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“Go Say Hi” – Teaching Your Dog When They Can Greet Others

When out for a walk with your dog, it can be difficult to know where to draw the line for whether or not they can greet people you pass by. Certainly not everyone wants to have a dog run up to them to say hi and many times you may be passing another dog that is simply not friendly with other dogs.

So how does your dog know when its time to make new friends and when they are expected to ignore people passing by?

One trick we use is a command I like to call “Go Say Hi”.

Seems simple enough, right?

So if I’m out for a walk with my dog, they will be on one of the two different walking commands I teach them so they are expected to either be by my side in perfect position or on a loose leash casual walk.

If a person or dog passes by that my dog seems interested in, I might tell my dog “leave it” so they know they need to stay about their own business. The dog should break focus from that person and continue on their way and not try and approach or continue to stare at the person.

Should I see someone I wish to talk to, or perhaps a dog I think would get along well with my dog I typically will ask for some type of obedience from my dog like a “sit” command and then give them permission to approach with a “go say hi” command.

When its time to go, I can then follow up with an additional command such as “Fido, lets go!” so they know we are all done greeting and its time to go back to walking.

Dogs are certainly capable of learning hundreds of words/commands so I like to be clear with my dog that I am the sole person who decides whether or not they are allowed to run up and greet a person. There can be many times where its inappropriate for my dog to rush up to a person but at the same time I don’t want to isolate my dog from their world or make them unsure about greeting people. By giving a clear command that tells them whether or not its time to greet, you will help not only give your dog better manners on leash for greetings, you will also improve your off leash obedience because they will understand they cannot just run up to anyone or anything they see in the distance just because they want to.

If you are looking for help getting your dog to walk properly on a loose leash and to understand a command such as “go say hi”, please feel free to reach out to us at for more information on our training programs!

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