It’s important to know that while a dog may be acting aggressively, there are usually tell-tale signals that indicate whether your reaction is prompting (or aggravating) the behaviour. Read on to discover how you can help minimise the threat.

Why do dogs attack?

Usually dogs tend to attack because their prey-drive has been triggered (be it from runners, joggers or cyclists). It could also be that the dog is territorial, anxious, unsettled or overprotective of their owner.

What is aggressive behaviour?

Aggressive behaviour typically includes:

  • Showing teeth and/or snarling
  • Ears laid back but not lowered
  • Raised tail
  • Standing on the tips of their paws
  • Raised hackles

How to avoid an attack

If you find yourself face-to-face with an aggressive dog, the most important thing you can do is stay calm. Do not let fear or anxiety overcome your ability to think clearly. Dogs can sense a lot of our emotions and energy, so if the dog realises you’re stressed, it will use that to its advantage (and possibly provoke it to attack).
Do not hit or kick the dog. Doing so only places you in harm’s way.
Avoid direct eye contact with the dog, as the dog will see this as a challenge. However, keep it in your peripheral vision at all times. If you can, stand on a slight angle so the dog has a smaller target area. In an ideal situation, this would tell the dog you are not a threat and the dog should become less interested.
After a dog attack, we highly recommend you call your local council immediately to report it. You will need to note the time and place the incident occurred, the breed/colour of the dog and anything else you can recall. For more information about avoiding dog attacks, check your local government’s website or ask your local vet.
If a dog bites you, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. If your dog is ever involved in an attack, whether hurt or otherwise, it’s best to take them to a vet for a thorough check-up as soon as possible.

We’ve found a few Port Stephens vets who will go above and beyond to ensure the welfare of your dog.

Noah’s Ark Vet Surgery

Keeping your pup in tip-top health, Noah's Ark Veterinary Hospital - Port Stephens
Keeping your pup in tip-top health, Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital – Port Stephens

Whether you’ve had a new furry addition to the family or your dog requires urgent attention, the staff at Noah’s Ark Vet Surgery will make sure your dog is seen to quickly and thoroughly. Offering a range of vet treatments including vaccinations, general diagnostics and surgery, you can rest assured your pet will always be in good hands. Noah’s Ark Vet Surgery also offers puppy preschool services, to help teach dogs positive behaviour, as well as tricks. In two convenient locations, you can relax knowing your vet is not far away.
Where: 1/37 Ferodale Rd, Medowie, NSW 2318
Where: 1/55 Donald St, Nelson Bay, NSW 2315

Motto Farm Veterinary Hospital
Totally committed to your dog's care, Motto Farm Veterinary Hospital - Port Stephens
Totally committed to your dog’s care, Motto Farm Veterinary Hospital – Port Stephens

With a total commitment to animal care, it’s no wonder Motto Farm Vet Hospital is so popular. From animal surgery through to general animal medicine, dental procedures and diagnostic care, these vets are passionate about saving animals and providing the best possible care. If you’re a dog breeder, Motto Farm Vet Hospital also offer services to help keep all of your pups healthy and happy. If your pet is showcasing some negative behaviour, bring them along to Motto Farm Vet Hospital’s puppy preschool for some lessons in correcting bad habits.
Where: 303 Pacific Hwy, Heatherbrae NSW 2324
Where: 2/197 Myall St, Tea Gardens NSW 2324
What Port Stephens vets do you trust with your furry friend’s health? Let us know in the comments below!