The trick of handling an aggressive dog


Dogs show signs of aggression if they think they are under threat.

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Most dogs are friendly towards people they do not know and will rarely show any signs of aggression. However, some dogs can get aggressive if someone approaches them. Dogs show signs of aggression if they think they are under threat. It could be a threat of having something taken away from them or they may feel their territory is under threat. Knowing the signs of an angry dog and how to react to those signs can help you reduce the chance of the dog being aggressive towards you.

Body language

You can tell if a dog is likely to be aggressive by their body language. One of the clues and sometimes the only clue the dog shows is a slight stiffening of posture. Others will lick their lips, yawn, turn their head and walk away. Others will show obvious signs like growling, snarling and even barking at you.

When an unfamiliar aggressive dog does this, the first step is to stop moving towards the dog. If you are visiting someone’s house, jogging, or cycling and a dog approaches you showing the mentioned signs, then you have probably inadvertently entered what the dog considers their territory. If it runs towards you and it's not barking or growling, then it may be just checking you out, a quick sniff to determine if you are a threat. During the sniff, don’t make sudden movements, keep standing still and it will lose interest.

If it starts barking then you are considered a threat and it is less likely to leave. Try to keep your body relaxed and give the impression you are leaving calmly. Do not scream, yell or try to shoo away, hit or kick the dog as this will increase the threat and the possibility of a full attack. If you are cycling, dismount and place the bike between you and the dog as you slowly wheel far enough to remount.

If you are walking, get something solid like a coat or a parcel between you and the dog. Walk away slowly and gently and at no point should you let the dog get around behind you.

If the dog attacks, do not try to fight back. Fend it off with anything you are holding, a sweater or a bag. Few dogs will rarely press a serious attack if they sense you are calmly walking away.

Maryanne is a pet owner. [email protected]