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How to Recognize & React to an Aggressive Dog


When a cute dog bounces your way, it can be extremely difficult to keep yourself from reaching out for a good pet. Even if an owner says that a dog is safe to touch, it’s always important to cautious. Any dog—even family pets—can bite if they feel threatened or provoked.

It’s estimated that nearly 4.5 million Americans are attacked and bitten by dogs each year. Children represent 50% of this total and, due to their small size, tend to sustain significant injuries during an attack. It’s important to recognize aggressive dog behaviors and learn what steps you can take to escape a dangerous situation without incurring injuries.

If you encounter a dog, look out for these aggressive attack behaviors:

  • Bared teeth
  • Snarling
  • Growling
  • Tense posture

Be very careful when dealing with an aggressive dog. Running just triggers a dog’s prey drive, so you need to stay calm and ignore your flight response (unless you have no other option). The more boring you are the less interested the dog will be.

To avoid a dog bite, you need to retreat carefully by following these steps:  

  • Avoid eye contact
  • Do not communicate with the dog or intentionally draw its attention
  • Decrease your threat impact by crossing your arms
  • Turn slowly away
  • Ignore the dog
  • Slowly move away
  • Try to find a nearby barrier than can protect you if the dog chases you
  • Move to higher ground

If you can’t escape, protect yourself by:

  • Staying completely still
  • Calmly call for help
  • Try not to antagonize the dog by screaming
  • Create a barrier (purse, stick, etc.) for the dog to bite
  • Do not hit the dog
  • Don’t use pepper spray as it will only make the dog more aggressive
  • If you can, escape by covering the dogs head with an item that blocks its vision
  • If the dog strikes and you’re on the ground, curl into a ball and protect your head and throat with your hands

Unlike other many other states, South Carolina does not judge personal injury claims based on the “one-bite rule.” Even if a dog isn’t normally aggressive, an injured plaintiff can still file a claim and pursue damages against its negligent owner. The victim may be awarded economic and non-economic damages so long as they didn’t antagonize the dog and weren’t trespassing on restricted property.  

Explore Your Legal Options by Scheduling a Consultation

A serious dog bite can lead to scarring, disfigurement, and even death. If you’ve been injured by an aggressive dog, contact the Charleston dog bite lawyers at Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC. We can develop a litigation strategy that recovers compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and rehabilitative services.  

Call Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC at (843) 968-0886 to schedule a free consultation.

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