Dogs are man’s best friend and provide countless hours of love and affection, however dog attacks are still a very real problem in America. An ounce of prevention goes a long way. There are several important and useful steps you can follow to keep yourself safe and reduce your risk of being a victim of a dog attack.
Never confront an unfamiliar dog
The most important and overlooked step in avoiding a dog attack is to never under any circumstances approach and engage an unfamiliar dog. Even if the dog looks friendly, it is often extremely difficult to know whether a dog will view you as a threat, especially if the dog is not displaying classic warning signs such as growling or stalking posture. Dogs are can be territorial, and although a dog might look perfectly content in his yard, never reach over a fence to pet a dog you do not know. You may end up with severe bites and thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
Always ask the dog’s owner first
When encountering people walking their dogs in public, always make sure to ask the owner for permission before petting their dog. It is impossible to know whether or not a dog is socialized towards strangers just by how they look. Even cute dogs can cause severe and even life-threatening injuries. If you feel unsure, always follow your instinct and avoid contact.
Display non-threatening body language
When encountering a new dog always display non-threatening body language. Often people who are fearful of dogs will attempt to avert their eyes and slow down their movements in unnatural ways when around unfamiliar dogs. Many times this unnatural body language will put a dog on alert, instead of calming it down. Dogs are very perceptive when it comes to feeling-out a person’s body language. If you encountered a stranger that awkwardly shied away from you and generally acted out of place, you would most likely be on alert to. The proper way to react to an unfamiliar or unexpected dog is to completely ignore the dog. Do not avoid eye contact purposefully, but rather act as though the dog simply doesn’t exist. Maintain normal posture and movement without making any quick gestures. Never under any circumstances run from a dog that isn’t actively chasing you. This can cause an otherwise docile dog to chase and attack. If you believe that a dog may be a threat, a good course of action is to simply walk away at a normal pace while ignoring the dog altogether.
Always be prepared
When going on walks in public, especially if you are in an area with a higher incidence of dog attacks, always carry an umbrella or walking stick. If a dog does try to attack you, these items can prove very useful in keeping yourself safe. Use them to try to keep the dog at a manageable distance. These items will also help you appear larger and more intimidating, giving a dog that may be on the offensive second thoughts about approaching you.
If you follow these important steps, you will drastically diminish your chances of being the victim of a dog attack.
If you have been the victim of a dog attack, always contact a skilled personal injury lawyer right away. A personal injury lawyer will be able to get to the facts and help secure you the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries and other damages. Dog bite cases are often not as cut and try as they may seem. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help make sure you receive the assistance you need.