Maybe you’re walking to or from work. Maybe you’re taking your evening job. Perhaps you’re riding your bicycle to a friend’s house.
If you come face-to-face with an aggressive dog that’s not accompanied by its owner, there are immediate steps you must take to protect yourself. Here’s what you need to do:
- Don’t run: Your first instinct is to run. Doing so is likely to startle the dog, which causes it to chase you. And if it catches up, which is likely to happen, it’s likely to attack. Rather than run, keep your eyes on the dog and slowly move toward safety.
- Put something between you and the dog: This is easier said than done, but there are ideas to consider. For example, if you’re on your bicycle, place it between you and the dog as you back away. Or if there’s a motor vehicle nearby, move to the other side, while ensuring that you can still see the dog. A fence is another idea to consider, as this gives you time to get away.
- Avoid eye contact: Yes, you want to keep an eye on the dog, but direct eye contact may anger it. They may see you as a threat.
- Protect yourself: If nothing you do de-escalates the situation and the dog attacks, it’s time to protect yourself. The first thing you should do is attempt to give the dog something to grab hold of. For instance, if you can slip out of a sweatshirt, the dog may grab it and attack. That gives you enough time to get away. If that doesn’t work, always protect your throat, chest and face. Also, keep your fingers inside a fist, as this protects against the dog from grabbing hold.
It goes without saying that you should do your best to avoid aggressive dogs at all times. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible, as some owners don’t always act in a responsible manner.
If you’re injured in a dog attack, receive immediate medical treatment and then turn your attention to your legal rights and how to hold the dog’s owner responsible.