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How to notice and avoid aggressive dogs

Dogs are great to have around, until they become aggressive. A dog bite can be a serious injury, which is why people should know how to spot an aggressive dog and avoid the situation leading to a bite.

Dogs are much beloved animal companions for many people in Texas. These creatures can occasionally become aggressive, however. A dog bite can range from a minor injury to a catastrophic one. People should know about the signs of dog aggression and what to do to avoid this situation.

The dog aggression signs

The signs one dog shows for aggression may look different than another dog’s or show up in a different order, but most dogs show at least one of the following warnings before biting:

  • An aggressive dog may snarl or growl while showing its teeth.
  • When on guard, a dog may become very stiff and rigid, raising its hackles (the hair on the back of its neck).
  • Another common sign of dog aggression is if the animal is maintaining eye contact and showing the whites of its eyes.
  • One of the last warnings a dog may give is to lunge or chase after the person it perceives as a threat.

When a dog still feels threatened after showing warning signs, it may attempt to bite. Not all bites are actual attacks, though. A dog may snap, leaving a mark but not breaking the skin.

What to do when dealing with an aggressive dog

While it may be intimidating to come face-to-face with a threatening or aggressive dog, it is usually a bad idea to run away, as the animal may give chase. Avoid making eye contact or showing teeth, as the dog may view this as a challenge. Talking to the dog in a soft, soothing voice while showing disinterested body language may calm the animal down. The goal in this situation is to get away from the dog without causing it to become alarmed. This can be accomplished by slowly backing away until the dog loses interest.

Preventing dog aggression from happening

Most dogs are very tolerant of humans, and some even want to be friends. When encountering an unfamiliar dog, it is best to first ask the owner if they are friendly and if it is okay to interact. If the owner says it is okay, slowly approach without making eye contact and extend a closed fist, palm down, for the animal to sniff. At this point, a dog that does not want to be pet may growl or back off, signaling to leave it alone. A friendly dog may show its back, lower its head, or come closer. It is okay to pet a friendly dog on its back or the top of its head, but it is better to avoid petting its ears, tail, feet, or belly.

Those who have been bitten by a dog may have suffered a traumatic injury, including expensive medical costs and pain and suffering. An attorney in the local area who practices personal injury law may be able to help a bite victim obtain financial compensation.

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