Dog bites are sometimes unexpected and unavoidable, but you will find that you can often spot a dangerous dog before you get injured. Now, you may only have a few seconds to decide what to do. Perhaps you were out for a run, and the dog charged from a nearby yard as you went by on the sidewalk. But you do have a second to react, so what should you do?

First off, you want to stay calm. Do not scream or yell. The dog may think you’re being aggressive toward it, and that just makes things worse. Keep your cool and talk to the dog in a calm, controlled voice.

Additionally, do not run away. If you were running already, slow to a halt. Dogs are fast enough to catch you no matter what you do, so running doesn’t actually help your case, and it may just cause the dog to want to chase you. It also means you turn your back on the dog, which makes it harder to protect yourself.

If standing still and talking to the dog gets it to stop charging, it may still crouch and bark at you. This is when you can start slowly backing away. Don’t turn your back, and don’t make eye contact, but stay facing the dog. In many cases, it’s just a territorial issue, and backing away calms the dog down. The goal wasn’t to bite you, but to get you to leave, and that worked.

These tips help, but dog bites happen even to those who do everything right. If you get injured, you may be able to seek financial compensation.