In any attack situation, having and using weapons effectively is the key to survival. Dog attacks are no exception. What weapons are most effective against a snarling canine? What actions should you avoid if you face a dog attack? How should you respond if your only weapons are your wits and your body? Knowing the answers to these questions could save your life.
Before we consider useful weapons and tactics, here are some points to remember:
- It’s never a good tactic to run. If you run, you act like prey and will almost certainly be chased.
- Trying to simply stare down a dog rarely deters it from attacking. It’s best to avoid direct eye contact.
- Do not step into a dog fight to protect your dog or cat. That puts you in the most vulnerable position.
- Pit bulls are the breed responsible for most fatal dog attacks. In 2016, pit bulls accounted for 6% of the dogs in the US, but were responsible for 22 of the 31 fatalities. Some tactics that work for most dogs simply may not work for them.
Bearing those tips in mind, here are some tactics to consider when you are out and about, or even when you are at home working in the yard:
- Carry pepper spray or mace. These are very effective if you can aim well enough to hit the dog right in the face. The spray not only burns the eyes, but it also disorients the dog’s sense of smell, by which the dog locates vulnerable areas in its foe. If you are at home and have a fire extinguisher in easy reach, you have an even better chance of disabling an attacking dog. The force and coverage of the spray really confuse the dog.
- Brandish a stick, cane, baseball bat, or similar hard object. Simply brandishing a stick will deter many dogs. Swinging it fiercely will scare others. If a dog attacks and tries to bite, use the stick as a biting stick.
- Yell, roar, or shout commands. These actions seem to disorient many dogs, causing them to retreat or at least slow down enough to give you time to slip away.
Worst case, if you’re taken down to the ground by the dog…
It’s critical then to protect your throat, face and the back of your neck by covering your head with your hands. Then, try rolling your entire body fast while at the same time, grabbing the dog’s face and digging your thumb into the dog’s eye to impair it as much as possible so you can get away.
We’ve all heard the news stories, but no one wants to think about the possibility; however, everyone should know how to survive a dog attack.