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What to do about an aggressive dog

It's easy to believe that all dogs are friendly, but there could come a point when you find that this simply isn't true.

If you come face to face with an aggressive dog, it's critical that you take a few key steps to protect yourself. Here is what you need to do:

  • Don't make eye contact: This can provoke the dog into attacking, so avoid direct eye contact.
  • Cross your arms: It sounds meaningless, but it shows the dog that you're in a position of power.
  • Ignore the dog: This doesn't mean you should turn your head and walk away but ignoring the dog while carefully backing away may be the best way to defuse the situation.
  • Form a barrier: It's not always possible, but look for objects around you that can create a barrier between you and the dog. For example, you may be able to step to the other side of a fence or motor vehicle. By doing this, you give yourself the opportunity to assess the situation from a place of safety.

Even if you take these steps, you could still be the victim of a dog attack. If the dog comes at you, tell it "no" and to "get away" in a firm, deep voice. This is also a good time to look around for help, as you may need the assistance of another person to stop the attack.

Any injuries suffered in a dog attack require immediate medical attention. Depending on the severity, you may require surgery and/or a rabies shot.

Once your health is stable, learn more about the accident, with a focus on holding the dog's owner responsible for your injuries, medical bills and other damages.

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