It can be frightening when a dog that you do not know – or even one you are familiar with – comes out and startles you. You may wonder if that dog is going to bite. Regardless of whether you know that animal or not, it is imperative that you know the warning signs that show when a dog may attack, so that you can protect yourself in this very situation. It is better to always assume that a dog you do not know is not friendly, then and walk away. Never approach the animal. You must also teach young children to never approach a dog, because some dogs that appear friendly may have learned to mask obvious indicators that they will bite – these masked indicators could include not barking or growling.
Warning Signs That a Dog May Attack
Dogs attack when they feel threatened. Some indicators that a dog may attack you include:
- It is making direct eye contact with you – this is a dog’s way of making a direct threat.
- The dog’s tail is up or wagging stiffly. A wagging tail does not mean the dog is friendly.
- The dog’s ears are up or perked.
- The dog has its legs apart or chest thrown out.
- There is a low rumbling growl coming from the dog.
- It is showing its front teeth – which is a clear indication that it is going to bite.
What if You Need to Make Contact with the Dog?
If, for some reason, you need to make contact with the animal, the best thing that you can do is make the dog feel unthreatened by your presence. You can approach the animal, but slowly and not directly. Be aware of your own body language and do not make eye contact. Keep your hands low – so that the dog does not feel as though you are reaching for it. Speak softly, calmly, and lower your body so that you are not towering over the dog.
If the Dog Moves to Attack, Do Not Engage
If a dog does attack, you must protect yourself. If there is anything nearby, use it to put it in the dog’s mouth before resorting to using your own limbs. That could include pushing a backpack, purse, or other item into the dog’s mouth. If the dog does reach on to you or your clothing, do not try to pull away – this will only force the dog to clamp down and tear. Hitting the dog to get it off you will only make it worse. Instead, stick a finger or some other object into the dog’s mouth as deep as you can to gag it.
If the dog is attacking someone else (even your child), do not reach in and pull the dog off – this will force it to clamp down the jaw. Instead, take a shirt and cover the dog’s face. When a dog cannot see, it will panic and open its mouth immediately.
When two dogs are fighting one another, do not step in. Instead, grab dog treats and throw them toward both dogs, and then another pile further away. This will separate the two dogs so that you can intervene and take your dog away.
Contact an Attorney for Your Dog Attack
Were you bitten by a dog? Was your child injured in a vicious dog attack? Even the friendliest of dogs may attack if it feels threatened – but that doesn’t excuse the behavior. Dog attacks are traumatic and can lead to serious injuries and infections. If you or a loved one has been attacked, let me help you seek compensation for your pain, suffering, and medical costs. Contact me, Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq., now for a free consultation by calling 800-465-8795 (office) or 215-771-0430 (cell), or contact me online via my contact form.