Approaching a dog safely

Dogs are dubbed as man’s best friends because these animals are generally loyal, affectionate, and friendly and show their gentle nature to the family. Not all dogs though are the epitome of gentleness as a number of breeds are noted to have a ferocious nature and ownership of these dogs is actually restricted by law. 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. A well mannered dog can easily bare its teeth and show an aggressive temperament as in spite of the long years of domestication the ferocious nature remained. More than 4 million people in United States get bitten by dogs every year. Majority of the dog bite cases were caused by the victim’s own dogs. Learning how to approach a dog is therefore very necessary.

Dog owners, especially the children must know how to approach a dog. Dogs are highly territorial and food motivated. A dog will guard its territory, food and toys. Once a threat to its territory is perceived, even a friendly and gentle dog would bare its teeth, growl and get ready to attack. Taking away the dog’s toy or the food bowl or to approach the dog hastily would never be a good idea. A dog unaware that your intention in getting the bowl is to add more food can bite.

Kids are generally fascinated with dogs. It seems kids can’t let a sleeping pet alone. A pat would startle a sleeping pet causing it to instinctively bite. Children must be made to understand that it is dangerous to startle a sleeping dog. When approaching the dog, make sure that it can see you.

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 will always be enticed to touch a handsome dog. Remember, not all dogs are friendly and the particular dog you want to touch may react differently to an unfamiliar face . Get the owner’s permission to touch the dog. If it’s OK to pat the dog, slowly approach the dog directly but do not stare directly into the eyes of the dog lest the animal take your look as a challenge. Test the temperament of the dog by extending a palm-down hand. If the dog wants to be friends it will sniff the offered hand.

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