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Can you prevent dog bites in California?

No one wants to be bitten by a dog, and there are some things that you can do in California to keep this from happening. For example, you may want to read up on different breeds and their temperaments when you are trying to decide what dog to get as a family pet. You can then pick one that will be good for your family and that pose a lesser risk than some other breeds might.

Of course, many bites come from dogs that are not owned by those who are bitten. If you do not know a dog -- it could be a stray or a dog on someone's property -- do not go near it. You may be tempted to pet it, especially if you have a pet dog of your own, but this is opening yourself up for a potential attack.

Dogs can also be protective when it comes to things like puppies or food. Not all dogs are this way, but you do not want to get in between some dogs and their offspring or their food dishes. They may think you are trying to harm the puppies or trying to steal their food, and they will lash out defensively.

You also want to be slow and calm around dogs, especially when they are starting to growl or act aggressive. They take their cues about how to act from your body language, and yelling or screaming can make you seem like a threat.

While all of these are good things to do, remember that you can't always prevent a dog bite. Some things are out of your control. It is wise to know what legal steps to take if you are ever bitten.

Source: Web MD, "Dog Bites" Oct. 22, 2014

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