Reduce your Chance of Getting Bit by a Dog

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April 22, 2015
Edward Smith

Some behaviors can cause a dog to feel threatened or uncomfortable. Some behaviors will help reduce your chance of getting bit by a dog. The following tips will help increase your awareness when you encounter a dog in your surroundings so that you can reduce your chance of getting bit.

Be cautions around stray dogs and pay attention to the dog’s body language. Never assume a dog is friendly. A dog that doesn’t know you can suddenly see you as a threat to their environment.

Always respect a dog’s personal space. Never approach a dog or attempt to pet an unfamiliar dog. Particularly, a dog that is tied up, in a car, fenced in a yard, behind a gate or other type of barricade.

Let sleeping dogs sleep. Don’t ever disturb a dog while it is sleeping, eating, playing with toys or taking care of it’s puppies.

Often dogs will exhibit behaviors that give you a clue it is feeling uncomfortable, anxious and a need to protect him or herself.  Some of the signs that a dog is stressed or anxious include repetitive licking of the nose, yawning, slow movement and tense body language.  Some of the more aggressive signs include:

• Stiff body and/or stiff tail
• Tail down and tensed
• Ears erected and tilted forward
• Ears pulled back and eyes dilated
• Hackles (dog’s hair) raised on the neck, shoulder or tail area
• Furrowed brow
• Staring or Intense glare
• Backing away
• Growling, snarling, teeth bared
• Nose wrinkled
• Corners of mouth are forward, may wrinkle muzzle or curl lip

If any of these behaviors are seen, put a good amount of safe distance between yourself and the dog. Never turn your back away from a dog. You always want to keep your eyes on the dog’s whereabouts and slowly walk away in a calm manner.  Never make sudden movements and run away because a dog’s natural instinct is to chase.

If you are approached by a dog that you think might attack you remain calm and:

• Avoid eye contact with the dog.
• Don’t be impulsive and scream and run away. Use slow movements.
• Slowly back away.
•  If the dog attacks use anything you have to put distance between you and the dog.  A jacket, sweater, backpack, purse, skateboard or bicycle for instance can be used to distract a dog. For example, if you have a sweatshirt or other loose article of clothing, give that to the dog and hopefully it will distract the dog long enough for you to get out safely.

If you are attacked by a dog seek medical attention first and then contact animal control to report the incident.  Afterwards, contact the Sacramento dog bite attorneys at the Edward A Smith Law Offices for a free consultation about your legal rights at (916) 921-6400. If you are out of the area call 1-800-404-5400, Reviews can be found on Yelp and Avvo.