Most dogs are friendly but some may be angry, frightened or excited. It is important we understand a dog's needs and feelings.
When a dog is sleeping or eating, sick or frightened it may not want to be disturbed. It may not want to be approached when it is playing with a toy.
When approached by a strange dog, it is important to look at the dog's behaviour.
Friendly dogs appear relaxed and calm.
Frightened dogs appear unfriendly and may bite. They have their tail lowered and sometimes between their legs. They may stand crouched down or cowering and may have their head lowered and turned away and not look at you.
Angry dogs are unfriendly and may bite. An angry dog will stand up straight, have its ears up, straighten its tail and may lift its lip or bark.
Children should never be left alone with any dog, even the family pet dog. Be aware that a dog's tolerance level – even the family pet dog – may change when it gets older, is in pain or stressed, or when it has been overexposed to children and just wants to be left alone.
If a dog jumps on you or knocks you over, don't scream, remain quiet, curl up into a ball, put your head down and tuck your arms and hands under your chest until the dog goes away.
Screaming, moving around or pushing the dog away may make the dog angry or increase its excitement or anxiety.
© Inner West Council