How to Fend Off a Dog Attack

Some practical guidelines to follow during a dog attack.

You’re walking alone in a happy, suburban neighborhood when suddenly the Jones’ dog decides to practice it’s rabbit hunting skills on you. Before you try to karate chop the mutt for dear life, keep in mind a few practical tips:

Prevention before protection – In a fight to the death between a dog and a human, chances are the dog’s going to win. There’s no compassion in man’s best friend when he goes rabid, so better prevent an encounter rather than provoke one. If the dog is tethered, go out of your way to an area way beyond its reach. Better take those few extra steps rather than risk falling into its gaping maw. The longer the dog is chained up, the crankier it gets so best to avoid it even when it shows no signs of attacking. Dogs are also territorial animals, so if you inadvertently wander inside it’s territory, the more likely it is to attack. Don’t go sniffing around for the urine that marks the edges of its turf, just give the mutt a wide berth. If the dog is sick, starving, or you are somehow perceived as getting in the way of possible food or water, this can also pre-empt an attack.

Show no signs of aggression – If the dog perceives you as a threat, it’s less likely to attack unless you show signs of aggression. Sudden movements of the arms or legs might cause the dog to attack, so running away from the dog or doing the jumping jacks is a no-no. While a flat palm that signals “stop!” might work for a human attacker, the dog perceives this as an attempt to grab its throat so its best to avoid this sign. If you happen to be sitting down when the dog sees you, a sudden standing up would also provoke an attack. Other signs to avoid includes staring at the dog, bending over to its head level, showing your teeth, and moving closer to the dog. Instead of arousing its predatory instincts by running away and getting chased, keep body movements to a minimum. Slowly turn away from the dog and slowly start to walk away. It’s best not to show any signs of fear at this point, as it would indicate to the dog that you are submissive. If the dog happens to be very close and you feel walking away would trigger an attack, stay still, keep you limbs close to your body, don’t look at the dog, breathe normally, and show no signs of aggression. Usually, the dog will lose interest and walk away. If not then…

Prepare yourself! – If an attack is imminent, the dog will stiffen its front legs and the hair around its spine will be raised on end. Try to ward off the dog by throwing stones or objects at it. You can also attempt to show some aggressive behaviour at this point such as growling and baring your teeth to deter the animal from attacking, but ONLY if you’re sure the non aggressive method would not prevent an attack. Verbal commands such as “Down!” might also work. When the dog attacks it would most likely to target your throat or any body part that is sticking out. An attempt to punch or kick the dog will most likely lead it to it biting your arm or leg. If this happens, don’t try to jerk the limb backwards as the dog has quite a formidable grip, and the opposing forces will shear the skin off. If possible, grab a nearby stick or wrap you forearm in protective clothing. Don’t panic and time the attack so as to jam the stick in the dog’s mouth when he lunges. A backpack or a hat would also serve you well as the dog doesn’t distinguish well between apparel and body parts, so put these items between you and the dog and let it chew on them rather than you body. If the dog starts chewing on your clothes or another object, pretend its your skin by pulling back in the opposite direction to trick the dog into thinking its gotten a hold of you body. If the dog knocks you down, curl into a ball and don’t attempt to get back up. This would deter the dog from attacking you any further since you are showing no signs of aggression. If you lie still and defend yourself properly, the dog may eventually tire out and leave you alone. When all else fails, offer your forearm to the dog’s mouth. It’s better to get bitten in the arm than the throat or face. If the dog does not relent, then…

Canine homicide – One option to deal with an unrelenting dog is to break its neck. When the dog has sunk its jaws on your forearm, an option is to use your other arm to grip the back of its neck, pull that arm towards you while simultaneously raising the bitten arm upwards in a quick and hard motion. A audible snap and the poor fella gets sent to heaven. If you’re lucky and have managed to close the jaws tight with one hand, use the other hand to grab the head and twist sideways. Of course, it sounds like a move only Chuck Norris can perform. For the average guy, another method is to pinch hard on the dogs vulnerable nose. Still another method, albeit quite bizarre, is to put a finger up the dog’s err… caboose. This stimulates a gasping reflex which would allow you to loosen your mangled arm from the creatures jaws. When all else fails, attacking sensitive areas such as the eyes, ears, throat, or belly can fend the killer off. Using body prominences of your body such as the knees and elbows can inflict some serious damage to the dog. But if you’re a more humane kind of person…

Use your flab to the advantage – Pinning the dog down with your weight is quite effective. Assuming the dog isn’t of Cujo proportions, attempt to use your weight and pin the dog down. If you can get on top of the dog, you can use your forearm to pin the dog’s throat to the ground. Other manuevers which put pressure on the dog’s neck is effective.

Use objects to defend – a sharp stick, a piece of rock, a handbag, or anything you can get your hands on should be utilized to prevent further damage.

Once it’s all over, if the dog is dead the doctor’s will need its brain to test for Negri bodies which would indicate rabies, so make sure not to dispose of the body. If the dog walks away, call the appropriate agency to catch it ASAP. It would hardly be worth reminding you at this point not to try to catch the dog yourself unless your itching for round 2. Remember, you need the dog if you want to test for rabies so don’t let it wander off and disappear before calling the dog catchers.

Wash the wound with soap and water and get to the hospital quickly. If the dog happens to have rabies, you are likely to receive a shot in the hospital. Even if the dog doesn’t have rabies, you are likely to get a shot anyway for good measure. If the wound is farther away from your head, such as the limbs, the virus spreads more slowly, but if the bites are on your neck or torso, the virus would spread faster. Don’t try not to bleed the bite marks in an attempt to bleed the virus out. This is more likely to increase the circulation to the area and would spread the virus faster.

If all is well, you should be up and about in a day or two. If not, well, you should have gotten a cat.

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  1. Lucas

    On November 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Thank You very much :D this has helped me so much that when my dog attacks me ill just pin him down :D

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