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Learn Dog Body Language to Avoid Bites

It doesn’t matter how much of an animal lover you are or how much time you’ve spent around dogs, you are always at risk of being the victim of a dog bite. Even dogs that have a reputation for being gentle or friendly can have a bad day and become frightened or aggressive, and that can lead to a serious dog bite injury. One of the best ways to protect yourself against being harmed by this type of unexpected attack is to learn dog body language to avoid bites. The dog bite lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers are always here to help you if you have suffered a dog bite injury, but we also want to do everything we can to help you avoid being injured in the first place. Here is some information that we hope will help.

Most people think that the most important thing to look for in a dog’s body language is whether or not their tail is wagging, but the truth is that even a dog that is wagging its tail can bite – in fact, in many cases when a dog is wagging its tail it can be a sign that it is agitated and excited rather than friendly. The top things to look out for when you are approaching a dog – or a dog is approaching you – are the following:

  • A tail that is stiff and extended out or down
  • A tense body
  • Ears that are pulled back flat against the dog’s head
  • A ridged back
  • Being able to see the whites of the dog’s eyes
  • A dog that is licking its lip or flicking its tongue
  • A dog that is yawning
  • A dog that is staring directly at you
  • A dog that is backing away from you

If you see any of these signs it means that you should put space between you and the dog, but when you do so, do it slowly and don’t turn your back on it. If you try running away, the dog is likely to chase you. It is important that you stay calm, don’t scream, and keep still. Do not make direct eye contact, as this is viewed as a thread. Wait until the dog loses interest in you, then back away until you are out of its sight, and if the dog does begin an attack, put something between you and them for them to put into their mouth – it can be your handbag or backpack, a jacket, a chair or trash can. If you are on the ground, curl up into a fetal position and put your hands over your ears. Don’t scream or roll around.

It is also very important that if you have a small child around a family pet, you make sure you look for these signs, particularly yawning, lip licking or seeing the whites of the eyes. Many people make the mistake of forcing a dog to interact with a baby and miss these important signs.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation for the medical expenses and other damages that you’ve suffered. Call the dog bite attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today to learn how we can help.


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