An angry dog might not calm down all by itself. In fact, an angry dog could benefit from some gentle assistance from the people around to prevent an attack.

It’s in these moments — when a dog is barking, snarling and showing its teeth — that we all wish we could be the dog whisperer. While we probably will not ever become that skilled at controlling a dog, there are some simple things that every person can do to reduce the chances of an attack when faced with an aggressive canine.

What to do during an angry dog faceoff

His ears are pulled back, his eyes are glaring at you, his tail is not wagging, he’s growling and he’s baring his teeth. The dog is getting aggressive, you’re scared and he looks like he’s going to attack. What should you do?

Here are a few tips that could work to pacify an aggressive canine:

  • Stay still. Under the surface, you might be terrified — and anything but calm — but it’s important you don’t make any quick or stressful motions. Do not run away as the dog could decide to chase you. Rather, you should continue to face the animal and slowly back away. Never turn your back.
  • If the dog won’t back down and it does start to attack, curl into a ball on the ground. Place your arms over your head and clench your fingers into fists.
  • Don’t make eye contact with the animal. This could serve to exacerbate the problem as the dog will interpret it as a threat.
  • Don’t bare your teeth. You might think that you have a disarming smile, but the dog will see it differently — interpreting your smile as if you’re gnashing your teeth aggressively.
  • Speak softly with a soothing town. Loud or threatening voices could make the animal react negatively.
  • In the event the dog bites you, don’t try to run away or jerk away. This could make the attack worse. Stay calm and try to get something between you and the animal, such as a jacket, bicycle or purse that it can bite. Don’t strike the dog as it will further anger it.

If you were hurt by a dog

Hopefully, these tips can help you pacify an angry animal before it attacks. However, if a dog does attack and injures you, the law could be on your side. If the dog has an owner, the owner might be financially liable for the costs and damages caused by the attacking animal.