My across-the-street neighbor has a big, unneutered pitbull (possibly a mix) and he runs over to my car and barks at me when I get home. Lately, he's been getting closer and closer. When a dog that big and nervous gets near you, it's disquieting to say the least. On the other hand, if someone other than myself comes in the yard, I kind of like the thought of the dog being big, noisy, and aggressive. I just don't want him barking at me.
So, the other evening when I got in, I went in the house and got a piece of cheese. The dog is still outside barking at my front door so I go out and offer him the cheese.
He backs up when I hold my hand out. So, I bite off a piece and make an appreciative sound. His barking cuts off with a squeak and he's now zeroed in on my hand and is drooling and licking his chops.
He's mine, to a point.
I throw a piece out in the yard and he picks it up, lies down, and chews and chews and chews. I take some stuff from my car into the house and come back out. He's lying about 15 feet away, looking. That's better. This time I offer him the cheese in my hand, refusing to drop it. Not the best idea with a skittish dog but hey, you only live once. He creeps up, delicately takes it from my hand, and backs off to settle to the grass and chew once again.
When I get everything put away in the house, I peek out the window and he's lying in the grass, head on paws, staring at the door. Not a bad start!