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Avoid dog bites

Although dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, man often takes for granted that dog is still a wild animal, with much sharper teeth, stronger jaws and a more unpredictable nature than he is typically given him credit for.  Indeed, even the best-behaved dogs have been known to inexplicably act out, leaving the owner to sadly say, “I don’t know what happened – he’s never done that before.”  Humans should never forget that dogs have the ability to react violently, especially when threatened.  Listed below are guidelines to help avoid dog bites.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
How do you feel when you are rudely woken up in the morning?  Many people think it is okay to wake a dog by touching or shaking.  In actuality, this behaviour is extremely dangerous.  Dogs experience REM and dream cycles in the same way as humans.
– Therefore, if waking a dog in the middle of a dream, he or she could redirect emotions from the dream into real life, resulting in a dog bite.

Never Approach when Eating
By nature, dogs are wired to protect their food source.  Even dogs that are trained to allow humans to approach during meal time may become forgetful of their training, especially when hungry or if eating a special treat.
– Never allow anyone to approach your dog while he or she is eating.

Use Caution around Unfamiliar Dogs
When meeting a new dog, never assume he or she is friendly.  Always allow the dog to sniff you first, and use caution when petting.
 Although humans are conditioned to believe that every dog wants a pat on the head, in reality dogs are uncomfortable with hands or other objects directly above their eyes.  Instead, petting an unfamiliar dog’s chest or back is a safer option.

Understand Canine Body Language
Knowing what dogs are nonverbally saying is a very important skill.  Signs that you should leave a dog alone include a dog’s fur standing on end, raised tail, bared teeth, and stiff stance.  This dog is behaving dominantly aggressive.
 A fearful dog should also be avoided, because this dog may bite when scared.  If you can see the whites of a dog’s eyes, if his tail is tucked, or if he is crouching to get away, leave that dog alone.

Consider the Dog’s Nature
Many dog bites occur because people forget basic dog principles.  For instance, dogs require routine.  A major lapse in routine can result in anxiety and fear, which may cause the dog to lash out.  Dogs are also natural hunters.
 Often, children are victims of dog bites because they run and shriek in a manner similar to a rabbit, squirrel, or other small prey.  Unless properly socialised, a dog may not know the difference.  Talk with your children to help avoid dog bites, although uncommon.

Treat your Dog with Respect
Dogs should never be treated as entertainment.  Never allow a child to sit on a dog for the sake of a cute photo.  Never allow anyone to poke or prod at your dog, especially near the mouth or face.  Most importantly, never allow your dog to be cornered by anyone and always let your dog retreat to a safe place, if necessary.

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