Fortunately, a dog attack is quite rare, but there are still incidents in which dogs attack joggers, cyclists, or children seemingly without warning. You will be prepared for such cases if you know how to fend off a dog attack.
Typically, a dog attack occurs because a dog’s hunting instinct has been aroused or out of fear. Most four-legged friends are well behaved, and their owners have taught them not to attack people for no reason. However, dogs are predators nonetheless and act on instinct – in the worst case; this can result in an attack. There are also aggressive dogs that have developed behavioral problems due to an anxiety disorder or severe training and husbandry errors. You need to know how to fend off a dog attack in such a case.
Repel Dog Attack: Remain calm and soothe.
There are essentially two main reasons for a dog attack: predation and fear. Joggers or cyclists, in particular, can provoke the hunting instinct of a free-roaming dog, which in this case mistakes the human for prey. Stop if you see a dog staring at you and running straight towards you. Joggers and walkers should put their hands in their trouser pockets or place their arms at their sides to offer as tiny a target as possible. As a cyclist, you dismount on the side away from the dog, putting the bike between you and the dog. Turn sideways to the dog, but not your back, and look past him. Averting your gaze and turning your body to the side imitate dogs’ calming signals so that the four-legged friend calms down again. Stay that way until the dog loses interest and turns away. Then, you can calmly back away without making any sudden movements.
You must fend off a dog attack without further provoking the dog. If you react aggressively or run away, this spurs the dog on even more. He understands direct eye contact and a frontal posture toward him as aggression. Wildly waving your arms around or waving your arms and shouting is usually counterproductive and can escalate the situation.
What to do if the dog wants to bite?
If the dog attack threatens to escalate and the dog wants to bite you, you can fend it off by distracting it from you. This means you need to give the aggressive dog an alternative to chewing. This can be an umbrella, a stick or a bag, a backpack or a jacket. Hold the object between you and the dog so that it can bite into it. However, don’t just let go of the thing, or the animal will quickly lose interest and attack you again. Continue to remain calm and try to back away from the dog very slowly and evenly. If you have been bitten despite your best efforts to avoid a bite, see a doctor. You can find out more in the guide “Bitten by a dog: Do I have to go to the doctor after a dog bite.”
Summary: How to fend off a dog attack
● keep calm
● Put your arms on your body or put your hands in your trouser pockets
● Turn body sideways
● Avert your gaze
● Wait until the dog loses interest
● Offer alternatives to biting
● Back up slowly and calmly and carefully walk away
In the following video, you can see these tips again using the example of a jogger trying to fend off a dog attack: