I recently read an interesting article on the Huffington Post written by Sarah Hudson, a professional dog trainer.  In the article, Ms. Hudson utilized her many years of experience working with dogs to provide a Top 10 list of things that all of us can do to avoid dog bites.   (I highly recommend reading the full article, or visiting Ms. Hudson’s Twitter feed by clicking here.)

I thought I would use this blog to share Ms. Hudson’s top five tips:

  1. DON’T STARE.  In Ms. Hudson’s experience, dogs react very negatively when people stare them in the face.  Apparently, insecure dogs feel like this is a sign of a human trying to dominate or intimidate them.  Therefore, it would be wise to avoid a prolonged stare.
  2. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY.  Ms. Hudson believes that — just like people — some dogs are just not “people” dogs.  Even if you approach a dog with the utmost love and care, there is a chance that the dog just might not like you, or people, at all.  It could be the dog – not you.
  3. RECOGNIZE THAT DIFFERENT BREEDS HAVE DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES.  Some dog breeds have been bred over the centuries to accentuate certain traits, including personality.  Some breeds will naturally be more friendly and open than others.  Therefore, it is good to generally know what breed you are dealing with before approaching a dog.
  4. HONOR PERSONAL SPACE.  Like some people, certain dogs have a greater need for personal space than others.  Acknowledge this be approaching a dog carefully, so that the dog knows you are there.  Don’t crowd the dog, if it backs away or seems uncomfortable.
  5. LET THE DOG APPROACH YOU.  A friendly dog will almost always approach the human in a friendly way first.  Typically dogs will know what their comfort level is regarding new people.  A dog that is curious or friendly will typically approach a human with a wagging tail, and will want to sniff and smell the human.  If a dog does not approach you with this posture, you should be on guard.

I recommend reading the entire Huffington Post article to pick up the five other suggestions by Ms. Hudson.  In fact, it would probably be a great idea to review these rules with any children in your household.

Unfortunately, most of the dog bite cases we have handled over the years have involved kids.

If you any questions regarding a Florida dog bite case, or if you have a dog bit claim and are facing any resistance or coverage defenses from a homeowners insurance company, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-644-4444.

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