- Respect the dog's body. Do not pull her tail, paws, fur, or ears, and do not touch her eyes. Learn to pet your dog gently in her "favorite spots" such as under the chin or on her chest.
- Pay attention to a dog's body language. Dogs try to let us know that they feel threatened with their posture and sounds. Do not confront a dog that is barking, growling, or showing its teeth. Stiff legs, ears back, tail up, and hair standing on end are all signs that a dog is feeling defensive. If you do not heed a dog's warning and you continue to approach, the dog is very likely to bite.
- Never try to take food, bones or toys from a dog's mouth. If the toy belongs to a child and the dog will not relinquish it willingly or on command, the child should call an adult for help.
- Discourage tugging and roughhousing games. In all the excitement, it is easy for a dog to miss the toy and latch onto you. Try fetch, Frisbee, and hide-and-seek for some safe fun.
- Let dogs eat and sleep in peace. Dogs take eating very seriously and can become very defensive around their food bowl. Like people, dogs need their sleep and can be grouchy when awakened.
- Keep your face away from a dog's face, particularly an unfamiliar dog. If you accidentally hurt or frighten the dog, her first instinct will be to snap and the closest piece of you to snap at will be your face.
Continued on page 3: More Tips for Avoiding Danger