Keeping yourself and your family safe from dog attacks is no small feat. If you have encountered a situation with an aggressive dog, or if you are simply looking to take measures to protect yourself and others in case of an unfortunate incident, then this blog post can provide important guidance. Learning about how to properly identify and behave around potentially dangerous dogs can be an important step in remaining calm and unharmed should a difficult encounter arise. Read on for valuable tips on the best ways to stay safe.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
Dogs have a variety of reasons for biting, but it is most commonly a response to some kind of stimulus. By understanding the many reasons why a dog might bite, people can learn how to respond appropriately and avoid an unfortunate incident.
The following can be possible examples:
- Confinement: If the dog is feeling confined or under threat, it may bite to protect itself and its territory.
- Fear: Fear, startle, or threat are all potential causes for biting in dogs.
- Guarding: Dogs also have a tendency to bite when trying to guard something that holds value to them such as their puppies, food, or toys.
- Pain: Pain due to illness or injury can also result in biting behavior from dogs as they may be lashing out due to frustration or confusion.
- Playtime: Another common reason for dogs biting is during playtime activities like wrestling or tug-of-war. Even though these activities might be enjoyable for the dog, they can cause overstimulation which can lead to accidental bites.
Dogs may also bite if they feel uncomfortable with someone. When a strange person or animal gets too close, it might trigger the dog's instinct to protect itself and its territory. Dogs can be unpredictable when they sense danger, so it's important to be cautious around unfamiliar dogs and not approach them. Dogs may occasionally give off warning signals before biting such as growling, showing teeth, and lunging forward; paying attention to these cues can help prevent bites. However, some dogs may not give warning signals.
5 Tips to Protect Yourself from Dog Attacks
Dogs can be unpredictable and their behavior can sometimes catch us off guard. Fortunately, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help prevent dog attacks. Taking these precautions can help you avoid potential danger in the future.
1. Respect their Space
An important rule to remember when around dogs is never to approach, touch, or play with them if they are sleeping or eating. This may seem like common sense, yet many people do not realize the potential danger involved in interacting with an animal that is engaged in either of these activities.
If a dog is your own pet, then it likely knows and trusts you, but for a strange dog who doesn't know you, sudden interaction of any kind can cause it to act aggressively due to feelings of defensiveness or their protective instincts.
2. Avoid Chained Dogs
Unfortunately, chained dogs who may not receive regular socialization or interaction are far less predictable when approached than dogs accustomed to being around humans. They may become defensive or aggressive--potentially resulting in a bite--so it is safest to stay away from chained dogs.
3. Do Not Stare
When encountering a strange dog, it's important to remain calm and avoid making eye contact. This can be interpreted as a challenge or threat and make the dog uneasy. Prolonged eye contact is especially discouraged when the pet has difficulty interacting with human beings, as this can lead to overarousal. If feeling threatened or overloaded, the dog may act out in an attempt to end the interaction - this can range from barking and growling to lunging and even biting.
At the same time, if you notice a dog staring at you, this does not indicate they are comfortable with you. If a strange dog is staring at you and has stiff posture, avoid eye contact and slowly back away to give the dog space.
4. Avoid Sudden Movement
It's important to remember that when confronted with strange dogs, it is best to remain still and calm. Moving around too much or speaking in loud tones can easily grab their attention and cause excitement.
Other behavior to avoid in this situation includes:
- Flailing hands
If a strange dog begins to show signs of agitation, staying still can help avoid any aggressive displays from them such as barking or lunging. Being still sends the message that you are not a threat and can be beneficial in helping the dog stay calmer. As soon as possible, try to move away from the strange dog in order to de-escalate the situation.
5. Distract the Dog
When dealing with an approaching dog, making sure you have enough space between the two of you is important. If the dog has taken an interest in your food, the best option is to throw it to the side, not directly at the dog. Doing so will distract the canine and allow you a bit more time to back away.
In other cases, such as when dogs come up to you without any food involved, placing objects between the two of you can provide an effective barrier to both disrupt their visual stimulus and give yourself room to walk away safely. Items such as garbage lids, chairs or other physical items can be used to deter a dog.
What to Do After a Dog Bites You
Knowing what to do after a dog bites you can be confusing. You may feel lost and overwhelmed and unsure what steps you can take. Unfortunately, these events can have lasting effects on both your physical and mental wellbeing. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your recovery process is comprehensive.
To start, make sure to seek immediate medical attention after being attacked by a dog. Not only will this make sure you’re treated for any potential injuries but will also provide evidence that can be used in any legal proceedings. Additionally, reporting the attack to the proper authorities helps ensure both criminal and civil liability of the owner. Finally, filing a personal injury claim can help you recoup compensation for medical bills or missing work. Reaching out to an experienced lawyer specializing in animal attacks can guide you through the legal process and advocate for fair compensation on your behalf.
Our lawyers at Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC are experienced in helping clients after dog bite scenarios. Call us today at (937) 403-9033 or contact us online. We can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.