How To Survive A Dog Attack

Dogs are a man’s best friend, that’s one of the first thing they teach you when you’re a child. Mark Twain used to say something like “the more people I meet, the more I like my dog”. But, just like almost any other thing in life, dogs can be a benefit or a hazard.

After all, dogs are basically wild animals, recently domesticated and put to “good” use by mankind. Yet, deep inside, the wolf (their ancestor) is still trying to get out when there’s a full moon in the sky.

Okay, maybe I’m being melodramatic, but it’s a well-established fact that dogs are sometimes a threat even for their masters, not to mention perfect strangers.

For example, according to a statistic from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), in the US alone almost 5 million people annually are victims of dog attacks, from which 800,000 require medical attention and 20-30 die as a result from their dog-related injuries.

Yes, I know, there are laws prohibiting various things, like animal control laws, leash laws, control programs and what not, but since when did a law solve anything, except for creating a job for a bureaucrat? Dogs are still roaming free in the suburbs and sometimes on the city streets, not to mention remote rural areas. And if you’re a regular jogger or a mailman, you’ve probably already had a few encounters of the third kind with man’s best friend.

Generally speaking, dog attacks occur when people are jogging, walking, exercising their own dogs in the park or riding their bicycles in average neighborhoods, at the least expected moment and at the worst time possible.

Of course, we’ve all heard from dog owners that “Max would never do that”. That phrase falls easily into “top 100 famous last words”, at least that’s how I see it. To some, dogs often seem unpredictable just like humans are. And even if a dog attack is not fatal, it’s a very unpleasant life experience, to say the least, especially if the perpetrator is a large Chewbacca-style dog.

And since dog attacks do happen in real life (don’t get me started with the collapse of society and packs of genetically modified feral dogs hunting people after dark in the deserted  cities of a dystopian future), it would be a good idea to know a few things about how to survive in a hairy situation, don’t you think?

There’s a reason why the police use K9 units: they’re very efficient as attack dogs, and I know a few stories about perpetrators that made an instant 180 turn and ran like hell when they were confronted with a pissed-off German Shepherd with its fangs bared. Now picture yourself in that situation. It’s not a pretty picture, is it?

angry dogTo begin with, you should know your “enemy”, i.e. the top-ten most aggressive/dangerous species of dogs: German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Akitas, Presa Canarios, hybrid wolves and mixed breeds.

Don’t get me wrong, any kind of dog can be trained to be very friendly with people or they can be trained as an attack dog; don’t take any dog for granted.

Also, regardless of its species, any dog can have a bad day (I have a friend whose nose was bitten off by his own dog!), or you may have a bad smell, or the wrong attitude etc.

This is just a friendly reminder of your “chances” when confronted with an aggressive dog: remember that Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and Presa Canarios especially have a bad rep. They’ve killed more people than any other species of dogs in the last 15 years. And many of these attacks were from the family’s dog in their own house, with the victims being the kids.

The Gear that Will Keep You Safe

The first step to take care of in any survival situation is to be prepared for the respective scenario. In this case, always have a weapon on your person if you want to maximize your chances of survival when attacked by dogs.

Weapons may come handy if you’re attacked by dogs, but they’re priceless for when you’re dealing with “friendly” fellow humans (the probability is way greater in the latter scenario. Muggings, murders and other violent crimes occur way more frequently than dog attacks).

You can use lots of things for self-defense against dogs and other predators, but one of the most effective and “legal” methods is the classic pepper spray. Being a device designed to make an aggressor think twice before attacking you, it works great on dogs, as they have an acute sense of smell. There are also specially designed dog repellants in the form of pepper sprays that you can buy specifically.

Also, do you know that old saying “speak softly and carry a big stick”? It works on dogs too. I mean being calm and having a big stick (concealed would be awesome) on your person would be a great defense against a dog attack. Dogs sense fear and if you’re obviously scared, they’re more likely to attack.

Guns are great for obvious reasons (the bang! Is usually enough to scare an attacking dog or human), even knives are useful if a STFH situation with a big dog occurs; I mean if it gets “mano a mano”. We’ll get back to that in a second.

