When you are running, jogging, or taking a walk through your neighborhood, a dog attack is the last thing that you expect to happen. Unfortunately, many dogs attack pedestrians who pass by their homes, leading to severe injuries like bites, broken bones, and severe cuts and bruises.
You deserve to feel safe when engaging in your favorite activity. To protect yourself as a runner or other pedestrian, follow these tips to prevent a dog attack.
#1: Slow Down and Stop Running
In many cases, dogs do not run after pedestrians because they are determined to attack them. Instead, they simply like to chase someone who is running or jogging. Many dog breeds can run faster than humans, so the best way to de-escalate a potential attack is to slow down and stop.
After you stop, turn around and face the dog. Stay calm and stand as still as possible with your arms folded across your chest. These actions prevent you from triggering the dog’s prey drive and may help calm the animal down.
#2: Do Not Make Eye Contact
Dogs consider direct eye contact to be a challenge. If you look in a dog’s eyes, it may feel threatened and launch into an attack. To avoid escalating the situation, do not make eye contact with the animal. Instead, avert your eyes and look at the dog from your peripheral vision.
#3: Assess the Dog’s Body Language
Reading a dog’s body language can help you assess the level of threat and let you know if the dog plans to attack. If you feel that the dog is dangerous, looking at the animal can help you protect yourself and get away from the animal.
If a dog has a relaxed posture or facial expression and appears friendly, it may not intend to attack. However, if the animal exhibits any of the following, it may be about to bite:
- Loud growling
- Erect ears
- Tense muscles
- Furrowed brows
- An intense, wide stare
- Tongue flicking
- Raised hackles
- Intense drooling
- Backing away from you while growling
- Stiff tail or a tail that is held high and wagging faster than normal
#4: Do Not Engage the Dog If It Attacks You
If a dog does begin to bite and attack you, you should avoid escalating the situation by attacking it. Instead, try to carry tools to help divert the dog’s attention and get it away from you. Toys and treats may help distract the animal long enough for you to get to a place of safety.
Giving the dog something else to chew on may help. A stick, a chew toy, or even a piece of your clothing can help separate the dog from your body. If you are unable to get away from the animal, curl into a tight ball to protect your face, throat, and belly—these sensitive areas are particularly vulnerable during an attack.
Bitten by a Dog? Contact a Washington Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
Although these tips can help de-escalate certain situations, dog attacks may still occur. If you were bitten while running, jogging, or walking in Washington, you may be eligible for a legal claim against the animal’s owner.
In these situations, it is important to discuss your legal options with an attorney. A Washington dog bite injury lawyer can represent your lawsuit against the dog’s owner and recover the compensation that you deserve. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after the attack to discuss your next steps.