In addition to the usual challenges of trucking such as meeting delivery schedules and coping with traffic, commercial truck drivers who make deliveries to residential homes face another risk: getting attacked and bitten by a dog. Depending on the circumstances, the dog’s temperament, and its breed, injuries from dog attacks can vary from minor punctures of the skin to a severe mauling that requires lengthy hospitalization. What can the commercial truck driver do to avoid dog bites when nearly half of all American homeowners have a dog? Follow these four tips:
Dogs can easily out sprint people, and running only invites the dog to chase and possibly attack you. Stand your ground. There are two schools of thought about what to do next. Animal behaviorists advise standing sideways to the dog and averting your eyes away from the dog’s face. Simply remain motionless and quiet until the dog loses interest. At this point you can slowly back away while never turning your back to the dog.
On the other hand, the United States Postal Service advises its workers to squarely face the dog and slowly back away. Keep an object such as a bag, box, clipboard, or umbrella between yourself and the dog. They advise to almost stare him down, that is, not looking directly into his eyes but close enough so that you can see what he’s doing. This shows the dog that you are not afraid.
Don’t Wear Earphones
These prevent you from hearing the barking and growling which dogs use as a warning. Although you may not initially see any dogs on a home owner’s property, that doesn’t rule out their presence in the backyard or some other out-of-sight area.
Announce Your Arrival to a Delivery Location
If the commercial truck driver knows that the customer’s location has a dog, he should call in advance to have the dog placed on a lease or otherwise kept in a safe area. When arriving at any delivery location, honk your horn to draw out any unsecured dog. If one approaches, stay in your truck and call the owner.
Curl into a Ball When on the Ground
If you fall to the ground, curl into a ball. Shield your neck, face, and ears with your hands, arms, and body. Avoid rolling or yelling because these will further excite the dog.
One of the best ways of preventing dog bites is for the commercial truck company to create a policy of not making deliveries to customers with uncontrolled dogs and to let the customer know this up front.