Don't assume that man's best friend is always man's best friend. While most dogs are friendly, there are plenty that are aggressive and looking for trouble.

If you come face to face with an aggressive dog that wants to attack, there are steps you can take to defuse its behavior and hopefully move to safety.

  • Stay calm: Screaming uncontrollably, throwing around your arms and making sharp movements will stimulate the dog. When you remain calm, the dog will slow down and possibly leave the scene.
  • Don't make direct eye contact: It's natural to want to make direct eye contact to show your dominance, but this actually makes the dog more aggressive. Instead, turn sideways while keeping a view of the dog out of the side of your eye.
  • Slowly back up and seek shelter: As you slowly back away from the dog, seek shelter or anything you can put between the two of you. For example, getting on the other side of a door or fence will make you feel much safer.

Even if you do these things, you could still be the victim of an attack. If this happens, protect your throat, chest and face while fighting off the dog.

Regardless of the extent of your injuries, you should receive immediate medical treatment. You may require stitches, surgery and/or a rabies shot among other procedures to stabilize your health.

The next step is to collect documentation related to the accident, such as the name of the owner, photos of your injury and a police report. Doing this will help you take steps to protect your legal rights and hold the dog's owner responsible.

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