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Avoid a spring dog bite with these tips

Spring is slowly arriving, and that means that more dog walkers are going to be out and about with their pets on the sidewalks in residential neighborhoods just about everywhere. Unfortunately, not every dog walker is considerate enough of their neighbors to make sure their pooch is on a leash.

Most dog owners who let their dogs off the leash when they walk will insist that their girl or boy is well-trained and harmless, but you simply never know when an animal will interpret your actions as threatening -- especially when you're with your own pup. Here are some tips for protecting yourself when you see a unleashed dog heading your way:

  • Stay calm. Your dog is going to look to you for guidance on how to handle the situation. If you react with fear, your dog may jump to your protection and that could unnecessarily antagonize the other animal.
  • Look at the other dog's physical cues. Is the other dog's posture friendly or threatening? Relaxed ears and a full-body wag of the tail indicate that that other dog is merely excited, not attacking.
  • Steer away. If you see someone with an unleashed dog ahead of you and there's time, steer your dog in another direction. That's the easiest way to avoid an encounter that could turn violent.
  • Stop and block. If you can't evade the other dog entirely, stop your dog and put him or her behind you. Then, order the other dog back in a firm voice by saying "No!" or "Stop!" or something similar.
  • Ask the owner to take control. If the owner or other person walking the dog is paying attention and you feel safe, ask them to re-clip the animal's leash until you and your pet are gone.

Many dog bites occur because an owner is desperately trying to protect their own dog from another they've encountered while they were out. If you get bitten by an unleashed dog while walking your pet, find out if you have the right to ask for compensation from the animal's owner.

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DelVecchio & Miller, LLC

DelVecchio & Miller, LLC
1300 5th Ave., Suite 2
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-228-4541
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