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How to calm an angry dog and avoid getting hurt

Many readers of this blog will know the great dog trainer, Cesar Millan, from his television series, "Dog Whisperer." Millan has offered valuable advice regarding dogs and how to keep them calm to avoid getting attacked and to prevent a dog from attacking others.

Millan claims that one of the most important things anyone can do for a dog is to exude a calm, assertive attitude. According to Millan, asserting a calm, assertive energy is fairly easy to achieve by keeping the following in mind:

Understand that dogs aren't "bad" on purpose: When a dog acts out, it's usually not doing it on purpose. Owners need to understand that when their dogs become aggressive or misbehave, it's because the owners have not given the dogs enough exercise or they haven't set up firm boundaries or limitations. Dog owners should not get angry about bad behavior, and they definitely shouldn't take it personally or take it out violently on the animal.

A dog's behavior often reflects that of the owner: When a dog is acting crazy and aggressive, it's probably a reflection that the owner has the same kind of energy within him- or herself. Using a dog's behavior as a "barometer" for the owner to watch his or her own state -- and how that state needs to be adjusted -- is a useful tool.

Be patient with an aggressive dog as changing its behavior takes time: People are not born to be absolutely perfect, and dogs aren't either. Every dog has his or her challenges. Sometimes those challenges relate to potty training and other times they relate to being aggressive. Whatever a dog's challenges are, a dog owner must be patient, consistent and not give up.

When dog owners can be calm -- and when people can stay calm around dogs they don't know -- it's likely that fewer dog attacks will happen. Nevertheless, some dog attack scenarios simply cannot be prevented. If you or a family member were hurt in an instance like this, you might want to look into holding the dog owner liable in court.

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