The Honest Dog
I watched a neighbor 'try' to greet another neighbor's dog the other day, and I was reminded that many people don't know how to greet a strange dog (or one that is not familiar to them). Never walk straight on to the dog and bend down, extending your hand. For a dog that doesn't know you, this is tantamount to waving a large hairy spider at them, and they react accordingly with loud barking. If you persist, you might get more of a reaction than you intended, and it won't end well.
Rather, you can slowly walk in their general direction, never making eye contact, and greet the human instead (if there is one). Ignore the dog, and let the dog make contact with you if she wants to. If dog doesn't want you to come any closer, you'll know it, and stop where you are. If you have treats to share, just toss them in the dog's general direction. If the dog just doesn't want to say 'hey', that's OK - know the dog knows your smell, knows what you sound like, and will know who you are the next time you meet. Don't extend anything to the dog, because when the dog is afraid, this isn't going to make them un-afraid, but can escalate the situation.
If you think this through, you'll realize: When a dog's nose is so much stronger than ours (300 million olfactory receptors, compared to our measly 6 million), you'll know they smelled you. When their hearing is 10 times better than hours, you'll know they heard you. And if you shared treats, they'll associate that with you, too.
Dogs never forget. I often can't remember the name of the person I just met, but the dog you want to meet will most likely want to shake your paw next time and will say hello, on her own terms.
For more information, please see this wonderful article by Dr. Sophia Yin: drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/how-to-greet-a-dog/