A Guide To Avoiding Future Dog Bites & Attacks
Are you one of the millions of Americans that own dogs, loves dogs, or even treats their animals as family members? Often, individuals who exhibit these characteristics can’t help themselves when they see other dogs. They assume that all dogs are friendly, and even if that was the case, even a lifelong canine companion can bite in the wrong situation. This guide intends to inform both dog lovers and victims alike on a key topic: How To Avoid Future Dog Bites?
Respect A Dog’s Space
One way to quickly eliminate the possibility of a multitude of dog bites is to be careful around unfamiliar dogs. Moreover, wait for information from the dog owner before approaching the animal. All dog owners should be careful in the way they approach their pets. A startled canine can act quickly, and cause devastating injuries. We recommend allowing the dog to approach you, sniff you, and demonstrate it is friendly before attempting to touch it. However, dogs should be undisturbed while eating or sleeping. Additionally, owners should be careful while playing with their canines. Naturally, if you disturb a dog while they are eating or sleeping, you are increasing your risk of getting bitten. If you respect your dog’s space, you are taking a key first step in minimizing future attacks.
Watch Body Language
Another key step in avoiding becoming victim is paying attention to a dog’s body language. For example, a threatened dog will display signs with their body, that can warn owners of an attack. Below is a list of behaviors commonly associated with dog bite attacks: If you see a dog displaying these signs, maintain your distance.
Body Language Commonly Associated With Dog Bites
- Stiff tail
- Closed mouth, sometimes revealing teeth
- Tense, taut muscles and rigid body
- Ears back straight, typically closer to their head, extending along the line of their necks
- Flicking tongue: can look like they are licking their muzzle.
- Stare-downs and rolling eyes
Dogs, similar to most animals, will flinch when they’re scared. A threatened animal can attack off instinct, nonetheless, the results can be equally devastating. Dogs are also known to hide when they feel threatened.
What To Do If You Notice Signs That A Dog May Attack
Below is a step-by-step guide, on how to react to a variety of warning signs given by a dog provided by our experienced team of attorneys:
- Avoid Running, Shouting, & Swift Body Movements: The most important point to remember if you find yourself in this situation, is to avoid sudden movements. Loud noises and footsteps can upset an animal, in some cases causing instincts to take over. As mentioned above, if a dog is threatened they are significantly more likely to attack.
- Do Not Stare-Down Dogs: Eye contact can cause a dog to feel significantly more scared, sometimes even mistaking individuals as a threat. Dogs view eye contact as a sign of dominance, so we strongly recommend not maintaining eye contact with a potentially threatening dog.
- Wait, & Continue Avoiding Eye Contact: Keep your arms at your sides, or in another non-threatening position, while continuing to avoid sudden movement. If you show the dog you are friendly, they likely will view you as less of a threat. Most dogs read a human’s body language, and react accordingly. Therefore, it is extremely important to not express aggressive signs near a dog.
- Slowly Back Away From The Dog: If you do not make sudden movements, or make threatening eye contact with a canine, they likely will lose interest. Once the dog has looked away, slowly step away out of sight.
What To Do If You’re Attacked
If a dog moves towards you, attempt to try to get it to bite something that is not your body. For instance, block your body with a pillow or at least ensure your sleeve is covering your arm. Allow the dog to pull away whatever you’ve given it, hopefully, this distracts the dog allowing you to slowly escape. Most importantly, we encourage victims to protect your face, chest, and throat. If a dog bites you in one of those regions, the damage can be extremely devastating, and costly. Dog bites to the face, throat and neck also carry the highest fatality rate.
Secondly, if a dog has a grasp of your body, do not pull away. If you attempt to move away, you could cause further damage to your skin, and tissue. The more resistance you display, the less likely a dog will release its hold of you. However, if a victim minimizes movement, they also minimize potential damage by encouraging the dog to release its bite.
Important Reminders For Children
Previous dog bite statistics have indicated that dog bite attacks occur more frequently to individuals 14-and-under. In addition, victims are also more likely to be male than female. It is vital that parents teach young children how to behave around dogs because injuries can be especially traumatic for the developing minds of kids. Furthermore, individuals who are 14-or-younger are more likely to sustain fatal wounds in a dog bite. This is due to the height, curiosity, and innocence of most young children.
For instance, children frequently have the belief that all dogs are “good dogs,” or are friendly. Children also have a harder time picking up on a dog’s body language cues, compared to adults. The risk of dog bites to young children is increasingly high, so it is important to teach your children how to behave around them to deter potential injuries. Here are some tips to teach your children, to best ensure their safety:
- Ask Permission From Dog Owner: It is important to always ask a dog’s owner if the dog is friendly, and if you can pet it, before approaching it. If there is no owner present, maintain a safe distance, and slowly walk away.
- Let The Dog Come To You: Even if the dog is a “good” dog, they can still sometimes attack off instinct. As mentioned before, it is extremely important to leave all dogs alone while they eat or sleep. If a friendly dog approaches you, allow them to smell you. Only pet the dog if it displayed no aggressive signs.
- Dogs That Are Confined, Should Be Confined: Do not approach dogs that are enclosed in a cage, fence, or tied to a stake. If you enter one of these enclosures, you are entering the dog’s territory, and increasing the chance that it considers you a risk.
- Roll Into A Ball, Protect Your Head: If a kid is attacked, and falls to the ground, it is vital to their survival that they protect their head. Most dogs will become uninterested if the child doesn’t abruptly react, any quick movement increases the chance of a dog attacking or biting a victim. Silence is golden, if you are quiet, most dogs will lose interest after sniffing you.
- Do Not Run: We understand that your child may be scared, however, if they run they’re far less safe. By running they may trigger a dog’s instincts, threatening the canine, and increasing the risk of a dog’s aggressive behavior.