I've got a journo who wants to talk to me urgently: "on the subject of aggressive dogs and what you should do if one threatens you, or a child you're with. I remember talking to someone else about bouncy dogs and his advice was to stand still and act like a tree, but I don't know if this would work with unfriendly dogs." What should I say? "I'm not a behaviourist," comes to mind...! What should you do if threatened?
I remember a great group called Prevent-a-Bite that went into schools and the article was approx - hmmm - 1994 in our magazine. Will hunt out a back copy! Are they still going?
The advice to kids was stand still, don't scream, don't run, get between a bike or something else if they're jumping up. All sensible logical stuff.
Any other tips on what to do when out with a child and you are attacked by vicious dogs? Never happened to me, but guess it's useful to have a plan? Although I don't know how to fly a plane should both pilots die during a flight...
Thank you everyone for your input both here, on facebook and on Twitter (by the way - do 'friend' me on facebook - I'm enjoying it more these days!).
Here's what I said - hope I did okay!
First of all, it’s best not to worry about this happening as being afraid of dogs is a terrible handicap. If children can get to know a friendly, well socialised dog in a controlled setting they’ll feel much more confident when meeting dogs when out walking.
Here are some rules for kids and grown-ups too!
Never approach a dog when he is feeding, sleeping or tied up.
Ask the owner if it’s okay to pat their dog – never assume it is. Don’t pat strange dogs in cars or in small spaces. Small spaces may make them defensive.
If chased by a dog when cycling, get off, stand still and place the bike between you and the dog and look away. Eye contact is not a good idea.
Try to avoid dogs on their own if at all possible. But if you do and you feel scared, don’t scream, don’t run. Remain calm, avoid eye contact. Stand still, let them pass.
Turn to the side, blink slowly and yawn. These are all calming signals but hard to do convincingly if you are frightened.
If attacked, make like a tree. Act lack a stone. If knocked to the floor, curl up, keep still, stay silent. Become boring.
If you’re not used to dogs it’s hard to tell the difference between a barking, boisterous playful dog and a dog that is being threatening. Being afraid makes us behave oddly and can make dogs behave oddly, too.
In reality the danger of being bitten by a dog is remarkably small considering there are 10 million dogs out there. Hospital records show more people are killed by balloons and slippers. More people end up in casualty in horse related incidents than dog . There’s a great book on this subject....