1. Never approach a strange dog unless it is restrained by its owner.
This is a particularly important rule for people who have dogs. People, especially children, who have friendly pets often expect a friendly reaction from all dogs.
2. Don’t run past a strange dog, especially one that’s chained up or fenced in.
The dog will already be frustrated at its restraint, and your sudden movements may startle it or arouse its instinct to give chase.
3. Don’t stare directly at a dog.
You won’t stare it down, all you’ll do is antagonize it.
4. Know the signs of a dog ready to attack.
Are it ears up and forward? Is it staring directly at you? Is the hair on its shoulders standing up? Is it growling and baring its teeth? Is it standing stiff-legged on tiptoe? All these are signs that you may be in trouble.
5. If a dog threatens you, don’t scream, wave your arms, or run away.
This signals your panic to the dog. It’s not true that dogs can smell fear. Loud noises or sudden, jerky movements may provoke the dog to attack, and running arouses its chasing instinct. Instead, stay as calm as possible.
If you’re carrying a package or briefcase, hold it in front of your chest and throat for protection. In a firm voice, and with as much authority as you can muster, say: “No”, “Down” or “Go home”. Most pet dogs know at least one of these commands.
6. If the dog persists, retreat while still facing it.
Move slowly. Talk in a low, calming tone. Eventually you will reach the boundaries of the dog’s territory and it will lose interest.
7. If you are with a child, don’t pick the child up.
A dog may think that you are attacking the child and leap at you. Your hands will be full with the frightened kid, and you won’t be able to ward off the dog.
Instead, tell the child to keep still and stand behind you while you try to discourage the dog’s attack.
8. If the dog leaps at you, don’t turn your back, even though this will take courage. You cannot protect your back.
Instead, cover your face and neck with your arms, palm-side in. Stand your ground and kick your knee up into the dog’s chest.
If the dog knocks you down, curl up into the foetal position, still covering your head and neck with your arms. Stay quiet and don’t move.
Either the dog will lose interest, or someone will come to your rescue. Few dogs will continue to attack motionless quarry.