Prevention is the Best Weapon

Now that we’ve established that it’s good to be prepared (with gear) for the eventuality of a dog attack, let’s see how to avoid a possible confrontation in the first place, shall we?

Diplomacy saves lives; Winston Churchill said that, if memory serves, before he began bombing German cities. If you see an unleashed pooch across the street, try to avoid it as much as possible, but let him know that you’re there. I mean you can talk to yourself, whistle a little, anything that lets him know you exist. If you take him by surprise, he may get irritable.

Try to avoid a strange dog’s territory as much as possible; dogs are territorial animals and generally they attack for two main reasons: defensive (war for territory!) or offensive (they feel threatened or they associate you with prey).

More importantly, dogs running in packs are way more dangerous than solitary ones, which are usually minding their own business. The worst idea when a dog is attacking you is to run away. If you act in that way, the dog will associate you with prey and it will hunt you down. And dogs run faster than humans, so if you don’t climb a car or a tree, you’re toast!

Also, try not to appear threatening to a dog which is showing signs of aggression (barking, growling, and hackles) by staring into its eyes. If you do that, the dog will think that you’re challenging it to a fight or the like. In the dog world, direct eye contact is highly confrontational, along with bared teeth.

So, if you’re approached by a pooch signaling its bad intentions, you must stand still, don’t run away, try to stand up straight and look as big as possible, keep your mouth shut  and your gaze level. Don’t look down, that’s a sign of weakness.

Don’t turn your back to the dog, keep calm and eventually try a few commands like “sit/stop/stay”; if they work, maybe the dog has an owner, which may be close, but don’t put your faith in it. You can use the confusion moment to get away or to think about your next steps, it can’t hurt trying if you have the opportunity.

Do not make sudden movements and don’t smile; try to keep the dog calm and thinking you’re not a threat; talk to it gently in a relaxing, soothing voice. Seriously, it sometimes works, if you can control yourself. Try to back away slowly if the dog shows that he lost his attitude, i.e. is starting to lose interest in you.

In most cases, if you’re not dealing with a psycho-dog, these tricks will probably work and you’ll prevent an attack; also, you’ll have a nice story to tell to your friends.

What if Confrontation Can’t Be Avoided?

However, if all Hell breaks loose, what are you going to do against an attacking dog?

dog biteWell, if you’re physically fit and you have a solid pair of boots on, the very nature of a dog exposes it to a good ol’ kick to the jaw or throat which, if followed by consistent, well placed kicks, will definitely discourage it from being a pest to innocent pedestrians.

That’s pretty hardcore stuff to be honest, and if you’re confronted with a Presa Canario, you can forget about it.

The common sense reaction to a vicious dog attack is to put a block between its teeth and your body if you can. Use something like a stick, a water bottle, a jacket wrapped around your arm or something similar. If you have a stick or a bottle, try to shovel it down the dog’s throat.

Keep in mind that trying to pull your arm from a dog’s mouth is generally a bad idea, as the dog will probably rip it apart and you’ll end up with a nasty open wound. This is also the moment to try that pepper spray, so the biting dog would absorb the full brunt. If your arm is in the dog’s mouth, the eyes are very vulnerable, hence the perfect target for a sneak-attack (you have an additional arm plus two legs to stomp it good!).

In this situation, all bets are off and it’s time to get nasty.

You can also try to shove your arm down its throat, depending on the situation (if possible). If you have a knife or better, a gun, now it’s the time to use them.

By all means, try not to end up on the ground fighting the dog, as it may expose your vulnerable parts (your neck and other vital organs).

As my final words, remember that dogs can be intimidated, just like people. You can discourage anything from attacking you by superior willpower (I saw a cat chasing a croc once) and attitude. If you can raise your voice in rage and roar (I said ROAR) like you’ve never roared before, chances are that the dog will think you’re a total lunatic and leave you be.

Don’t try that trick on pit bulls though, I’m almost sure it won’t work and you might end up provoking it more. Pitt bulls that have been trained to fight are a tad crazy in the head; the most dangerous dogs out there, in my opinion.

