Good morning and Happy St.Patties Day,
“May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows your dead.”
Yesterday I posted to Face Book the question, ” What do you do when a strange dog charges you and your dog and you have no opportunity for retreat?”
There was a lot of great discussion about this and I want to thank everyone who took the time to leave a comment.
Now let me start by saying that it is important for people to know that in 9 out of 10 cases the dogs doing the charging are not killers.. simply soft nerved,.fearful dogs, that lack any kind of meaningful training,, and have learned that showing aggression will cause the person or dog to take off and leave them alone..
You only have a few seconds to decide if this is one of those dogs who are just weak-willed and nervous or high drive and confident.. and you have to take action immediately.. I can size a dog up pretty quickly because I have a lot of experience dealing with dogs of all temperaments, the information is in their eyes..and body posture..
Dogs who are just trying to drive you off will have the hair standing up on their backs and will look like they are either about to run or about to bite you..
If you hold your ground, look directly at them, and in a loud commanding voice yell..”Go Home!!” stomp the ground and take a step toward them..they may just do that..
Carry some chicken chunks or liver treats and toss them at the dog.. they may very well forget about you and begin searching out the treats.. and this is your cue to back away slowly keeping your eye on the dog always..
The ones that don’t immediately take off will circle you ..trying to find an opportunity to pinch ya..and if you turn with them,.. keeping your dog behind you at all times.. shorten your grip on the leash so your dog has no chance of getting around you.. you don’t want your dog getting into a fight.. it is your job as leader to protect your dog at all cost..
In most cases the offending dog will not come too close.. but might keep circling, barking and acting tough for quite some time.. in this case you should slowly and I mean slowly back out of their territory..the one thing you don’t want to do is run.. you can’t out run a dog and running will only kick in their prey drive and increase the chances of you getting bitten.. even though you may be scared..don’t show this to the dog..they can sense strength and confidence so make and hold direct eye contact.. and defensive body posture.. you can break down later.
Now what about that one time out of ten when the strange dog that is charging you is a confident, high drive dog with nerves of steel that is not afraid to attack humans..
Let me begin by saying that no amount of yelling, treat throwing.. or stomping the ground is going to stop this dog.. you have only one choice.. you have to go to battle with this dog.. and losing is not an option.. there are many dogs quite capable of killing you and your dog.. Rottweilers, Pit bulls, Dobermans..German Shepherds among others come to mind..
Now unlike the first category of charging dog, this dog will not be barking or have any hair raised up.. they will be laser targeted on you or your dog.. and you must ready yourself for what’s about to happen.. I always carry a 4 foot hardwood walking stick with me.. a two foot tire thumper is good too..but always have it out..
I always have a couple of steel carabiners attached to my belt so I can clip my dog to me ..and have the use of both hands.. you want to prevent your dog from running away..
Ready yourself in your best fighting stance..and when the dog is about 15 feet from you wave your arm out to the side ..this will cause the dogs prey drive to target your arm.. and at the last possible moment when the dog has left the ground and is flying to bite your arm.. step to the side and use your stick to whack the dog hard in the ribs or on top of the head.. this will not in all likely hood cause the dog to retreat.. but it sends the message that you are not going down without a fight.. then you don’t wait.. you attack the dog with all you got.. repeated blows to the top of the head right between the eyes… the ribs..the groin.. usually the dog will give up if it hasn’t bitten you after 3 or 4 attempts..
If the dog gets to you and grabs you by the leg.. wrap your arms around the dog’s neck and choke it to death.. not until it passes out..because a dog that is hell-bent on killing you or your dog will go right back to fighting as soon as it wakes up.. and usually the dog will wake up quickly.. so you might not have time to get away…
If it gets hold of your arm then whack it hard on the head right between the eyes.. usually the dog will give up after about 3 or 4 good knocks on the head..
If you have lost your footing and are in a bad way.. curl up in the fetal position and cover the back of your neck and throat.. with your hands and arms.. keep yelling for help.. you will most likely be badly bitten ..but you may very well survive..
Remember.. don’t run…it will be hard to keep from doing this ..but your life could very well depend on it..
If the dog attacks your dog, the same applies.. continue to whack the dog until it quits and runs off or the owner comes to control the dog.. one thing you should never do is pick your dog up.. this will hamper your ability to fight..and makes your face a target for the charging dog.. keep your dog behind you if possible.. I always attach a couple of steel carabiers to my belt.. and clip my dogs leash to it so I can have the use of both hands..
Pepper spray can work well.. but dogs don’t respond to it like humans .. so be warned it may not stop a high drive determined dog..but a full can of spray to the face will make them think twice about what’s going on..
Regardless of the outcome .. if possible talk to the dogs owner.. be kind..the dog may have gotten away from them by accident.. while it is still his responsibility,. try to work it out..
If the owner is just as hostile as his dog..then call the cops.. and let the chips fall where they may..
A word of caution for those of you who would like to think you would shoot the dog.. let me say this..
I was raised with a rifle in one hand and a dog in the other.. and I can tell you it is not as easy as you might think to shoot any animal that is charging straight at you.. your adrenalin is high, and even if you are a crack shot.. you only have a few seconds to react.. and there is a high probability that you will miss.. and a stray bullet or ricochet bullet in an urban setting can kill or injure by standers.. the risk to others is too high.. so please leave your side arms at home.
Again thank you all for taking the time to comment on this serious issue.. and if you have questions let me know in the comments below..
All the best,