I’m just returning from the park, where I saw a lady almost lose a hand. A gentleman was standing on the path tying a shoelace, with a cross-bred dog the size of a Labrador at his side.
The lady said, “Hello”, and stuck her hand out to stroke the dog, whereupon it turned on her. snapping and snarling. Fortunately, no damage was done but she was clearly shocked. A fraction of a second later and she would be on her way to A&E
So, let’s be clear on this: sticking your hand out to an unknown dog is not the way to say hello. The dog knows nothing about you and you know nothing about the dog.
In these circumstances there is only one mantra: “No touch, no talk, and definitely no eye contact.”
If you want to introduce yourself to a dog, stand quietly nearby and allow him to decide whether he wants further engagement or not. Most times his curiosity will get the better of him and he will begin to sniff you and you can offer him your hand. If he is happy with that then all is well.
Direct eye contact represents a challenge to a dog, so should you be in the unfortunate position of an imminent attack, it is absolutely essential not to make eye contact. Stand very still, make no noise whatsoever, definitely do not attempt to touch him. If you are carrying anything (a shoulder bag, umbrella or a jacket) you can lower it slowly as a barrier.
Most times the dog will lose interest and find another more interesting target. If it doesn’t do this, you may let the dog have the bag or jacket. The few seconds it saves may give you enough time to seek better protection.
Dog attacks are at an all-time high and following the “No Talk, No Touch, No Eye Contact” guide could save you.
You can read more dog related tops on my website – vicbarlow.com.