The natural beauty of New Orleans, coupled with its pet-friendly attitude and large dog parks, all help make the city a perfect place to own a dog. When Hurricane Katrina abruptly forced many from their homes and caused extensive flooding damage, New Orleans saw an increase in their stray dog population. With that in mind, here are some tips on approaching dogs that will help your next visit to New Orleans remain enjoyable and dog-friendly.
- Assess the situation. Is there just one dog, or many dogs that outnumber you? Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, advises that when dogs are all alone, they may feel more vulnerable as they do not have their pack, and as a result, may be more protective. Also determine what is nearby; a dog may feel that you are entering their territory, or a space they feel they need to protect.
- Stay at least 20 feet away from the dog. He may start to bark, and that tells you he is not comfortable with you approaching his space. At that point, stop, and slowly start to move away, as rapid movements may cause the dog to react quickly as well.
- Let the dog come to you when he is ready and feels comfortable. Encouraging words and sounds can be helpful in coaxing the dog towards you. Just remember to stay put and wait for the dog to feel comfortable around you and with the situation.
- Never stare at a dog in the face. Dogs treat a stare in the face as a threat, as would most humans, so remember to soften your expression and try to avoid staring for long periods right into the face of the dog. Also, animals may view your teeth as a threat as well, so try to remember to smile with your mouth closed with unfamiliar dogs. And always remember at first to keep you face away from a dog you are unfamiliar with.
- Lick your lips and yawn. Yup, that’s what dogs like. They consider licking of the lips and yawning as playful and non-threatening acts. So licking your lips and/or yawning may help put that scared dog at ease.
- Helping a dog in need — If the dog appears to need your help, he may be disoriented and confused. Do not approach the dog from behind, but try to herd the dog away from traffic by coming around the side and placing yourself between the traffic and the dog, forcing him to move away from traffic. You will likely have to surround the dog to trap him or get him to a safer spot, as he will view everyone as a threat.
If you or a loved one are bitten by a dog in New Orleans, seek immediate medical attention and protect your rights by contacting the experienced Louisiana dog bite lawyers at Smiley Law.