Many people get bitten by dangerous dogs simply because they’re not sure how to react in the moment. If a dog charges them and looks like it’s going to attack, they have to make a decision in a split second, and they may yell or run away. Either is an instinctive reaction, part of the flight or fight process that the body goes through when faced with true danger.
But both of these instincts aren’t safe responses. You likely can’t outrun a dangerous dog, and its prey drive just makes it more likely to chase you if you try. So, what should you do in this situation?
Keep a low energy level
First of all, a dog will react to the energy level that it senses in a human. It’s important to stay calm and keep your energy level as low as you can. Speak in soothing tones.
Back away slowly
Rather than turning and running, keep your eyes on the dog. You may want to turn to the side to create a smaller profile. You can then begin slowly backing away, which means the dog will be less likely to chase you. If possible, avoid making direct eye contact while you do this. Watch the dog out of your peripheral vision so that you can see what it is doing without presenting yourself as a threat.
Don’t try to intimidate the dog
People sometimes try to scare a dog by being aggressive or yelling. Similar to screaming in fear, however, this will almost certainly result in an opposite effect. It can rile the dog up more than it was before. It is best to speak in a calm and controlled voice. You can be stern, but you should also be non-threatening.
Put something between you and the dog
Finally, if it seems like you can’t escape quickly enough to avoid a bite, try to put something between the two of you. This could mean backing away until you’re on the other side of a car parked on the street, for example, or “feeding” the dog an item like a coat or a purse.
Taking these steps can help you avoid a dog bite, but there is no guarantee that you’ll escape harm if an aggressive dog is in your sights. If you have been injured by someone else’s dog, you may be able to seek financial compensation, so seeking legal guidance is a good idea.