#DogBitePreventionWeek – What To Do When A Dog Bites

With all of the dog bite attacks that circulate in the news, you may sometimes worry; what if that were you?

As a dog care professional,  I’ve been lucky. I’ve only had to deal with a few dogs charging towards me and threatening to bite.

I have only been bitten—minor bites— a few times over the past 8 years. Dr Sophie Yin’s advice is the best,

What’s the secret? The number one secret is to stay calm. The more you scream and try to move the more aroused you’ll make the dog—here are the two scenarios.

Don’t move – and don’t panic!

As Dr Sophia outlines on her website, there are 2 main bite scenarios;

The Shotgun Dog …. Comes out of nowhere, while you’re running/walking past 

Say you’re running along and a dog comes sprinting out from his front yard. If you run faster, you may elicit a chase reflex, the same reflex triggered when a dog sees a cat or a squirrel run by. What you should do instead is face the dog and stand still, like a pole or a tree. Your arms can be folded in front of you so that you don’t accidentally swing them [around. more]

They may actually want to play, but in their hyper-excited state, if you yell or swing your arms around, they will get more excited and just grab whatever is swinging in the same way they would grab a flailing squeaky toy. This is why it’s especially important to be completely still like a tree..

I’ve personally used the ‘BE A TREE‘ method more than once while in Belize (they have a huge number of street dogs).
And it works. Staying calm, not moving, and avoiding eye contact

This is a very valuable piece of information for everyone to know. Especially children, who may otherwise have no idea what to do.

Stop, and be a tree.

If you are extremely fearful that something like this could happen while you’re walking on the street because you live in an area where dogs rush out, avoid the urge to carry a stick or yell. In the countries I’ve visited where free roaming dogs are common, the use of sticks and rocks to keep dogs away actually have caused the dogs to be more aggressive!

A few of my fav dog photos from when I was in Belize last month …

2 thoughts on “#DogBitePreventionWeek – What To Do When A Dog Bites

  1. Good advice. Turning to the dog does work and of course if you ride horses this may be a good idea too. We live in rural areas where farm dogs running loose are a common thing. Once while riding past a farm with a kind of mean dog, it came rushing out at my horse. I shouted at it and it backed off briefly then kept coming as we moved on. I turned my horse toward the dog and moved toward the dog. My mare has chased dogs from our paddocks so I knew she could back it off. It worked he went home.


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