How To Approach A Dog Safely
Our expert Steph Parry from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London shows you how to approach a strange dog safely, helping you to stay safe with animals.
Step 1: When not to approach
Don't approach dogs that are tied up, on their own, eating or sleeping. If you see a stray dog, contact the local police station or dog warden at your local council who will be able to come and collect him.
Step 2: Ask the owner
Always ask the dog's owner if you can stroke their dog before touching him, as they will know whether the dog is likely to be scared or friendly, particularly with children.
Step 3: Approach safely
If the dog's owner is happy for you to stroke their pet, walk up to him from in front, moving slowly and quietly. Don't touch the dog from behind or stare at him, as this will scare him. Curl your hand into a fist and let the dog smell it. If the dog turns his head away or backs off, he doesn't want to interact and should be left alone. Don't bend over the dog and pat him from above, as he can't see your hand easily and may feel threatened.
Step 4: Stroke safely
If the dog sniffs or licks your hand, he is comfortable in your presence so you can try stroking him gently under the chin. If he seems comfortable with this, try stroking his head or back.
Stop straight away if the dog seems uncomfortable, or the owner asks you to.