Avoid Being Bitten by a Stranger’s Dog

Your dogs may have never met a stranger, but that doesn’t mean that all dogs welcome pats on the head from people they don’t know. As you are out walking through the many green spaces in Austin this summer, it’s important to remember that you will be running into dog owners just like yourself. While some may have canine companions that welcome your touch, others will have pets that would rather not be bothered.

Before you reach out a hand to gently stroke a dog you don’t know, it’s important to follow a few safety tips.

1. Always Ask the Owner

Dogs have teeth, so you already know that any dog can bite. Don’t ask a dog owner if theirs does. Simply ask the owner if it is okay if you pet their dog. Any person with a pooch on the end of a leash will appreciate that you took the time to ask. If they owner gives you the all clear, you’ll need to ask the dog’s permission.

2. Get the Dog’s Okay

While you can’t have a conversation with a dog, you can certainly ask it if it’s okay that you pet it. You do this by offering your hand to the dog and letting it sniff. To stay safe, keep your hand turned down and your fingers curled in. This position allows the dog to sniff your knuckles and the back of your hand without you risking your fingers.

3. The Body Says It All

If the dog moves toward you, pricks its ears or nudges your hand with its head, you have been granted permission to give it a pat. If the dog shows its teeth, pulls its lips back or pins its ears to its head, slowly draw your hand back and walk on. A dog isn’t going to verbally tell you that it wants to be petted, but its body language will say all that you need to hear.

4. Petting the Right Way

Bopping a dog on the top of the head can be seen as a gesture of dominance. Instead of petting a dog on the head, pet its sides or even its chest if it is sitting down. Don’t hover over the dog while you are petting it and back off if you sense the dog has had enough.

When you know the right way to pet a dog, you are less likely to get bit. Keep in mind that even though you all love all dogs, not all dogs love every human they meet. Always approach an unfamiliar dog with your safety in mind.

If you experience a dog bite in Austin or the surrounding area, contact our office. A member of our team will provide you with a free case evaluation and advise you of your options. Call now or browse our website for more information about our firm.

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