When Dogs Attack

July 22nd, 2016

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When dogs attack, it can be a scary thing. It’s not often that dogs attack, but they can if they feel a threat to themselves, their pack, or their territory. If you do find yourself in that unfortunate situation, here are some tips to prevent the situation from escalating, and minimize the damage.

How to avoid being bitten

Stay calm. Don’t give in to fear or anxiety, and get aggressive back at the dog. An aggressive dog feeds off the energy of aggression and tension, so if you’re calm, it can almost “confuse them” into calming down themselves.

Avoid direct eye. Stand slightly sideways (which also makes you a narrower target) and keep the dog in your peripheral vision.

Either leave the situation, or if you’re entering a space you need to be, wait for the dog to back down. Walk steadily forward, commanding your space, and maintain the energy that you are not afraid.

When the dog senses that you aren’t threatening, it will probably lose interest and the situation will de-escalate.

What to do if you are attacked

The first line of defense is to let the dog attack something on you that isn’t you. If you’re near a bush, step behind it so the dog runs into that. Or if you’re wearing a jacket, pull your arm out of the sleeve, and move the sleeve towards the dog’s mouth. Let it keep biting the jacket while you take it off and slowly leave. This may be distracting enough for the dog to stay occupied while you get to safety.

If you don’t have something else for the dog to bite, the safest place you can be bitten is your shin or forearm. So as a last ditch effort, try and put those areas in the way of the dog first.

If you are bitten, don’t pull away or back up. This will make the injury worse. If you have both hands free, and can reach, grab the dog’s back legs and lift them off the ground. This should help the dog release its bite.