Understanding why dogs bite and learning how to avoid being bitten is a modern day necessity. Why? Because dogs are not only everywhere, but they are territorial … which is a combination that’s asking for issues. As a child, I was terrified of dogs, and I was regularly chased by a neighbourhood hound called Shep, who hated children and guarded the patch outside his home with zeal – I was never bitten, but if you have been affected, discover your options by speaking to a dog bite lawyer (Long Island).
My fear of dogs was palpable, and I once received the advice to look like I was chewing when walking past dogs, as they might otherwise think that I was hungry and out to steal their food. I still do that to this day. How much truth is in it, I don’t know. Today, let’s explore why dogs bite, and what we can do to avoid the situation.
Why do dogs bite?
We’re going to start by looking at why dogs bite, because if we know what may provoke a dog to attack, we might be able to lessen the danger by avoiding certain behaviours.
This is a difficult and broad category to cover, because what a dog thinks is happening compared to what is actually happening cannot be second guessed. If the dog feels that you are in any way a threat (either to the dog itself or to one of its puppies, or its owner, or even its home), you could expect to be bitten. Either stay away, or speak to the owner about the dog’s temperament and get permission before you make your approach.
- Running away from a dog
Dogs love to chase things. Turning your back and running away is a rookie move. Nothing says “come get me!” like the sight of your soles flicking up at high speed. This is prime dog bite territory.
- Startled by a surprise approach
This one is pretty straightforward. Dogs don’t have hands, and what motor control they can muster in their limbs leaves much to be desired (dogs are clumsy). So, instead, they use their mouths. Surprise a dog and you won’t get pawed, but you might get bitten.
- A dog that is sick or injured may attack
Sick and injured animals of all kinds are known to lash out if approached. Even trusted owners may find their usually welcoming pooch to be a touch on the ‘snappy’ side.
How to prevent dog bites
With all of that said, how can we actually prevent dog bites? The answer is get a cat and stay away from the dog park. But if you really must insist on being around canines (I know some of you can’t resist), here’s what to do:
- Don’t touch random dogs, especially if the owner isn’t present
- Let the dog come to you (if you approach too fast, things can go wrong)
- Always face the dog, and don’t make eye contact if the dog seems agitated
The list could go on, but really the advice is clear. Stay away from unknown dogs, and if you really must approach, do so with extreme caution.