How to safely approach a dog


Affectionate, loyal, friendly, gentle – these admirable qualities are the reasons why dogs are considered as man’s best friends. Some breeds though can be intimidating as they are naturally ferocious and ownership is restricted in some areas. Guard and protection dogs are specifically developed to have an aggressive and ferocious temperament.

Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and these animals have become well loved members of the family. However, these animals have retained their predatory instinct and a stimulus can easily stir up the latent ferocious nature of the dog. Because of this, over 4 million dog bite incidents occur in United States every year. Majority of the dog bite cases were caused by the victim’s own dogs. In order to prevent similar incidents it is necessary to learn how to safely approach a dog.

Learning how to approach the dog safely is a must. Dogs are territorial animals and food motivated as well. Guarding the territory, the food and even the toys is a natural behavior of dogs. Once a threat to its territory is perceived, even a friendly and gentle dog would bare its teeth, growl and get ready to attack. It would never be wise to just approach the dog to get a toy or to get the food bowl especially if the dog is eating. A dog unaware that your intention in getting the bowl is to add more food can bite.

Children will always be enticed to pat a dog. The little ones cannot resist touching a sleeping pet. However, even a gentle pet can bite instinctively if startled. It is very necessary to warn the kids not to startle a sleeping dog. To be safe it is necessary to approach the dog slowly and to make sure that the pet is aware that you are there.

The dog may tolerate the family members to invade its territory but a ferocious temperament will be shown at the intrusion of other people. Dog lovers find it hard to resist touching an attractive and gentle looking dog. A gentle looking dog though may turn aggressive to the touch of an unfamiliar person . Get the owner’s permission to touch the dog. Slowly approach the dog but don’t stare directly as it can be misconstrued by the dog as a challenge. Extend a hand with the fingers curled under or the palm down to be sniffed by the dog. A dog that wants to be friends would sniff the offered hand.

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