Here's a column about how to prevent confrontation with an aggressive dog, but the advice goes against what I've heard in other places. Opinions?

"Standing still and put your hands in pockets because they like to get hold of something," says Madeleine Forsyth, a veterinary surgeon and non-practising barrister based in York. "A waving arm is an obvious target."

Avoid eye contact because it is confrontational and it is always unwise to turn your back, says Miss Forsyth, so standing sideways and looking slightly away is advisable.

I've seen aggressive dogs back down when confronted with yelling and waving arms, and I've also seen them calm down when you ignore them. So what's the right answer?

If a dog does bite, do not pull away because that will tear the flesh, she says, but shout for help.

"Hope there is someone with a breaking stick to introduce between the jaws.

"Anything will do that can be slid between the teeth at the side, but given the strength of the jaw and the leverage, it would have to be a very powerful bit of stick or it will just break."

Rather than just hoping for a stick, wouldn't it be good to gouge the dog in the eye or punch it in the nose? I've also heard that scraping the top of the inside of the dog's mouth with your fingernails will bring good results. A knife to the neck or gut would probably also be helpful.



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