September 15 , 2002
AGA Issues its Dog Bite Prevention Booklet.
Now out on the street, the new American Gas Association booklet on Dog Bite Prevention tells us how to achieve harmony between man and beast. Well, sort of. AGA does "disclaim any and all responsibilities for the accuracy of the information" in the booklet. Notwithstanding, an AGA representative told us that the cover of the booklet was to be a ferocious looking dog. But in its wisdom, the AGA decided on a more passive pooch (see picture), to convey that "it's the quiet ones you have to worry about." Certainly, the booklet produced howls from the Fortnightly editors. Below, some of our favorites.
Things You Should Know About Dogs
Any dog is a potential biter.
When You Meet a Strange Dog
It is said that dogs and people react in strikingly similar ways when they meet strangers. A dog's heart starts to beat faster. The dog gets excited or nervous. Something also happens to you when you encounter a strange dog. Your heartbeat also quickens. You're wary, or suspicious, or scared.
1. When you meet a strange dog on the street, do nothing to excite either of you.
2. Be observant.
A dog whose hair is raised along its neck and back and near the base of its tail is an aroused dog. Another sign is the tail. If it is held very high and wagged stiffly, this too is a sign of aggression. In either case, the canine's teeth may or may not be bared.
The timid dog approaches with its tail down or even between its legs, and it may approach in a semi-crouch. Do not make any sudden moves because this may trigger fear biting.
Entering the Premises
Meter in the House
Inside is a good place to watch for the sneak or indiscriminate biter. Do not allow the owner to walk away from you with the dog behind you.
Remember that the owner expects a "love me, love my dog" relationship, so speak courteously to the owner when requesting that the dog be secured as a safety precaution.
Meter in the Yard
If you must enter a yard in the resident's absence, look for signs of a dog: doghouse, rope or chain attached to something, food and water containers, dog droppings.
Defense Against a Dog Bite
1. If you can get something between you and the dog, do so. This not only creates a barricade, but also breaks the dog's visual contact. Anything thatremoves you from sight, even momentarily, can break the "psychological fix" the dog has on you.
2. If the dog will go for it, feed it your route book, flashlight or hard hat. This may buy you additional time for escape because the dog is concentrating on something other than you.
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