The weather is finally starting to warm up, and you're tired of being cooped up inside your home. A daily walk seems like just the ticket you need to keep yourself occupied and healthy.

The only problem is that everyone else has the same idea, and a lot of those walkers bring along their dogs. While most pet owners are responsible, there are always some who think that their dogs shouldn't be restricted by a leash. They don't realize that they're putting other people in danger. However, a loose dog can be prompted to attack anyone they perceive as a threat.

Here's how to safely navigate the situation when you encounter a dog that's not on its leash:

  1. Recognize the signs of aggression or distress. If a dog's ears are up and forward or their fur is raised, they're telling you to back off. Listen. Don't try to make friends.
  2. If the dog is crouching down or shaking, they're afraid -- and an animal that's afraid may attack. Let the dog retreat and don't try to pet it.
  3. Don't show your own fear. No matter what the animal is doing, signs of fear from you can trigger its aggression. Stay calm. Under no circumstances should you try to run.
  4. If you're far enough away when you spot the animal, change directions. It's better to go out of your way than to get bitten.
  5. If you have your dog with you, restrict your dog's leash and put your dog behind you or on the far side of your body so that you can better keep the animals apart.

Most people think they know their dogs well and that their dogs would "never bite" someone for no reason -- but it happens. If it happens to you, get experienced legal assistance so that you can pursue fair compensation for your losses.

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