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Know the signs of an aggressive dog and what to do

Dog bites are a common phenomenon in the United States, and they are becoming even more common in the state of Georgia. The reasons behind the phenomenon are hard to pinpoint, but the numbers do not lie, and they point to an upward trend. One of the best ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones is to know how to spot signs that a dog is stressed, frustrated, or likely to become aggressive. There are a variety of ways to tell.

Breed considerations

Large, powerful and dominant dogs that have been bred for various work purposes over the centuries need a strong and forceful hand to keep them controlled and to monitor their frustration. When they are unattended, any negative stimuli can quickly lead to escalation. That is why some dog experts recommend that you take that into account when entering any interaction with an animal.

Physical signs of frustration

Regardless of the breed's temperament or size, there are a few signs that can tell you right away when an animal's mood is escalating. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has put them together in an accessible list:

  • Rigidity or tension in the muscles
  • Raised hackles and "pointing" behavior
  • Alert tail behavior
  • Charging, whether or not the dog bites
  • Nips that do not apply pressure
  • Guttural noises and growls

These are the top signs that a dog is about to escalate, possibly to an attack, and the more of them you see present, the more likely it is that a dog attack is imminent.

Extricating yourself and others

If you do deal with an aggressive dog, remember not to turn your back or to run. Face the animal, and back slowly away until it backs down. Keep it in your sight, and encourage anyone you are with to do the same and to stay behind you while following your lead. After you have left the scene and you and the dog can no longer see each other, it should be okay to pick up your pace.

If a dog bites

If you or a loved one is injured by a dog bite, you might be entitled to compensation for medical costs related to the injury. The best way to know is to talk to an attorney who handles dog bites. Once the attorney reviews your information and talks with you about the incident, it will be easier to provide you with specific guidance about your options for your next steps.

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