When it looks like a dog is going to bite, your flight-or-fight syndrome will kick in. Unfortunately, neither one is a good option. Both could lead to a bite. So, what should you really do to avoid being hurt?

Stay Calm

It might be hard, but try to stay calm so that the dog doesn't think you're a threat. Don't make eye contact with the animal. Cross your arms as you slowly turn sideways, without turning your back to the dog, and ignore it. You want to stay this way, without fleeing, for a moment. After you do, start leaving slowly. Walk calmly until you can put something -- like a car or a fence -- between the two of you.

If the Dog Pursues

Continue moving slowly and trying to stay calm. Your instinct may be to yell for help, but you're better off to talk quietly and in a controlled fashion. Continue slowly trying to edge away, as the dog may just be protecting the territory. By showing that you're leaving the territory, you take away any reason to attack.

If the Dog Attacks

In a worst-case scenario, all of this will fail and the dog will still attack. As hard as it is, try not to yell or scream. Cover your face and neck. Some experts recommend lying down and pulling your legs up, trying to make yourself into a ball. Don't fight back. The dog may bite you once and then leave you alone if you're not fighting. Remember that it's very hard for one person to win against an angry, aggressive dog, so your best bet is often to protect yourself and hope the dog gets bored -- or that someone else steps in and saves you.

After the Bite

If a dog does attack you, it can be traumatizing. You may need therapy, medical treatment, medications to protect against infection, and much more. You may have permanent scaring that alters the way you look, depending on where you were bitten. For all of this and more, it's important to know if you have a right to financial compensation.

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