There are many reasons why a dog may decide to bite someone. By taking some basic steps to educate yourself on some of these reasons, you can better prepare yourself to avoid becoming another statistical victim of a dog bite in real-world situations. Probably the most important thing you can do for yourself to avoid becoming the victim of a dog bite is to get to know dog body language and warning sounds. Once you know how to recognize certain key aspects of a dog’s body language you can quickly identify when a dog is feeling agitated or threatened. Also, a large part of whether or not a dog will ultimately decide to bite someone is determined by where they see you with respect to their pack order. By carrying yourself with confidence and exuding body language that you are powerful and in control, a dog may think twice about biting you.
One of the easiest ways to avoid being bitten goes back to situational awareness. When you come upon a dog in public and it is eating something or chewing something, do not try to approach. Simply carry on and leave the dog alone. Many times dogs can become defensive of their property and see your approach as a threat that you are going to take it from them. If you must walk in close proximity past a dog in this situation, go back to what you learned about dog body language and warning sounds. If the dog beings to growl at you and bear its teeth, walk confidently and briskly past and try to avoid eye contact or the desire to run past the dog. Eye contact may be perceived as a threat or a challenge and running from the dog may trigger their chasing instinct and the dog may come after you.
Avoid scaring dogs whenever possible. This includes sneaking up on them or abruptly waking a sleeping dog while in close proximity. They may bite in a flash of defensive instinct. This type of bite will typically happen before you even have a chance to react or realize you are about to become a bite victim. The best thing you can do if you notice a dog that is sleeping or unaware of you is to try and mind their personal space. To expand on the personal space concept, to dogs, coming too close is a sign of disrespect and a challenge to their pack order. If they don’t recognize you as part of their pack, or if they do recognize you but feel that they are higher up than you, they will not tolerate your invasion of personal space and may decide to bite to reestablish your position as lower than them in their pack by biting.
There are many ways to avoid dog bites, but to sum this up, the five discussed here are as follows: 1. Educate yourself on how to read and interpret what a dog is communicating to you with its sound and body language. 2. Carry yourself with confident body language that communicates to unfamiliar dogs that you are a pack leader. 3. Avoid approaching dogs when they are intensely interested in some type of object to avoid triggering a possessiveness defense attack. 4. Avoid startling dogs, either intentionally or unintentionally. 5. Never run from a dog. If you feel a potential attack eminent it is much more ideal to contain your fear and walk calmly and confidently away from the dog. If you run from them you will trigger their instinct to chase. Please take a few minutes to further educate yourself on these key points and you just may find yourself avoiding a dog bite situation in the future.