Any time that you take a walk around your neighborhood, you are likely to end up seeing a dog or two. Usually, they will be with their owner or resting on their lawn. You may encounter dogs that are joyful and friendly around strangers, and there are others that can pose a danger to you.
Some dogs will only be friendly with their owners and become aggressive to anyone else who they consider a threat. If a dog is not with its owner or is not on a leash, you could end up getting attacked, especially if the dog is very aggressive. To keep yourself protected, there are a few things you should always be thinking about when approaching a strange dog.
4 Effective Ways to Protect Yourself from Potentially Aggressive Dogs
- Protect Yourself
Always carry protection with you when you are out walking, even if you are in your residential neighborhood and do not feel threatened. You never know when a stray dog or a neighbor’s new dog could be out running around. You may want to carry a dog deterrent spray or a dog whistle to scare away the aggressive canine.
- There are many products available proven effective at deterring dog away that you may find at your local pet store.
- Find a whistle designed to irritate dogs and cause them to run away. You can also purchase a traditional whistle which will often startle a dog and keep it away from you.
- There are other products such as stun guns and stun batons used in case of an emergency. These products will often frighten an aggressive dog before you use it because of the sound of the electrical charge.
- Do Not Make Eye Contact with the Dog
If you see an aggressive dog while you are on a walk, do not make eye contact with them. This is a sign of a challenge for a dog which could cause them to strike you. Instead, watch the dog using peripheral vision as you calmly walk past it so that you may avoid an attack.
- Always Keep Your Mouth Closed
When you are approaching a potentially threatening dog, you should keep your mouth closed to protect yourself. Showing the dog your teeth is a signal to them that you may be a threat they see it as a sign of aggressiveness. Instead of smiling, you should hide your teeth from the dog’s view.
- Yell Out a Firm Command
If the above actions do not work, you can try shouting a firm command at the dog to see if they will obey. While this method may not work very well with a stray dog who never learned to obey commands, yelling a firm command such as “Stop!” will sometimes cause the dog to back away from you. You can try out other commands such as “Back” or “No” as well. Do not attempt commanding the dog using a friendly voice, and always avoid screaming at them which can make the situation much worse.
How to Approach a Dog the Right Way
- When you approach any dog while walking, always ask the dog’s owner first. Some dogs are willing to greet strangers while others may not be. Never try to pet a dog without asking the owner first.
- When petting, keep your hand flat and your fingers together. Using a flat hand will protect you and show the dog that you are not a threat.
- Allow the dog to sniff your hand and let them make the decision to allow you to pet them or not.
Dogs that do not stray, will usually enjoy a good petting or encounter with another human. But don’t always rely on the saying that dogs are man’s best friend. They can be very aggressive due to numerous factors, including abuse from their owner. If you are unsure about a dog you see while walking, it’s best to try to avoid them.