Dogs, in America at least, truly are man’s best friend. No matter what part of the country, North or South, city or country, people have dogs. Oftentimes they are treated as well as or better than humans by their owners. There are definitely exceptions, however. Some dogs are mistreated, underfed, or even purposely raised to be overly aggressive. When encountering one with which you are not familiar, you just can’t know its demeanor or past treatment, so caution must be taken. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are four and half million dog bites every year. The advice in this article can help prevent you from becoming a statistic by keeping you free from injury.
Excess caution should be taken with young children around a dog. Children are unpredictable, and they can lunge toward a dog or take some other action that the animal may misinterpret. If you don’t know the dog personally, keep your children away from it. And never, ever leave a small child in a room alone with one.
If you encounter a strange unleashed dog, do not make any sudden movements, such as trying to run away from it. Also avoid making any loud noises. Do not yell at it. And do not stare it in the eyes. Look away. The act of staring it down can be viewed as a challenge to the dog, and that is often a challenge you won’t win. It may be a good idea to throw a random object away from you and the dog. It will likely investigate, giving you an opportunity to get away.
Watch for signs of aggression. A dog that is baring its teeth, or that has hair that is standing up rather than lying flat, should be avoided. If it is free and approaching, the advice above applies here. Avoid eye contact, distract it, and get away in a calm manner.
Do not bother a dog when it is eating or sleeping. The old saying about letting sleeping dogs lie is very good advice. Also do not disturb one that is caring for or nursing its puppies. If you are determined to pet it, let is sniff your hand and get comfortable with you first. Dogs don’t like surprises.
If you are the owner of the dog in question, it is highly advisable that you take steps to reduce the likelihood of it biting others. The first and most obvious step is to have it neutered or spayed. This will reduce the animal’s aggression and desire to fight with other animals or humans. You should also take steps to gradually socialize the dog by introducing it to social situations. Give your dog time to adapt to being around people or other animals. It is also an excellent idea to personally train it to respond to your commands.
Dogs are wonderful animals, but they can definitely be dangerous. Follow the advice in this article and your chances of getting bitten by a dog will be greatly reduced.