You can become a potential victim of a dog attack anywhere, at any time. Dogs are found in just about every environment, and there will be times when any dog may feel threatened enough to attack. When you know the best ways to prevent a dog attack, you’ll be less at risk of being harmed by an aggressive animal.
Avoid Unknown Dogs
First and foremost, do not approach stray dogs or dogs you see running around loose. Unless you know the dog in question, you should never approach an animal that you are unfamiliar with because it is also unfamiliar with you. Even if a dog is on a leash, you should not approach. Dogs are territorial animals and many breeds are protective by nature. Even a dog that recognizes you may feel threatened by you in some way.
When you see a dog that you feel may be aggressive, do your best to remain calm. Dogs can sense tension and fear, which can make them feel tense and scared as well. This will trigger a defensive response in dogs that can compel them to bite you. Stay calm, and you stand a better chance of staying in control of the situation.
Keep Your Hands Down
If you find yourself close to a dog that is exhibiting aggressive behavior, put your hands down at your sides and keep them there. Gestures and hand motions may look threatening to the dog. Do not make any quick or large movements.
If you are confronted with a dog that may bite you, don’t try to run or move too quickly. This will make the dog want to bite you, and it’s unlikely that you can outrun the dog if it decides to lunge. However, you don’t want to look the dog in the eye. This can be seen as a challenge.
Instead, stand firm in the space where you are. If possible, twist slightly (and slowly) so that you are standing sideways and not directly in front of the dog. If you have anything with you, such as a bag or an umbrella, slowly move it so that it is positioned in front of you. This can make you appear larger, and therefore more dominant. Stay very still to avoid startling or further angering the dog.
If standing still and staying calm is not enough to make a menacing dog back away, speak to the animal in a clear but soft voice. Say soothing phrases such as “good dog,” and encourage the animal to “go home” or “shoo.” Keep your tone calm and quiet. Do not yell at the dog or speak angrily, as this can cause the animal to bite you in self-defense.
If the dog is not moving away, you must try to remove yourself from danger. Back away from the dog very slowly, one step at a time, while keeping the dog within your sight. Your instincts may tell you to run, but don’t. Running will encourage the dog to chase and attack.
If your actions to discourage the dog are unsuccessful and an attack is imminent, protect yourself. There are stun guns for stopping dog attacks, defensive tools designed especially for this situation. An item like this can halt a dog attack in its tracks. If you spend a lot of time hiking, walking, biking, camping or being outside, a tool like this is invaluable.
If you are not armed with a stun gun or a similar defensive weapon, use whatever is at hand. If you have a stick, a jacket, a bag or any item that you can hold in front of your body, do this. Otherwise, you need to curl up into a ball if a dog is attacking you. Cover your face and your neck with your arms.
Do not attempt to fight with the dog or get the dog off you. Movement and noise from you at this time will only encourage the dog to continue its attack and perhaps escalate its level of aggression. Stay as still as you can until help arrives or until the dog determines that you are not a threat and moves away.
Preventing a Dog Attack
Take the steps to prevent a dog attack. Do your best to stay calm, stand still and speak softly. In most cases, this will be enough to prevent being bitten or otherwise harmed by a frightened or aggressive dog. When this doesn’t work, take the steps necessary to protect yourself and prevent serious harm.