Stray dogs need love just as much – if not more than – the little angel in your household does. They always face a shortage of love, usually showered on the household pet dogs. In most cases, you would know a stray or a pack of such babies if you are a dog lover.
You would always love to be friends with them and help them as much as you can. However, often even the most ardent dog lovers are not sure how the strays would go about achieving the goal. What is the right way to approach a stray?
Here are some tips on how you could approach the stray in your neighborhood and be friends with them.
Being calm and cautious
Please remember that the strays could be rowdy primarily because their experiences with human beings have not been the best. So, start by observing how the stray is behaving. If they seem aggressive, it is better you do not approach them.
If they look like being worried or scared of you, you can always attempt to ease some of their tension by following the steps we will discuss later on in this blog.
However, if nothing of that works, perhaps, it is better that you back off. It is no good pushing them. You can always come back later on, particularly when the dog seems to be in a better mood.
Avoiding eye contact and moving slowly
When you are approaching a stray dog, do not make eye contact with them for a long time. Dogs perceive this as a mark of aggression. In such cases, they would waste no time considering you a threat.
Instead, it is advisable to look towards a side of their face when you approach them. It is better to walk slowly. So, you do not end up startling the dog.
If the dog seems to be unfazed by your approach, you can stop when you are a couple of feet away from them and hold your hand out. Never get too close to them. Doing so would overwhelm them. In such cases, they would feel you are encroaching on their personal space.
When holding your hand out, make sure that the palm is facing downwards. Now, you have to wait for the dog to come and sniff your hand. If they do, it means they are ready to interact with you. It is significant to give them the option to walk away or engage with you.
It is not something you need to do. However, experts recommend that you crouch even when holding your hand out to them. It’s a gesture that makes sure you are more or less at the same height as the dog.
Hence, it is a far less intimidating prospect for them. However, you also need to ensure you are not getting down to your hands and knees. Because that would make it tougher for you to get up if the dog becomes aggressive or worried.
Getting their attention
If you wish to get their attention, there are a couple of ways to go about it. You can call their name in a friendly and soothing voice. Else, you could try clicking your tongue against your teeth.
Never shout as it could end up startling the stray. In that case, they could become aggressive in an instant. Always try to be as friendly and light as you can be. You also need to ensure that you are radiating confidence.
When the dog comes to you, seems curious and friendly, and sniffs your fingers, you could try to pet them. However, be careful and gentle in how you pet them. Ensure that the dog can see your hand when you are petting them.
Thus, you must never pet them from their back. It is better to start with their head so that they can see your palm. After that, you can move to the back. Most dogs appreciate petting. However, you must monitor their body language as well.
Food is the best way to gain the affection of a stray. If you feed them, there is a high chance that they would love you. If the stray is aggressive, you keep some distance when feeding them.
Do this till the time, they learn to have faith in you and see you as someone who gets them food. One of the best ways to gain their loyalty is to keep feeding them regularly.
Things to keep in mind
When you play with stray dogs, they might take your hand in their mouths. Please remember, that this is not a sign of being aggressive. It is natural for dogs to do this when playing. In such instances, their teeth would rest against your skin. At times, they may go hard enough to be able to break the skin.
However, please understand that this is not an act of violence. It is a way of showing love for them. Please do not react negatively or panic as it could scare the stray. If a dog is worried or aggressive, its tail would stay up, absolutely straight. In such cases, you would be able to see their gums. Growling is also not uncommon in such cases.
If the dogs get scared, they may try to make themselves as small as they can, and tuck their tails in between their legs. If the dog is friendly, their tails would be wagging in full enthusiasm. They would approach you with curiosity and want to be petted by you.