Tip 48 – Scary dog situations
Sometimes we encounter dogs that we don’t know in friendly circumstances, and sometimes dogs aren’t so happy with our company. This can happen for example, when we go to an acquaintance’s house, stumble upon their dog in a room or on a couch and their dog may growl at us. Or it can happen outdoors where we come across a stray dog, or someone else’s dog comes right up to us and gives us a good startle.
The following tips apply when you encounter unfamiliar dogs without their owners right beside them. It especially applies to kids, toddlers and babies
1- It’s best not to approach unfamiliar dogs. Admire their beauty from a safe distance.
2 – Don’t let your kids (especially young kids) play with unfamiliar dogs without your direct hands on supervision. Period. Kids are notorious for coming right up to a dog, waving their arms above the dog and doing a whole host of threatening behaviours. Dogs do bite when they feel threatened.
3 – When outdoors, never run away in fear from a dog you just ‘bumped into’. Dogs have an innate predatory response, and will chase you if run away. The best solution is to fold your arms, turn away from the dog and don’t make direct eye contact. The dog will probably move on shortly. Yawning a few times, as well as deliberate blinking, may help as it may be seen by the dog as a pacifying gesture.
4 – If a dog is tied it is still not safe to approach. In fact it’s probably even less safe since the dog has no escape route. A dog that feels threatened or cornered can bite.
Most accidents or dog bites are the result of misreading a dog’s body language. In general dogs won’t bite unless threatened.
Threatening behaviour to a dog can include; Direct eye contact, touching a dog over its head, getting too close, approaching too quickly, approaching in a jagged uncontrolled way, and standing over the dog. Taking something valuable (to the dog) that the dog thinks belongs to him/her is a definite no no.
Signs the dog is unhappy with your presence may include; growling, hackles (hair on back) raised, teeth visible, wrinkled nose, erect tail or a tail that looks like it’s vibrating slightly.
If you see any of these signs just back away SLOWLY, cut off direct eye contact and the dog should simmer down.