A couple weeks ago I went with our daughter and grandkids to a birthday party. It was at a home and the party was concentrated outside. In the back yard there was a Great Pyrenees on chain. Most of the time he was just lounging under a tree but he did play with some boys off and on. The boys gave the dog a large bone which immediately he took back to his tree. A little later our granddaughter Ella made her way out to the dog. I watched from the porch about 25 feet away. She walked up to it slowly, petted it, and then leaned down to pick up the bone. In a moment the dog’s behavior changed. It started guarding the bone. I yelled Ella’s name and she quickly came to me crying. I think she could tell from my voice that she was in danger.
Avoid Risky Situations
It's important to know how to avoid escalating risky situations and to understand when you should and should not interact with dogs. You should avoid petting a dog in these scenarios:
Pay Attention to Body Language
Reading a dog's body language also can be helpful. Just like people, dogs rely on body gestures, postures and vocalizations to express themselves and communicate. While we can't always read a dog's body language accurately, it can give us helpful clues as to whether a dog is feeling stressed, frightened, or threatened.