Dogs might signal intent to bite with body language

Dogs might signal intent to bite with body language

New Jersey residents may avoid dog bites by learning to read a dog's body language. In the United States, more than 4.7 million people are bitten each year. Approximately 800,000 of those dog bite injuries need medical treatment.

According to one expert dog trainer, dogs most often bite when they are scared and want some distance. When meeting a dog for the first time, the best thing to do is give the dog space. To seem less threatening, turn to one side, make a fist and hold it downwards to allow the dog to sniff.

Dogs perceive staring as a challenge, so it is better to avoid staring and look off to one side. A dog may be frightened by a direct pat to the top of the head, so it is better to pet a dog on the back of the neck or on the back. If the dog licks its lips or yawns, this may be an indication that the dog feels uncomfortable.

If a dog attacks, try not to run or scream; it may only make the situation more dangerous. The best thing to do if dog knocks you to the ground is to roll into a ball and lie still while covering your head.

While these tips may help avoid bites from strange dogs, the legal responsibility for a dog bite belongs to the dog's owner. In a liability lawsuit, a possible argument might be that the dog's owner failed to properly contain or supervise a dog. If the jury agrees that an owner was negligent in allowing his or her dog to bite the victim, it may award a substantial settlement.