Always let a dog sniff your hand before petting so they can become familiar with your scent.
Use gentle strokes rather than rough petting. Start under the chin rather than over the head.
Don't pet near sensitive areas like their tail, ears, paws, or stomach. Focus on the chest, back, and sides of the face.
Look for signs of stress like lip-licking, yawning, or backing away. Respect their boundaries.
Limit petting to short sessions of a few minutes so you don't overstimulate the dog. Give breaks in between.
Remain calm and assertive when interacting. Dogs pick up on anxious, excitable energy.
Always ask the owner before petting their dog and follow any instructions they provide.