How to Survive a Dog Attack

How to Survive a Dog Attack
In the United States there are approximately 4.7 million people, every year, who suffer from a dog attack. Of these, 800,000 require medical attention. Now I'm all for man's best friend. My dog has just turned three, and I'm an avid dog lover, but we need to face the facts. Dog attacks do happen, and you need to be prepared and ready to deal with them. If you're not, it could end every badly for you, or someone you care about. All it takes is a little knowledge, and you'll stand a much greater chance of surviving a dog attack. Here's what you need to know

Pay attention

If you're walking around a new neighborhood, pay attention to what's going on around you. This has always been my advice, to ensure you're not surprised by an animal, or a thug intent on doing you harm. For a dog attack, most of these happen when a dog believes you've intruded on their space, so keeping your eyes open for potential trouble can solve most problems. Cross the street to avoid stirring up any problematic dogs you see, but if they're loose or you don't have the option to avoid them you need to continue following these steps.

Be the alpha

When you're approached by a dog, the way you handle yourself can greatly affect the outcome. Don't run, simply take a calm step to the side so you're not facing them dead on and stand tall and confident. Be still as the dog approaches, and pay attention to how the dog is acting. Most of the time, they'll simply be coming close for a sniff to check you out, and once they lose interest you can start to slowly back away. If they're growling, baring their teeth or have their ears pulled flat against their head they're probably charging in to attack, so brace yourself. The worst thing you can do is run, as it will trigger the dog's instinct to chase you, but you are going to need to fight.

Protect yourself

Against a dog attack the best thing you can do is to find an object to keep the dog at bay. If you're walking down a neighborhood street this could be a trashcan or your bicycle, the goal is to simply keep the snapping jaws of the dog away from you. Use whatever you can find as a shield, even a thick stick can be pushed into the dogs mouth to give them something to bite on that's not you. If there really is nothing around you could also use your backpack, or even take off your shirt to use as a distraction, or as padding on your weaker arm to lure the dog to bite, so you can strike back with your dominant arm.

Fight back

A dog's main method of attack is biting, so they're going to jump straight in and start snapping at whatever they can get hold of. When an attack is inevitable, or if a dog has already latched onto your arm or leg, your focus now becomes fighting back. Aim for the eyes or throat if you're going to start punching, as dogs have very thick skulls you need to be targeted with the strikes you throw for them to be effective. Oh, and don't forget your weight. Even against a large dog you've probably got a weight advantage, so use it. Throw yourself on top of the dog and pin it down, putting pressure on its throat or belly so you can keep it immobilized until help can arrive.

Using a weapon

If you've prepared and have a weapon you're going to fare far better. Of course a firearm can be used to fire a warning shot and scare the dog away, or stop it in its tracks completely. A taser can have a similar effect, or if there's nothing of the sort around look for a stick you can use to keep the dog at bay. My personal recommendation against a dog attack is bear spray, being non lethal it is probably the best option you can use to deter an attack without resorting to any unnecessary violence. The one thing I'd like to note here is that most dogs aren't going to be afraid of a knife like another person would, and many breeds of dogs, like pit bulls will continue to attack even when they're in pain. You may need to inflict a lethal blow in order to stay safe, so be prepared for this.

Don't make it worse

One of the biggest mistakes people make when fighting off a dog is they get focused on escaping. If a dog has your arm in its mouth, you're not going to be able to just pull it out. Anyone who's ever had a dog can tell you this will only get them excited, and they'll latch on even harder. Plus you'll rip your arm to shreds on their teeth. My advice would be to get the dog to let go on its own, by fighting back. If you start losing the fight and the dog pulls you to the ground, protect your vital areas. Roll onto your stomach and tuck your knees up to protect your stomach, and ball your hands into fists and use them to protect your face and ears. Try to stay calm and still, screaming and rolling around will just excite the dog further. Wait till the attack subsides, and then slowly get back to your feet. Getting into a fight with a dog is not ideal, but it's an unfortunate reality we face. From negligent owners who fail to properly contain their animals to disaster scenarios where there are packs of dogs roaming the streets, it's one situation that we're all almost guaranteed to face one day or another. The trick is to know how to protect yourself and how to fight back, and if use your brain, you've got a much better chance to survive.

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