Dog attacks can cause severe injury. Dog bites can lead to avulsion, crushing injuries, and lacerations. These injuries can be severe, permanent, and disfiguring. So when an aggressive dog approaches you, it is important that you stand your ground and do everything you can to avoid being bitten.

Unfortunately, run-ins with aggressive dogs are far more common in the state of Florida than expected. In fact, dog bites are so frequent in Florida that there are between 1200 and 1300 dog bite claims filed a year. To help you avoid being injured by a dog bite, here are some tips on what to do if an aggressive dog approaches you.

What To Do If An Aggressive Dog Approaches You

When an aggressive dog approaches you, it can be truly terrifying. Here is what you can do to diffuse the situation:

  • Stay Calm: Dogs respond to assertive authority. That means that no matter what you must stay calm. This can be very challenging in a scary situation, but it will help you stay protected.
  • Slow Down: If you were walking, stop and stand completely still. If you were running stop and slow down. Dogs are predatory animals, if you run they will see you as prey. If you stop and stand, they will see you as a competitor predator. Understanding this psychology will give you an advantage when faced with an aggressive dog.
  • Keep Your Distance: If a dog starts approaching you, keep a wide berth. Sometimes dogs are simply trying to protect their territory, and if you keep your distance they will not see you as a threat. If they do approach you, make sure to continue to maintain as much distance as you possibly can without running away.
  • Speak Kindly: When the dog approaches you, try speaking to it the way you would to a friendly dog. Say common positive things like “who’s a good dog?” or “where’s your toy?”. Sometimes doing this communicates to the dog that you were not a threat to them. Instead, try to communicate that you are a friendly human not trying to hurt them or their humans.
  • Shield Yourself: If these tips do not work and the dog attacks you, try to focus on protecting your vulnerable areas. Dogs are smart predators, they will go for your vulnerable areas such as your neck, your face, and your abdomen. When a dog attacks, your primary goal is damage mitigation. So it is better to let the dog bite your arm than try to fight it off from a more vulnerable and fatal area like your throat. Once a dog has attacked, do not be afraid to defend yourself however possible.

These tips will hopefully help you avoid being attacked by an aggressive dog and defend yourself if you are attacked.

What Not To Do When Approached By An Aggressive Dog

It’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do when approached by an aggressive dog. Here is what not to do:

  • Raising Your Voice: Raising your voice and yelling or shouting will only aggravate the situation. Loud yelling can be very triggering for a dog and it will make them more afraid and more aggressive. So speak calmly to the dog.
  • Make Direct Eye Contact: Making direct eye contact with a dog in a tense situation will not show your dominance. It’s much more likely that it will show the dog that you were a threat and it will act more aggressively. Keep the dog in your eyesight at all times but avoid direct eye contact.
  •  Throwing Something: Oftentimes people think that throwing something at a dog will get it to go away. Instead, a dog will read this as an act of aggression, and it will only escalate the situation. Try to keep as much distance between you and the dog as possible.

These tips will help you avoid making the situation worse.

Knowing what to do when approached by an aggressive dog can help you prevent being bitten. However, if you are bitten, you do have options to help pay for your medical bills and other damages as a result of the dog bite. The team at Justice Pays can help. Give us a call for a free case review and to learn more about your rights after a dog attack.