As you’re out minding your own business and you’re suddenly approached by a dog, it can be a dice roll. The dog could be friendly. The dog could be ready to attack. The dog could be traveling with other dogs who are ready to attack.
And then there’s the possibility of rabies. You may be terrified no matter the situation. If there’s no owner around to corral the dog and the situation looks like it’s about to go left, what do you do? Scream? Run? Cry? Talk to it down? Attack first?
People who have a fear of dogs will typically react with fear, whether the dog is aggressive or not. But in a situation where the dog is being hostile, there are a few things you need to know. In the event of an attack, you need to be able to think quickly on your feet.
1- Stay Calm but Assertive
In some cases, an aggressive dog is trying to sense whether you’re a threat; most sense fear when they approach. As they read your body language, there are several cues you can give them to show you do not want to engage. No sudden movements!
Slowly shift sideways so you’re not squared up face-to-face, signaling a confrontation. Be still and calm until you can assess if the dog has lost its interest. You can also make yourself look larger by extending your arms upwards, or by using a large object (e.g. umbrella) to establish a boundary. Do not be the aggressor, do not yell, do not lunge.
2- Avoid Eye Contact
Looking an aggressive animal in the eye is a big no-no, as the dog will perceive it as a challenge. The same holds true for smiling. But looking down at your feet is a sign of submission, and may cause the dog to try to dominate you. Simply keep the dog in your peripheral or, in an extreme case, look at its feet or ears.
3- Walk, Don’t Run
Whatever you do, don’t run because that will trigger their prey-chasing instincts. You don’t want to try to outrun a mean dog. Slowly back away, and either walk in the opposite direction or find a safe place to climb, especially if you are outnumbered.
Continue to the Next Page …