4 Ways To Interact With An Unfamiliar Dog
Guest Writer: Meghan Belnap
Dogs are inherently loyal, exuberantly loving, unbelievably perceptive, and sometimes just downright adorable. For those reasons and more, most of us are drawn to them. But approaching an unfamiliar dog can be dangerous. Dogs of all sizes can inflict serious wounds if they feel threatened or frightened. It is extremely important to know how to interact with an unfamiliar dog before approaching it.
1. Ask the Owner
The owner knows the dog best and usually has a good idea of how their dog will react to your attention. They may either grant or deny permission, and it is important to respect their decision; it may be for your own safety. Knowing their dog’s personality, they may also be able to offer the best suggestion for approaching the dog. Again, it is important to respect the owner’s instructions.
2. Ask the Dog
Approach the dog calmly, and avoid staring directly into its eyes. Stop a pace or two away from the dog, and offer your hand. A dog that is ready for interaction will come toward you and sniff your hand. If the dog nudges or licks your hand, permission for further interaction has been granted. However, if the dog retreats or growls, do not proceed. It is okay to wait a moment to see if the dog will approach you again, but if he continues to show aggressive or timid behavior, it is best to move on.
3. Stay Calm
You can begin to gently stroke the dog around the neck, chest, or the upper back; keep your voice calm and gentle. Do not make sudden moves or raise your voice. If at any time the dog backs away or growls, this should signal to you that she is done with the interaction.
4. Listen to the Dog
Be aware of what the dog is telling you through her actions; she may nudge your hand to lean against you, lick you, or offer another part to be petted. Or she may abruptly move away from you. In either case, always take your cue from the dog and respect her space.
With the right approach, you may have a new friend. However, even with the best of intentions and the most careful behavior, remember that it is still possible to be bitten. According to Otorowski Johnston Morrow & Golden P.L.L.C., if you are bitten you should seek medical attention immediately and consult your personal injury lawyer for advice. Learn to approach dogs with caution and warmth in order to avoid dicey situations that put everyone in danger.
Guest Writer: Meghan Belnap / Blogger, Researcher, and Freelance Writer
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.
Other Posts by Meghan Belnap:
- 4 Tips to Turn Your Backyard into a Wildlife-Friendly Habitat
- 4 Dog Health Myths You Need to Know
- Pup Growing Old? 5 Ways to Care for Your Aging Dog
A QUESTION FOR YOU: Can you think of a 5th way to interact with an unfamiliar dog?
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