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Approaching a Dog

  • Always ask for permission before approaching a dog. However, if you’re in a situation where you have to approach or pass a dog, and the owner is not around, then keep the following safety tips in mind.

Safety Tips for Approaching a Dog

If you are going to be entering the dog’s territory (home and garden)

  • if possible, advise the dog owner of your visit and ask that the dog be tied up or otherwise contained
  • rattle the gate or make a noise (like whistling or calling out the dog's name) and then assess the situation
  • do not enter the property if you are concerned - dogs are territorial animals and may attack to defend their territory
  • enter the property confidently and casually using the dog's name or words such as "good dog"
  • if you need to waken a sleeping dog, do so gently and from a distance, by calling its name or making a non-threatening noise
  • walk ‘wide’ around corners, so there is some distance between you and any dog around the corner and you can see it
  • try not to move straight towards a dog, because the dog might feel threatened. It’s better to move deliberately around the dog. Turn your body at an angle away from the dog, to reduce your size so that the dog sees you as less of a threat
  • avoid eye contact unless you are comfortable asserting dominance over the dog
  • stay well clear of a chained-up dog. A dog may feel cornered when chained, and so more prone to aggression
  • do not stand square on to doorways, entrances or corners of houses. Stand off centre and side on if you need to depart from the property or get away from the dog, do so calmly and slowly.

If you are approaching a dog in the street or a park
  • do not approach the dog directly
  • if it comes up to you and seems friendly let it sniff you
  • if you are concerned walk slowly away from it without making eye contact
  • if you have your dog with you, put it on a leash and move slowly away.
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