And after our incident in our own yard last week (People that own dogs that kill people, kill people), we wanted to share this with you too.
There are two different types of situations in which people are typically bitten. The first is when they approach a strange dog. So, let's dog about the proper way to do that first.
Assuming the dog is with its owner and on a leash, the first step is to ask the owner's permission before touching the animal. Should the owner say "no" simply accept their answer and move on. If permission is granted, you should roll your hand into a fist and allow the dog to smell the back of your hand. People identify by sight. Dogs identify by smell. This is just a courtesy and basic way to say, "hello". Should the dog appear afraid, back away. Otherwise, it is ok to pet the dog. You should, however, give it a friendly scratch on its chin, chest, or just behind its front leg. You do not want to quickly lift your hand above the dogs head as it may become startled and bite. Sound simple enough? Good. It is!
The second circumstance in which people are most usually attacked is when a loose dog approaches them. Make yourself aware. If, for example, a Golden Retriever is running towards you, usually its purpose is to lick you to death (and if it is one of mine, possibly knock you to the ground in excitement). However, if the dog is snarling, showing teeth, or growling, its intentions are not good. Know the difference between friendly and threatening.
If the dog appears to be threatening - DO NOT RUN. This is the most important thing to remember. If you run, the dog will pursue. You should NEVER turn your back on a dog that you think will attack you. Instead, stop in your tracks and "be a tree". Place your hands in front of you and look at the ground. Slowly back up towards your home or vehicle - but again, never turn your back. Chances are after a minute, the dog will become bored and go on its way. Do not make eye contact with the dog. This is important because the dog could see eye contact as a challenge. Do not hit, kick, swing at, or throw things at the dog. Again, these things could be taken as a challenge causing the dog to attack. If you are holding something in your hands (a jacket, book, toy, food, anything), try throwing it to your side. There is a good chance that the dog will choose to check it out giving you the opportunity to back away.
Should the dog knock you to the ground, be a rock. Roll onto your stomach, pull your knees in under you, put your forehead to the ground, and cross your hands over the back of your head. This way your body is in a compact position not leaving your limbs or neck exposed for the dog to latch on to.
These simple tips could save a life. Please share them with the children in your life and other adults, as well. The more educated we are, the better equipped we are.