I am from the United States. I am partnered with a friend of mine in a small industry startup in his home village in South India.

I visit 2-3 times each year. There is a small street dog, named Taiku, at our factory who has been adopted by the facility personnel and does a wonderful job keeping of watch over the place at night.

The problem is, while he is used to the locals he is always very wary of me whenever I arrive at the factory. Whether I arrive in the company car, by foot, or on the back of my partner's motorcycle, he will threaten me as soon as he observes me by holding his ground and issuing an unending guttural growl. This happens every time I arrive, every day, each time I visit.

I am used to making peace with aggressive dogs back home who will bark and snarl when they are trying to establish ward off intruders. However, Taiku prefers a low growl and a cold stare, which we were always taught to respect as a serious warning.

Foreigners don't find themselves in this village very often and he behaves this way with anyone I bring along with me. I think it is the sight of us, perhaps our white-skinned faces, rather than our scent that puts him off, as he won't necessarily behave this way around me all the time.

For example, when I am in the office, there is usually no drama. In fact, he is currently sitting two feet away from my feet. There was one instance when he even affectionately stood between my legs. I thought at that point maybe we had made a breakthrough. I took it easy for a moment and let him do his thing, and a couple minutes later (after I was out of the range of his jaws), I got his attention by making a gentle tounge-cluck and offering my hand for him to smell. However, once he observed my face, began growling, at which point he had to be escorted out of the office.

He is very persistent in his opposition to me. He will continue to growl at me even with my partner's hand holding the scruff of his neck, or even while being confronted with a raised stick by one of the staff members, (which he otherwise respect and will submit convincingly to).

My daily arrivals are usually a fiasco of staff members dancing between us, yelling and chasing him around with a stick. I always hold my ground and calmly proceed inside. I've never reacted in fear and he's never made good on any of his threats. I'm not particularly worried about actually getting bit, but I'm wondering if there would be a more peaceful way to arrive.

Has anyone experience with a dog like this? There is never any attempt to become familiar with me, just instant, persistent aggression that seems to distract him completely from everything else around him. Is there anything I can do to make peace?

1 Answer 1


Have you tried tossing him a treat when he is sitting calmly?
Also, it seems to me that currently the staff may be encouraging his behavior: The dog considers you a threat, and growls. The people around him also start acting aggressive, generally stressed, and so on. So, "you arrive" = "stress".
It may be best to select a few "dog handlers", who, in case of your arrival, calmly lead the dog away, to your office, or whatever works best. This way "you arrive" will equal "Dog being taken somewhere save and calm", hopefully.

This should at least make your arrivals a controlled thing, the further relationship will hopefully grow from there.

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    Treats during calm times sounds like a good idea! I have been afraid to throw something towards him when he is growling, even a treat, as it might distress him further. But if he wakes up to treats being thrown at him it might be a different story. Also, I agree that the staff is heightening the stress of the situation. There are a lot of engrained cultural reactions that take over when he starts growling at me, which is mostly why I'd like to settle things between the two of us. I'd be afraid of introducing an intervention and inadvertently making it worse for the poor dog. Jan 21, 2016 at 10:53
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    Do NOT give treats when he is growling, you will reward the wrong behavior! Jan 21, 2016 at 13:13
  • The treats haven't worked so well thus far. He'll eat the food I throw, but start growling as soon as he recognizes me. We've worked it out so that we now wait for him at the gate, hop off the motorcycle and my partner calmly and firmly holds him by the scruff while he growls and snarls as I walk past. The chaos and stress have certainly decreased, but I'm not sure what else can be done to make friends. He only seems more agitated every day. Jan 22, 2016 at 6:51

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