Tips for Handling Stray Dogs

When you encounter a stray dog on the street, it’s helpful to know how to behave to minimize your chances of getting bit. Though most stray dogs will leave you alone, some can be aggressive and dangerous. Below we’ve listed some tips for how to stay safe around stray dogs.

Know the Signs of Aggression and Fear. Dogs usually attack because they’re scared or feel threatened by your presence. Some signs of aggression include bared teeth, lifted tail, raised ears and raised hackles (the fur on the neck). Signs of fear include tucking the tail, laid back ears, snarling and barking.

Stop Jogging and Walk. If you encounter a stray dog while you’re out for a run, slow down and walk by the dog. Running may trigger the dog’s “predator-prey” instinct and lead it to chase you.

Stand Still When Approached. When a stray dog does approach you in a friendly manner, it’s best to remain still and let the dog sniff you. Most of the time it’ll decide you’re not a threat and leave you alone. If you immediately start to shout and fight you run the risk of startling the dog and making it aggressive.

Never Run Away. The worst thing you can do when encountering an aggressive dog is run away. Dogs are naturally inclined to chase fleeing prey and will try to catch you if you run.

Back Away Slowly. Instead of running, back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Most of the time, the dog will let you go.

Don’t Make Direct Eye Contact. Direct eye contact may be taken as a sign of aggression by an aggressive dog. Instead watch the dog out of your periphery vision. That way you can still keep an eye on it without provoking it any further.

If you’ve been bitten by a stray dog belonging to a negligent owner, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the McMinn Law Firm today to set up a consultation with one of our Austin dog bite attorneys.