Yelling, kicking and waving your arms will usually get you out of most any dog-related mess, along with “evasive action” (jumping on cars for example).

I would strongly advise everybody to carry concealed, because you know, shit happens and it’s better to be prepared than sorry.

If bitten by a dog, I would suggest a visit to the ER ASAP.

If you have other ideas or comments, I’d appreciate your input in the dedicated section below.

Interested in improving your safety? CLICK HERE to find out more!


This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

Written by

Chris Black is a born and bred survivalist. He used to work as a contractor for an intelligence service but now he is retired and living off the grid, as humanly possible. An internet addict and a gun enthusiast, a libertarian with a soft spot for the bill of rights and the Constitution, a free market idealist, he doesn't seem very well adjusted for the modern world. You can send Chris a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • i carry dog repellent when biking or razor scooting.. used successfully several times ..biggest damn pit i ever saw stalked me outside his gate.. i was in roadway not even sidewalk or grass .. i talked softly to him as i passed then as i was past the entrance to the walls , he started toward me .. i held the pepper spay out at arms length and said in a commanging voice ” you do not want to fuck with me” it worked ..he turned and headed back for his gate … he peed on the gate as a parting gesture as he went back inside …
    ‘nother time in a quiet low crime neighborhood a black medium size junk yard dog started for me ..again on street not sidewalk where near his territory .. 3 shots of spray ..thought i missed .. evidently some got in his nose and eyes ..he went to the grass and rubbed his face on the grass … a few seconds ..later i heard the thumping of his legs as he tried to run after me blind ….the spray must have taken over more vigorously and he stopped for good and rubbed his face in the grass… i calmly rode on… other times doggy be good spray just turned them around with no incident..
    a good knife ; a stun gun good ideas.. one time just the freon horn did the trick..

  • Being a utility service man for 12 years I have been confronted by vicious dogs, some of whom I had to defend myself from right in front of the owner. I found that if you see an aggressive dog approaching, if you keep looking at him, bend down and pretend to pick up a rock then they will think twice before approaching you. If there’s actually a rock there it’s even better.

  • I was bitten on the hand by a dog when I was 4 or 5 I still carry the scar 55 years later which brings me to the point that’s why I have carried a knife ever since then and I don’t carry just one either I learned how handle dogs very well I used live out in the country where there MANY car grave yards and many dogs guarding em I learned how to treat the dogs guarding em the OWNERS how ever where another story they came to hate me because I would make friends with the dogs oh they HATED TAT

  • Thank you for this fine information, so very well written, complelling one to continue reading! And on in, the great advice was so well prsented that it is rememberable, and the points are now “on the list” of planning to be defensive in such situations.
    Thank you!!

  • Low tone growl! Comunicate in the dogs language. Ive worked with dogs for 20 years, work with packs over 20 large breed dogs.

  • Good article. I have always had dogs, big, small and in between. They have all been rescue dogs with an unknown history. One of the best, and a very good buddy, was my German Shepherd. One of the worst was a cross between a Jack Russell Terrier and a Pit Bull. He had been severely abused by a male and liked females but had no use for males. It took about a year for him to moderately accept me but he came around, sort of. He was a fear biter and, if surprised, would attack. I had him for about 5 years until, one day, he got excited and attacked me. He latched onto my arm as I was putting him in my car and would not let go. He was shaking my wrist as blood flew. I instinctively did NOT try to jerk the arm away but kept shouting his name and shouting NO. Finally he let go and acted as if nothing had happened. My arm was shredded with flesh hanging and blood all over the place. Luckily he had not torn any arteries. I staunched the blood as well as I could and headed for the hospital where I spent several hours in treatment. The point of this whole tale is that I was at home where I could get immediate access to treatment. It would be a whole other story if I had been jogging on a lonely country road without any first aid equipment. Something to think about.

    • I hope you had that dog put down. I’ve had dogs all my life and actually put down a couple (A Chesapeake Bay Retriever, for one) for attacking another, more docile dog.
      Once a dog turns bad, like attacking its owner….it is curtains. Imho.
      I had a JRT that latched on to my leg like you described once but I took into account that I had gotten between two Jacks that were fighting each other so I gave her the benefit of the doubt and did not put her down. We lived peaceably for 16 years.

