All pet lovers have a soft corner for our beloved community animals a.k.a our streeties. Our streeties keep an eye on every person that moves in and out of the area. These cute attention-seekers yearn for our love and care. Almost everyone in the street is their friend. However, there can be occasions when streeties can behave nervously out of fear and anxiety and you may not know what to do in such circumstances.
Here are some tips from expert canine behaviorists and vets on how to safely approach the community animals in your area.
Pro-tip: Show them love, and they will reciprocate with extra licks and cuddles.
How to approach the community animals (streeties)?
First things first, our community animals also need a lot of love and care. It is important to understand their psychology and mood whenever you are walking past them or trying to befriend them. Some streeties may be scared of humans as they may have faced negative experiences in the past like being stoned or scared away or may have been treated badly. This human behavior may have generated fear in them, hence their fearful responses.
Keeping calm when approaching a streetie is key
Kushal Chipkar, Manager of Dog Training at Wiggles says “Aggression in dogs is usually triggered by fear or anxiety.”
So when a dog is being aggressive, they are doing so out of their ‘fight or flight response’ and choosing to fight against a perceived threat.
It is best to be calm and cautious while in their presence. You should always let them approach you to know that they can trust you. Try not to give away expressions of panic or anger. Avoid direct eye contact with them. Dogs are intuitive and can pick on your emotions very easily. Do not shout or make too many sudden movements.
The best way to befriend a streetie and win their trust is to feed them consistently.
This is how Wigglites befriend the streeties. With food, vaccinations and loads of love!
How to become their friends?
Below are a few tricks that will help you befriend a streetie:
-Read the signs
Before approaching a streetie, look for signs like a straight tail or tail tucked under the body, as either can mean that the dog is worried or scared, respectively. If a dog wags their tail or has a neutral expression, approach them slowly and confidently from a distance. If they respond positively, you can move closer to them
Whenever you are near a streetie, try to portray a calm composure. This will show the dog that you belong to the neighborhood and are not going to harm them in any way
-Don’t stare them in the eyes
Dogs perceive you as a threat if you make eye contact with them for more than a few seconds. So try to look at the sides of their face or avoid them completely as you walk past them
-Encourage them to approach you on their own
If you want to befriend a streetie, try to encourage them to approach you on their own and wag their tail. If they show signs of aggression, step back. Do not push them to become your friend. Once they approach you positively, you can let them sniff you. Once both of you are comfortable, you can offer them a treat and then go ahead and pet them near the neck
The easiest road to a streetie’s heart is through their stomach! If a streetie is afraid of you, give them some food from a distance. Let them know you’re keeping a bowl of food for them and walk away. Watch them eat from a distance where they cannot see you. Slowly, they will start trusting you and come around. Trust can be easily earned if you feed them regularly and show that you care for them. Additionally, since summer is at its peak, it is recommended to offer water in an earthen bowl or fill it with refreshing and hydrating drinks to avoid heat strokes and dehydration issues that streeties are prone to.
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How to respond if they seem unfriendly?
It is quite possible that they may seem unfriendly especially if they are already worried or scared.
Follow these steps for them to trust you step by step:
-Stand straight and do not make eye contact with the dog and slowly start walking backwards. Try to portray that you are not a threat
-Never turn your back on an aggressive dog or show fear or panic at any moment no matter how scared you are
-Don’t try to run away from the dog; if you start running, they can start chasing you as they will perceive you as a threat
-Stand upright, maintain your composure and get out of the situation as calmly as possible
-Avoid carrying a stick as this may seem like a threat to them
What to do if you get hurt?
Know that a dog will not hurt you unless and until they feel threatened or are trying to protect themselves.
If you do happen to get hurt:
-First, clean the wound with an antiseptic and wrap a cloth around it if there is excessive bleeding
-Apply an antibacterial ointment and cover with a bandage
-Immediately go to the hospital and allow the doctors to examine you
If the wound has developed an infection or you are facing excessive bleeding, pus, exposed bones/tendons, it can mean that you have been exposed to rabies or other serious infections. In such cases, you will need to get vaccinated
It is highly recommended to get vaccinated against rabies because it is still prevalent in India
Additionally, get in touch with an independent rescuer, a local NGO, a trusted veterinarian or behaviorist and explain to them the situation at hand. Dogs do not behave aggressively unless they are in pain, have a behavioral problem or are suffering from a disease that is causing them to do so. Such experts will be able to help out the dog in the best way possible.
Always follow the suggested measures while approaching a streetie. Also, don’t forget that they are pets too, just not constrained by concrete walls.
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*Disclaimer: This blog is vet-approved and includes original content which is compiled after thorough research and authenticity by our in-house team of vets and content experts. It is always advisable to consult a veterinarian before you try any products, pet food or any kind of treatment/medicines on your pets, as each pet is unique and will respond differently.