Dog safety: How to stay safe around dogs
While dogs have always held a reputation as being man’s best friend, recent figures showing that dog attacks are on the increase demonstrate that dogs’ relationship with humans isn’t always so positive.
However, the good news is that by gaining a deeper understanding of dog behaviour and the ways in which they interact with the world around them, can mean we take the necessary steps to ensure that humans and dogs can happily co-exist side by side.
And with more than seven million dogs across the UK, the likelihood is that a local dog is bound to cross your path at some point or another, whether you’re a dog owner or not. To make the transition from feeling scared to feeling safer around dogs in your community, why not try out some of the top tips below?
Read up on doggy body language
While it can be hard to read how a dog is feeling based on a few barks, a closer look at a dog’s body language can give us a real window into their world. We all know that a wagging tail is often a sure sign of a contented mutt, but this may be as far as our knowledge of doggie cues goes. Luckily, there are a number of handy online guides from organisations such as the Dog Trust that can help us separate good doggy body language from bad. And you may be surprised to find that many features of dog’s body language mirror our own. As an example, a dog who is feeling anxious may tense their lips and wrinkle their forehead.
Understand when and why dogs bite
Figures cited by animal charity Blue Cross show that 70% of dog bites actually occur at home. This figure may be due to the fact that dog owners and their families let their guards down once they feel they have established a solid relationship with their pet. Despite this bond, dog behaviour isn’t always predictable. As a result it’s important that everyone is familiar with some of the common reasons why dog’s bite. This can range from anything from a desire to protect their property to being overly excited.
Never make assumptions about an unfamiliar dog
If you’re a fan of strolling through the park, you may find yourself encountering dogs of all breeds as their owners take them out on one of their many walks. Although it may be tempting to bound right up to an unknown dog and give them a friendly pat on the head, it’s important to never make assumptions about how a dog will react before you know a little more about them. Having a quick chat with the owner beforehand may in fact reveal that their cute little Yorkshire Terrier doesn’t take so kindly to strangers, while on the other hand their Alsatian may be more than happy to receive a stroke or two.
Know your doggy do’s and don’ts, and both you and the dogs you come in contact with can stay happy.