How to avoid dog bites
Many people have experienced being bitten or nearly being bitten by an unfamiliar dog. Most of the incidents could have been avoided. You do not have to be a canine behavior consultant to be able to read a dog’s body language, but there are a few things you can do to play it safe. The following is a list of suggestions.
1. Do not stare at a dog. In dog language this is very rude and could be a threat.
2. Do not approach a dog without asking the owner if it is OK. Even if the dog is a cute, small dog, a dog is a dog and will react as a dog.
3. If you do approach a dog, do not walk straight up to the dog but rather look to the side and turn sideways, letting the dog come to you.
4. Do not hug the dog or try to pat the dog on the head, especially if you are standing in front of the dog and leaning over him. This is very rude to a dog.
5. Do not jump around and wave your hands (mostly what children may do.)
6. If the dog turns away or does not seem to want attention, do no force yourself on the dog. Dogs give signals that ask you to back off. Turning away or backing up may be the way the dog wants you to leave him alone.
7. Never allow children to walk up to strange dogs or interact with strange dogs, even if they seem friendly. Children do not understand that dogs are not animated, fuzzy toys. Very young children do not realize that they can hurt a dog. Children hugging dogs is one reason why children are typically bitten on the face.
8. Realize that dogs have a limit to how much attention they can tolerate. Dogs have feelings too. Respect them.
9. Realize that dogs may have a bad day just like people do. A dog cannot tell you that he does not feel well. They hide minor “bad days” very well.
10. If a dog rejects your advances, do not take it seriously. Not all breeds of dogs are friendly.
11. Never approach a strange dog that is off leash or roaming around. If it is your goal to catch the dog and return it to its owner, only do this if you feel qualified to properly and safely catch the dog.
If you are in doubt about a dog, don’t. Trust your instincts; they are better than you think in judging dogs. With a little common sense most people can avoid being bitten by a dog. Also realize that there are different kinds of bites and most are non-aggressive.