With an estimated 39% of Americans now owning dogs, it is not surprising that dog attacks are also on the rise. Some of the most vicious dog attacks receive media attention, but most do not. And when one thinks of the potential risks to your person, such as loss of income and pain and suffering, being attacked by a vicious dog is a serious matter.
There are some approximately 77.5 million owned dogs in the United States. Most dog attacks are occurring in spaces shared with dog owners such as public parks and other urban areas. It is very natural for people to feel at least a bit threatened for their own safety and even more for that of their children.
How To Fight Off A Dog Attack
Freeze. One of the most instinctive, but yet worst things to do, is run. It is second nature to run from danger, but running from a dog is most likely to not only get you caught by the dog, but more so also get the animal into a predatory mindset. Your running will be seen as a challenge at the least. A dog is many times more likely to chase a moving target. Unless you are Usain Bolt, you cannot outrun a dog, and he will take you down from behind. This is a given.
Don't make eye contact. A stare down is something that mammals do to intimidate and activate the predatory mind. WE see evidence of this in MMA fights and boxing matches for a reason - it induces an adrenaline response and primes the mind for attack and confrontation. In fact, dogs by nature will see this as confrontation.
Stay calm. Easier said than done, especially when facing some mean ass breeds, like pit bulls and Perro de Presa Canario dogs, but it is vital to your safety. (Presa Canario dogs are originally from the Canary Islands, this dog is bred to guard and fight with cattle. Attacks by this dog have been described as hopeless for the victim. They are getting more popular with drug dealers who often use them to guard their stash)
Do not smile. Showing your teeth could be another act which is interpreted as a challenge by the dog as they do this to each other to back the other dog down.
Keep your arms at your sides. By keeping your arms at your sides, you are less likely to be seen as less threatening to the dog and keeps your limbs out of harms way - which the dog often will use to bite and pull you down.
Do not make any sudden movements. This goes without saying. Again, it might threaten the dog.
Do not turn your back on the animal. A dog might react to this the same way that it would if you ran away.
When It All Goes Wrong - How To Defend Against a Dog Attack
A dog is built for pulling. Dogs are pulling machines. Their strength in their bite lies not only in the jaw and neck muscles but in the ability to pull backwards as it is trying, literally, to rip you limb from limb. The absolute worst thing, besides letting it get you down, is to try to pull your arm out of its mouth.
Not only will this help rip your flesh apart, it will make the dog bear down its center of gravity and pull back harder. The thing to do here is to push your arm back further into the dog's mouth and throat and then strike it with all your force.
If the dog has a firm hold of you, you have no other choice but to strike hard and decisively into the animal's weakest parts with maximal force. Preferably, strike into the eyes and down onto the nose with a hammer fist. Hopefully you might have an object to jab into the dog's eyes or a kick to the throat.
Another thing, a dog's shoulder joint is very easy to break and a good boot, like a front stomp kick will do the job. Kick the dog in the front shoulder joint the way you would if you were trying to break a 2x4 laid back against a wall at a 45 degree angle.
Stay off of the ground. Most people killed by dogs are killed when dragged to the ground and then attacked in the neck. Dogs do this instinctively. Cover your head and neck with your hands and protect your vital organs with your knees. Once a dog takes you down to the ground he will climb on top of you and bite you continually, and you will have a hard time staying in a fetal position.
You could try to strangle the dog with its own collar (or your own belt) while pinning it down with your knees while on top of it. Apparently there was a 9-year-old Bakersfield boy strangled a pit bull who attacked a little girl. Same rule as in street fighting - stay on your feet at all costs It is far better to get a torn up limb, than down on the ground where your head, face, and neck are easy targets.
Dogs have little strength in the hindquarters. If you can grab the dog by the hind legs and toss it, go for it. Example, while holding its hind legs, toss it through a window or into traffic.
Get to higher ground. Try to jump up on the hood of a car or better yet, a truck. This could save you.
Mace and pepper spray might not work on lots of the worst attack breeds. If you want to go this route and have an ongoing threat with a dangerous dog in your neighborhood or on your daily route, consider getting some formaldehyde and putting it into a spray bottle. This is the stuff we used to preserve frogs in science class in high school. Get it into your eyes and paranasal sinus and it will disrupt your breathing and hurt worse than one can imagine. Consider putting it into a nasal spray bottle or other spray bottle that will work.
Consider edged weapons. A good folding Spyderco pocket knife with a one-hand opening device like a round-eye hole on the blade or a thumbstud is a good investment if you walk with your kids in an area with lots of big stray dogs around. Another thing could be a walking cane as it could be used to get between you and the dog.
Use any thing that can be deployed as a weapon. A piece of road tar, brick, stone, stick etc, can save you. A ballpoint pen could also save your life! Anything that you can use to get between you and the dog could save you. Let's say you are on a bicycle, using the bike as a barrier is a good defensive tactic.
Sound like cruelty? For the most part, dogs are harmless, loving, kind and obedient pets. It is largely through human abuse, inbreeding and the willful breeding of violent traits that there are some nasty dogs out there (Some unfortunate examples "pitbulls").
But lets be clear, if an aggressive dog poses a physical threat to you, your rights and safety come first. If they attack you or your loved ones, you don't have a choice - you have to act to protect them and/or yourself. This is not cruelty, but your survival. Taking an attacking dog out with lethal force is a very last resort. But there are times when you have a kill or be killed situation and have no choice. It might be unpleasant to harm an animal, but an even far worse reality for you or your loved ones to be torn apart by one.