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Protect yourself against the threat of dog attacks this summer

There's no better time than the summer to go for a jog through your neighborhood. However, if an unleashed dog takes an interest in your quickly moving legs, it could give chase and attack. Every summer, countless joggers end up in New Jersey emergency rooms because of a dog attack, but there are specific measures you can take to stay safe.

If you plan on walking, jogging or biking this summer, make sure you read the following tips to steer clear of dog attacks:

Don't run away: Whatever you do, don't become agitated, scream or try to run away. This will only make the dog (1) get angry and more aggressive or (2) think you want to play rough and wrestle. Either of these options could lead to a bad outcome.

Stay still and motionless: The best response to an aggressive-looking dog is to put your arms at your side, face the dog's direction, avoid eye contact and stay motionless. If you stay calm and don't exhibit excited behavior, it will help the dog feel safe and calm down as well.

Wait for the dog to lose interest: The desired result is for the dog to lose interest. Remain motionless and wait for the dog to get bored and stop seeing you as a threat. Then, slowly and calmly back away while continuing to face the dog without making eye contact. Keep backing away cautiously like this until the dog can't see you anymore.

Throw the dog something it can bite: The above three steps will not work in all cases. If the dog still wants to attack you, it's vital to throw something, anything to the dog that it can bite. Throw your bag, your jacket, your bike, your purse or your shirt if you have to.

Curl into a tight little ball: As a last resort, curl into a ball and put your hands over the tops of your ears and don't move. This will protect your throat and neck which are most vulnerable during a dog attack, and it will also protect your ears from being damaged. Do not move or scream, just lie there in a tight, dead-weighted ball.

If the above steps work to help you avoid -- or survive with minimal injuries -- a dog attack, then consider your efforts a success. If you still get seriously hurt, then it's time to identify the owner of the dog and hold him or her financially liable for your injuries for neglecting to control the animal.

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