Dog bites are surprisingly common considering that dogs are called man’s best friend. The truth is that dogs, like all other animals, have their own personalities and quirks that you have to be prepared for. Some are hyper, some are aggressive and others just want to snuggle. When they’re sick, tired or hurt, all dogs have the potential to bite.

The good news is that there are some ways to prevent dog bites and attacks. Here are three ideas that could help you avoid a trip to the hospital.

1. Bring along a spray bottle when you’re walking, hiking or out in the open

Whether it’s a dog repellant or a plastic water bottle you can splash in the direction of a nearby animal, having a type of spray handy can help calm a situation. Many dogs are trained and scolded with squirts of water, so it just may calm the situation enough to allow you time to get away safely.

2. Don’t look at or touch the dog except to get it to release

If you are being approached by an aggressive dog, the rules are: Don’t touch it, don’t look it in the eyes and don’t talk. You don’t want to appear aggressive, so it’s a smart idea to turn sideways or to back away slowly to give the animal space. If it does happen to attack, remember that you should tuck your head under your crossed arms and lay still in a ball. If you do try to fight back, the dog could become even more aggressive. On the other hand, when their prey quits moving, they no longer have a challenge and may release you.

3. Carry a weapon

While no one really wants to shoot or strike a dog, in a violent attack, you may not have a choice. Carrying a weapon is a good way to stop a lunging dog from biting you. Walking sticks, in particular, are helpful in keeping the dog at a distance.

These are three ideas to help you avoid a dog attack. If you are attacked, remember to call 911 and to try to keep the dog present. You may both need to be monitored for serious diseases and illnesses moving forward.