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How to Approach a Dog Safely: Essential Tips for Canine Interaction

This article looks at the behaviours we like and those we should avoid when talking to our dog.

For a dog, being stroked at the front near the neck or the hips is appreciated and creates less anxiety in him than at the rear near the tail and hind legs. Always avoid stroking over the head or the back in an initial approach.

Approach a dog safely. That between dog and man is a friendship with a very long and deep history. Over the centuries, the two species have found ways to get to know each other, appreciate each other and give each other love, collaboration and mutual benefits. It is undeniable, however, that bipeds and quadrupeds express themselves very differently.

That is why it is imperative to know what to do, but even more important, what not to do when confronted with a dog, especially if it is a stranger.

Cuddles? Better to ask

If we pass a friend walking down the street with their dog, we may be tempted to give Fido a few cuddles and get to know him better. Following a few minor precautions is a good idea to ensure that the furry one appreciates our attention and avoids unpleasant surprises.

As a precaution, it is always best to ask the owner if we can approach the dog and if he likes to be touched and cuddled. Not all animals like physical contact, all the more so with strangers.

Dogs, like people, are individuals with different characters, experiences, and reactions to situations that are not always predictable, especially if they are unknown to us.

Limited movements

Once the “green light” has been given, we will then be able to approach. Fido will be on a leash, which means that from his point of view, he will have a limited possibility of movement. We, therefore, avoid approaching him too directly and looming over him, perhaps bending in his direction. The dog may perceive our movements as a threat and react accordingly.

Respect its time

It is much better to approach with very soft gestures, kneel and leave it to the dog to come to us in the manner and at the pace he sees fit. If we know his name, we call him quietly, perhaps holding out a hand and giving him a chance to sniff our scent. If we want to caress him, we prefer the neck area and avoid touching him above the head.

Please keep away from me.

In these cases, it is essential not to be in a hurry and not to force our hand. Let Fido let us know if he feels comfortable and if he likes our presence. Although dogs use a different language from humans, over time, they have learnt many ways to tell us if it is better to stay away from them.

Signals

The first thing that speaks to us is posture. A cowering dog, for example, can tell us that it is in a state of fear or anxiety. II growling, ears turned backwards, and a fixed gaze are other signals that should deter us from continuing the approach. If Fido strikes a relaxed pose, wags his tail, approaches us spontaneously, maybe even ‘playing with us‘, it is clear that he is happy and enjoys our presence.

Provocations and attacks

But what behaviour should be avoided when dealing with an unfamiliar, possibly free-roaming dog? First, we do not try to chase it away or attack it, hoping it will go away.
We do not know how the subject in front of us might react.

Some dogs allow themselves to be intimidated and, therefore, flee, but at the same time, there are animals selected to react to provocations and attacks. Even if dictated by fear and a spirit of self-defence, an attempt to violently chase away an unknown dog could have unpleasant consequences.

To approach a dog, you must act slowly: not remain upright, sit on the ground or crouch near it.

Never run away (nor scream)

If we are unfamiliar with dogs, or even more so if we fear them, our first instinct when faced with a strange dog approaching will probably be to take cover or run away. Although the temptation in some cases is indeed irresistible, in reality, this is an inappropriate behaviour that is best avoided.

Running away in the canine language is, in fact, ‘prey‘ behaviour, which will consequently invite Fido to chase. An effect decidedly opposite to what we would like.

Screaming or otherwise raising the tone of voice is also a counterproductive strategy. As difficult as it may be if an unknown dog approaches us, the best thing to do is to keep a cool head and stand still.

My eyes? Better not!

It is usual for humans to make contact by looking straight into each other’s eyes. It is a way of achieving an immediate connection and a form of communion. For dogs, however, this is an absolute gesture of defiance.

It is, therefore, dangerous to look into a dog’s eyes, especially a stranger, because we do not know what reactions we might trigger. It is better to avert our gaze, or at most, to observe out of the corner of our eye. This way, we will achieve more welcoming behaviour in “canine etiquette“.

For a correct approach to the dog, Remain calm.

To recapitulate, if an unfamiliar subject approaches us, the best thing to do is to remain calm and stay still without cackling and avoiding looking Fido in the eye. In practice, we try to ignore the dog, just as if it were a neutral presence_ In this way, the dog will likely do the same to us.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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