It’s not a secret that dogs communicate with humans mostly through body language.
Dogs show fear and aggression in different ways, mostly by shivering, bending their bodies, looking away and curling their tails between their legs.
Most of the time, a dog will show aggressive behavior when they are scared, which is quite confusing for humans. While you may wish you knew how to get an aggressive dog to trust you, that won’t always be possible and sometimes it’s best to leave the dog alone.
It is necessary to be very careful when approaching a shy, fearful or aggressive dog. Your body language is just as important as theirs. If the dog shows signs that it might bite you, it’s best to back off.
If you think the dog will allow you to approach it, you can try the tips below to make approaching it easier.
5 tips to approach a dog safely
Do not tower over the dog
A dog that is already anxious can become even more so if you tower over it. You may not see yourself that way, but you are much taller than the dog and you seem intimidating to it because of your height, even when you are just standing up normally.
Get down to the dog’s level
The best position in which you can try to approach the dog is while kneeling, that is, by getting down to its level. Never get in the dog’s face, but try to do and move as little as possible, which will make the approach safer. Ideally, sit on the floor and let the dog approach you.
Dogs really don’t like direct confrontations. While humans don’t greet each other by turning to the side, as good manners dictate that we look each other in the face when greeting, it’s a completely different story with dogs. A frightened dog in such a case could perceive you as a threat.
Don’t make eye contact
Most people appreciate making eye contact when speaking, but dogs find it threatening. To make yourself look less scary to a frightened dog, try to look away from it.
Speak to the dog in a low cheerful tone – deep tones can further frighten a dog that is upset about something. When you want to address such a dog, try to look cheerful and do not speak too loudly.
Don’t force things
Regardless of the situation that caused the dog’s fear, you should never force the interaction with the dog. You need to make sure that it feels safe with you, and not be an additional source of its fear. Otherwise, you risk being bitten by the dog.
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