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What should you do when you see a dangerous dog?

If a dog begins coming toward you, without a leash or an owner anywhere in sight, you may feel nervous. The dog may look aggressive, frightened or some combination of the two. What should you do to keep yourself safe?

The first thing you should know is to keep all emotional responses in check. Things like striking the dog, running and yelling typically just make the situation worse. You can actually cause the dog to attack.

Instead, you want to be as calm as possible. Stand up straight, keep your hands and arms close to your body and try to project an unthreatening attitude. If the dog decides you aren’t a threat, it may leave you alone.

If you talk to the dog, do it with a firm voice. Don’t go overboard and speak aggressively to it, as you don’t want this to become a more threatening situation than it already is. But you do want to show the dog that you’re calm and in control of yourself. Face the dog, talk to it calmly without making eye contact and then start trying to back away slowly.

One key thing to remember is that the dog may be aggressive only because of where you are. Maybe it thinks of the yard you’re walking by as its territory. Maybe you’re too close to its puppies or its food. If you slowly leave, the dog likely will not attack you for no reason.

If you do get injured by a serious bite, though, you may need to seek financial compensation for your medical bills.