When you see a lost or stray dog on the street, one of the most important things to remember is that the dog might be afraid. A frightened animal is more likely to act out or show aggression, so the rescuer must first earn the dog's trust and let him or her make the first move. Experts recommend placing yourself near the dog, crouching down to its eye level, and speaking in calm tones. If the dog approaches and appears curious, you can allow him or her to sniff your hand.
If the dog allows you to touch him or her, a gentle stroke of the chest or chin is generally safest. Then, assuming the dog allows it, you may be able to coax the animal to come away with you and join you in a safe place. If you cannot walk the animal to a safe place, the Humane Society suggests calling animal control professionals for help. Should you decide to take the dog home yourself, however, a call to animal control can still help to locate any bereft owners.