Dogs, regardless of breed, have their own behaviors, instincts and rules. These vary from dog-to-dog and no one can accurately predict how a dog will react in certain situations. Even dogs that seem friendly or have no history of aggressive behavior can be capable of vicious attacks. That is why it is important that owners and those around dogs know how to act and what they can do to limit provoking a dog into attacking.
General Safety Tips
In order to prevent a dog bite attack, it is important that you recognize situations that can provoke an attack in the first place.
- Respect a dog’s personal space. Never place your hands on a dog’s fence or their property. Dogs are territorial in nature and can feel threatened when someone enters their personal space – especially if their owner is not with that dog.
- Respect protective mothers. Female dogs tending to their litter should never be interfered with. Mothers will be protective of their offspring and even become vicious if they feel their puppies are being threatened.
- Do not approach a dog that is off leash. When a dog approaches without a leash, do not run or shout. Instead, stand still with your arms held closely to your body. Do not make eye contact with the dog – this can be perceived as a threat.
- Sick and older dogs should be handled with caution. Dogs that are ill or older may be more irritable than younger animals. Approach and care for them with caution at all times.
Know the Signals
Dogs often give warning signs that they are feeling threatened or about to attack. These warning signs are meant to cue you into their agitation and give you the opportunity to back away. Some warning signs a dog may give include:
- Holding their tail stiff in the air
- Looking at you from the corner of their eyes – with more white than pupil exposed
- Holding their nose back and wrinkled
- Pulling lips back to reveal teeth
- Raised hair along the neck and spine
- Growling or snarling noises
- Tense body movements
What to Do If You Think a Dog May Attack You
If you are in a situation where you think a dog may attack, it is important that you:
- Stay where you are. Never run from a dog that is about to attack or jump. Do not throw anything; instead, remain calm and still.
- Lie on the ground and curl yourself into a ball if the dog knocks you to the ground. Cover your face and head with your arms and hands.
- Take your gaze away from the dog and never maintain eye contact.
- Pretend to ignore the dog – which can help it understand that you are not a threat.
- Leave the dog’s presence very slowly so that the dog can lose interest.
If Bitten, Contact a Philadelphia Attorney
After years of helping individuals injured by dog bites, we know that even the best behaved dogs can still engage in vicious attacks. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries because of a bite or attack, contact Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq., Pennsylvania’s Premier Dog Bite Lawyer today for a free consultation at 215-771-0430 (cell) or 215-987-3550 (office) or contact us online.