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How to Defend Against Dog Attacks: Expert Tips and Strategies

It is important to remember that every dog attack is different. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best way to defend yourself against a dog attack is to be aware of your surroundings and to take steps to avoid being attacked in the first place.

How to Defend Against a Dog Attacked

Running or cycling in the park can turn dangerous when faced with a ferocious dog. Knowing how to defend against dog attacks is crucial for personal safety. There’s a right and wrong way to handle such situations.

Preventing a Dog Attack

Defend Against a Dog Attacked: Be aware of your surroundings.
Dangerous Dog!
  1. Keep calm, and do not panic.

Don’t panic. Dogs and other animals can ‘sense fear‘, which is partly true. If you become agitated and start running or screaming, the dog may feel safer and prepare for an attack, or worse, it may feel threatened. It is better not to be in either of these situations.

  1. Remain rigid and immobile.

When a dog approaches, stand entirely still by keeping your hands by your sides and look away from him. Often, a dog will lose interest and move away if you ignore him.

  • Do not wave your arms or kick; the dog may perceive this as a threat.
  • Don’t look him in the eye; he might get angry and attack you.
  • Stand at the dog’s side and keep him in your peripheral vision instead of facing him and looking into his eyes. This will let him know you are not a threat.
  • Do not open your hands or spread your arms; the dog may bite you. Instead, keep your fingers folded into a fist to avoid being bitten. The dog may approach, sniff you and not bite.
  1. Do not attempt to run or escape.

Running away may awaken the dog’s predatory instincts. The dog may consider you prey and chase, even if his initial intent was playful. Moreover, you are unlikely to be able to outrun him. Even if you are on a bicycle, he will likely catch up with you quickly.

  1. Distract the dog by giving it an object that might interest it.

If the dog continues to threaten you, hand him something to bite, such as a rucksack or a water bottle—anything is OK, as long as it is not your arm or leg! This behaviour may distract him enough for you to escape.

  • When walking in an area frequented by dangerous dogs, bring treats or toys to bite on. Then, if a ferocious dog approaches you, you can throw a bait far away; the dog may be interested in it instead of attacking you.

Defending Yourself Against a Dog Attack

If the dog attacks, try to protect your face and neck. The dog's most likely targets are these areas.
I was scolding a dog.
  1. Confront the dog by telling it in a dour tone, “Stay back or go away“.

If the animal continues to behave aggressively and you realise that trying to calm it down or ignore it is futile, stand in front of it and order it to leave in a firm tone.

  • Your tone of voice should be firm and imperious to express confidence.
  • Continue to avoid eye contact.
  • The dog may become discouraged and walk away feeling intimidated.
  1. If the dog attacks you, react.

If the dog starts to bite, you will have to defend yourself. Hit the dog in the throat, muzzle or back of the neck so that you can stun it and have a chance to get away.

  • At this point, it is OK to raise your voice a little. Call for help as you fight; someone may hear and come to your aid. Avoid shouting, however, as the dog may become even more enraged and assault fiercely.
  • If you have a stick handy, use it to hit the dog. Please do not hit it on the head: most dogs have thick skulls, and blowing only makes them angrier. Pepper spray and tear gas aerosol are good defensive tools.
  • Fight hard; your life depends on it. The aggression can be fatal. If you are attacked, use just enough force to defend yourself effectively.
Defending Yourself Against a Dog Attacked.
A finger grip enhances your grip and aiming, allowing you to pay attention to this threat.
Personal defence spray against a vicious dog attack.
SABRE is the leader in defence spray and personal safety products.
  1. Make use of your weight.

Put your weight on the animal, especially with your knees and elbows. Aggressive dogs bite quickly but can get into trouble if they are engaged in a fight. Find an advantageous position and strike soon. Stand over the animal and hit it, aiming for the throat or ribs. Keep your face away from the legs and muzzle to avoid injury.

  • A less violent and more manageable solution is to straddle the dog to crush it to the ground and simultaneously push its head down by pressing it at neck level. In this way, it is possible to immobilise the dog and wait for help.
  1. If you fall to the floor, protect your face, chest and throat

Once on the ground, you will find fighting challenging, but vital body parts will be more vulnerable to offence. Protect these areas of the body at all costs because a bite in these places could cause severe damage and even kill you.

