What To Do If You Or Your Dog Are Attacked By Another Dog
Being attacked by a dog is a terrifying experience that can leave someone mentally and physically scarred. Dog attacks happen every day, in fact, 12,328.7 people are attacked a day on average. Records aren't kept as well for dogs being attacked by other dogs while on walks and at the dog park, but chances are they're even more common. So how can you prevent a dog attack? How to break up a dog fight? And what should you do after the attack is stopped?
Let's start with the human aspect of what to do, then finish up with what to do if your dog is attacked.
The first thing you should do is carry pepper spray. It takes one special specimen of a dog to decide it doesn't care if it can't see or breathe and still decide to keep fighting with you. So, if it's legal where you are, get some!
Now that's taken care of, let's move on to prevention. Nearly every dog that bites people "unprovoked" falls into 1 of 2 groups. The biggest of the two is the genetically weak, nervy fear-biter who has learned that showing aggression means that "scary" people leave it alone. The other group is rarer and is usually going to be a poorly trained working type breed with severe dominance issues.
The first group, the fear-biters, and nervy dogs are easy to spot. They have a rapid, whooping bark. "Woowoowoowoofffff!" They stand in a wide, athletic stance because they're scared and prepared to run. Their hair is standing on the edge, etc. Most of the time you can face them and tell them "No, go home" in a stern voice, and they'll leave. If that doesn't work, their second tactic is to circle you so they can attack you from behind. They don't have the confidence to charge you head-on.
Just make sure you don't let them get behind you, stand square, and make yourself look big and threatening while giving stern commands. If you do this, the chances of you getting bitten are near zero. These dogs do not want to fight someone who will fight back. If they still refuse to leave, give them half the can of your pepper spray. They will have second, third, and fourth thoughts about sticking around after that.
With a dominant dog, you'll have to act fast. There won't be hesitation and threat displays. They'll be coming right for you. If you already know of such dogs in your neighborhood, your pepper spray should already be out and ready. Spray the whole can directly at their nose. I suggested carrying a heavy walking stick in a few other articles and I'm suggesting it again. Even a dominant, confident dog will let the thought of retreat enter his head after a nose full of pepper spray and a solid whack or two.
If that doesn't work, the dog is likely trained or a freak of nature when it comes to dominance and confidence. In such a scenario, don't run. Don't even think about running. Even if you get bitten, keep fighting back. If the dog is wearing a collar, use it to choke the dog off you. When it lets you go, you don't let go. At this point, you're fighting for your life. Such a dog if rendered unconscious is going to wake up in the drive and be ready for round 2. Don't stop until the owner comes to control their dog physically, or until the fight is over.
Moving on to what you should do if your dog is attacked. For the fear biter, do the exact same things as if the dog were coming after you. Place yourself in between your dog and the nervy dog and try to send it away with firm commands. If that doesn't work, don't let yourselves be circled. And if necessary, use your pepper spray or a walking stick, preferably both.
If the dog is a dominant dog, one who's coming directly for your dog with no hesitation, go directly to the pepper spray and then you’re walking stick, if you decide to invest in carrying one. If the worst-case scenario materializes where this dog locks on to yours and nothing you've tried is working, use your dog's leash to your advantage. Slip the clip through the loop of the handle and use it to choke the other dog off the bite. Unlike a scenario where your dog is fighting one of your other dogs or a friend's dogs etc., do not focus on your dog. Focus on the dog that's attacking yours solely.
Remember, you are your dog's pack leader and it's your job to protect your dog. You're not here to help the other dog or break the fight up. You're here to end the fight quickly and efficiently by neutralizing or eliminating the threat to your dog's life and well-being.
The aftermath: After a dog attack, if you're injured severely, go seek medical assistance immediately. If not, try to find the dog's owner. Accidents happen. Most of us have had a dog get out of the house or yard. Try to be understanding and work something out to make sure it doesn't happen again. If they're being jerky with you, call the police or animal control. Demand a report. If they won't give you one, speak with their superior. If that doesn't yield results, contact the DA. If you're still brushed off, contact a council member or the mayor. Make sure this doesn't happen again.
If you or your dog is injured, get medical attention as soon as possible. Even if the damage doesn't appear to be too bad, the infection can set in. Keep your paperwork from your hospital/Dr./veterinarian. These can come in handy in holding the other person accountable.
Stay safe and stay vigilant. Prepare for the worst, and you'll have a higher chance of leaving the situation unharmed. Or at least with proof that the owner is negligent, and the dogs are a public safety concern.
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You might also like: How To Earn A Dog's Respect
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