While no one wants to think about a dog attack, if a dog bites you, it can cause severe damage. When dogs attack, the fault typically goes to the owner. While you cannot always prevent a sudden canine attack, there are ways you can pinpoint when a dog may feel anxious or threatened and has a high likelihood of lashing out.
According to the ASPCA, if you learn to respect a dog’s body language, you may be able to reduce the risk of future bites.
Look for signs of changing posture
There is more than one sign to watch out for regarding dogs. A dog who feels aggressive may make himself larger. The fur on his back will stand up and his ears may turn up and forward. Often, aggressive dogs stand stiffly and stare directly at the threat. Aggressive dogs may also growl, bark or lunge at people. However, anxious dogs tend to make themselves smaller. They shrink down, put their tail between their legs and avoid eye contact. Sometimes, you may see a mix of postures when dogs feel conflicted or unsure.
Both fear and aggression are feelings that can tempt a dog to bite. Do not reach out to a dog who displays any of those behaviors.
Be careful and quiet around strange dogs
If you do not know a dog well or if he exhibits strange behavior, do not run and do not make loud or sudden noises. Stay quiet and still if he begins to approach you. Only pet a new dog after he has the chance to sniff your hand. When petting, avoid the head at first. Pet his chest and shoulders, but do not jerk away if he becomes uncomfortable.
If the strange dog has an owner, always ask the owner his opinion before approaching.