You are walking from the grocery shop to your car, and you notice a black dog walking towards your direction. At first, you do not take notice of him, and you start to load the grocery items into your into your car.
Suddenly you hear something growling behind you. You turn your head around and notice this massive rottweiler standing in front of you. The hair is standing up on the back of your neck.
You cower in fear.
This is a situation where I would not like to find myself in. Dog attacks can be dangerous and also fatal. Have you ever seen some of the ravaging bite wounds left after an attack?
It is an image you cannot get out of your head.
What do you do?
The solution is actually, and I will explain why.
Almost 80% of dog attacks can be prevented from happening. That is if you know how to avoid it. In this article, I am going to show you just that.
I am going to reveal to you some of the risks and signs to look for in an aggressive dog. I will also show you what to do once confronted with one.
Lastly, I will also tell you what to do if the dog attacks you. Please read on as the information might save your life.We all love our pooches, but sometimes they can get out of control.
The Risks And Signs To Look For
Some factors will determine whether a dog will attack or not. It is always better to avoid confronting an aggressive dog. In this guide, I will show you some of the signs that you should look for that encourages canines to attack.
Unknown And Feral Dogs
Dogs which are feral are not domesticated. It is dogs that live on the street and need to rely on their primal senses to survive. Some of these dogs might have been domesticated in the past and might still have an affinity for humans. A large proportion of them was never domesticated and are the most dangerous.
They can travel alone or in packs. In most cases, they will be afraid of us and run away. On the other hand, they can also turn aggressive when cornered. They tend to hunt in packs and will also scavenge for food. I have seen many feral dogs in garbage dumps where they scavenge for food.
They can be found in rural areas, but they can also roam in larger cities. They are prone to hunt for livestock in rural areas and can become a pest. You should be extra careful when approaching feral dogs as they can be very dangerous.
The Dogs Body Language
It is in a dog’s nature to play which makes it hard to distinguish between a friendly and aggressive dog. Some dogs like to play hard which can include some biting. It is not so hard to identify a dog that is aggressive if you know the signs to look for.
The best way to identify aggressive behavior is by looking at their body language:
- Showing teeth. The first thing that you will notice is that they will show teeth and will start to growl at you.
- Their ears are pulled back. Their ears will also be pulled back on their head. When their ears are erect and in a normal position, then they might not pose any danger.
- They will lower their head, and their body will be stiff. You will also notice that the hairs on their back will stand up straight. If a dog is not aggressive or stressed, then their body will be relaxed, and their back will be sloped.
- They are barking at you. Dogs will usually bark when they are defending their territory. If the dog is barking, then they are warning you. Have you ever noticed how dogs go crazy when you walk past the fence of someone’s property?
Canines With Rabies
Have you ever seen a dog that is infected by the Rabies virus?
Let me tell you something.
It is not a pretty sight. After the dog is infected with the virus, it will start to show the symptoms after a couple of weeks. The virus can spread through an animal bite which is why you should be extra careful when coming face-to-face with a dog that is infected.
Humans can also get infected with this deadly virus.
- It symptoms. This virus causes inflammation in the brain and pain in the muscles. The dog or individual will become insane when the inflammation in the brain starts to set in. One of the first telltale signs of Rabies is excessive salivation and aggression.
- How it spreads. The virus can also live inside of the saliva which makes it easier to spread when bitten. Feral dogs are also more prone to carry this deadly virus.
- Treatments and prevention. This virus can be prevented with a vaccine and treated with a blood transfusion and antiviral drugs.
If you notice a dog lying on the floor motionless with excess saliva drooling from its mouth, then do not try to pick it up as it might bite at you.
Dogs With Puppies
It is a bad idea to approach a mother dog that has puppies with her. It is in their instinct to protect their offspring. They had to adapt this behavior because small infant dogs make for easy prey which will not put up much of a fight.
I had also heard of cases where domesticated dogs turned aggressive towards their owners when they tried to pick up one of the puppies. Feral dogs with puppies are even more aggressive and dangerous which should be avoided.
