First of all, I was moved to write this when the pet owner submitted a picture of their beloved pit bull that passed away. I love am a dog lover and my heart goes out to anyone who experiences the lost of a loved pet. Pit bulls certainly get bad press.
I am an avid walker and would like to share my tips for every one to use when they see a stray dog on the street. I carry a small container of mace with me, plus my cell phone in case a call needs to be made. For your safety, Never approach or look at an unfamiliar dog in the eyes. Do not scream in its presence or disturb one that is sleeping or eating. Try your best to stay calm. Even if a dog looks harmless, let the dog sniff you first. If you feel threatened, do not run. Remain motionless with arms at your side and avoid eye contact. If you are stuck, roll into a fetal position and play dead. If it is possible, throw out your jacket, shirt, bag or anything that can separate you from its jaws.
Another tip: Never smile at a strange dog. It looks like you're baring your teeth and could be interpreted as a sign of agression.
Great tips for all to heed. I would like to offer another suggestion. If you come upon a strange dog that is barking or growling at you, as previously suggested, do not make eye contact. Rather, look down and to the side of the dog and lick your lips or yawn. These are all calming signals that dogs interpret as non aggressive gestures, and they tend to help communicate that you mean him no harm. And after all, the main reason that he is growling is to warn you that he is uncomfortable with the situation he is in, and many times he is scared and exhibiting those behaviors to make the "Scary" thing leave him alone.
I love dogs, but I've been bitten several times by a neighborhood dog. I've had the owner in court 7 times about his dogs running loose, and I do not understand why his house insurance company still insures him. I carry pepper spray when I walk past their house. I've been told by police officers that it is very effective against dogs, and I hope I never have to use it.
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