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Dog Bite Prevention
A bit of prevention will help reduce the risk of injury, expense, and heartache due to dog bites.
How should I meet an owned dog?
Practice your ABSCs.
- Ask the owner if you can pet the dog.
- Bend down so you don’t tower over the dog.
- Let the dog sniff your closed fist.
- Pet the dog under the chin or on the chest.
- Approach slowly and quietly.
- Do not pet the dog if his owner has to physically restrain him, or if the dog does not approach you (even if the owner says it’s okay).
- Do not hug the dog, or put your face in the dog’s face.
What clues will a dog give me about whether or not I can pet him?
- GREEN LIGHT
- Ears are pricked, but relaxed;
- Body and tail are relaxed;
- Mouth is relaxed into a smile;
- Body is in “play bow” position;
- Tail and eyes are relaxed (or tail is possibly wiggly).
- RED LIGHT
- Back is hunched, he’s cowering, or he is close to the ground;
- Ears are pricked and forward;
- Body is tense and forward;
- Eyes are glared;
- Teeth are bared;
- Expression is worried;
- Or, if he’s sleeping or eating, playing with a toy or chew, or caring for her puppies.
What should I do if I see a stray dog?
- DO NOT RUN. The dog may chase you.
- DO NOT PET. Some dogs may be dangerous, infected by parasites, or carry disease.
- Become a “tree.” Stand very still and put your fists under your chin.
- Keep the dog in sight, but do not look him in the eye. The dog may view direct eye contact as a challenge.
- Back into a wall or fence. When dogs stalk, they circle their prey. Walk slowly with your back against the wall or fence in order to get to safety.
- Call Animal Care Services. If the pet is lost, this his best chance to be reunited with his family.
What should I do if a dog approaches me aggressively? GO BIG!
- Make yourself seem bigger by using your arms and voice.
- Wave your arms and yell “NO!” or “GET AWAY!”
- Use a jacket, purse, or backpack as a shield.
- Move in a serpentine motion to confuse the dog.
What if a dog jumps on me and knocks me to the ground? BECOME A ROCK!
- Curl up on the ground to protect your stomach and face (knees down on the ground).
- Stay very still.
- Put your fists over the back of your neck to protect your throat and neck.
What do I do if a dog bites?
- Wash the wound carefully and immediately see a doctor.
- Report the bite to your local animal care services, and the health department.
Behavior and Training Department
If you would like more information on training or have a behavior question you can email the Behavior and Training Department at training@spcaLA.com or call the Behavior Helpline at (888) 772-2521, ext 260.