Everyone seems to be outside enjoying the weather more during the summer. Perhaps that is why the occurrence of dog bites increases during the summer months. Knowing the signs of when a dog may try to bite and what to do if you are attacked by a dog can go a long way to keeping you and your family safe this summer.
Signs that a Dog May Be Ready to Attack
A dog’s body language can tell you a lot about what they are thinking. If they feel threatened, their body language may change and they may attempt to defend themselves by biting or otherwise acting aggressively. There are some warning signs that you should watch out for:
- Direct, unwavering eye contact
- Tail wagging stiffly
- Legs apart and chest down (the dog is trying to look bigger!)
- Ears down
- Low, rumbling growl
- Showing teeth
- Raised or bristling fur
- Rigid body posture
- Licking its chops
- Yawning or looking away
Unfortunately, some dogs have been trained that their pre-biting behaviors like growling and showing their teeth, are not socially acceptable, but they have not been shown that biting is bad. That means that a dog may still bite even without showing some of the most obvious signs of aggression or anger.
More About Specific Lesser-Known Behaviors
Tail Wagging. The fact that the dog is wagging its tail does not always mean that it is happy, contrary to popular belief. If the wag is low, slow, and stiff, then this could be a sign that the dog feels threatened. If the wag seems to move through his whole body, then the dog is much more likely to be showing excitement or happiness.
Yawning and looking away. A dog that seems disinterested may not actually be. Sometimes dogs will yawn or look away when they are uncomfortable. Dogs will not always bite when they are exhibiting these behaviors, but they are definitely not comfortable with something that is going on around them.
Sometimes dogs will exhibit this type of behavior around new people or around children. The best thing to do is to try to make your dog more comfortable by removing whatever is making him uncomfortable or use lots of positive reinforcement to get him used to whatever is happening. If it isn’t your dog, however, it is best to avoid getting too close to him.
What to Do During a Dog Attack
If the dog is lunging at you, you need to try to put something else in its mouth to get its focus off of you. Use a purse, backpack, or anything that is within arm’s reach. Try not to yank your arm or other body part away from the dog if it bites—this will only cause the dog to latch on harder. Hitting the dog will also only make the situation worse because the dog will become even angrier. Instead, you should try to get something else in his mouth. You might also be able to push your body part toward the dog and the back away quickly to at least cause him to loosen his hold.
If you have been bitten, go to the doctor as soon as possible. Dog bite wounds are particularly prone to infection, so treatment is important. You will need to be tested for any diseases as well.
Once you have taken care of your medical needs, you should call Disparti Law Group, P.A. We can help you determine if you have any legal options after a dog attack. Contact us today.