Dogs can be unpredictable creatures. Despite being domesticated and loved as pets, sometimes even the most docile and friendly dogs can become defensive or aggressive. Whenever a dog feels threatened or frightened, it is likely to attack. Dog attacks can be extremely damaging and may result in painful contusions, puncture wounds, broken bones, head trauma, severe scarring, or even death. In order to avoid a dog attack, you can take certain precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.
To do what you can to avoid a dog attack, take the following precautions:
- Never sneak up on a dog. Animals often spook easily, so it is in your best interest to make sure you never catch a dog unaware. If the dog is sleeping, eating, or looking away from you, do not approach it.
- Ask the owner for permission before approaching a dog. Even if you are familiar with dog behaviors, approaching a dog you do not know can be very dangerous and unwise. Sometimes even approaching a dog you do know can be dangerous. You never know if that dog has had an aggressive history, or if it is easily spooked or protective of its owner. Therefore, you should always ask the pet’s owner for permission before you approach or pet it.
- Let the dog get to know you. After you have obtained permission to pet the dog, make sure you continue to exercise caution by allowing it to sniff the back of your hand. Once the dog has become acquainted with your smell, it is relatively safer to approach it. However, remember to move slowly and watch the dog’s body language for any signs of aggression. Flattened ears, a tucked tail, low head, and growling are all indications of potentially hostile behavior.
- Never let children play with a dog alone. Children should never be left unsupervised with a dog, even if they know the dog and feel comfortable with it. Kids make sudden movements that may spook a dog, even a seemingly friendly one. A harmless hug from a toddler could be perceived as an act of aggression and could lead to a situation nobody wants on their hands.
While most dog bites are not completely preventable, exercising caution around dogs can significantly reduce your chances of a dog attack. It is important to remember that all dogs can pose a threat. Even small dogs can sometimes cause painful bites and may carry diseases if they have not been properly vaccinated.
In the event that you think a dog will attack, take measures to protect yourself immediately. Avoid eye contact and turn your body to the side so that the animal is neither in front of you nor behind you. Also, if you ignore the dog and remain still, it may lose interest and move on before attacking. If it does attack, try to keep a barrier between yourself and the dog and call for help.
If you were bitten, attacked, or otherwise harmed by a dog, our firm wants to help. Contact Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. to discuss your personal injury case with our Minneapolis dog bite attorneys.