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Dealing With Dogs

You are likely to come into contact with dogs in a number of situations. Likely places of contact are:
  • on the street
  • at some parks and recreation areas
  • in your home or the homes of family and friends.

Knowing how to behave around dogs will help you to deal with them more confidently, and minimise any risk of harm

Understanding Dogs

Like humans, each dog has its own temperament and behaviour patterns. This makes generalisation difficult. However, we can understand dog behaviour in terms of control and submission.

In the wild, dogs are pack animals with an instinct to strive to be ‘top dog’ within their pack. In play, puppies will often snarl or bite to assert their dominance over their siblings, and their owners.

Well-trained dogs have learned that their place in the family is submissive to humans, not dominant. However, even well-trained dogs can revert to aggressive behaviour in some situations:

  • when they feel threatened or scared, for example if they are tied up or hugged so that they can't get away
  • when they feel that their territory, food, toys or puppies are threatened
  • when they get excited by noise or activity around them and join in.

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