  • Hey Chris,

    I have enjoyed your articles presently and in the past…I will share a Spanish edit. Spoken in Spanish “Hand to Hand” is “Mano a Mano”. In your usage with the “y” in this article it means “and” – so in using the “y” you are saying “Hand and Hand”. If that is what you want it to mean then no problem. Speaking of “no Problem” that would be “no problema” not “problemo” again the “a”.

    Take care – be well,

    • Thanks for your advice J, much obliged sir. It was a typo, we fixed it. 🙂 The “no problemo” thing is from Terminator 2, the scene with the kid and Arnold, when he teaches the robot not to be such a “square”.

      Yes, I am a big T2 fan 🙂

  • I am a dog person, and agree with SOME of your comments, though I feel you are wide of the mark on others. The vast majority of bites are caused by the human’s behavior, with the dog reacting. Due to many movies, books, games and stories aimed at children, we grow up with the idea that dogs (and cats and wildlife) think like humans. They don’t. Those assumptions lead to human’s ignoring the signals most dogs give warning of an aggressive act. Unless the dog is trained to attact, or driven by abuse, few dogs attact humans without plenty of warning. And your identifying of dangerous breeds is totally off. When I was growing up, everyone feared German shepherds. Then it was doberman pinschers, then rottweilers, now it’s pit bulls ( which used to be known as “the nanny dog”, because they extremely protective of children in their care). Because so many people make poor decisions around dogs, both in the raising, keeping, and training of them, the people get hurt, and the dogs killed. And realistically, small to mid sized dogs bite much more frequently than large breeds. Dogs can’t reason, so humans need to be smarter than the dog, and make better choices in dealing with them.

    • Hey there,

      Thanks for the input. I used official statistics about the most aggressive dog species. I know that’s not very good to generalize, but really, some dog breeds are more aggressive than others. And smaller dogs are feisty indeed 🙂 But it’s no biggie to get bitten by a Chihuahua, really, or a Jack Russel…with a Pit-bull, other kinds of physics come into play…not to mention a Presa Canario

    • Of course there are breeds that are more dangerous and deadly than other breeds, and to say otherwise is absolutely stupid; that is the tendency they are selectively bred toward! How many poodles or Maltese, or even larger breeds like sheepdogs or St. Bernards do you hear of being trained to fight in illegal dog-fighting rings? None, because those breeds were bred to display other characteristics. I am so tired of hearing people claiming that those breeds mentioned in the article are such “sweet dogs”, and that theirs would NEVER attack someone unprovoked. The fact is, dogs are individuals, just like humans, and, yes, nurture does play a part up to a point, but although some individuals may have somewhat less of an attack tendency than others of its breed, the fact remains that if you choose a more vicious breed of dog and trust it without reserve, you are rolling the dice and may not find out about its deepest nature until it’s too late. I’m not saying that those breeds don’t have their place, just that their bred-for nature must be considered when choosing an animal. Ask those whose family members have been attacked when something seemingly innocent triggered a deadly response from their own “sweet family pet”. The true stories are out there if you dare to stop living in a fantasy world and choose to research the FACTS.

  • if a dog comes at you fade it[ side step the dog so he runs past you ] when the dog goes bye grab an ear and twist it and this will shut down a dog attack if possable grab the oppasit ear [right hand left ear] this way you now have control of dog


  • While riding my bike, I have been attacked by dogs on many occasions. I began to carry a spray bottle of Ammonia. Directing the spray in the dogs direction, really discourage them to continue to chase. The Ammonia took away their ability to breath.

  • Good article. As a dog lover, having dogs, big dogs, from German Shepherds (including a 150 lb. German Shepherd), a rescued Greyhound, Dalmatian, mixed breeds (hound/shepherd), Pharaoh Hound, etc., as well as family which raised, Dobermans for show dogs (and PETS), I’ve been around dogs my whole life. As an ER RN for 28 yrs., I saw the injuries you describe.

