Greeting New Animals, Dogs, Cats, Birds, Cattle and Horses

Published on December 11, 2018 by

Female veterinary technician greeting horse and checking vital information.

Anytime you’re greeting pets for the first time it’s essential to know that they all have different temperaments and personalities. You should learn about different species and how to approach them, before petting and gaining the trust of an animal. These greeting techniques are different depending on the type of animal. New dogs, cats, birds, cattle and horses all have different techniques for greeting so be careful to not spook them. Make them friends for life.

Meet and Greet with New Dogs

When you’re greeting a new dog for the first time, the main thing to remember is body language. Always remain relaxed and squat down to the dog’s level. Don’t make direct eye contact or bend over the dog. Dogs interpret these actions as being dominant. They must know that you don’t pose a threat.

You want the encounter to be positive for you and the dog, so you have to communicate in the way a dog understands. Dogs may interpret a smile as a growl instead of a friendly overture. Some dogs find human voices that are high-pitched annoying or upsetting. Always speak calmly.

The best way to approach a new dog for the first time is to turn to the side when you squat down. Don’t look directly into the dogs eyes and extend the back of your hand. A dog will sniff to learn if you’re a safe person. When moving your hand to pet the dog, do it underneath the chin first so the new dog can always see your hand.

When the new dog feels comfortable, then you may pat the side of their face or chest. Once the dog knows that you aren’t a threat, you may calmly speak to him. Save the baby talk for a baby, at least until you and the dog know each other. If you let the dog come to you on its terms, you’re more likely to have a pleasant first meeting. Always respect a dog’s space and let it approach you when it’s ready.

Greeting Cats and How to Make Friends

Cats are very independent, self-reliant, and don’t depend on humans to care for them as much as some other animals. To gain the trust of a new cat, you must be patient because it will take time and a lot of love for a cat to trust you, especially if it’s been abandoned.

When you’re greeting a new cat or kitten, you’ll appear to be less threatening if you sit on the floor. This will allow the cat sees you as an equal. The cat is the one that has to make contact first, so be patient. Let the cat approach you and rub its head against you; a sign that it trusts you. Another approach is to rest your hand on the floor with a few treats around it and wait until the cat approaches you.

When the cat seems comfortable being with you, then you can gently stroke the ears or chin. Always move slow, never abrupt because this will startle a cat. Gaining the trust of a cat means always providing fresh water and food. When you’re offering food, say your new cat’s name quietly, so it associates food with a positive experience. Allow your cat or kitten to have some privacy when they’re eating. You can watch them from a few feet away but don’t stand over them because they feel intimidated.

Cats and Adapting to Change

Some cats get stressed easier than others, and it’s essential to maintain a routine since cats don’t acclimate well to change. When a cat rubs against you, it’s releasing pheromones to show it accepts you. Synthetic pheromone products have a calming sensation and help to reduce the stress. If you have a piece of clothing you don’t wear, or something that has your scent on it, the cat will relax by sleeping on it.

When a cat is acclimating to a new environment, a safe place is essential. Place the litter box in a quiet area. Allow the cat to have a special place to hide where it feels secure and don’t force it to come out. It will accept it’s a new environment. A cat perch or a high, safe place like a shelf or cabinet offers security. Keep toys around for your cat to play with and put a cat bed or soft, indoor crate in an out-of-the-way place.

Greeting Birds 

Birds are delightful pets and companions. Like all animals, it requires patience and time to establish a relationship with a new pet bird. Some animals feel stress when faced with new situations and need a lot of love and understanding to develop a bond with their owner.

Many creatures are social, and birds are no exception. They need to feel safe and comfortable and need social interaction with people to be content and happy. When your bird is new to your home, speak gently to it, so it becomes accustomed to your voice. Engaging in a quiet activity like listening to soft, soothing music or reading a book while sitting near your bird will give it a sense of security. It will also help your pet bird feel relaxed around you.

Some species of birds can mimic the speech of humans, but they all communicate their feelings through unique body language. By observation, you can understand what your bird is feeling. When a bird is feeling stress, it may spread its tail feathers and hiss. Another way they exhibit stress is by backing into a corner of their cage, fluffing their feathers and putting their head down. When a bird lowers its head and tucks it into its feathers, that’s a sign it’s feeling secure and relaxed. At this point, they would like a greeting from their owner and have their head scratched.

Once a bird is accustomed to its new home, letting it out of the cage will make it more comfortable in its surroundings. This will make the pet bird more trusting. Leave the cage door open with a bit of food nearby. Let the bird come out on its own and let it return to the cage when it’s ready. Special treats can be a reward for behaving well.

Cattle Are More Social Than You Might Think

When you’re greeting cattle, the main thing to remember is to move slow and don’t make any sudden moves that may startle them. Cows and calves are quite affectionate once they get accustomed to their owners. It’s important to tread lightly and not make any sudden or loud noises around herd animals because they spook easily.

Cows and calves should be fed on a regular basis, and like other animals, they enjoy getting treats. As a calf starts to mature it will look forward to interacting with you if treats are involved. Cattle love affection and when they come to see you as someone who can be trusted, will enjoy being petted and rubbed. The more interaction cattle have with you, the more they’ll trust you.

Greeting Horses and Gaining Their Trust

Horses are like other animals in one respect; they need to know that a trustworthy person is handling them. Consistency is the real key to gaining the trust of a new horse.

When approaching a horse for the first time, always approach from the left side and let him see what’s in your hands. Don’t wear loose fitting clothes that may flap around in the breeze; it will startle a horse. When a horse has been frightened, it’s difficult to regain their trust. Speaking to a horse in a voice that’s soothing and soft will reassure them that they don’t have to fear you. Never demand that a horse do any activity until he feels comfortable around you. It’s hard to manage a horse that’s frightened so gain their trust by bringing some food that they love. After several times, the horse will become comfortable around you, and you should be able to stroke the muzzle while speaking quietly.

When the horse becomes comfortable with a rider, don’t force jumps or riding on narrow or unfamiliar paths. Begin by riding on a road that’s easy to navigate or by taking easy jumps. Never use force on a horse. The way for a horse to trust you is to take your time and never make them do anything that’s beyond their ability.

Did learning about how to greet new animals interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.



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