Get to know a dog on a leash:
First you should ask the adult who is with you, as well as the dog’s owner, if you are allowed meet his dog. If they agree, you should stand in front of the dog at a distance of at least one meter and hold out your hand with your palm facing downwards.
If the dog approaches to sniff your hand and you wish to stroke the dog, gently lower your hand towards the dog’s chest and caress it softly there. You should avoid leaning over its body or head because the dog may think you are scolding it.
Get to know a stray dog:
Check with the adult who is with you if you may call out to the dog. If the answer is yes, stand in front of the dog leaving a distance of at least two meters between the two of you. Lower your body and ask the dog to “come” with a sweet voice while reaching out your hand toward him with the palm facing downwards.
If the dog doesn’t approach, it is probably because it is afraid. Maybe it has been mistreated by humans in the past. If you come close to the dog or if you follow it, you will only frighten it more. Don’t forget that a tail-wagging dog is not always a happy dog.
If the dog comes near you, let it smell your hand. If you wish to stroke the dog, do it calmly on its chest. You shouldn’t stroke its head or back and you shouldn’t lean over its body. By following these tips, you are showing the dog that you are a friend, not an enemy.
If the dog backs off or growls when you reach out to it, slowly pull back your hand and leave, walking away, again slowly.
Good conduct rules:
- If a dog or a pack of dogs run after us while we are riding our bike, we should stop our bike and get off, then start walking slowly towards where we were heading, with the bike on our side. If the dogs block our way, we may have to change our direction a little bit, since they are probably trying to keep us out of their “private” area. Remember you should always walk and never run away from a dog (either on bike or on foot). Why? Because all dogs big or small run faster than we do and they love chasing! Not only can they catch up with us but they can also grab us using their mouths, since they do not have hands!
- If during our walk we see a dog outside the yard of a house, it is best to calmly change sidewalks.
- If a dog runs and jumps on us, we must put our hands behind our neck and slowly walk backwards without turning our back to it.
- We should never disturb a bitch with puppies. She will do whatever it takes to protect them. We should also be very careful with a dog (even with our own dog) while it is eating or holding a toy in its mouth. The dog might think we are trying to take its food or toy away.
- We must avoid staring at a dog directly into its eyes for a long time. The dog will feel threatened.
- Remember that dogs in yards are protecting their homes. We should not bother them by running up and down or by throwing things in the yard or by putting our hands through the fence.
- We must be very careful with chained dogs. Leaving dogs chained (to dog houses, fences or poles) or locked up (in balconies, small yards or flat roofs) for many hours is a big mistake that some people make. These dogs soon become nervous. Dogs left alone for hours on end are craving for company and may “ask” for it in a very clumsy way.
Do dogs bite? Yes, all dogs will eventually bite if we do not treat them with respect. We say "eventually", because the first and foremost need of a dog is contact and company with other dogs, people etc. Did you know that when a dog bites it is often from fear? It might have become afraid because we chased it, surrounded it, messed with its ears or its tail, pulled its fur, surprised it while eating or sleeping, entered its space without invitation, made an abrupt movement over its head, screeched or tried to hug him too tight.
Can dogs hear us? Yes, they can, but not so much our words as our body language, which is our postures and moves
Do dogs… talk? Yes, they do, but not so much with sounds. They "talk" all the time about how they feel, sending "signals" with their ears, tail, fur, eyes and mouth. However, very few people are able to "read" those signals.
Before welcoming him home, think about the following …
- It is quite common to meet stray dogs abandoned by their families. They live among us, constantly in danger of being run over by cars or poisoned, and also hungry, thirsty and, even worse, alone. So, if you wish to have a dog, first think of the following:
- A dog needs quite a lot of things: food, water, a bed to sleep and, of course, its doctor: We vaccinate our dog so that it will not get sick by getting in contact with another sick animal. On the other hand, there are very few ailments that we can get from a dog, which mainly consist of skin ailments or parasites. We should therefore always wash our hands after petting a dog.
- Things would be quite simple if a dog only needed the above things! It is not so, however: a dog needs its walk every day, and a lot of company and play with its family, because dogs are social beings by nature. This means that we must give out of our free time, and not just keep a dog at a balcony or out in the garden all day long as if it were grounded. So, if we do not have free time, we should not press our parents to get us a dog, as if we would do for a toy. Unlike a toy, we cannot throw a dog away when we grow tired of it or if it “breaks” (gets sick, old etc.).
There are too many stray dogs out there, so we should:
- Opt to adopt a stray dog rather than buying a thoroughbred from a pet-shop.
- Know that we will be responsible for any dog, adopted or purchased, for at least 10-12 years.
- Spay our female dog, because its puppies may not find a responsible family to take care of them and end up on the street as stray dogs.