All dogs have the potential to attack. From small chihuahuas to breed favorites like golden retrievers, the right set of circumstances can lead to a harmful situation. The best way people can prepare themselves is to understand why dogs attack and learn how to address a dangerous situation with confidence.
The top reasons that dogs commonly attack include a predatory drive when joggers, bicyclists, or cars pass by. Some dogs feel compelled to give chase, if they can. Other dogs feel the need to defend their territory. Any unaddressed excitement or aggression can lead to an attack, even though a dog would “normally” be very friendly. Others may suffer from food aggression, fear, or other unbalanced behaviors.
If you find yourself in a situation with an aggressive dog, try to stay calm. Avoid yelling or kicking or other high-energy behaviors. Avoid eye contact and stand so that your side is facing the dog. In some cases, this dominating stance of claiming your space will prevent a dog from attacking. Other times, you may find yourself being charged. Runners and other outdoor pedestrians may not have the opportunity to confront a dog before he or she attacks. Here are some tips for dealing with a dog attack in the heat of the moment:
• Try to distract the dog with something other than a body part. Wave a shoe, wiggle out of a sleeve, or use anything within reach to try to redirect the dog’s mouth.
• Ball up your hands. Protect your face, chest, and throat, and if a bite is inevitable, try to use your shin or arms to deflect the attack.
• Do not run. Trying to pull or run away can make the attack worse. Even if you are being bitten, it is important to resist the urge to pull away. Most dogs become more engaged in the behavior when they meet resistance and pulling away may cause more harm.
• Don’t be afraid to defend yourself. Raise your voice during an attack and call for help. Kick and hit the dog in the nose, head, and throat to discourage biting. Use anything nearby as a weapon. Focus on soft areas like the neck and nose. You may not completely stop an attack but you can stun the animal enough to get away. While it’s never desirable to purposefully harm an animal, it is necessary to use force during a dog attack.
• Leverage your weight. Push down with your knees and put all your weight on the animal. If possible, put your weight on the dog’s back and force its head down to the ground to prevent the dog from attacking until help arrives.
If available, mace, pepper spray, or large sticks are also effective deterrents in a dog attack. In some cases, you may even need to break the animal’s bones or choke it to prevent an attack. It isn’t a fun prospect, but knowing all of the alternatives may save your or someone else’s life one day.
After an attack, you need to talk to the owner. Try to be reasonable and sincere. The owner’s reaction will tell you a lot about the situation. Not every dog attack case leads to a dog’s death; however, owners who fail to take responsibility for their dog’s behavior may require a more aggressive approach. Contact the authorities and make sure that a police report is filed regarding the incident. Then, if you still can’t get a response, and you can prove that the dog is a threat, contact a Dallas dog bite attorney. The goal is to make sure that every dog attack situation is handled swiftly and appropriately so that the community remains safe, and you get the justice deserved after a dog attack incident.