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How can children stop a dog attack in California?

Children are often in more danger during a dog attack than adults, especially since it is easier for a dog to bite a child in the upper body, such as the face and neck, while a taller adult may only be bitten on the hands. Before medical help can be given to a child who has been attacked, he or she needs to get the dog to stop fighting. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a tactic that is often referred to as becoming a tree.

The idea here is that dogs feed off of the energy that people bring to a situation. Trying to run may only get a dog more riled up, as it naturally wants to chase. If the dog feels threatened already, things like running and yelling may also cause it to be more frightened, meaning it will keep attacking.

To become a tree, children need to stand still, pull their arms in toward their bodies, and fold their hands in front of them. This is a very calming pose that exhibits no energy, and the dog will usually react in kind.

It is important to note that this tactic is most helpful when a dog is becoming excited and agitated but has not yet attacked. It is useful in defusing a situation. Therefore, children should be told to use this when a dog is growling, barking, jumping or doing other things that indicate it is feeling aggressive toward the child.

Though this tactic is useful, a child could already be injured by the time the attack stops, so it is important for family members to know what legal rights they may have to compensation in California.

Source: Doggone Safe, "Dog Safety for Kids" accessed Mar. 03, 2015

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