Being attacked by a vicious dog can be terrifying and potentially life-threatening. Dog bites are fairly common; however, being mauled (repetitively bitten) by a dog is rare. Children are more susceptible to dog attacks than adults are.
Dogs will usually only attack if protecting their territory, if they are rabid, or if they are provoked. If one dog in a pack starts an attack, the rest will automatically join in. Joggers are sometimes attacked and may not even see it coming. The reason for this is that running away from an aggressive dog triggers their instincts to attack prey.
Business Insider gave some tips in a video from Clint Emerson—a former Navy Seal—about what to do if attacked by a dog. Other recommendations came from Victoria Stilwell of Positively and Cesar Millan from The Dog Whisperer television series.
Before An Attack
If a dog growls at you, bears its teeth, and takes an attack stance, here are some things to do:
1. Stay calm.
2. Do not run away.
3. Do not make eye contact.
4. Turn sideways and use your peripheral vision to watch the dog.
5. If there is anyone nearby, in a calm manner, without shouting, ask for help.
6. Pretend to ignore the dog.
7. Cross your arms.
8. Stay still for a short time and then move away slowly.
9. Try to move to a place that is higher ground and where there is something between you and the dog. It is harder to bite you from below and when some barrier is in the way.
Defensive Measures During An Attack
1. Use a jacket, purse, backpack, or anything you have to give the dog something to go after, so it does not go after you.
2. If possible, use your jacket to cover its head so it cannot see.
3. Take your shirt off and wrap it around your weakest arm to protect your arteries.
4. Use this forearm to block the dog, not the inside part of the arm where the blood vessels are located.
5. Keep both hands in a fist to protect your fingers.
6. Use your stronger arm to punch the dog with full force in the nose or muzzle.
7. Kick it under the front arms in the rib cage area. This is a place where a dog is very sensitive.
8. If it lunges at you, move out of the way to deflect the attack and then grab it and body slam it to the ground. If you can “knock the wind” out of the animal you will have a better chance of getting away.
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What To Do If You Are Bitten
1. Resist the temptation to pull away. That will tear your flesh more.
2. With your free hand, pick up the dog by its hind legs. This usually will cause it to release.
3. Then, body slam it to the ground with full force.
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What To Do If You Are Knocked Down
1. Guard yourself and your vital organs.
2. Roll up into a ball with your arms covering the back of your neck, your head, and your throat.
3. Stay as still as possible. The more you move; the more bites you will probably receive.
4. Play dead until the dog loses interest.
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Trying to appease a vicious dog, by talking to it and making eye contact, may only make the situation worse. The best method is to maintain composure, pretend to be bored by not paying the dog any direct attention, and then calmly move away. Hopefully, the dog will lose interest and no longer see you as a threat.
Use something that you carry with you to give the dog something to attack. This can be anything, including a shoe. Do not throw it at the dog. Throw it away from you. This distraction may get the dog to leave you alone and attack the item instead.
Yelling, using pepper spray, hitting the dog with rocks, or a stick will usually only antagonize it further. If you see someone being attacked, find something to throw over the dog’s eyes. A dog will usually stop fighting momentarily when it cannot see. This may give you time to escape.
If you are forced to fight, then fight viciously. You have to convince the dog that you are the alpha (strongest one in the situation) for it to disengage.