Dodging dog bites

 
By Connie Orcutt • Published: June 1st, 2015
Category: Animal Airwaves
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More than 4 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs annually, many instances of which are preventable by heeding some tips.

First, let sleeping dogs lie — as well as those that are eating, chewing toys or nursing pups. Any pooch may bite to defend her territory. And always ask the handler before approaching an unfamiliar dog. If you get the OK, first let the dog smell the back of your hand; then pet him below the head while avoiding eye contact, which is threatening to some dogs. Even cowering, submissive dogs can bite if feeling threatened.

Recognizing aggressive body language at a safe distance helps too. If a dog’s fur, ears and tail are standing up or he approaches with a stiff gait, stand your ground and look down. Running can prompt an aggressive dog to give chase.

Picking up on canine cues will help deter bites and keep tails wagging.