Do Not Encourage Hard Play
All of us loves to play with our dogs especially when they are small. Sometimes the puppy will bite at you playfully, and its teeth will not pierce the skin.
Some people even find this behavior cute. If the puppy stayed small, then it might not become a problem. The problem comes when the dog grows larger.
Its teeth and jaw muscle will become larger and more developed.
Now they can pierce your skin. If you purchased or adopted a puppy from a larger breed, then I would recommend you not to encourage hard play as it might become problematic in the future.
Do Not Disturb Eating Dogs
It is in a canines inherent nature to be extra alert when eating their food. Canines in the wild will always have an alpha male that will have the privilege of being the first one to take its share of the meal or carcass.
After the alpha had its share, the rest of the carcass will be available for the rest of the pack. The canines also need to protect their meal from scavengers that wants to steal the carcass from right under them.
Even the friendliest dog can turn into an aggressive beast when you come between it and its lunch.
Do Not Break Up A Dog Fight
Break up dogs that are in a fight is always a bad idea. It most reported cases it was a fight between the victim’s dogs. Most people will claim that the dog that bit them is the friendliest dog that you will ever find and that they did not expect the dog to lash out at them.
Here is the problem:
When two dogs are participating in a brawl, they will be fueled with adrenaline and stress hormones. They will activate their deeply rooted primal instinct to fight.
If you come from behind and grab one of your dogs, they will be in the heat of the moment and will not know that it is you that are grabbing them.
I have personally experienced a fight between a great dane and a bull mastiff mix. As you already know, these breeds are huge, and you do not want to come between them. Is successfully stopped the fight by throwing them with a large bucket of cold water. Sometimes it will work, and sometimes it might not work.
You can also use a fire extinguisher and open it upon them. If you are in a desperate situation where none of these methods worked, you can follow the instructions from the video above.
Does Breed Play A Role?
Sometimes people forget that the breed of a dog can also be a contributing risk factor for aggression. Breeds that are more prone to aggression are the pit bull, rottweilers, chow, presa canario, german shepherds and any mixed breed that might contain some of the breeds mentioned above.
Some pit bull breeders and lovers will hate me for saying this.
Think about this for a moment.
Specific breeds such as the Pitbull and rottweiler were explicitly bred for dog fights. These dogs are muscular and robust, but the most prominent trait needed for the perfect fighting machine is an aggressive temperament.
Some breeds such as the pit bull do not register to pain when they are on a rampage. These dogs will fight to the death.
Police dogs such as the german shepherd were also bred for a purpose which includes violence.
I know that not all pit bulls or rottweilers are aggressive. If they were taught correctly at a young age from an experienced dog trainer, then it will be less likely for them to bite someone needlessly.
My brother has an American Staffordshire Terrier also called the Amstaff which is a very gentle dog. My brother taught him manners from a very young age. He would enclose a bone in his hand, and the dog will not dare to snap at his hand.
The dog will try to take the bone out of his hand by using its tongue and lips. The same cannot be said for his two pomeranians.
You need to remember that genetics and the environment play a role in the dog’s behavior. Even dogs as gentle as a golden retriever can be aggressive when brought into a world of distrust and abuse.
When Facing An Aggressive Dog
Now you are more aware of what not to do if you want to avoid a deadly confrontation with a potentially dangerous dog. Sometimes you will be less unfortunate and will come face-to-face with a dog that is taking its stand against you. In this section, you will learn what to do and also what not to do to avoid an attack.
Turn Your Body Sideways
By turning your body sideways, you will expose less of your body to the dog. If you turn to your left, make sure to bend your arm inwards so that only your elbow is exposed.
It will also be harder for the dog to lash out at your through because your shoulder will be in the way. If running is also your only option, then your body will also be positioned better.
Do Not Run
Did you know that canines are natural predators?
It is instinctive for them to run after their prey. If you come face-to-face with a potentially dangerous dog, then you should never make any sudden movements or run away. If you decide to run away, you will look like its prey, and it will chase after you.
