Tips to approach a dog you’ve never met
The right way to approach an unknown dog
Approaching an unknown dog can be tricky sometimes. First of all you’re not sure what the dog is feeling, and furthermore the dog does not know if you’re a threat or not. In some cases, the dog might shy away.. and you could take it personally (don’t take it personally, it’s just an animal and is probably scared – there are workarounds to it 😉 ). Please take care, else it can result in you getting bitten!
You must understand that dogs and human greet very differently. Furthermore what a human might consider a greet might look like a threat to dogs.
You can read a bit more about a dog’s mood, by his tail movements in this article here
Here is a list of things not to do –
- Do not show fear – Dog’s are amazingly good in reading fear from your facial expressions and eyes. Sometimes what happens is – you approach a dog and you look into his eyes to see what he is feeling. The dog on the other hand might test you, and if he finds the slightest gesture of fear.. he will go into defensive mode.
- Do not approach face to face – Avoid just barging over to the dog and sitting right in front of his face. This makes him uncomfortable. Nobody usually likes that.
- Do not make any rapid moves, or threatening gestures – This makes the dog feel threatened. He not only fears for his safety, but his pack’s (or family’s) safety too. Being an unknown person, you must avoid doing that.
If you feel the dog is uncomfortable or he growls, please move away.
Also read : Teach your dog to come to you when you want
Consider yourself being approached by an unknown man. How would you feel if someone unknown just sticks on to you? Starts touching your face, and speaking in a whiny voice? Remember that dogs are territorial animals, and they usually only trust their own pack.
The List of things you should do –
- Be calm, and show a friendly and non threatening body language – Being calm gives time to the dog to study you. Any rapid movements can make him take a stimuli reaction. Show positiveness in your body language, and take time before you touch him.
- Read their reaction – We know, every dog has a different nature. Some dogs can be more friendlier than others. Therefore, you must also read the dog’s reaction to you. Look at the way he tries to study you. Is he looking in a sly way? Or is he constantly looking and taking rounds around you? Consequently their general behavior can tell the level of trust they have on you at the moment.
- Do not barge into their space – If you’re visiting a friend’s house, don’t just go and sit on his/her dog’s private space. This puts the dog in a situation where he doesn’t know what to do. Plus, a stranger just coming in your bedroom… not a good idea.
- Let the dog come to you – Probably the safest thing you could do. You can probably just not pay too much attention to the dog (try and control your feelings 😉 ) . If the dog is interested, he will come to you. Remember that dogs are emotional and social creatures. Noteworthy, if the dog sees his owner trust you.. he will also consider trusting you. Here you can see how he approaches you. If he sniffing you and licking your hand.. all is good – go ahead and touch him! If he’s moving away, it’s probably not the right time yet!
Tip – Most noteworthy, the best part to touch an unknown/stranger dog is to touch his chest. Avoid touching his head or neck from the top.
More reads : Socializing your puppy
More reads : How to stop excessive barking
Thank you for reading, please leave a comment below if you have any questions!