I love dogs, they truly are loyal companions but they can also be very dangerous. Now, I don’t believe for one second that any dog is born aggressive, it is down to the owner and how they bring that dog up. By knowing how to react in a dog attack, it could end up saving your life or that of somebody else.
Pit bulls have a reputation for being dangerous but you need to remember that ANY dog can be dangerous. By simply looking at the body language of a dog, it can tell you a lot. An obvious sign of aggression is the dog showing its teeth and growling. A relaxed dog will usually hold its head above or below its body. If it holds its head inline with its body, it could be a sign that it’s about to attack.
What not to do with an aggressive dog:
- Never look an aggressive dog in the eyes or the dog will see it as a challenge.
- Don’t smile towards the dog as it could see you as baring your teeth.
Instead, you should stand sideways. This way it will see you as less of a threat. Moving very slowly, back away until you are out of the dogs line of sight.
If the dog is still on to you, don’t attempt to run away as the dogs chase instinct will kick in. The only time running would be the right move is when you can run and get up higher than the dog/dogs. Dogs can’t climb so use that to your advantage.
Try to intimidate the aggressive dog. Like any animal, dogs can be intimidated. Try to do the following:
- Raise your arms above your head to make yourself appear taller and shout loudly.
- If there are rocks nearby, throw them at the dog to make it think twice about attacking.
If the dog keeps attacking you are going to need to quickly get hold of something that can get between you and the bite. This could be a large, strong stick, a pole, or even your rucksack. If you are sure that you are actually going to get bit then think about which part of your body you would prefer it. The bite is going to hurt but you want to protect your most vulnerable areas.
If you have a jacket, consider wrapping it around your arm and using this to offer to the dog. 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.
In a worst-case scenario: it’s a fight to the death. You want to avoid a ground fight as this will leave you exposed. Instead, you need to neutralise the dog as quickly as possible. The weakest part of the dog are its ribs. These break very easily so if possible bring your whole weight down on the dog to break them. 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.
This guide is an altered version of one found over at GQ Magazine.