Whether you're a dog owner or encounter dogs daily, let's dive into the various factors that may lead to dog attacks and learn tips on avoiding them.

Why do dogs attack?

Dogs become aggressive because of fear, territoriality, lack of socialization, and even due to specific dog breeds. However, most dogs don’t attack without reason—they typically give warning signs before attacking. 

Dog attacks should be perceived as predictable, preventable, and unintentional injuries rather than accidents. Dog bites can be traced back to preventable causes such as lack of supervision or misreading dog behavior and its body language.

Around 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in the United States, with children as the most common victims. Most bites are underreported, but over 800,000 bites need medical treatment.

Whether you’re a dog owner or encounter dogs daily, below we dive into the various factors that may lead to dog attacks and tips on avoiding them. 

What to Do If a Dog Is Aggressive toward You

As much as we love furry friends, you must be cautious when approaching dogs you don’t know.

While there are many reasons for a dog’s aggressive behavior, here are a few tips to help you stay safe.

Avoid eye contact with the dog. Direct eye contact can be seen as a threat and could make the dog feel uncomfortable or even more aggressive. Instead, try to cross your arms and turn your body slightly away from the dog. This can help to make you appear less threatening.

Avoid yelling or making sudden movements, as this can worsen the situation. It’s best to stay calm and speak to the dog softly, soothingly.

If an aggressive dog continues to approach you, stay still. Slowly move away from the first signs of aggression. Running away could make the dog see you as prey and may encourage them to chase you. Instead, find a barrier between you and the dog, like a fence or wall.

If the attacking dog doesn’t back off, calmly ask for help. Find someone nearby who can assist you, or call animal control. Keep their phone number if you often go to dog parks. Remember to keep your tone of voice as steady and calm as possible to avoid further agitating the dog.

What to Do If a Dog Attacks You

If you ever find yourself in a situation where a dog attacks you, it is crucial to remain calm and take quick action to protect yourself.

Try to stand still and avoid sudden movements or loud noises that could agitate the dog further. Gradually move away from the dog in a non-threatening manner and try to put a barrier between you and the dog, such as a bench or a tree.

If the dog does attack, use any available object to protect yourself, such as a jacket or a bag. Directly hitting the dog should be avoided, as this could further escalate the situation.

Use pepper spray if you have it in your bag.

Once you are safe from the dog, seek medical attention immediately, even if the wounds seem minor. Dog bite injuries can be dangerous and may require medical treatment. They can lead to serious infections and diseases such as rabies.

Lastly, you may want to seek a legal professional for free consultation, as you may be entitled to compensation.

Remember, remaining calm and taking quick action could spell the difference between a minor incident and a serious attack.

Tips to Avoid Dog Attacks

Dogs are known to be loving and loyal companions, but they can become aggressive and attack if they feel threatened or provoked. Even the most well-trained dog can become agitated or aggressive under certain circumstances, leading to a potentially dangerous situation.

Remember, the best way to avoid dog attacks is to be cautious and respectful around dogs, and to always err on the side of caution when encountering unfamiliar dogs.

Here are some key tips to keep in mind to avoid dog attacks:

  1. Always ask the owner’s permission before approaching a dog. Even if the dog seems friendly, it’s important to respect their space and let their owner dictate the interaction.
  2. Never pet a dog without allowing them to sniff your hand first. This allows them to become familiar with your scent, which can help reduce their anxiety and aggression.
  3. Avoid direct eye contact with dogs, as they can perceive this as a threat. Instead, try to maintain a relaxed posture and keep your eyes averted.
  4. If you encounter a stray dog, try to remain calm and avoid sudden movements or loud noises. Slowly back away and give the dog plenty of space to retreat if necessary.
  5. Teach children to be respectful and cautious around dogs. They should never approach a strange dog without a parent’s supervision, never approach one eating or sleeping, and avoid pulling on a dog’s head, tail, or ears. They should always ask permission before petting a furry friend.

Who is liable for a dog attack?

Dog attacks can result in severe injuries or even fatalities, and the dog’s owner is generally held liable for any damages caused.

According to the California Civil Code, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for any harm caused by their pet, regardless of whether they were aware of the dog’s aggressive tendencies. This means the owner can be held responsible for injuries even if they took reasonable steps to prevent the attack.

A dog owner is liable for any damages, whether on public or private property, as long as the person bitten was lawfully present at the location of the attack. It doesn’t matter if the dog had never bitten anyone or if the victim has been invited as a guest or not.

Furthermore, dog bite laws in California define an owner as anyone who keeps, harbors, or cares for a dog, including landlords who allow tenants to keep pets on their property. Therefore, an owner of the dog needs to take the necessary steps to prevent attacks and take responsibility for their pet’s behavior.

These steps may include using a leash in public, proper socialization, avoiding situations that may cause fear or aggression, spaying/neutering, and enrolling in obedience training classes. Additionally, owners need to keep accurate records of rabies vaccinations and treatments, in the event of personal injury and legal proceedings.

In conclusion, California law strongly supports victims hurt by dog bites. Pet owners have the duty to be aware of state laws and take the necessary precautions to prevent such attacks from occurring.

If you have been attacked by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation.

Are you a victim of a traumatic dog attack? Frantz Law Group is here to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Our experienced attorneys understand the complexities surrounding vicious dog attack cases and will fight bite victims’ rights. We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis—you don’t pay us anything until we win your case. We have helped numerous clients successfully recover compensation for their dog attack injuries.

If you or your loved ones have suffered a dog bite or been attacked by a dog, don’t suffer in silence. Contact Frantz Law Group today for expert legal advice and support.

Let us help you seek the compensation you deserve.