SURVIVING A DOG ATTACK: 3 Things Not To Do (Part 4)

This is one post in the four-part ‘SURVIVING A DOG ATTACK’ series, including:
* The Encounter (Part 1)
* The Aftermath (Part 2)
* The Invisible Wounds (Part 3)

* What Not To Do (Part 4) 

A dog is running your direction. Perhaps it’s friendly, perhaps it’s not — you aren’t sure. It’s getting closer, but its tail is not wagging, and it’s charging, and…holy h#&*! Within mili-seconds, you’re hit with the realization: this dog is on attack.

Most of us react to a scary dog out of instinct (screaming, running), but this will only put you in greater danger. To keep yourself safe, here are THREE THINGS NOT TO DO in the event of a potential dog attack:

German Shepherd chained up and barking
German Shepherd chained up and barking (author: PDPics, licensed under CC0 1.0 ).

DO NOT run

Instead, freeze. Hold completely still, and make no sudden moves. Only when the dog has backed off may you, in turn, back. away. slowly.

DO NOT look the dog in the eyes

Looking a dog in the eyes is considered a challenge—it will make him angrier. Watch him out of the corner of your eyes. Your peripheral vision is your friend.

DO NOT fight back

Fighting back may be your instinct, but it will provoke. You want to give the dog something to bite onto, instead. Something that isn’t you—like a hat or a jacket or a bag. Hold that item out to your side, and wave it like there’s no tomorrow. Dogs will instinctually go for the flashy/moving item over your boring, motionless body parts — as long as you keep them motionless.

Below is a helpful video made for Utility Workers, with tips on how to survive a dog attack (I advise you skip ahead to the first minute of the video).

Other Tips:

  • If the dog is determined to bite, try to put out a forearm to keep it from biting your more fragile and blood-filled abdomen, inner leg/groin area, or face.
  • If you hit the ground, move immediately into the fetal position, covering your face and throat area with your hands/arms.
  • If the dog backs away, you may begin to back away slowly. But…make no sudden moves. Keep your hat/jacket at your side, ready to wave it wildly in case the dog returns.

Hopefully, all these tidbits will help keep you safe. And while it’s true that most dogs (even German Shepherds) are often like this in terms of temperament:

German Shepherd puppy.
German Shepherd puppy (untitled, author: Werner-B, licensed under CC0 1.0).

It never hurts to be prepared.

Have you ever been attacked by a dog, or had a frightening run-in with one? Share your experience in the comments, below — I’d love to hear how it impacted your life!

[Feature Image Credit: Beware of Dog, by Kenny Louie, licensed under CC BY 2.0.]

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