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How to prevent dog bites

Dogs are not just pets, they're also animals. That means that they can switch into their wild instincts at unexpected moments and attack, causing serious and catastrophic injuries.

However, just because dogs are unpredictable does not mean that the majority of dog attacks can't be avoided. In fact, there are numerous things Great Falls residents can do -- and habits they can teach their children -- in order to prevent a catastrophic dog attack from occurring.

Tips for preventing dog attacks

In some ways, avoiding a dog attack is similar to avoiding an altercation with a human being. Treating dogs with respect, being polite and giving them plenty of personal space goes a very long way.

Here are some other important dog attack prevention strategies:

  • Let sleeping dogs lie: As the old saying goes, you should never disturb a dog that is sleeping or intensely focused on a task like eating or chewing a toy. This can startle the animal, cause it to feel threatened and it could react by instincts alone and attack you.
  • Don't approach a tied up or confined dog: If the dog is confined or tied up, it might feel threatened if you approach it. This applies also to a dog who has its head hanging out of a car window. Just let the animal be.
  • Don't approach dogs you don't know: If you aren't familiar with the animal, or if the owner has never introduced you to the animal, leave it be. Approaching an unknown dog is a recipe for disaster.
  • Let the dog sniff your hand first: If you know the dog, and even if it's your animal, let him or her smell and see your hand before you touch the dog.
  • Watch the dog's body language closely: Animals who are disturbed or likely to attack will hold themselves in a certain way.
  • Pay attention to the dog's body language: There are certain telltale signs that show you a dog could attack. These signs include a stiff tail, tensed body, pulled back ears and head, rolling eyes so you can see their whites, a tense brow, a flicking tongue, yawning, staring intensely and backing away from you.
  • Back away from the dog while facing it: Don't turn your back to the dog when you're putting more space between you and the animal. The dog could decide to chase you. Rather, slowly back away while facing the animal.

Were you or a loved one attacked by a dog?

Dog attacks are common, and children are often the victims. If you or a loved one were injured in a dog attack, you may want to learn more about your legal rights and options. The owner of the dog could be financially liable to pay for medical care associated with the injuries in addition to other costs and damages.

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Hartelius, Durocher & Winter, PC Channing Hartelius, Roland Durocher, Jeff Winter

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Great Falls, MT 59401
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