Preventing attacks in the community
- All dogs can be territorial. Most dog attacks in public occur on the footpath or road in front of the dog's property
- confining dogs to their property could prevent 80% of dog attacks in public places.
- you can be fined if your dog isn't securely confined, or if it rushes at or attacks a person or animal
- your yard must have a closed gate, escape proof fencing, and visitors must have safe access to the front door.
Know what to do if approached by an aggressive dog
- Stand still, don't run
- keep your hands by your side
- stay quiet, try not to make any noise
- avoid eye contact with the dog, look at the ground
- once the dog has lost interest, slowly back away.
Know how to approach dogs safely
- Always get permission from the owner to pat his/her dog
- approach the dog from an angle, rather than directly from the front or rear
- slowly extend the back of your hand with your fingers curled under, and allow the dog to sniff
- stroke the dog on the side of the chest, the shoulders or under the chin (not on top of the head)
- don't continue patting the dog if it backs away or doesn't sniff your hand.
Why dogs attack
A dog of any size or breed can become aggressive when defending its territory. Even a friendly dog may guard the area on or around his/her property, especially when you are not present.
Most dog attacks in public places occur on the footpath or road bordering the attacking dog's property. For this reason, it is important to make sure your dog is securely contained.
If your dog rushes at or chases someone, you may be fined, and your dog declared as a menacing dog. If your dog attacks a person or animal, penalties can include court action, fines, damages and the declaration of your dog as dangerous or he/she may even be put down.
It is important to know how to approach dogs safely and what to do if you are approached by an aggressive dog. In particular, children need to be taught how to behave around dogs, and parents need to be aware of the importance of active supervision. Children, particularly those aged 0-4 years old, are most at risk of serious dog bite injuries.
Research shows that 80% of hospitalised dog attack victims are bitten in private homes by their own dog, or that of a friend or neighbour.