Why is it that rescue dogs or abandoned dogs have a certain reaction to some people and not others? Well, firstly we must note that it is not that since these are rescue dogs or abandoned dogs that they are reacting this way. Dogs in general react this way. You would know by now that dogs can sense people immediately unlike humans. His growl can be due to his aggressiveness, anxiety, or even defensiveness.
But it is not easy to sum up all their reactions as each dog is unique and the way they would react will also be different from another one. We can however try to perceive how dogs may perceive their world.
- The smell of the people: Dogs can smell people far more than humans can. Their sense of smell is 10,000-100,000 times more accurate than that of humans. Dogs can smell where you have been and with whom for a long time. So, your rescue dog may be able to smell something on a certain person that you will not notice, and they may react as per their experience and treat it negatively. As we can only guess how their experience has been, we must trust them that way.
- Looks of some people:Some people may look shady to the dogs. They still go by their sense of smell more than the looks, though. Their way of sensing facial recognition may not be the same as humans. So, when your dog growls at someone and not another person, he may see a certain feature that may remind him of a threat. As each human being is different and they differ in size, shapes, and movements, they can each remind the dog of a threat or a similarity of a threat as well. This instigates a reaction of being afraid or not being secure to the dog. Sometimes when some people suddenly act a certain way like putting on a jacket or a cap can make the dog feel nervous about the appearance of the person as it is unusual.
You can however train rescue dogs or abandoned dogs in case you feel that they are growling at a person that does not mean any harm. You can do this by giving him lots of treats and asking him to sit down as this will give him the feeling that it is alright. You can then ask your friend to offer him a treat when he follows a certain command so that there is a sense of comfort between them.