After a string of recent dog attacks across the valley, 13 Action News is examining how you can protect yourself.
"The biggest defense against a dog bite is being aware that a bite is a potential," said retired Canine Officer Bill Cassell.
Cassell, who has decades of experience, says that any dog can potentially bite any person at any time.
If you're suddenly face-to-face with a dog about to attack, do not look the animal in the eye.
"Eye contact to a dog is a threat," he said.
Additionally, you never want to run away from the animal. Fleeing can incite the so-called prey drive.
"The literal definition of that is the drive to chase, capture, and kill prey," said Cassell.
Instead, you should stay calm, stand tall, and try to move to a position of safety.
When picking a family pet, Cassell says to carefully consider the breed.
"Was it bred to guard," he said, "..or is it one of the dogs that maybe has a more aggressive tendency."
Finally, you should be extra careful when pets are around young kids.
"Children don't understand that if they toddle up to the dog while he's eating and fall on the dog," he said, "it can provoke a bite."