Tag Archives: man’s best friend

Man’s Best Friend Part 2 – Surviving an Attack

Photo courtesy of William Potter and Flickr

In my last safety tip I blogged about how to avoid a dog attack. Unfortunately, animals are unpredictable and implementing those techniques may not always work. Which leads to today’s topic of surviving an attack. Remember, any dog – even a normally friendly one – can become aggressive if it feels it or its “pack” is threatened. A vicious attack can mean serious injury for you or even death. WARNING! I am not an expert on dogs. Heck, I don’t even own one (I have two cats). This is merely a compilation of the information I’ve collected while researching dogs for my current WIP.

  • If you have pepper spray, use it! Aim for the nose and eyes. Unfortunately pepper spray may not work on all dogs.
  • A kick to the head or ribs should stop most small dog attacks.
  • If attacked by a large dog, take a fighting stance and remain standing. If you have no weapons to improvise (a walking stick, a purse, an umbrella, etc.) use your foot, but keep your balance. Fighting a dog on the ground puts you at risk for bites to the face, neck and vital areas. If you do wind up on the ground, curl into the fetal position and cover your ears and the back of your neck with your hands and arms.
  • Find a barrier to place between you and the animal’s teeth (a fence would be good here) like a bicycle, a stick, or a jacket wrapped around your arm. This barrier may not be ideal, however, it gives you the ability to fight with your other arm and both legs.
  • Many dogs will instinctively grab hold of your arm and hold on. As tempting as it is, don’t pull your arm away. You’ll only assist the animal in ripping it. Instead, try forcing your arm into its mouth. This may cause the dog to choke and release your arm. It could also cause pain and damage its jaw. If you have an improvised weapon like a stick, you could try shoving that down its throat choking it until it gives up your arm.
  • If nothing is working, try going for the eyes, punching the nose, or twisting and pulling the ears. As with any other self-defense scenario, keep fighting until there is no longer a threat or you can no longer fight.

If you have any other tips or thoughts on surviving a dog attack, please share them in the comment section.


~KM Fawcett

Man’s “Best Friend” Part 1 – Avoiding an Attack

While researching canine behavior for my work in progress, I came across some information on how to survive a dog attack.  This isn’t something I’ve given much thought to before even though I used to be a competitive runner and had a few come after me on the roads.  None did anything more than bark and give chase until I stopped and yelled at it to go home.  The one time I was bitten by a dog was in my friend’s home.  I think she (the dog) was jealous I spent too much time with her owner.  As he and I were walking out the door together, she chomped down on my calf.  I’m wincing, remembering the pain.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my suffering as more than 4 million people are bitten by dogs each year according to the Cellino & Barnes, Personal Injury Attorneys website. They state as many as one million people nationwide require medical treatment for dog bites every year.  More than 334,000 victims end up in the emergency room.  More than half of all the animal attack victims are children.

Below are some tips compiled from researching various sites to help you avoid a dog attack.  Feel free to share more tips in the comments section.

  • Don’t stare an aggressive dog in the eyes.  Eye contact to a dog may be seen as a threat or challenge.
  • Stay calm.  A dog may attack if it thinks you want to fight or thinks you are weak.
  • If you are jogging, stop and walk by the dog, avoiding eye contact and sudden movement.
  • Try commanding the dog to Sit, Stay or Go Home.
  • Keep your hands down at your sides and avoid making any sudden movements.
  • Don’t smile. Bared teeth may signify aggression to a dog.
  • Don’t turn your back on the dog. Canines often take that as a sign of weakness or an opening to attack.
  • Don’t run.  It will excite the dog to chase you.

Look for Man’s “Best Friend” Part II – Surviving an Attack in upcoming safety tips.

~KM Fawcett