It doesn’t matter if you’re taking a walk around the block or leaving a local grocery store, there’s always a chance a dangerous dog could approach you. If this happens, knowing how to maintain your safety is of utmost importance.

Here are the steps you should take if a dangerous dog approaches you:

  • Don’t panic: If you scream, make sharp movements or begin to run, you’re giving the dog more reason to take action. Even though it’s difficult, don’t let panic overcome you.
  • Don’t make direct eye contact: It’s best to keep an eye on the dog without making direct eye contact, as locking eyes can provoke it to attack.
  • Use a firm voice: While doing so, tell the dog to go home or get away. Don’t scream or show fear. Instead, lower your voice and firmly tell it what you want it to do.
  • Wait for the dog to leave: Never turn your back on the dog, as doing so puts you at risk of an unexpected attack. Also, you can slowly back away if the dog is standing its ground. The key here is to move slowly, once again avoiding sudden movements.

These are the types of steps you can take to de-escalate a showdown with a dangerous dog.

If this doesn’t work and you find yourself the victim of a dog bite attack, do your best to fight back and summon help. Once the situation calms down, move to safety and call 911. You need to receive immediate medical treatment, as you may have serious injuries.

After your health is stabilized, you can then learn more about the attack and take steps to hold the dog’s owner responsible for your injuries.