Nov 14, 2012

Staying Safe Around Strange and Aggressive Dogs

The strange dog isn't sure about you either. His adrenalin may be pumping as well. He will be evaluating you; reading your body language. If you understand how the dog might interpret and act upon your body language and facial expressions, you will be in a better position to protect yourself and your children from harm. You must convince the dog that your behavior offers no threat to it.

Consider the following proven techniques:

If you are approached by a strange dog, remain still. If standing, place your arms at your side. Raised arms appear threatening. If you are on the ground, lie face down. In this non-threatening position, the dog will usually sniff at you, lose interest, and leave.
Never turn and run from a strange dog. This is clearly interpreted a fleeing, and you will become the hunted.
Don't smile at the dog. Showing your teeth could be seen, by the dog, as aggressive behavior - ready for a fight.
Never snatch a child up and away from a dog. The dog may see the moving child as a toy and grab at the child. Instead, position yourself between the dog and the child. The dog will view this as protective behavior.
If you wish to voluntarily approach a strange dog, get the owner's permission first. If the owner is not around, do not approach the dog.
Move slowly, casually, and smoothly when approaching a strange dog. The dog may interpret a rapid approach or quick movements as threatening.
Never squat down to a strange dog's level. This is an excellent move when trying to look less intimidating to your own fearful dog. A strange dog, however, might interpret your move as one of subservience.
Never stare directly into the dog's eyes. This is threatening - an invitation to fight. Think of how you've felt in the past when a stranger has stared directly at you.
When approaching a strange dog, form you hand into a loose fist with fingers facing downward. Offer the back of your hand to the dog. Let him sniff. If the dog is calm, slowly turn your hand palm up. Let the dog continue to sniff and nuzzle your hand if he chooses to.
When the dog becomes bored with you, yet remains in the area. Back away slowly until you are in a safe enough position to resume walking away.

Even though the confrontation with a strange dog can be frightening, try to remain calm. If you appear non-threatening, the dog will either indicate that it is friendly toward you or will lose interest and leave you alone.

When involved in routine daily activities, one can't predict a confrontation with a strange or aggressive dog. One can, however, anticipate such a meeting when out for a casual stroll or a walk along a greenway trail. Carrying pepper spray and traveling with a walking stick can provide protection when needed. They should never be the first line of defense; the above non-threatening methods should be used until they prove to be ineffective.

Article by Nancy Cope of Pampered Dog Gifts an online dog boutique - the place to shop for dog gifts and unique dog toys.

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