How Can I Avoid Dog Bites?

Dogs are typically loyal and affectionate pets, but that does not mean they cannot cause serious harm in certain situations. While it is mostly up to dog owners to keep their pets from hurting others, irresponsible or careless owners do exist. In this case, you must keep these steps you can take to prevent dog bites in mind at all times.

Never approach an unfamiliar dog

Dogs lash out for all sorts of reasons. While it is true some are more aggressive than others, other dogs attack because they are afraid or feel threatened. If you see an unfamiliar dog, avoid it if you can. Cross the street or walk around the animal to prevent coming into contact with it. If the dog is with its owner and secured, ask the owner if it is OK to approach.

Allow the animal to sniff you first

If the dog is with its owner and you are given permission to approach, do so cautiously. Hold out your hand with the palm facing down and let the dog sniff it. This shows you are not a threat and you are not approaching the animal aggressively. If the dog responds in a friendly manner, you may proceed to pet it with the owner’s permission. If the animal appears anxious or afraid it is best to move on, even if the owner gives you the OK.

Be firm & stand your ground

A strange dog may approach you with no owner in sight. In this case, stay where you are and remain calm. If you become nervous or agitated, it could cause the animal to attack. Command the dog by saying “no” in a deep, loud voice, but do not make direct eye contact. The dog could interpret this as a challenge and attack as a result. Do not face the dog directly; instead, position your body so your side is facing the animal. If the dog does lash out, try to put something, like a purse or backpack, between your body and the animal.

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