Ten things you can do to avoid a dog bite from Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz.
Hi, my name is Ben Schwartz.
We are going to do a quick video today on ten things you can do, or not do, to avoid a dog bite. And just by way of introduction, I want to say that a lot of the cases, I am an attorney, a lot of the cases that I handle, and a lot of the cases that the other attorneys in my office handle, involve dog bites or dog attacks, dog mullings. And a lot of these cases are cases that you know, where the dog has attacked a child and quite frankly they are heartbreaking cases. So I just wanted to take a few minutes to do a video today on some ways to avoid getting into a dog bite or a dog attack incident. Let me go through them, just run right through them for you.
Number one: If the dog is barking avoid the dog. If the dog is barking it may be a sign of aggression. It may be that the dog is barking to get your attention. You do not know, so a dog that is barking is a dog that I would stay away from.
Number two: Always ask permission from the dog owner or the dog handler before you approach the dog in any way. That way if the dog owner knows that the dog has bitten people in the past or might have an aggressive tendency they will tell you. Hopefully, they will tell you or they will give you some sign that maybe you should not come close to the dog.
Number three: Eye contact with a dog is not a good thing. You know a lot of us go through life our mothers, our teachers, our professors, our scout leaders, and the people in our lives train us to sit up straight or stand up straight and make eye contact when you are talking to somebody. You know I can remember my parents saying, when I am talking to you I want you to look at me. And it means you are paying attention. To another human being eye contact is a good thing, it means you are paying attention. To a dog eye contact is not a good thing, it is a sign of aggression. If you are staring at a dog, you are looking directly into its eyes that means, hey I am going to be dominant, not you, and it is a challenge. So if you come across a new dog, one that you are not familiar with, one that you do not have an established relationship with, looking the dog in the eyes is a very bad idea.
Number four: Smiling, again as human beings our parents and coaches and teachers, and our friends train us to smile. There is nothing more beautiful than a beautiful smile, a toothy grin even. However, what you have to realize is that is not how it works for dogs. For a dog, if you are smiling and they can see your teeth, that is a sign of aggression. Dogs do not smile at one another. Dogs show each other their teeth when they are trying to pick a fight. When they are trying to defend themselves or their territories. So, by smiling at a dog or smiling at the dog’s owner, who might be holding the dog on a leash, you are creating a situation where that dog may have an aggressive response to you smiling. Never smile at a dog.
Number five: Approach slow and easy and let the dog come to you. I see kids who, you know, every morning I walk my kids to school, and I take my dog, which is a hound dog very nice, very loving dog. We call her the love hound and kids run up to my dog and they want to pet her. And I think that it would be a good thing to do, if you have children, to show them this video and have a discussion with them about running up on a dog. When it is my love hound it is not a big deal. She is not going to snap. She is not going to do anything crazy but if I were walking a more aggressive dog or if I were walking a dog that you know had a history of snapping at people or biting people. First off, I would not take it to my kids’ school. But second off, I would not want anyone running up on the dog because the dog is going to react.
Number six: Use a sniff fist, by that I mean, you need to let the dog, if you are going to have an introduction with a dog, that introduction is going to involve letting them sniff you so they can get your scent. You do not want to put your hand out with your fingers extended in a dog’s face because if they bite you, they might take your fingers off. So what you do is, make a fist and put the fist down for the dog to sniff you. Just let your arm hang down with your hand in the fist. If you did that to a person, if you made a fist and stuck it in their face that would be, you know that would mean like, let’s get in a fistfight right now I am going to kick your butt. But when you do that to a dog it has the opposite meaning. It means hey I am friendly. Take a sniff and see what you think.
Number seven: Never go on someone’s property to pet their dog. Dogs are territorial animals and if you go on the property you are going into that dog’s territory. You do not want to meet a strange dog in its territory.
Number eight: Avoid professional dogs. Now people are going to email me and say that is ridiculous there is no such thing as a professional dog. Yes, there is a such thing as a professional dog. You know dogs can be house pets and companions, but dogs can also be working dogs. I would never encourage you to approach a police dog to you know in order to pet it. That is not the animal that you want to approach. You go to the airport and there is a German Sheppard, leave it alone. It is there for a purpose. It is a professional dog, let it do its job. You stay away from it.
Number nine: Never ever touch a dog or approach a dog that is eating. Dogs will react to you if you approach them, and they are eating or drinking or knolling on a bone because they are afraid you are going to try to take it away from them and again, they are territorial. They are territorial about real estate. They are territorial about food, and they are territorial about their toys. So, if the dogs are eating or chewing on something leave it alone. Because if you approach it is going to potentially think you are trying to take something away from it and it will react negatively.
Number ten: Last item, pay attention to the dog’s body language. A rigid body, a dog that is staring or showing teeth. A dog whose ears are back or yawning. Yawning is a sign of anxiety or nervousness. A dog whose tail is level or down between its legs. That is a dog you want to stay away from. So, pay attention to body language. You should be able to look at a dog and gauge their body language and see how you are feeling in response to how they are exhibiting their feelings and let that be your guide.
So hopefully, maybe one or more of these top ten tips will help you or your child or family member, of what a dog bites and you would not have to call us. Thanks for watching. I am Ben Schwartz, I am an attorney with the law firm Schwartz and Schwartz. If you liked this video, please comment, or share it and if you have questions for me, please send me an email.
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