The Wall Street Journal had an extremely useful article recently about signals dogs send when they are about to attack. In the United States, dogs attack about 5 million people every year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a majority of dogs that fatally injure people are pit bulls and Rottweilers. According to the article, it is possible to read dog behavior and avoid an attack on a person or another dog.
Many studies show that most people are attacked on private property by a dog they know. This could be at a friend or neighbor’s house or even a relative’s backyard during a family reunion. Since we tend to let our guard down around known dogs, these attacks can be devastating.
Dog Attack Warning Signs
The most obvious signs of an attack include barking and growling. Some dogs salivate when they are under stress and others cower. Also, you know you are in danger if the dog’s ears are flat or suddenly perk up. Experts also warn that a dog wagging its tail may not always mean that it is happy. Dogs may also wag their tails when they are upset or over-excited.
Also, if an unfamiliar dog rolls on its back, it may not want to be petted. It may be a signal for you to get out of the way. So, some of these signals that are actually red flags are often misconstrued as the dog being friendly. A dog that attacks is often being defensive and afraid. Signs of fear may include a dog yawning, turning its head away when someone approaches or tensing up. The dog may be giving off subtle warnings signs when it lifts one paw or lifts its lip to show teeth.
What to Do During an Attack
If a dog is on a victim and you’re trying to get it off him or her, you are making the wound on the victim deeper. Instead of getting into a tug of war with the dog, take a coat or T-shirt and put it over the dog’s head. When dogs cannot see, they panic, open their mouths and let go. It may also be a good idea to carry doggie treats when walking your dog. If a bigger dog acts hostile, throw the treats far away and it is likely that the other dog will go to grab the treats.
Rights of Dog Bite Victims
If someone else’s dog has injured you, you have legal rights to compensation. Injured dog bite victims can seek compensation to cover damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, surgeries and pain and suffering. Under California Government Code, the state has a strict liability statute wherein dog owners can be held financially responsible for injuries caused by their pets. Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced California dog bite lawyer who will remain on their side, fight for their rights and ensure that they are fairly and fully compensated for their losses.