Expert gives tips on avoiding dog attacks

Running from a dog is a big risk, expert says

By Sean Lavin - Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - In the wake of high-profile dog attacks popping up in the news -- like  the dog biting a boy and being chased away by a cat -- Local 6 sat down with an expert to find out what you can do to avoid an attack.

[WEB EXTRA: Off-leash dog tips | Dog spray | Bear spray]

"Every situation is different, but moving forward versus backing away is easy to see and a pretty good tell," said Todd Langston, a canine behavioral specialist.

Langston explained how controlling space is key to understanding why a dog decides to attack or back down.

"If I'm a dog, and I'm running up onto a scene and as soon as we lock eyes you get hesitant and start moving away from me, I'm going to immediately think I can take control and be dominant," Langston said.

But, he said, if you puff up and look at the dog in a manner that projects "what are you gonna do about it," and the dog stops and you step forward, it's like any challenge between any two people.

"Whoever projects the most confidence often times wins, even if you're not (the most confident)," Langston said. "It's the projection of confidence that can keep you safe."

Langston also warns how dogs can pick up on your fear -- and says running from a dog that makes you nervous is a big risk.

"An enormous risk," Langston said. "You can make a relatively well behaved dog chase you and ultimately nip you and bite you from running at the wrong time.

"Running is the absolutely last thing you'd want to do unless the situation is dire and you thought you could get to higher ground, the back of a truck, the top of car, into a tree. But you better know you can get there, otherwise it's a big risk to take."

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