Tips for Protecting Your Family from Dog Attacks During National Dog Bite Awareness Week

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Tips for Protecting Your Family from Dog Attacks During National Dog Bite Awareness Week

Tips for Protecting Your Family from Dog Attacks During National Dog Bite Awareness Week

Jun 18, 2021

National Dog Bite Awareness Week 2021 concludes today. Accordingly, we thought we’d provide you with some specific tips that can help prevent dog bites from occurring. With over 4.5 million dog bites recorded every year in the U.S and more than 880,000 people requiring medical attention from their injuries, education could help you avoid being one of the many victims.

Let’s look at some specific tips for preventing dog bites and increasing safety when engaging with these lovable pets. We’ll also review how to defend yourself in the event of a dog attack and how to file a civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation after experiencing a dog bite injury.

Dog Bites Can Lead to Serious Injuries and Even Fatalities

A YouGov poll (hopefully meant to be lighthearted) examined the notion of which animals we, as humans, could take on and win in a fight. A whopping 6% of respondents indicated that they could win a fight with a grizzly bear, while 38% of men were under the impression that they could best an eagle.

When it came to man’s best friend, only 15% of women and 31% of men believed they could fight a large dog and win.

As we’ve noted in past blogs, dog bites can result in lacerations, abrasions, and punctures to the skin, as well as infections and disease like rabies or tetanus. Dog bites can cause scarring that requires skin grafts, and nerve damage can be a long-lasting symptom of many dog attack injuries.

But if you find yourself in the midst of a dog attack, what can you do to ensure the bite (or multiple bites and scratches) is as minimized?

What Should You Do if a Strange Dog Approaches?

The Detroit Free Press interviewed the former head of the city’s animal control department, Melissa Miller, to discuss how dogs react when pursuing prey. According to Miller, dogs will follow a specific pattern: focus, stalk, chase, and acquire.

“If you start to run, you’re likely to become the thing that’s chased. Those are innate behaviors,” Miller told the Free Press.

If a dog is tracking you, Miller advises humans to get out of the animal’s way – but do so slowly. She recommends moving on a diagonal, at walking speed, to create the most distance as quickly as possible.

“Moving in a diagonal turns your body sideways. It says, ‘I’m not a threat to you.’ It’s really to get out of the dog’s direct line of sight,” Miller said.

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

Some other suggestions for avoiding dogs displaying prey pursuing tendencies include:

  • Step inside a gate at a home that does not have a dog
  • Look out for pickup trucks with an open bed that you can climb into (or place your child on top of)
  • If a stray animal is approaching you while walking your pet, look for a contained space to put your animal in – Miller even recounted once using a garbage can to hide a small dog she was walking from a menacing stray that was pursuing

If moving away from an approaching dog or breaking its line of site is not possible, Miller offers one critical tip:

“Stand like a tree, don’t flee.”

Keep your arms straight at your side or crossed over your chest and remain as still as possible. Doing so may keep the pursuing dog from attacking, thereby preventing any number of injuries. Even if the dog comes right up to you, do your best to remain calm and still for as long as possible.

“Sometimes that dog will run right up to you and sniff you, and then move along – and it’s terrifying when that happens,” Miller told the Detroit Free Press.

What Dog Behaviors Should Humans be Aware Of?

In her interview, Miller noted two specific dog behaviors that should always cause humans to become vigilant.

Those behaviors include:

  • A dog that averts its face, licks its lips, has its ears back, or yawns while walking may be exhibiting stress
  • A dog displaying “whale eyes” (when the whites of the dog’s eyes are visible) can be dangerous

Additionally, Miller cautioned that a dog looking to engage or attack may harden its muscles, lower its head, and stare directly at its target.

Any of the above referenced behaviors should put a human on alert, and Miller recommends exercising extreme caution around such dogs.

Who is Most at Risk for a Dog Bite When Out Walking?

Anyone out walking actually presents a potential confrontation for a dog, which is something that many humans may not realize. Accordingly, giving an animal space can be recommended.

Simply stepping off the sidewalk and to the side when a dog on a leash is approaching can reduce the potential that the animal will view you as confrontational.

