How to Approach a Dog – Dog vs Humans 

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Photo by Michael Morse from Pexels

We humans often feel like we don’t deserve dogs and rightfully so. They are sentient beings who understand the concept of loyalty and companionship like us humans don’t. But a lot of people are scared of dogs and don’t know how to break the ice with them because they feel like the dog might attack them. This is why it is important to know how to approach a dog in an appropriate way. Not all dogs are the same and we all should observe the dog first and then approach them accordingly. 

There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when you decide to approach a dog. Go through our pointers and fill your life with happiness by accepting the pure love of a happy dog. 

Things to Remember When You Approach a Dog

Checking for the dog’s background: whether he has a family or if he is a stray dog 

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A lot of times, the family of the dog knows the temperament of the dog and it is advisable that you ask the owner if you could approach the dog before you pet him. Petting a dog without the permission of his pet parent/family member is out of bounds. 

Several times, the dogs we are about to approach are stray and might be injured, lost or scared. So approaching them cautiously is imperative. This is where you need to take care of the second point when you approach a dog and that is to observe his behavior. 

Observe the dog’s body language

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Many dog lovers forget that every dog is different and the way they react to any external stimuli might be different too. Us humans get so excited when we see a dog, we forget that the dog might or might not be comfortable with the petting. When we come across a dog that is stranger to us, we should observe their body language as that might help us gauge his reaction beforehand. We need to ask ourselves the following questions before we approach a dog that is a stranger:

Does he have a leash on? Is he wagging his tail? Is he growling or licking his lips continuously? Licking the lips is a sign of nervousness and uneasiness. Does the dog look wary and tense? Is his stance aggressive or is he standoffish? 

These questions will help you understand the behavior of the dog is a much better way. 

Let the dog come to you

Image of a man approaching a dog cautiously in the article How to Approach a Dog - Dog vs Humans 
Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels

The best way to see if a dog is comfortable with a stranger is letting them come to you. Just extend your hand calmly and let him sniff it on his own. This will help you ascertain if he is comfortable sharing the space with you. Once he comes to sniff you, very slowly and cautiously try to stroke his chin or back. If you see him moving away or looking away, don’t go ahead with the gesture. 

You also need to understand that making direct eye contact may not always be the right thing to do. Be patient with them and don’t move too fast. Do not try to smother them or they might attack you in self defense or bolt from the location. Respecting a dog and giving him space is important. 

Look confident and never show him if you are feeling nervous

Image of a dog with a new human in the article How to Approach a Dog - Dog vs Humans 
Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev from Pexels

Dogs immediately sense our vibe and reflect the same in their behavior. If you are nervous or scared, they will feel the same and might act aggressively because they are unsure of your stance towards them. This is why it is necessary that you don’t show any loud or unstable emotions. Instead stay calm and be confident in your approach. 

Approach with a reward in the form of a treat 

Image of a dog being approached with food in the article How to Approach a Dog - Dog vs Humans 
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Many times, if the dog in question is a stray dog, approaching him with some food or treats can turn the situation in your favor. It also helps in distracting the dog from feeling cornered. This way, you can always let him know that you are trying to help him out. But this tactic will only work if the dog is stray, lost or abandoned. If he is with his pet parent then approaching him with food might not be a good idea. Many pet parents don’t like it if a stranger brings food for their dogs. 

By following the above mentioned steps, you can easily earn the trust of a dog. These steps will help you form a life-long bond with him in the right manner. These steps will also help you if you are trying to rescue a dog. Do let us know in the comments if these steps helped you approach a dog successfully.

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