Dogs are wonderful and loving creatures, but knowing how to protect yourself in unexpected circumstances can help prevent accidents. The American Kennel Club offers the following tips on how to be safe around dogs, especially if you come across one that is loose or one you are unfamiliar with. American Kennel Club
Dogs are territorial and like their own space. If you are in his territory (his yard, car, etc.) and he is barking at you, do not stick your hand in to try and pet him.
Ask a dog's owner if it is all right to pet the dog before you approach. Let the dog sniff your hand first and then pet him under the chin.
Do not run toward or away from a lost dog. Stand still, then back away slowly.
Make like a tree trunk. If an unfriendly dog runs toward you, stand still with your arms crossed in front of your body and stand still like a tree trunk and do not make eye contact. Dogs take eye contact as a challenge.
To distract a pack of dogs, throw a small object away from you, and then slowly walk away.
Judge a dog by his actions, not what breed he is.
Additional information on safety around dogs can be found on the AKC website at www.akc.org/public_education.