How to Approach a Dog You Don’t Know

First contact with any dog you haven’t met before can lead you to a dog bite injury in Chicago. If a dog mistakes your overtures as threats, the dog may become defensive. You’ll be able to tell if a dog is friendly and receptive to you immediately by observing his body language and attitude. If he approaches you openly, with his tail wagging and held high, and his nose wriggling to catch your scent, he is ready to make a new friend. However, some dogs may be friendly, but also shy. He might be willing to be your buddy, but wary of people he doesn’t know.

Exercising caution when meeting any dog for the first time is important. Following these steps will help to ensure even a shy dog may feel comfortable enough to accept your offer of friendship.

How to Put the Dog at Ease

When you first meet a new dog, get his attention by speaking quietly. Do not be loud or startle the dog. Lower yourself into a half-crouch position, appearing as small as possible while approaching VERY slowly. Never get down on your hands and knees, as this would make it difficult for you to retreat if the dog does decide to attack. Always stay alert to the dog’s posture and attitude.

Stop moving when you are within 10-15 feet of him and allow the dog to come the rest of the way to meet you. Call to him in a quiet and soothing voice and be patient. He’ll either be willing to come forward, or he won’t. Respect his choice and do not advance any closer to him. If you have a treat or a bit of food, you may want to toss it to him at this point. Always toss the food gently to one side of him, never throwing anything directly at the dog.

If He Chooses to Meet You

If the dog decides you look harmless enough to come forward to meet you, be careful not to make any threatening movements. Never stare directly into his eyes and stretch your hand out so that the back of your hand is facing him. Remain still as he sniffs your hand and let him take his time. This is very important to him. After he finishes his examination of your hand, reach up and gently scratch or pet him behind one of his ears. Always watch for his reaction, and never insist on doing anything that makes him nervous.

If He Declines Your Invitation

Watch the dog’s body language, as dogs always give plenty of warning before they attack. If he shows signs of fear, leave him alone immediately. However, if he seems neutral and curious, you might choose to VERY slowly take a few small steps in his direction. Stay alert, and calmly back away if he starts to flatten his ears, bare his teeth, or growl. Never run away, as that can trigger a dog to chase you.

Shea Law Group

No one wants to suffer a dog bite injury. However, sometimes circumstances occur that lead to an unexpected reaction on the part of the dog. If the dog’s owner was careless or negligent, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Give us a call at (877)-365-0040 to speak with a dedicated Chicago injury attorney about your particular situation. At Shea Law Group, we are here to help; and we never charge a fee unless we win compensation for you.

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