|Subject: Checking if a dog is friendly|
Posted Jul 17, 2000 by Cheerful Dragon
If a dog is neither barking / growling nor wagging its tail, you may want to try to make friends. The usual way is to hold out your hand for the dog to sniff. If you want to try this, do NOT hold your hand out flat. Make a fist. If you hold your hand out flat and the dog decides to bite, it could take your fingers off, especially if it is a large dog. This is much less likely if you make a fist for the dog to sniff.
Also when holding out your hand make sure it is held below the dogs mouth. Usually if you put your hand over its head it will think you are going to hit it in the head or nose and will just bite you with no questions asked.
Most important when meeting a new dog is to show absolutely no fear. If the dog picks up the scent of fear, it will mimic your emotion and become afraid for itself. Also, dogs still follow the canine instint of obedience to the alpha male. When you truly believe the dog can't possibly hurt you, it will pick up on the vibe that you are more powerful than the dog. At this point, even if he doesn't like you, he still won't bite. Unless he's rabid. If that's the case, not even a fist will help.
If I thought the dog might be rabid, I wouldn't even try to make friends. Unfortuately the signs aren't always obvious until the late stages, but I guess that's when the dog is most likely to bite, anyway.
The other exception to what the colonel says is the "fear biter". Ive fronted out quite a few dogs, but when it comes to fear biters its time for the dog pole !
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