It’s up to dog owners to keep control over their pets at all times. As many bicyclists are all too aware, this is not always the case. An aggressive dog is quite hazardous when riding your bike, which is why it’s important to know the right tactics to evade and discourage any animals you come across. That’s why Bicycling.com offers the following tips on what you can do when encountering a dog while out for a ride.

Your goal should be to prevent the dog from attacking without risking your well-being. In this case, yelling in a loud, masterful tone can be a great deterrent to a pursuing mutt. Shouting at a dog to go home might be enough of a shock that the animal heeds your cry. You can also punctuate the command with a well-timed squirt of your water bottle.

If the dog continues its pursuit, do what you can to mitigate the attack. Start by placing your bicycle between you and the dog to prevent a bite. Also, refrain from making direct eye contact, which can spur a dog into action if he is feeling threatened. In some cases, your lack of action will deter the dog and cause him to back away.

Despite your best efforts, the dog may still continue his pursuit. Consider that of the 4.5 million dog bites that occur in the U.S. on a yearly basis, 850,000 require medication attention. If you are bitten, clean the wound as soon as possible to reduce your risk of infection. Next, seek urgent medical assistance even if the bite is relatively minor. You should also report the incident to your local animal control agency, who will follow up to see if the dog poses a threat to others. You may also want to talk to an attorney about filing suit against the dog owner. Dogs are considered the property of their owners, and as a result, he or she may be liable for any damages you incur.