You can be out walking your dog and all of a sudden, a stranger may approach or pet your dog without asking your permission. A family member can visit once a year and think it’s OK to scoop up the cat and carry him around the house. If you tell these people not to approach or touch or pick up your pet, they might utter those six words: “Oh, it’s OK. Animals like me.”
Most dogs and cats like the people in their family but are naturally wary of strangers or people they don’t see often.
Never approach an animal. Just stand nearby and talk to them. If they like the sound of your voice and you smell OK, then they might approach you and initiate contact. A friendly dog might shove his head into your hand and a cat might come out from hiding, jump on the couch, and sit on your lap, so you can pet them.
If you see someone approaching your dog, ask them to stop a few feet away to give the dog some space, then decide if your dog wants the attention. If the person continues to approach your dog after your warning, step in front of your dog, hold the leash tightly behind you to keep the dog from coming around, and explain to the person that your dog is not comfortable with strangers.