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How do I approach a pet?

Knowing when to come near and when to give space to your pet is the key to a good relationship! This blog post will share precious tips on how to approach a pet.

A vector illustration of a large rectangle of a Traffic light Green paper-textured text bubble on a  Mystic Green paper-textured background, where Violet, a medium-sized cat with white fur and only her left eye; Her left ear and tail are aubergine, is sitting on the left, looking up with her eye open and her tail up and wavy, facing up and right to the text bubble shape with her paw on top of it left corner.

Pets are part of our families, but we speak different languages. When approaching your pet or an unfamiliar one, be aware of what they are trying to tell you so that you can be safe and your pet feels comfortable with you.

1. Observe your pet's behavior and body language before approaching

After a while, you will start noticing your pet has behavioral patterns and routines, and you will start to understand their particular language. Some of their postures are calming signals, and you can reciprocate them to your pet when approaching.

2. Approach when safe, slowly, and moving in an arch towards your pet

3. Let them see you coming but avoid direct eye contact
4. You can display other calming signals, such as turning your head or body and yawning

5. Avoid any sudden sounds or movements that may scare them
6. Speak in a soothing, reassuring voice

You want your pet to be calm and confident when you approach them. Avoid sudden sounds or movements that may scare your pet and create a negative association with you. Talk in a soothing and calm voice.

7. Let them get closer after crouching nearby (if the pet is not showing signs of reactivity)
8. Avoid standing over them

When you get close to your pet, and if they are comfortable, you can crouch down and let them get close to you if they feel like doing that. Avoid standing over them if they are showing signs of insecurity.
You can also position yourself sideways, yawn, and avoid eye contact if your pet needs reassuring signals.

9. Use treats or food, if available, to lure your pet.

If your pet is uncomfortable, you can use pet food or a toy to encourage your pet to come near you.

That’s it!
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  1. Rugaas, Turid. (2006). On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals. (2nd edition). Dogwise Publishing.
  2. Chin, Lili (2020). Doggie Language. Summersdale Publishers Ltd.

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