Additionally, Miller describes the demographics of people most at risk for serious dog bites as:

  • Children
  • Joggers
  • Rollerskaters
  • Skateboarders
  • Anyone with mobility issues or who moves differently

What Should I Do if a Dog Bites Me?

While it may seem like the most logical thing to do in the midst of a dog attack would be to retreat, Miller told the Free Press the opposite is actually true. She recommends humans “lean in” in the event of a dog bite.

“Your instinct is to pull away, but really, you should lean in. Dogs have an oppositional instinct, which is that if (prey) pulls away, bite harder,” Miller said.

However, Miller also acknowledged in the Free Press interview that leaning in could be challenging for some people, especially children. In such scenarios, her recommendation is to utilize noise as a distraction.

The Free Press report notes that a loud, low noise can startle a dog and cause it to retreat. “If there is an object that you have – a backpack, a purse, if you’re an older person with a cane – swing it back and forth low like you’re sweeping” Miller says. Doing so can create space between a biting dog and you or your child.

And when it comes to exercising force against an attacking dog, Miller says we could actually be exposing ourselves unknowingly. While it’s human instinct to want to punch or fight back against someone or something that’s attacking us, doing so can leave our bodies exposed to danger. “When you lift up, you leave your whole body exposed,” says Miller.

Additionally, hitting an attacking dog will likely not have any positive effect. As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, humans can curl into a ball and interlace their fingers in an attempt to protect themselves.

And putting something between yourself and an attacking dog – whether a purse or jacket – is always advisable (especially if you’re attempting to protect yourself and a child).

With the COVID-19 pandemic thankfully subsiding, many dogs that have been contained inside for several months are now being re-exposed to the outside world. That change can cause dogs to behave unexpectedly – with even the most docile or well-trained animals attacking unexpectedly.

Dog bites are incredibly common, and even the President of the United States recently had to deal with his German Shepherd biting unsuspecting passersby on two different occasions.

Hence, educating yourself on which behaviors can indicate aggression on the part of a dog and practicing safe distances from animals at all times can help ensure you remain safe and avoid dog bites.

How Can I Recover Compensation After Suffering a Dog Bite?

At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), we’ve handled countless dog bite cases of varying severity for decades. Whether you’re seriously injured or only suffer a minor dog bite, you are likely still entitled to financial compensation for various economic and non-economic damages.

After a dog bite injury, examples of some common economic damages you may be able to recover include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation or therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity

Additionally, examples of some non-economic damages you may be entitled to recover after a dog bite injury include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Reduced quality of life

By contacting the experienced and dedicated attorneys at DLG, we can help you file a claim and recover maximum financial compensation for all applicable damages following your dog bite injury.

Why Choose DLG for Your Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit?

DLG was founded by former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian. Dordulian has amassed over 100 jury trial victories throughout his esteemed career, helping dog bite victims secure justice via maximum damages awards.

With DLG, clients can be confident that we will use our experience and proven success to help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve. We never settle for less than a maximum financial damages award, and if an at-fault party attempts a lowball settlement offer, we reject it immediately and take the case to trial.

Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a financial award for your personal injury case. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.

With Dordulian’s years of courtroom experience, DLG’s dog bite clients never have to settle for paltry settlement offers from insurance companies or defendants looking to save money and evade justice. We’ll fight for your right to maximum financial compensation so you can make a complete recovery – physically, emotionally, and financially.

With a 98% success rate and history of recovering over $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for injured clients like you, DLG is the absolute best choice you can make when searching for a California dog bite attorney. And our No Win/No Fee Guarantee means you never have to worry about upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses.

At DLG, we believe everyone deserves access to the very best legal representation available, regardless of financial means. When you bring your case to DLG, you never pay a penny until we recover maximum financial compensation for your dog bite injury.

Contact us today online or by phone at 818-322-4056 to learn more about why DLG is the best dog bite law firm in California. We’ll fight as your dedicated legal advocate to recover the maximum compensation you deserve. For a dog bite injury, the best call you can make is to an experienced and dedicated lawyer at DLG.

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