OH NO!! Here comes Butch, and he doesn't look happy!
There are usually warning signs before a bite occurs, but these can be very subtle and might be missed. Signs that the dog is telling you "I am nearing the end of my patience" may include:
He turns his head away from you or gets up and moves away.
He looks at you with a pleading expression.
He yawns, licks his chops, suddenly starts scratching, or licking himself when you're approaching or interacting with him.
He is wagging his tail with a slow deliberate wag with the tail held straight and parallel to the ground or high over the back. A nervous dog may also wag his tail between his legs or just wag the tip of his tail.
If he lowers himself to the floor and stares at you, chances are he's getting into a position to jump at you. On the other hand, if he lies down and rolls over showing his tummy, he's probably asking for a good belly rub.
Snarling, growling, barking, and showing teeth should always be considered as signs of aggression. It is best to leave the animal alone and not try to physically comfort him.
It is natural for us, as humans, to run from things that frighten us. Bad idea! So, what should we do when an unfriendly dog approaches us?
Don't run away crying or screaming, no matter how scary he seems. If you try to walk away backwards, you may trip and fall. You'll make yourself prey. Butch's instinct is to chase, attack, or tear the prey apart.
"Make like a tree". Trees are boring. The dog will lose interest and go about his business. To assume the "tree" position, cross your arms over your chest with your hands under your arm pits. Stand very still and look away from the dog. Stay in this position until it is safe to leave the area. Remember to walk away calmly.
If a bite seems inevitable, put anything you have in his mouth. Let him bite your purse, hat, jacket, grocery bag, whatever. Try to remain calm.
If he knocks you to the ground, get on your knees and bend over. Fold your arms behind your neck to protect your face, ears, head, and neck. Try to be very still. Stay in this position until the dog has left the area.
Visit my next blog to learn what to do if you or someone else gets bitten by a dog.