How To Approach a Dog

Indeed, a dog is man’s best friend. But sometimes, isn’t it baffling when you try to approach an unfamiliar dog and then it growls at you? This could partly be that some dogs are fearful of strangers and trying to protect themselves. They try to show some hint of dislike. On the other hand, even domesticated dogs maintain some lingering instincts as most unfamiliar stray dogs have. So how do you approach a dog without trying to infuriate it? Here are some few tips:

  1. Let the dog be acquainted with you. One effective way to let your dog or any other dog be familiarized with you is to offer him your hand to sniff. But don’t be too abrupt in doing this for it could scare off the animal. Worse, it might even show some aversive behavior towards you. Offer your hand slowly so that the dog could sniff it and be acquainted with the smell. In this way, the dog will instantly notice you even if you are yards away.
  2. Never give the dog head pats. Do not do this when trying to approach an unfamiliar dog. This could set the dog off and show you some aversive behavior such as biting your hand. Try to familiarize yourself with the animal first and the first step above is necessary. Upon doing so, you can try patting the dog’s head. 
  3. Don’t try to invade the dog’s space. Usually, this is manifested when one tries to hover around the dog, especially the smaller ones. Hovering around translates to an invasion of space in dog’s eyes and this could intimidate them.
  4. Never approach head-on. You have to approach the dog at an angle. Approaching it head on could either scare or set it off. The dog must be able to see you when you are going near it so as not to surprise the dog. Don’t even try to stare at the dog eye-to-eye for a long time for this could mean a challenge in dog’s eyes. Doing so, you might see yourself at the mercy of canine instincts.
  5. Show the dog you are friendly. There are many ways to show the dog how friendly you are. As mentioned above, you can start by offering your hands and allow the dog to lick them. You can also offer him some pet food after a few minutes. But don’t be too abrupt in doing so because this could drive the dog crazy, especially the unfamiliar or stray ones. Telling them words like “good dog” could shove away that intimidating atmosphere most dogs feel when they are around humans.  

Even dogs need caring as humans do. When trying to approach a dog, don’t forget to wear a smile in your face. This can show the dog that you are a friend and you are not trying to intimidate him. Dogs are sensitive to feelings so when you radiate a different atmosphere towards them, they usually feel scared or worse, they feel upset and tend to show those lingering canine instincts.


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