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How to Approach an Unfamiliar Dog

Teach your child to be careful when approaching an unfamiliar dog. PLEASE don't show fear in front of your child... you want your child to have a healthy approach to dogs. If you don't like dogs, get a dog trainer to help you.

1. Dogs don't like to be cornered, and so it's a good idea to never approach a dog that is chained, tied, enclosed in a pen, behind a fence, or in a car or the back of a ute. Leave sleeping dog sleep. Don't disturb them.

2. Learn a dog's body language. The signs of aggressiveness are barking, growling, snarling with teeth bared, holding the ears erect or tight against the head, holding the tail up stiffly, keeping the legs rigid, or bristling the hair. Keep away from a dog that shows any of these signs.

If the dog advances, move away slowly, in a sideways direction; do not turn and run. The dog will think you are prey (a cat!). Say 'No' or 'Stay' in a firm voice. Stay calm, if you can:)

3. Ask the owner if the dog is friendly and if you can pat their dog. It's also courteous.

4. Don't huntch over the dog as this might make him uncomfortable, and feel threatened. Squat or crouch in front of the dog, and let the dog come to you. Remember a dog sees with his nose. Let him sniff your hand. Don't stare at him as this may be seen as a challenge.

TIP: Pet his ears, and gently massage inside of them. A little of the animal's scent will be on your fingers, and the next time you extend your hand, he'll be a little more friendly because you'll smell like him. It's amazing how dog have great memories.

5. Dont' reach out to the dog. Let him come to you. Once he approaches you, extend your hand underhanded, not overhand.

6. Make sure that you don't make an unfamiliar dog feel cornered or threatened. Allow it room to move away from you if it doesn't want you to pet it.

7. Let the dog keep any items that are in his possession'food, toys, chew bones and so on. However saying this, a trained dog should allow you to take items away from you. But if the dog is unfamiliar to you, just let him have his toys.

8. Offer a treat to the dog once contact is made, provided the owner says it's OK to do so. Always ask if you can feed another person's dog !!

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