The last thing that you want to do is to activate their hunter’s instinct. There is also the scenario where territorial dogs inside a yard have learned that when they bark and chase along the fence where people walking close to the fence will walk away.
If the dog is placed outside the fence, it will still have this habit of barking at people and chasing after them when they run or walk away.
The only difference is that this time, there is no fence to protect anyone from the dog. There is also the possibility where you will not be able to outrun the dog which will happen most of the cases.
Distract The Dog
If you have a small toy or short piece of stick, then you should throw it between you and the dog. The dog will then have something to chew on which will distract him.
If you came from the grocery store and bought some food, then you can also lure the dog away by throwing him that nice juicy t-bone steak that you planned to cook that night.
This might give you enough time and the right opportunity to escape.
Do Not Smile And Avoid Eye Contact
It is also a bad idea to smile at the dog. You may not know it, but if you show your teeth, the dog might see it as a challenge. If there is a large and ferocious dog standing in front of you, then the last thing that you would do is to smile at it.
Sometimes when people are stressed, they will start to smile involuntarily. The same counts for staring directly into the dog’s eyes. You still want to look at the dog, but instead look at its legs.
Get Some Higher Ground
If the dog cannot reach you, then it cannot bite you. If you are close to a car, then you should try to get on top. Just beware of some larger dogs that will climb up the car to reach you.
If you are an avid tree climber, then you can reach for the nearest tree. You should never run to the tree or car but most slowly to it and then jump on it once you get the opportunity.
Stay Calm And Move Away Slowly
Now you know that you should not run away. You should also not make any sudden movements or scream at the dog. Do not show any fear or aggression towards the dog. Some people might try and kick the dog which is very irresponsible.
If you do not stay calm and start to panic, the dog will get excited and attack you. You should also keep your arms next to your body. Do not overextend your arms or wave at the dog.
You will make the situation worse and do not give the dog a limb for its teeth to sink into. You should also close your hand so that the dog cannot grab onto one of your fingers.It will also be a good idea to move away slowly while still facing the dog. You do not want to turn your back to it.
Move backward slowly until you have created enough distance between you and the dog. After a while, the dog will lose interest in you which will give you an opportunity to escape.
When Facing A Pack Of Dogs
Especially feral dogs love to travel in large groups. Sometimes they will target a person so you will need to know how to defend yourself in such a situation.
- Do not let them encircle you – Usually, the weaker members of the pack will move around you in the form of a circle while the dominant members will come you from the front. You want to avoid this situation if possible. Always move with your back against something so that they cannot encircle you.
- Go for the alpha – Canines also have a structural hierarchy where the dominant alpha males will be the leaders. If they manage to attack you and you have no other option, then try to take out the leader of the pack. Once the leader is taken care off, the pack will flee the scene.
Put An Obstacle Between You And The Dog
If you carry a jacket or a stick with you, then you can also place it as an obstacle between you and the dog. A backpack is also a great option because the dog might hold onto it instead of your forearm.
If you are on a bicycle, then you should even get off the bicycle and put it between you and the dog.
The dog will then need to go around it to reach you. Opening up an umbrella is also an excellent strategy to create a barrier.
By creating an obstacle between you and the dog, you will also designate your territory. The dog will then realize that you are not competing with his territory and will leave you alone.
While You Are Being Attacked
You have done everything you could to avoid the attack, but sometimes luck is not on your side. In this section, I will discuss methods on how to defend yourself from the dog that is attacking.
Do Not Scream
This one is not easy. It is natural for us to scream when being threatened or in pain. The problem with screaming is that it will make the dog more aggressive.
It will antagonize the dog which will make it more violent. You can talk in a hard and commanding voice for the dog to let go or leave.
Sacrifice One Of Your Arms
You do not want the dog to grab you on the throat, face or groin. It is far better to offer one of your arms when the dog jumps to attack your upper body.
Your legs and your other arm will be free to move which will enable you to move to a better location and to attack the dog with your other arm. Try to hit for the nose as it is the most sensitive part.
