
An adorable hound dog.

Step 3: Extend Out Your Hand

If the canine seems friendly enough, you may now extend your hand out towards it from a respectable distance. Give the dog enough room to choose whether or not it wants to smell your hand. If the dog has no interest in further greetings, do not make it greet you. Keep your extended hand in a clenched like position, so that in case the canine does bite, it will not be able to bite off your fingers or truly injure your hand.

Step 4: Use a Gentle, Soft Tone When Talking to the Dog

Use a gentle voice when talking to a dog. Your soft tone of voice will let the dog know that you have no intentions of harming it or the owner.

Step 5: Let the Dog Calm Down

Before trying anything else, let the dog have a bit of time to calm down in case it hasn't already.

Step 6: If the Dog Barks, Leave It Be

If the dog proceeds to bark, and then just leave it be. If it's a dog that you know you will encounter again, then you can slowly build a relationship and trust with the dog over time.

Remember: Do not go near the dog or even pet a dog when it has its toys, bones, or any other possessions in its mouth. Some animals are overly protective of their belongings and, without prior notice, could snap or bite at any moment.

It's important that people do not pet new dogs or dogs in general when they're eating. Just like possessions, dogs can become particularly weary, angry, or dangerous when their food is being threatened.

A brown-eyed husky.
A brown-eyed husky.
A cute little pug.
A cute little pug.

Step 7: Don't Rush Anything

Don't rush things. If the dog wants to become friends with you, it will let you clearly know how it feels in time. If a dog is not entirely sure or seems nervous, it might be best to never even approach when the dog barks at all, but to let the canine greet you first.

Step 8: Be Careful

If all goes well, which it usually does, you'll have yourself a new pal in no time! Dogs are social animals, and they love people. Most dogs love all people, but from time to time, there is a bad pea in the pod. That's why you need to be careful. Just like you might feel a bit threatened, scared, or cautious with a canine, the dog is probably feeling the same way you do.

Don't Force Anything

Always remember that if a dog is interested in opening up to you, it will usually show it in a clear manner. Otherwise, be very careful about approaching it, especially if it is near any toys, bones, or food. Sometimes, if you don't get a clear signal that it is OK, the best call is to simply leave it be.

Why Do Dogs Bark?

Often times, the reason why dogs bark at people and other dogs is simply because they want to summon their fellow pack members to engage in playtime with the newcomers.

As many of us know, however, dogs bark to get attention or because they are angry, frustrated, or feel threatened. There are honestly many explanations as to why dogs bark. It's just a matter of putting the animal's body language and the circumstances of why a dog is barking all into consideration, so that you can correctly determine the dog's overall feelings and emotions towards you or anything else for that matter.

A pretty, blue-eyed husky.
A pretty, blue-eyed husky.

And I'd like to thank SamboRambo, an amazing writer who is engaged in the PetHelpful community, for giving me the suggestion to write this article in the first place. I really do appreciate it, SamboRambo!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Ya, what if the dog continues? I'm scared help

    • profile image

      fraidy cat 

      4 years ago

      You never said what to do if the dog continues to bark without calming down. The assumption that the dog will eventually calm down, doesnt help all who are afraid of dogs. For instance, there are times when owners dont chain their dogs, and they start barking at you, what to do?

    • SamboRambo profile image

      Samuel E. Richardson 

      6 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

      Nice hub, and glad to help.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What good advice! Our border collie is alright with people that have a dog with them but he is nervous of people who don't have a dog and he will bark at them if they try to approach him.I guess he only trust people that have dogs.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)