Tips for Avoiding Dog Bites & Attacks

The Centers for Disease Control suggest that dog attacks are almost always preventable. Following a few common sense tips can help avoid a dog attack and prevent god bite injuries.

Avoiding Dog Attacks: Tips for Everybody

  • Don’t Approach

Dogs are territorial animals who have clearly defined boundaries of what is and what is not their turf. Unfortunately, people are not always aware of those boundaries. One easy tip to avoid a dog attack is never approach a strange dog, even if the dog is tied or behind a fence. Encroaching on a dog’s territory may trigger an attack.

  • Hands Down

Keep your hands at your sides if approached by an unfamiliar dog. Dogs are very sensitive to human posture, and they may interpret a raised hand as a threat. Less seriously, a raised hand may be an invitation to jump on the person, which may accidently cause injury. 

  • The Sleeping/Eating/Chewing/Nursing Rule

Ever heard the one about letting sleeping dogs lie? There is a good reason: a sleeping dog may be startled and confused when woken suddenly, which may trigger a panic bite. Dogs are often possessive of their food or chew toys, and may become aggressive if you approach them. Female dogs are very protective of their puppies, and may attack if you approach them when they are nursing or otherwise caring for their puppies.

Tips for Children

If you have children, you may want to pass along the following dog safety tips. These tips to avoid god attack were originally released by the Humane Society of the United States.

  • Don’t Tease

Dogs do not like being poked or teased any more than people do. Teasing a dog may trigger a bite attack. Dogs may also interpret wrestling or rough playing as a threat and respond aggressively.

  • Don’t Make Eye Contact

Dogs are very sensitive to eye contact, and they may respond aggressively if people stare. For younger children, avoiding eye contact is doubly important because they are closer to the dog’s size, and therefore are more likely to trigger a dominance response.

  • Don’t Run, Don’t Scream

Dogs still retain some of the predatory instinct to chase, so running away may actually trigger an attack. Children are also close to the size of a prey animal, so running away may send the wrong message to a dog. Screaming or any other loud noise excites dogs, which may intensify the attack. When approached by a strange dog, remaining still and quiet is probably the safest thing for a child to do.