Every year, thousands of people are bitten by dogs. The vast majority of these bites can be prevented by simply being aware of the dog’s body language and disposition and responding appropriately. The ears, eyes, mouth, and tail can give you a good idea of how the dog is feeling. Ears back and down coupled with lip licking, like in the picture to the left, are the signs of a worried dog. Getting into this dog’s space could escalate the situation and make him feel threatened, therefore increasing the chances of a bite. Instead, a good choice would be to avert your eyes and be very still, maybe even kneel or sit down to make yourself less threatening.
Many of the people bitten are children, so it’s important to talk with your kids about how to interact with dogs. This website has some great tips, photos, and activities to do with kids that can help facilitate those conversations.
The big things to remember are (especially when meeting a dog for the first time): Don’t look the dog in the eye, don’t corner the animal (fear is very often the reason for bites), move slowly, and respect the dog’s space.
Be safe out there!