Recognizing these signs can prevent a dangerous encounter with a dog.
There's a reason dogs are considered man's best friend. They're cute, furry and capable of developing deep bonds with us. It's hard to imagine your pet, or someone else's pet, would want to hurt you.
So why do these friendly animals seem to attack or bite out of the blue?
Turns out, there are actually clear and visible indicators a dog is trying to tell you it's unhappy and you're in dangerous territory, according to the American Kennel Club and renowned dog trainer Cesar Milan.
Watch out for these warning signs:
Ears are pinned back flat.
Fur along the back is standing up.
It's being "stand-offish" and freezing in response to your touch or standing in a very stiff posture.
Tail is low to the ground and slowly wagging.
Teeth are visible — this includes yawning
Other concerning behavior includes a tucked tail, snapping at the air, growling, lip licking and heavy panting.
What can you do to prevent a dog attack and minimize the animal's fear and stress?
Here are some tips.
If it's your dog: Give it daily exercise and play with it often. Bites and attacks could be the result of nervous and bored energy. But don't play games that are too rough, like wrestling and tug-of-war, which can confuse the dog about dominance and acceptable vs. violent behavior. And be sure to let your dog safely socialize with other dogs often.
If it's someone else's dog: Do not run toward the dog, and always ask if it's OK to pet it. Don't extend your hand out at the dog's face. Display the back of your hand so the dog can smell it, and wait for a positive response before reaching to pet it. Treat the dog with respect and don't pull its ears, sit on it, or bother it while it's eating. Also, respect the dog's alone time and give it space if it appears nervous or scared.