How To Get A Dog To Trust You? Explained With Tips

How To Get A Dog To Trust You? Explained With Tips

There are many instances where we meet dogs who are total strangers to us. It could be your friend’s dog or your neighbor’s. But if you go to the dog and try to pet him, he might run away, bark at us, or try to bite our hand off.

But, this is not because the dog doesn’t like us. It’s simply that he doesn’t know us and has no trust in us.

Hence, how to get a dog to trust you? The easiest way is to stay calm and let them approach you. Don’t go bounding over to the dog with excitement as soon as you see him. Respect his space and take things slow.

Not only when we come across a stranger dog but also when we adopt an adult rescue dog, we should gain the dog’s trust.

Therefore, if you’re considering parenting a rescued dog, then this guide will give you all the answers and tips you need to know about how to get a dog to trust you. Let’s dive right in.

How To Get A Dog To Trust You?

If you’re moving on with a dog, it’s vital that you first gain his trust. If you try to rush things and get close to a strange dog, you will only make him reject you more; even with a dog, your first impression matters.

Therefore you need to be very self-conscious about how you behave in front of a stranger or a newly adopted dog.

The most common method to get the dog’s trust is letting the dog come to you. Have you ever asked a dog owner if you could pet his dog when you visit someone? Then you will go to the canine with the owner’s permission.

Yet, how could the owner decide if the dog should be petted or not? That decision is entirely up to the dog; he’ll let you touch him if he likes you. Or else, the dog will ignore you, walk away, bark or growl at you, or in some cases, bite you. 

Let’s see how you should do this.

First of all, ask the owner’s permission to pet his dog. Some pet parents don’t like it when strangers touch their dogs.

Also, if the doggo is extremely fierce, he’s more likely to bite you, not letting you be friendly with him. So, better avoid these kinds of dogs for a few days or until the dog gets to know you.

Now, all that aside, let’s see how you could approach a stranger dog.

  • Step 01 – Be Calm And Keep Your Cool

As I explained, if you bounded over towards the dog as soon as you saw him, you would scare the poor dog.

Instead, keep your cool and speak softly to the dog without triggering his fight or flight instinct.

  • Step 02 – Give Him Space And Let Him Come To You 

A lot of sudden attention from a stranger could frighten the animal. Therefore if the dog looks to be measuring you up, let him have some space. The dog will come to you in his own time.

  • Step 03 – Get To Their Level 

Finally, kneel when you’re approaching the dog and get down to his level. But, never make your first approach from the front; it’s not a confrontation.

Make sure you’re facing the same direction as the canine. Then hold your fist to the dog so that he can sniff you.

  • Step 04 – Read The Body Language

After the dog sniffs your fist, his body language will sign if they approve of you or not. If the pet starts wagging his tail and licking your hand, you can pet him. Make sure to keep calm.

If his body is still rigid, you should give him more time and space. After some time, repeat the same steps.

How Do You Gain A Dog’s Trust? 

Getting a dog to trust you will take time, just like how it’s with humans. Adopting a canine at a young age makes it much easier to build trust and relationships between the puppy and the owner.

But as the dog ages, it will take a few weeks to 6 months to fully develop a healthy trust between the two parties. 

It won’t be easy if the dog is a rescued canine. You should always take your time and be patient. Additionally, you need to maintain consistent behavior during the training.

Dogs can quickly learn and understand what he can expect from his owner. The most basic foundation on which your pup’s trust lays is the relationship between you and the dog. Therefore doing activities that level up your relationship is vital.

Some games strengthen the bond and help create trust in a dog. And that’s the easiest way to get a dog to trust you. Some of these games are;

  • Teaching tricks
  • Hide and seek
  • Explore training
  • Talking to the dog while on walks (to get their attention)
  • Treat and retreat

The idea is to play as much as you can with the dog. Canines are fun-oriented animals, and they’ll love anything that excites them and the person he’s having fun with.

Therefore, a good, fun game is always the winner in building trust in a dog, among other things.

How Long Does It Take To Gain A Dog’s Trust? 

Knowing how long it will take is essential to understand how to get a dog to trust you. Or you will get annoyed if the process is taking too long. It entirely depends on your dog.

Building trust in him would take less time if your dog were still a puppy when you got him. When the puppy gets used to seeing you around, he’ll automatically learn your behavior and get closer to you.

But there are also times when a dog loses its trust in the owner. No matter how strong your trust was before, if you abused the pet, didn’t feed him properly on time, and didn’t give him attention as much as you should, you will quickly lose your dog’s trust.

Unlike a puppy, it’s pretty hard to get the trust of an adult dog, especially if the dog is a stranger to you and has been with someone else all his life.

He will keep his loyalty to the former owner. It would be best if you doubled your efforts to get him to like you.

Things get trickier if the dog is a rescued pup. Most of these dogs are abused by their previous owners and lose all their faith in humans.

They’ll need special training and even more time and attention to make them comfortable around you. That is the hardest part. Once he’s entirely comfortable around you, you both automatically gain trust, but the overall process could take up to several months.

The most fundamental elements that you should keep in mind are that you need to be patient and stay calm.

That’s it, folks. Now you know every essential detail about how to get a dog to trust you. Let us know how your experience went and stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts.


  • Sofia Williams

    Sofia W. is a professional dog trainer who completed Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA and CPDT-KSA) certifications. Also, she has completed the Pet Nutrition Coach Certification. Sofia is interested in creating nutritious food formulas for dogs to give them a longer and healthier life. She believes food and training are a collective combination of a healthy dog. So, she is with us to share her expertise and knowledge with other dog parents.

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