Dogbite.org, about 1000 Americans require emergency care treatment on a daily basis for dog bite injury. Also, about 4.7 million Americans are bitten by a dog each year. Now, those are insanely alarming statistics. But they are true. And another bitter truth is that you may just be the next victim of a dog attack. Your own dog (if you have one) may decide to turn rebellious. Your friend’s dog may attack you because it doesn’t know you as a friend of its owner. A stray dog in your neighborhood may attack you while you are on a walk. Any of these could happen.If a dog is showing signs of aggression, don’t look it in the eye as it will take that as a challenge.
Don’t smile as it could interpret that as you baring your teeth. Instead, stand sideways to it so you present less of a threat. Without making sudden movements, slowly back away and out of the dog’s line of sight.
If the dog keeps coming, its primary weapon will be its bite. Do what you can to get something between you and that bite – a stick, a jacket or a rucksack. If it’s unavoidable, you need to think about which part of your body you would prefer the dog to attack. It’s a Hobson’s choice – the bite will hurt – but you want to protect your most vulnerable parts: your neck, your face, your chest and your groin. This might mean offering it a less vulnerable part of your body such as the thick flesh on your outer thigh.
If possible, though, you should wrap whatever clothing you can around your forearm and offer that to the dog. Your arm has a higher proportion of bone than your leg and will bleed less. This manuvre will leave you with three limbs with which to fight back. Remember, when dogs bite, they dig their teeth in firmly and don’t let go. If you try to rip your arm from that bite, you’ll only worsen the tear and end up with a vicious, debilitating open wound.
Once a dog has you in a bite, all bets are off. Worst-case scenario: it’s a fight to the death. You want to avoid a ground fight as this leaves you exposed. Instead, you need to quickly neutralise the dog. The best way to do this is to use your body weight and fall on the dog to crush it – a dog’s ribs break easily. With your free arm, go for the dog’s eyes, or strike at the back of its head, just at the base of its skull. If you’re in the wild and you have a survival knife with you, the dog’s most vulnerable parts are under its front leg or just above its shoulder. Other tips include covering the dog’s head with a coat, which often subdues it, and lifting the dog’s hind legs up in the air, which stops it from manoeuvring effectively.
So remember if a dog attacks you, what should you do? Run? That’s the worst thing you can do in such a situation. Surrender? That’s another no-no. You would be badly mauled. You have to defend yourself. Here, are three proven tips on how you can defend yourself from a dog attack:
How to Defend Yourself against a Dog Attack – 3 Action Steps to Take
1. Take precautions
Dog attacks occur usually because of inadequate training of the dog (by the owner) or insufficient containment of the dog. So, whenever you see any unchained dog, always prepare for the worst so that you won’t be caught unawares. A safe move is to take another path (if available). When you meet a stray dog, avoid eye contact with it, as most dogs see this as a threat. Also, avoid smiling at the dog. Though this may show that you are friendly, an aggressive dog would assume that you are baring your teeth in readiness for a fight.
2. Never underestimate a dog
Whenever you see a “Beware of dog” notice, be very careful. Underestimating a dog is the worst thing you can do. Never judge a dog by its size or looks. A small dog could inflict terrible bites. And a seemingly calm dog could be aggressive. A dog is a dog and should be regarded as one – irrespective of its size, age, color, looks, and so on. Having this in mind would help you stay away from dogs when you should.
Once you see a dog approaching you with its body straight and stiff and its head, shoulders, and hips aligned, it is most likely coming for an attack. Don’t wait till it gets closer before you think of what to do. Prepare for it. But don’t run.
3. Be calm, then act fast if (you are attacked eventually)
When a dog approaches you, DO NOT RUN! I just can’t emphasize this rule enough, because it’s just intuitive for anyone to run away from looming danger. But doing so in this case would cause more problems, as the dog would chase you like a prey (and you can never outrun a dog).
Rather than running away, remain calm. Then try to command the dog with words like “down” or “go back”. Such words may cause the dog to retreat temporarily, giving you ample chance to get away. But if your commands fail to work, remain calm. Avoid facing the dog directly and avoid making eye contact with it, as doing these would signal to the dog that you mean no harm.
To further convince the dog that you are not trying to attack it, fold your arms tightly to protect your fingers. Better yet, keep them still by your sides with your fists clenched tightly to protect your fingers. Then remain in a still position. Dogs have very short attention spans. So, it may lose interest and go away after seeing that you mean no harm.
If the dog comes closer, remain still and calm. Some dogs would only sniff you and go away without biting. But if the dog is biting, try to grab its neck if it is a small dog that you can overpower easily. If it is a larger dog, find something hard or pointed that you can either force into its mouth or use to block its teeth each time it tries to bite you.
If there is nothing you can protect yourself with, and the dog is a large one that you cannot overpower, quickly place your clenched fists at the side of your head and your elbows by your sides. This will protect your vital organs, as the dog can only bite at your legs and other parts of your body that are less vital. If the dog knocks you down with its weight, roll yourself into the fetal position and protect your head, neck, and belly with your fists and elbows. This way, you will have minimal injuries – if any at all.
P.S:If a dog bites you on the leg or somewhere else, do not try to pull away from the dog’s mouth, as this may result in torn, open wounds.