No matter how much you love animals, it can still be dangerous to approach a dog during certain situations. To avoid this potential issue, you should always treat dogs with respect and pay close attention to any warning signs that they give you. As long as you remain aware and cautious, you should be able to walk away from any dog encounter without being bitten.
image src: flickr
Five Ways to Avoid a Dog Bite
1. Ask for Permission - The most common mistake that people make is to approach a dog they do not know without asking for permission. In other words, if you see a dog staked out in its front yard, you should not move toward it unless the owner is around. After all, you have no way of knowing the temperament of the dog, and this can lead to serious consequences.In North Carolina, for instance, there is a one bite rule that states that owners are responsible for paying for damages if they had reason to believe their dog was dangerous. According to one Charlotte personal injury lawyer, there are approximately 30,000 bites a year that are serious enough to require reconstructive surgery. Chances are good that a chained dog is considered dangerous even by their owner and should be avoided.
2. Avoid Meal Time - Every dog's instinct to protect its food kicks in when they are eating, so you should never make any sudden moves near a dog during meal time. Unfortunately, a lot of incidents that involve a dog biting a small child happen because children are typically unaware of the danger of reaching into an animal's food dish. Therefore, you need to make sure that you teach your children to give the family dog space when he or she is eating.
3. Never Run from an Aggressive Dog - Although most dogs love going for a jog with their human companion, it is never a good idea to run in an attempt to get away from an aggressive animal. In fact, running will simply bring out their hunting instincts, and they will chase you with the intention of knocking you down.
4. Do Not Have a Staring Contest - Many people think it is amusing to have a so-called staring contest with animals, but this is not a wise idea if you want to avoid dog bites. Even the friendliest dog can feel threatened by this action, and they might unexpectedly lash out. If you do happen to meet your dog's gaze, simply look away within a second to prevent the animal from feeling like you are issuing a challenge.
5. Introduce Yourself to New Dogs - When you meet a new person, you typically shake their hand. When you meet a new dog, you should offer them your hand with your palm facing up so that they can smell you before you pet them. Doing this will make the dog feel more comfortable, and it will greatly reduce your risk of getting bitten.
Sadly, many people fail to apply these commonsense techniques when they are around dogs, and this causes approximately 4.5 million Americans to suffer from a dog bite each year. In most cases, the bites are not serious. However, if you receive a bite that breaks the skin, you should seek medical attention and consider contacting an attorney.
Melanie Fleury is the proud owner of two rescue dogs. Charlotte personal injury lawyer Auger & Auger Attorneys at Law urge owners to be aware of the laws in their state. If you have been a victim of a dog bite, a personal injury lawyer can help you to determine if compensation is due.