Getting bitten by a dog can be a very dangerous situation, and certainly it has the power to affect you long term. Many people that are bitten by a dog live with a fear of another attack. Given the large numbers of dogs that we keep as pets, this can affect your life in a very large way. There are a number of things one can consider to limit their chances of being bitten by a dog, and knowing what to do if a dog attacks is something everyone should know. Here is a number of things to consider to avoid getting bitten by a dog, or how to handle a dog attack when it happens.
The first thing to remember is to never ever approach a dog that is not familiar with you. This is the most common way that people get bitten by a dog. They approach a “cute” dog that does not know them, and they get bitten. This is especially true if the dog in in a fence or tied up. Dogs are extremely territorial. If they are in a fence and you enter, you are invading their territory.
Another thing to remember is that any dog is a potential biter given the right sitiation. Never surprise any dog, even if they are your own. A surprised or scared dog is a dog bite waiting to happen.
When you do approach a dog, make sure they see you and you let them sniff you first. This allows them to relax in most cases and not percieve you as a threat. If the dog seems aggressive slowly back away. Do not turn and run. This will cause the dog to do what is natural which is to chase you.
Never mess around with a dog that is eating or sleeping. This is an accident waiting to happen. When a dog is eating, they are not the same dog as when they are playing. Any dog is a dangerous dog when you mess with their food. Also, be very cautious with a mother dog and her puppies. They are aggresively maternal if they feel threatened in any way.
If a dog does attack, you should try to remain as calm as possible. Screaming, yelling, and flailing will only elevate the attack. Keep your hands as still as possible before the actual attack and never look at the dog in the eyes. They will see this as a threat or dominance challenge. Remain as calm as you possibly can even if the dog attacks.
Once the dog does attack and is going to bite, you need to put anything that you can between you and the dog. This can be your jacket, a stick, your bike, or even a hand bag. The dog will likely bite into whatever it contacts first, which is commonly an arm or hand. Put something else out there if you can. Whatever happens, protect your head and neck at all costs. If this means sacrificing a leg or arm, so be it. If you fall down, curl into a ball and protect your head and neck by covering it with your arms.