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Avoiding Dog Attacks

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.

As A Pedestrian

  • 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 etherized. 
  • 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 circumstance.
  • 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 taken lightly.

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 dangerous. 

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