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Defending yourself against a Dog

Having to defend yourself against a dog, or pack of dogs is a real possibility. When assessing the situation with a single dog, you need to consider whether the dog is a trained attack dog, defense dog, semi-trained, untrained, and the breed.

One thing you never want to do is run from a dog. It can cause the dog to attack you as it would prey in the wild. Another thing you never want to do is, never turn your back on it. You don’t want to look an aggressive dog in the eyes. So avoid eye contact. You don’t want to start yelling at the owner of the dog. Dog’s tend to be a reflection of the personality of their owners.

If a dog runs up to you barking and growling, you need to slowly brace yourself, and give commands as if it was your dog. Sit, no, down, etc. Do not get in a fighting stance or raise your hands while going through this stage. It could cause the dog to ignore commands.

If the above fails and you have to defend yourself, using a weapon to defend yourself, is always better then defending yourself empty handed. Things you can use are a cane, umbrella, rocks, or anything else you can pick up and throw at the animal to chase it off. I think using a cane is pretty self explanatory. Using an umbrella is done by opening the umbrella and pointing it at the dog as a shield. The idea is that the dog can’t see you to attack. So keep the umbrella between you and the dog. Using projectiles like rocks is a good choice, but again try to keep something between you and the dog if possible. You might try to stay on the other side of a car, or climb on top of it, or anything else you can climb on the dog can’t climb. Of course a knife can also be used.

The best choice if it is a legal option where you are, is pepper spray. It will allow you to disable the dog at a short distance, without any permanent harm to the animal.

Facing a trained attack dog is very dangerous. Some are trained to attack different parts of the body. This could be arm, throat, or groin. If the dog is well trained it will recognize some signals, that will stop it from attacking. Don’t move. If you raise your hands above your head, or lay down on the ground with your hands behind your head (I don’t like this option since if it fails you’re pretty much defenseless), a well trained dog will stop. A semi-trained dog is more dangerous, because it might know how to attack you, and not know when to stop. So if you raised your hands and stopped moving, and the animal attacks anyway, you need to defend yourself with other measures.

If you’re facing an untrained animal without a weapon, depending on size and breed you have different options. Presuming it is a good sized dog, you could wrap a coat, or anything else around your arm. Make sure you keep you hand closed. Fingers can easily be bitten off if your hand is open. Hold the protected arm out in front of you. The idea is to try and get the dog to attack that arm. If you can get them to bit onto the arm, you want grab and fall on top of the dog, pinning it down. At this point you need to eliminate the dogs ability to attack you, before you can get up and let go. The easiest way would be to take it’s eyes out. The dog is likely to take the arm more then 50% of the time.

Some dogs will not go for an arm but attack more vital areas. An option is to use closed fists, punching it in the face as hard, fast and often as you can. The same as you might treat a man attacking you. Try to avoid kicking unless the dog is attacking your legs, or is small enough that it isn’t a threat to your throat. Punching a dog in the mouth is going to end up with you getting your hands cut up, but the dog isn’t going to like getting punched in the mouth either.

The reason I say avoid kicking if possible is that the dog can bite your leg and take you off your feet, putting you in a much worse position. Or the dog could attack your groin. However if you are facing a dog that is attacking your legs you’ll have to kick it. Again if it is a small animal, that will be the best option anyway.

Fighting a pack of dogs is extremely dangerous. They will hunt in a pack the same as wolves or coyotes in the wild. One or more will confront you while the rest, will circle looking for a chance to take you down from behind, like any other prey. If you can climb up on something they can’t, and throw anything you can down on them, it may be your best option. If you can’t climb out of harms way you need to get your back to a wall so they can attack you from behind. At this point it is hitting with any weapon you have. You don’t want them to latch onto you, preventing you from hitting, and you certainly don’t want them dragging you to the ground.

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  1. April 17, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    While doing a research for a project about dogs I found your blog. Thanks for the info

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