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Bite Prevention

When dogs might bite:
  • When they feel threatened or afraid.
  • When they are protecting their territory, food, toys, family, or pups.
  • When they get excited, even in play.
  • When they don't know you.
  • When their "chase response" is triggered.
  • When they have been bred and/or trained to be aggressive.
  • When they are in pain or irritated.
How to tell when a dog might bite:
  • The dog may stand stiff and still, possibly with his or her hair up.
  • The dog may stare at you.
  • The dog may hold his or her tail stiff and up in the air, or may wag it back and forth very fast.
  • The dog may growl, snarl, show teeth or bark.
What to do if you're threatened by a dog:
  • Stand very still and try to be calm. Don't scream and run.
  • Be aware of the dog, but don't stare the dog in the eyes either.
  • If the dog comes up to sniff you, don't resist. In most cases the dog will go away upon deciding you aren't a threat.
  • If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly.
  • Try to stay until the dog leaves then back away slowly until he or she is out of sight.
  • If a dog does attack suddenly, "feed" him or her your jacket, purse, your bike, anything that may distract the dog and give the animal something to bite besides you.
  • If you fall or are knocked down, curl into a ball with your arms and hands over your head and neck. Try not to scream or roll around.
What to do if you get bitten:
  • Children should tell their parents immediately. All bites should be reported to the police or animal control department.
  • Go to the hospital for treatment.
  • Tell the policeman or animal control officer as much as you can about the dog -- what he or she looked like, where you saw the animal, if you've seen the dog before, and so on. It's important for them to try to find the dog.