How to avoid a first-class bite

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The Independent Online

Britain's posties are in danger. Not from government cuts, but from nipped ankles. With 4,000 attacks on its staff by dogs every year, the Royal Mail has had enough.

RM chairman Donald Brydon announced on Wednesday that there would be an inquiry into hound-based attacks. In the meantime, RM shared with us some tips for avoiding blood on the front step.

l Keep your eyes peeled. If a mutt is snarling, has stiffened front legs or raised ridges of hair along its spine, then it's time to slowly withdraw.

l Don't threaten the dog's pack (which can be other dogs, pets or even the dog's owners) if you value your fingers. That arms-raised-into-the-air, fixed-eye-contact or movement-into-the-dog's territory is a "threat"; as, indeed, is putting fingers through the letter box.

l Show no fear. Running away triggers a dog's instinct to chase.