  • Protect vital parts. Roll over on yourself to turn your stomach to the ground, bend your knees and protect your ears with your hands held in a fist.
  • Resist the temptation to scream or roll away; doing so may encourage the dog to bite you.
  1. Back away slowly.

When the dog loses interest in you, move away from the scene of aggression. Walk away slowly, without making any sudden movements. Remaining calm when you feel threatened can be extremely difficult, but it is the best thing to do before the dog takes action.

Managing the Consequences of a Dog Attack:

If the dog bites you, try to pry its jaws open with your hands. If you cannot pry its jaws open, hit the dog on its nose or in the eyes.
Dangerous dog biting a hand.
  1. Heals all wounds

Treat every single wound promptly if you are bitten because even less severe bites can cause infections. The primary medical procedures for treating dog bites are as follows:

  • Press gently on the affected area to stop the bleeding. Use a clean cloth or a piece of sterile gauze. If the bleeding is severe and does not stop, seek medical attention.
  • Wash the wound thoroughly. Use warm water and soap to clean it gently.
  • Bandage the wound. Use a sterile plaster (if the damage is minor) or sterile bandages.
  • Check for signs of infection (redness, warm sensation, swelling or discharge of pus). If any of these symptoms occur, consult a doctor.
  1. Inform the competent authorities that a dog has attacked you

Determining whether the dog that attacked you has rabies or has already attacked other people is essential. But first, call the authorities immediately after the dog incursion so that it is prevented from harming other people and is examined for diseases.

  • If the dog attacked you as a stray, it could rush at other people. So, having it in a kennel is the best thing to do so it will never harm anyone again.
  • If the dog has owners, it is up to you to handle the situation after the assault. If you have been injured, you should take legal action. The state holds owners responsible for the actions their dogs commit.
  1. Get yourself examined by a doctor immediately.

If you have bitten a dog you do not know, a dog that has been diagnosed with rabies or one that was frothing at the mouth, it is imperative that you visit a doctor immediately to undergo preventive rabies treatment. Do not forget that rabies is a fatal disease.

  • Rabies prevention, if necessary, should start as soon as possible after the attack.
  • Rabies has been eradicated in most European countries, so rabies treatment may not be necessary if you are in Europe.
  • You may also require tetanus treatment if you have not been vaccinated against tetanus in the last five years.
  • Generally, any wound caused by a dog attack should be examined by a doctor.

Prevention is always better than cure

  1. Watch out for warning signs.

Most dogs are not aggressive; they are often just curious or defend what they perceive to be their territory. To avoid unnecessary aggression, you must understand whether a dog is playing or intends to attack. Some breeds are considered aggressive by nature. Still, any medium-sized or large dog can become dangerous, so pay attention to your dog’s signals and do not consider one dog less hazardous than another based on its breed. Evaluate these six aspects to see whether a dog is aggressive or not:

  1. If the dog growls and shows its teeth, it is aggressive, and you are in a dangerous situation.
  2. An aggressive dog may show the whites of its eyes (if this eye part is not normally visible, the dog is enraged).
  3. If the dog flattens its ears back, it is probably about to attack (usually, a calm dog keeps its ears raised or dangling).
  4. If the dog approaches you with a relaxed body, it should not have aggressive intentions. Observe the back; when it is simple, the dog should have a slight downward curve.
  5. The animal is ready to attack if the dog’s body is tense (head, shoulders and hips aligned).
  6. If the dog has a jumping gait, it means it wants to play or is curious. If, on the other hand, it runs without slowing down, it may be intent on attacking.
  7. Never provoke a dog you don’t know.

Most attacks are caused by poor training, lack of discipline and mistreatment. Unfortunately, there will always be evil masters, so it is always best to be prepared to handle an attack. Please do not disturb the dog when eating or caring for his puppies (dogs are very protective at these times). Avoid smiling.

You may want to show a friendly expression, but seeing the teeth, the dog may think you are ready for a fight. Dogs kept tied up for a long time become aggressive and are more likely to attack, so it is better not to get too close to a tied-up dog.

  1. Always assume that a dog you do not know can be dangerous.

The best way to avoid being attacked is to avoid the dog. If you notice a dog’s danger, stay away from it. If you notice strays or threatening-looking dogs in your neighbourhood, report the fact to the authorities.

Teach your children not to approach a dog they do not know—it could be aggressive. Avoiding dogs you do not know can also avoid unnecessary risks. Before approaching a dog, make sure it is friendly.

