Avoiding dog attacks starts with
being relaxed when a strange dog approaches. I can't count the
amount of times I've heard, ďItís okay, my dog is friendly,
she wonít bite.Ē The truth is, if your are afraid, nervous or
even unsure, a dog can sense it. A dog perceives these feelings as
a danger and may become defensive.
Here are some tips to help you
avoid dog attacks.
- Never approach a dog unless
it's owner has told you that itís ok to do so.
- Never approach or attempt to
pet a dog who is eating food or drinking.
- Be very wary of dogs near
toys. Owners should teach their dog not to be protective of
their toys, but itís always better to assume a dog will try
to protect toys. Remember, it's not worth the risk.
- Be very careful around a
sleeping dog. Dogs who
have been startled from sleep can be very defensive and can
attack and even bit. The old adage "Let sleeping dogs
lie" is good advice.
- Never entry into a strange
dog's territory. A dogís natural instinct is to be defensive
and/or territorial. Dogs can view your approach as a threat to
territory. If you don't know, or have never had contact with a
specific dog, itís always a good idea to have the owner
present and to meet the dog in a neutral environment (outside
if and when ever it is possible).
- When approaching a dog, body
language is something dogs are much more attuned to than
humans. Always approach sideways or with your back to them.
Dogs do not react well to being stared at, or being towered
over as it is a sign of being dominated. Even being
"leaned in on" or having a hand coming down from
above their head can trigger aggression.
- Never allow infants or young
children to play with dogs without responsible adult
supervision. Dogs and children may be a great combination but
dogs and children playing unattended is a potential recipe for
disaster. Even professional dog trainers with highly trained
dogs would NEVER leave them unattended with children. It is
impossible to know for sure how dogs will behave if a
youngster pulling a dog's tail or stepping on a paw. When a
responsible adult is present, any unwanted behavior can be
quickly correctly. Yes, accidents happen, but many serious and
even fatalities accidents can be avoided by simply making sure
that young children are never left unsupervised.
As A Dog Owner:
- Know your dog's Body Language.
Spend the time and effort learning your dog's body language.
Being able to read the signs of an unhappy, upset, aggressive,
nervous, territorial or possessive dog is a critical factor in
avoiding dog attacks. Many owners feel that they know all
about canine behavior and body language but when it comes down
to controlling everyday situations they are not even close!
Dogs, are a great addition to the family but they are not
human. They don't think like humans and do not have human
values. They do not rationalize, they only react. You must
study how to be aware of how your dog's mind works. You might
be very surprised at what you find!
As a responsible dog owner, you
should ALWAYS respect other peopleís right not to have your
dog jump up them. Some people are afraid of dogs. Your dog may
only be Ďplaying", or "being friendly" and in
most cases he/she wouldnít hurt anyone. But you need to be
aware your dog can "sense" fear. If it senses it may
see it as a threat and could attack. If your dog is ever seen
as a threat to someone, you can be found to be in breach of
the Dangerous Dogs Act and can be taken away from you and even
- As a responsible dog owner,
you should ALWAYS have your dog under complete control when it
is in public! You MUST be
able to control your dog at all times by using physical
restraint or voice commands. You MUST be honest with yourself,
If you canít, you have a problem. If your dog happens to
attack someone, itís your fault. If your dog runs off and
bits someone or causes an accident, itís your fault. If your
dog runs away from you it could be hit by a car and be fatally
injured. It would be your fault. Failing to be able to control
your dog is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about! You
just need to get some help from an experienced dog trainer or behaviorist.
But donít wait until an accident happens. A dogs life is
just as much your responsibility as having a child. You need
to be able to control it in any or every possible
- As a responsible dog owner,
you should take the necessary
time to learn and understand your obligations and
responsibilities, both to your dog and to society according to
the law. Dog ownership is a privilege that shouldnít be
Remember, these tips can help all
of us decrease and even eliminate needless dog attacks. If everyone
would follow these tip, it would go a long way toward doing it
without needlessly killing dogs that are thought to be viscous or