Avoid bites and keep yourself safe with these tips
Virtually no one is immune to the charm of a cute dog, and we've all felt the urge to run up to a strange puppy and start showering it with attention. However, approaching a dog in that way can provoke aggressive behavior and even compromise your safety. Dog bites can be extremely dangerous, sometimes causing severe injuries or even death.
Knowing how to approach a strange dog properly can help you avoid bites and keep your loved ones safe. Read on to learn five important tips for a positive encounter with a new dog.
- Approach the owner, not the dog - If you interact with the person on the other end of the leash, his or her emotional cues will let the dog know that you're OK. Always ask the owner's permission before interacting with a new animal.
- Don't be afraid - It's true that dogs can sense fear. If you have reservations about a dog, it's best not to approach until you feel safe and calm.
- Avoid eye contact and approach from the side - While avoiding a person's gaze and sidling up may seem shifty, that's actually how dogs prefer to be approached. Eye contact and a direct approach can be threatening.
- Don't pet the dog's head or rear end at first - If the dog sniffs you and appears relaxed, you should touch him on the shoulder, neck or chest.
- Follow the dog's lead - Dogs will let you know when they are done with the interaction. If he shifts position or backs away, it means he's had enough. If you try to continue petting him, he may perceive it as a threat and attack.
While these tips can prevent some dog bites, some attacks are unavoidable. If you or someone you love has been hurt by a dangerous dog, it is essential that you seek medical attention immediately, then speak with an attorney. Even if a lawsuit is not appropriate for your case, you should know your options for taking care of medical bills and other expenses.