Dog bites are not uncommon, but you can take steps to avoid being bitten. When you are out for a stroll or a jog and see a dog in the distance, slow your pace and pay attention. Remember that even friendly dogs can become aggressive if they feel threatened. However, there are some warning signs that naturally aggressive dogs will display. When you see these signs, you should know to keep your distance and peacefully remove yourself from the dog’s vicinity.
Barking or Growling
Most dogs bark, but if the dog is barking excessively at anything, take that as a warning that he might become aggressive if you approach. Avoid any dogs that growl, snarl or bare their teeth at you, even if they are walking with their owner and especially if they are walking unleashed.
Aggressive dogs that are exhibiting dominant behavior will stand very alert when they see you.
Staring is a sign of dominant aggression in dogs. Friendly dogs will naturally look at you out of interest, but the eyes will dart away occasionally and, from a distance, you will notice this more if they move their head. This kind of gaze is different from an unflinching stare.
Aggressive dogs may raise their ears or may lay them flat when spotting you.
If the dog is a breed with floppy ears, you won’t notice ear position as much but pay attention to subtle changes.
Many people mistake a raised tail as a sign of friendliness, especially if the dog moves his tail slightly from side to side. This tail position and movement however is different from happy tail wagging. If a dog’s tail rises when he sees you, avoid moving closer and get to safety.
Blocking Your Path
If the dog in the distance moves to block your path, assume this is a dominant and aggressive move. The wise thing to do is to slowly retreat. Do not run unless there is no other way to escape being bitten. Most dogs can easily catch up with you, and seeing you running triggers their predator instinct.
Less obvious signs of potentially aggressive dogs include anxious behavior such as licking the chops or staring at you sideways.
For more information about what legal action you can take as the victim of an aggressive dog, contact the Law Offices of Gary J. Natale, P.C. at 973-324-9711 or online.