How Can I Get A Dog To Trust Me?

Dog and human

(Picture Credit: mark atkinson / Getty Images)

Gaining a dog’s trust is one of the most important factors in any relationship between a human and a canine. This is especially so if you’re meeting a rescue dog who might have been mistreated before, or one who hasn’t been correctly socialized.

But by using tips like remaining calm when you first meet the dog, respecting the dog’s personal space, and using treats as rewards, it’s possible to get a dog to trust you.

Here are a few steps to take when trying to get a dog to trust you.

Stay Calm

Dog licking human's hand

(Picture Credit: Taiyou Nomachi / Getty Images)

It’s imperative that when you meet a new dog, you act in a calm and relaxed manner.

By speaking in a soft voice and using slow and steady movements, you can help put the dog at ease and instill a reciprocal sense of calm in the canine.

Remember: Never approach a dog in a hurried or excited state, as that might set the dog off.

Respect The Dog’s Personal Space

Dog and man on couch

(Picture Credit: Hill Street Studios / Getty Images)

By standing still and keeping a sensible distance, you can let the dog decide whether or not they wish to interact with you.

This is a responsible tactic to use, especially at the start. Don’t try and force the dog to engage with you.

It’s important to recognize a dog’s personal space. This can mean not crowding the dog. Four feet is advised as a respectful distance to keep between you and the dog.

Also, if you meet a dog with their human, engage with the pet parent first, including eye contact, and almost act like you are ignoring the canine. That way, the dog won’t feel threatened.

Get Down To Their Level And Use Treats

Dog and treat

(Picture Credit: Eugenio Marongiu / Getty Images)

Approach the dog from the side and never the front. Bend down, kneel, or get low so that you are at the dog’s level before petting them.

Just remember to avoid making eye contact at this level, which can be taken as a threat.

Finally, responsible use of treats can help bring a dog to trust you. Allow the canine to approach you and take a treat from your hand, and then reinforce the good behavior by giving the dog praise.

If the dog is with their human, you’ll definitely want to ask permission before giving the dog a treat. You should see if their human has any approved treats that you could use.

This will help build up trust between you and the dog, and help the animal see you as a friend rather than a danger.

Have you ever had to earn a dog’s trust? Do you have any tips for getting a dog to trust you? Let us know in the comments below!

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