When a dog growls, lunges, barks, or acts unsociable, these are warning signs that it has a aggressive tendencies. While it doesn’t necessarily mean that the dog will attack, and it is natural for a dog to bark when its territory is threatened, it is important to know how to handle an aggressive dog if you are approached by one. Also, realize that dogs have three-to-one strength over the person handling them. Therefore, a 60-pound dog is as strong as an 180-pound man.
Whether the aggressive dog is your own and you do not want it to attack, or an aggressive animal approaches you, it is important to know how to react to the situation.
Identify the Cause
It is best not just to assume an animal is beaten or broken because it is aggressive. There are numerous reasons why a dog becomes aggressive or territorial. A dog could be aggressive out of a defensive reaction. It may have territorial issues, suffer from anxiety, etc. Not knowing why the dog is being aggressive is the first error. If you are the owner, identify the cause. If you are someone approaching the dog, slowly back away and allow the owner to assess why the dog is being aggressive.
Do not confront a dog that is barking or growling, even if you know it. When a dog exhibits aggression, it is best to remain a non-threat – that means backing away and giving the dog space. If you confront it, you could make it worse. Realize that a dog’s growl is its way of communicating that it is uncomfortable or scared. Do not punish a dog for growling. Instead, identify why this behavior is happening, and correct that issue. If you punish for growling, you could reinforce to the animal that it needs to bite instead of warning via growl.
Do Not Put Yourself or Others at Risk
Never approach a dog that you do not know – especially one that is exhibiting aggressive behavior. Instead, leave the dog alone. If you have an aggressive dog, do not force others to associate with that dog. Work on behavior training and correction, and slowly introduce the dog to people.
Know How to Handle Strange and Aggressive Dogs
If the dog that has approached you is obviously aggressive and one that you do not know, there are things you must do to prevent becoming a threat (an ideal target) to that dog. These things include:
- Ask the dog’s owner if you may approach. Never approach a dog without speaking to the owner first.
- Never tease or play with a dog that you do not know.
- Stand still if a dog approaches you that you don’t know.
- Be quiet and do not scream in front of the aggressive, strange dog.
- Don’t make direct eye contact with the animal. Direct eye contact can make the dog feel threatened and challenged.
If you ignore it or pretend that it does not exist, it is less likely to attack.
What if an Aggressive Animal Attacks Me?
Even with all of the safety precautions taken, there is a chance that an aggressive dog could attack you. If you are attacked or bitten by an aggressive dog, contact attorney Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. right away. You can reach him for a free consultation at 215-771-0430 (cell) or 215-987-3550 (office). You can also request your appointment online.