If you have weapons with you, then you might be in luck. If you have a stick or a rock in your hand, then strike for the eyes or the nose. If you carry a handgun with you, then you might want to use it.
A knife is also an excellent weapon to have if you strike for the throat or lungs. You also have the option to use a baseball bat, but it is not something that you can take to the grocery store with you.
A fire extinguisher is another great weapon that you can use. If sprayed directly into the dog’s face, it will inhale the powder, and the dog will stop the attack. It can also be used as a blunt weapon if all else fails.
You can also use tasers which will choke the dog with electricity until it stops. If the dog has a thick coat of fur, then it might be useless. The taser needs to stick on the skin of the dog to work.
What is the best weapon to have?
The best weapon which will stop the dog in its track is going to be pepper spray.
Let me be honest with you.
I love dogs, and I do not want to hurt them. I do not want to stab them with a knife or shoot them. Pepper spray, on the other hand, is less likely to cause permanent damage or death to the dog.
If sprayed in the face, it will temporarily blind the dog. The dog will also inhale it through their nose which will irritate it.
As you may have known, dogs have a superior sense of smell, and the effects of pepper spray will be more disabling.There are also dog repellents that you can buy online that are specially formulated to repel a dog.
Blunt weapons might be useless.
Especially if you face a larger dog such as a pit bull or rottweiler. These dogs have thick skulls, and if you do not know how to handle a blunt weapon such as a baseball bat or stick, then your efforts will be worthless.
Instead, you should try to use the weapon as a bite stick for the dog to lash onto instead of using your forearm as a chewing toy.
Use Your Shirt
If you have a sweater or a long sleeve shirt, then you can make use of it. There are several ways to use it. You can either pull it over the dog’s head to temporarily blind it let the dog grab your shirt instead of your body.
The dog will most likely pull on the shirt because your scent will be on it.
Do Not Pull Away
If the dog manages to grab onto your arm or leg, then the worst thing that you should not do is to try and pull your limb out of the dog’s mouth. Remember that the dog’s teeth will be sunken into your flesh and if you decide to pull away, the teeth will tear your flesh apart.
The action will lead to more damage on your part.
Instead of trying to pull your arm away, you can push your arm further into its mouth. By pushing, you might force the dog to lessen its grip on your arm which can give you an opportunity to escape.
Curl Into A Ball
On the floor is not the place where you want to be, but what do you do if you are on the floor? Well, you can curl into a ball.
Remember that you are now in the dog’s domain and you have lost most of the advantages while being on your feet.
Do not try and attack the dog.
Instead, you should draw your knees up against your torso area. Protect the sides and the back of your neck with your hands and wrists. Keep your elbows closed and lock it in with your knees.
Make fists with your hands so that the dog cannot chew on your fingers.
After You Got Bitten
Sometimes getting bitten is unavoidable and it can happen to the best of us. The best thing you can do now is to get your wounds treated as fast as possible.
Wash And Treat The Wound
If the wound is very deep, you might need to apply pressure to it until it stops bleeding. Once the bleeding has stopped, you might want to wash it off with clean water and disinfect the surface of the wound with antiseptic soap or cream.
You should also apply bandages to the wound to prevent contact with more bacteria.
Seek Medical Attention
If the wound starts to turn red, then you might have picked up an infection. If the wound is very deep, then you might want to go to the doctor for stitches.
There is also the possibility that you might have picked up Rabies. If that is the case, then you want to get treated as soon as possible. Rabies is a deadly virus that can kill you.
There are also other bacteria such as Staphylococcus and Pasteurella.
Call The Police And Animal Control
The dog might still be out there. Call the police and the local animal control center so that they can take care of this dangerous dog that is on the loose.
You do not want this same dog to attack anybody else, do you?
Please Be Careful
Now you know to protect yourself and your loved ones against a dog attack. It is always better to look for the signs of a pissed off dog than trying to defend against an attack. Always carry a weapon with you. The best weapon that I recommend is pepper spray.
Have you ever been attacked by a dog?
Please leave a comment below and with us your story.