Dogs in California are a common sight, and many of them are friendly and sociable. However, these animals can be unpredictable, and when they do become aggressive, it can be a dangerous situation.
Even when a dog owner tells you that his or her animal is safe to approach, you should still be mindful of how the animal is acting. Dogs will typically show through their body language that they don’t want you to approach. Educating yourself on the signs of an aggressive dog can help to avoid an unwanted incident.
Aggressive dog body language
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals describes some of the things that a dog will do when it is warning you to back off. When a dog feels threatened, it may show its teeth and growl. If it is becoming still more aggressive, it may snarl and snap at you.
Not all warning signs are necessarily so overt. A dog that is feeling threatened may also become very still. It may put its tail between its legs and stiffen, raising the hair on the back of its neck.
If a dog is staring into your eyes and maintaining eye contact, it could either be saying that you are in its territory or attempting to assert dominance. If a dog follows you with its gaze as you move side to side, chances are that it views you as a threat.
If you see a dog exhibiting a combination of the above signs, it is a good idea to stay away. A bite can happen in a flash, so it is best to keep your distance.