There are dogs that bark, lunge and try to bite strangers. This may be due to aggression, fearfulness or protectiveness. Dogs that bite may be any breed. Even well-socialized dogs can exhibit this behavior with certain people. The trouble is, you just can't always predict how a strange dog (meaning a dog that you don't know) will act.
May 20-26 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Here are some tips to follow and share with others to help prevent dog bites:
- Never approach a strange dog.
- Dogs that are unleashed and wandering around on their own should be avoided completely. If you must go past a strange dog, walk slowly, don't make eye contact and give the dog a wide berth.
- Be aware that leashed dogs accompanied by their owners may perceive you as a threat and act to protect their owner or territory. Never greet the dog before the person. Always ask the owner's permission to greet or touch his/her dog.
- Fences are there for a reason. They keep a dog contained and keep people and other animals out. Do not approach a fence or try to pet a fenced-in dog.
- Children don't always understand that some forms of play actually tease a dog. And, sudden movements may be perceived by the dog as threatening. Never leave babies or children unattended with a dog.
- Avoid eye contact and swift movements. Stay calm. You may even pretend to yawn to show a strange dog that you "don't care".
Respect all dogs.