How to avoid a dog attack
1. Be aware of dogs in your area, especially those that are not walked on leads. If necessary, change your route to avoid them.
2. Learn to read the signs. Most dogs are curious and behaviour such as barking or bounding towards you is normal but more predatory aggression is cause for concern.
3. Always keep a safe distance between you and a dog, even on a lead. And do not approach a dog without the owner’s permission.
4. If you want to approach a dog, it is best to allow the dog to smell your scent. If you approach with your hands, do so with your palms up. Never show the dog a closed fist or put your hand behind your back.
5. Do not stare the dog in the eyes as this is confrontational and could be seen as a challenge. However, do not turn your back on the dog. Try to stand sideways and look slightly away.
What to do if a dog attacks you
1. Try to remain calm. If you panic, you may appear threatening to the dog and cause it to become more aggressive. Shout for help, or if you are with someone, get them to get help as soon as possible.
2. Stand still or walk at a constant slow pace but do not run. Running away will provoke the dog to chase you and could lead to an attack.
3. Do not use a part of your body, such as an arm or a leg, to distance yourself from the dog. The dog may see a waving arm as a target and snap at you.
4. If you are knocked to the ground, try to curl up into a ball and put your hands around the back of your head to protect your neck and face.
5. If a dog bites, do not pull away as that will tear the skin. If you cannot easily escape from its grasp, use your entire body weight on the animal as dogs cannot wrestle and it will break its bones.