Stand your ground. If the dog does attack, stand your ground and make yourself look as big as possible. Do not scream or make any sudden movements.
Remember that any dog you don’t know can be dangerous. So, always start from this assumption!

9 Useful tips to share with others regarding a dog attack

  1. If you are with a child and are in the path of a (possibly large) dog, take the child in your arms and move slowly. Avoid eye contact with the dog, especially when bending down to pick up the child. Instead, ask the child to stay calm and look at you.
  2. Teach your child not to run if they encounter an aggressive dog, and point out that it is better to stay still.
  3. If you are on a bike, get off the saddle and keep the bike between you and the dog as protection. If the dog attacks you, use the bicycle to defend yourself. Holding the bike by the handlebars and saddle, strike with the wheels. Do not lose your grip; otherwise, you will be unarmed.
  4. If you are afraid of encountering a dangerous dog, carry pepper spray or a can of compressed air. These are all valuable tools for scaring off the animal. First, aim at its muzzle, head, or body if you are afraid of missing the target (dogs have a very keen sense of smell, so it should not be enjoyable anyway). Then, spray the animal repeatedly until it stops attacking.
  5. Dogs sense fear but also the determination to defend themselves. However, if a dog is very aggressive (because it has rabies or has been mistreated, for example), it may turn on the defender anyway.
  6. Never turn your back. Keep your eye on the dog without looking directly at it. Do not try to intimidate him or make any sudden movements. Move slowly. Do not approach or turn your back until you are sure the dog is not hostile.
  7. If the dog barks, keep walking to get away from the area. Do not rush and avoid any eye contact.
  8. If a dog runs towards you, do not run away at all. It may not be ferocious and only wants to play. If you run away, however, it may become enraged. Just because a dog runs towards you does not mean it is intent on attacking you. Maybe it just needs affection!
  9. If a dog keeps its ears flat on its head, it means it is afraid. If, on the other hand, it retains its ears straight and pointed forward, it may mean that it is aggressive.

How to Defend Against a Dog Attacked. CAUTIONS!

Aggressive dog owners can be worse than the dogs themselves. If you injure or kill a dog in an attempt to defend yourself, move away from the area immediately and call the police.

Be careful when using pepper spray or handling a bat. The chances of hitting the dog on the muzzle before it attacks you are slim. If you are downwind, the jet could hit you instead. Also, remember that often, hitting a dog on the muzzle will only make it angrier, especially if it is vicious.

If the dog looks ill or becomes ill within ten days of the incident, it must be examined for rabies. If it tests positive, you will have to undergo rabies prophylaxis.

Every dog is different, and they often react unpredictably. These tips help you in most situations, but every attack is extra, so assess your case carefully and act accordingly.

Be aware that some dog breeds wag their tails ‘late’. For example, some very friendly Akitas only start wagging their tails when they are two metres away from the person they are approaching. So do not think a dog that comes towards you without wagging its tail wants to attack you.

What do you do if an aggressive dog approaches you?


Here are some tips on how to defend against a dog attack:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you see a dog acting aggressively, try to avoid it. If you cannot avoid it, stay calm and make yourself look as big as possible.
  • Do not run away. This will only trigger the dog’s instinct to chase. Instead, stand your ground and make yourself look as big as possible.
  • Yell at the dog in a loud, firm voice. This may startle the dog and make it stop attacking.
  • If the dog attacks, try to protect your face and neck. The dog’s most likely targets are these areas.
  • If the dog bites you, try to pry its jaws open with your hands. If you cannot pry its jaws open, hit the dog on its nose or in the eyes.
  • If you are with someone else, have them call 911.

It is important to note that these are just general tips. The best way to defend against a dog attack is to be aware of your surroundings and avoid aggressive dogs altogether.

Here are some additional tips that may help you defend against a dog attack:

  • Carry a walking stick or umbrella. This can be used to fend off an attacking dog.
  • Wear thick clothing. This can help protect you from bites and scratches.
  • If a dog attacks you, stay calm and do not panic. This will make it more difficult for the dog to sense your fear and aggression.

It is also important to remember that not all dogs are aggressive. Many dogs are friendly and loving creatures. If you are ever unsure about a dog’s behaviour, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid contact.

Conclusion:

Being prepared and knowledgeable about defending against dog attacks can significantly reduce the risk of injury. Stay vigilant, stay calm, and prioritize safety in all situations.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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