Danger With Unfamiliar Dogs

Not every dog is man's best friend. Be sure that you know how to act around unfamiliar dogs.


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Dog bites can be very serious, so if you have seen any aggressive behavior from a pet in your home, discuss his actions with your parents.

Boys and Bites
The statistics of dog bites reported each year are incredible; they can range from 5 to 10 million bites depending on which source  you cite. Even accepting the lesser number, 5 million people injured by dog bites is huge!

Florida dog trainer Capt. Arthur Haggerty publishes a newsletter dealing with aggression in dogs, along with many books about dog training including How to Talk to Your Dog (Blake Publishing, 2001). Haggerty agrees that most of the bites are aimed at children, but he goes one step further. He maintains that boys receive the most bites.

It comes down to the fact that boys are a little louder, are more prone to be out and about doing things, and play sports that tend to include hollering and arm waving, all of which can excite an aggressive dog. 

Rules of the Road
Your best protection against being bitten by an unknown dog: Never ever approach a strange dog.

No matter how cute or friendly they may appear, stray dogs are outside of their comfort zone and may react out of fear as much as from aggression.

So don't try to catch a lost dog to return him to his owner. Never corner a strange dog or bend down to lift him up. That stance completely exposes your face, arms and hands. Instead, tell one of your parents or another adult to call the animal control office, and let a trained officer capture the dog and reunite him with his owner.

Another good rule to follow is: Never try to stare a strange dog down. Keep the dog in your range of vision but don't lock eyes with him and stare. A dog might perceive this staring as a threat, and he may act defensively. Biting is the big gun he will use to defend his territory.

Haggerty says that children usually do everything wrong when they are being approached by an aggressive dog. They scream, yell, wave their arms and run. All this commotion can excite a dog and cause him to give chase and attack. The best thing to do is avoid the dog and not go near him, try not to panic, and stay as quiet as possible with your hands placed on your chest.

Beware and Be Fair
Other ways to avoid putting yourself into a serious situation include not entering your neighbors yard to fetch a ball that has accidentally gone over the fence. Dogs are territorial and will consider your entry an intrusion into their turf.

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