    You covered feral dogs, and stray dogs, beautifully. Also, you covered the training that HUMANS do, to MAKE AND BREED DOGS TO FIGHT, TO ATTACK.

    Two points (I realize space for articles is an issue ;), humans have bred certain breeds for fighting. Right now, bull dogs are a favorite, as you hear their owners say, ‘aren’t bull dogs so cute…just look at that face?’. No, bull dogs are bread to fight bulls. Their noses are pushed back, so they can breathe while they hang on and chew, grinding their teeth and HOLDING ON. I witnesses, as ~a 10 yr. old, my backyard neighbor’s ‘friendly pet’ bulldog, play bow, bounce, play bow, and encourage a miniature dachshund puppy which belonged to my side neighbor, and a puppy I was taking care of and doing ‘puppy’ classes, teaching her sit/stay/come/down/leave it, to come into her yard, which was fenced. The tiny puppy was able to get under the fence, play bowed, and went to the bull dog, which promptly, bit her. The bull dog knew me well, and I ran to them, telling her to ‘leave it, drop it,’ in a command voice (but a child’s) which didn’t work, so I punched the dog in the nose, poking at her eyes , but she just bowed her head, so that the folds of skin, covered her eyes, AND KEPT GRINDING AWAY, with her jaws covering behind the neck, over both shoulders of the pup. I grabbed a water hose, and tried to get water into her nose. I knew that the dog, could redirect to me (remember my training by my family with the Dobermans.), so I was on high alert. The owner came home at that point, and was able to hit the dog hard enough to drop the very dead puppy. This is when I learned that HARD WIRED BRAINS of dogs MATTER. This bull dog only did, once she bit down, to do WHAT HER BREED WAS BRED BY HUMANS TO DO. No, I consider bull dogs extremely dangerous. They don’t slash and back off.

    Small dogs: as most are considered ‘cute’, they are SPOILED by their humans. You get a ‘small dog syndrome’, where the dog, no matter how tiny, thinks it’s the alpha, and acts accordingly. I’ve seen fingers lost, hands made useless because of small dogs, including Chihuahua’s destruction of tendons and nerves.

    If it’s a small rat terrier, remember they’re hard wired killers, bred to grab a rat by it’s head, give it a shake, killing the rat, instantly.

    So children, as well as adults, NEED TO RESPECT dogs (all animals, actually) for how they defend themselves. Because they WILL. If they’ve been bred to be aggressive, they’re far more dangerous. I taught my children, to NEVER tease dogs, don’t take their toys, unless they are trained to ‘drop it’, don’t wrestle the toy away, don’t take their food, don’t pull their ears or tails, or mess with their eyes (ESPECIALLY BABIES AND TODDLERS, who won’t understand), and to NEVER, NEVER APPROACH A STRANGE DOG. Ever. Even dogs on leashes, ALWAYS ask if it’s ok to pat the dog, first. Then put down a closed fist (protecting fingers), talking calmly to the dog, AND ALLOW THE DOG TO APPROACH YOU. If it doesn’t, just smile, thank the owner, and acknowledge that ‘not this time, the pooch isn’t interested.’ Don’t force it.

    Sorry for the length of this, but I think these are important points.

    • Hey there,

      Good points. I remember the scene from Jack London’s White Fang, the fight with the bulldog…terrible indeed.

  • I had two very large Pit Bulls chase my cat to my front door and I just happened to be opening the door to get the mail when my cat shot into the house like a bolt of lightning! I saw the dogs and I was so mad at them that I ROARED very loud,
    they turned tail, ran, and I chased them with my arms flailing. They must have thought I was a real psycho! I chased them a few blocks all the way home to their house where they ran through a hole in their fence. I proceeded to go to the front door and ripped the dog owner a new one! Never saw those dogs again!

  • Had to use SF techniques to get a very large, aggressive mixed breed dog away from my two year old son. I ran at him growling and yelling as loud as possible to attract his immediate attention. I wanted him to fight me and ignore my little son who was lying on his back under the dog. I pulled my SWAT locking folder out as I ran to him. I had a light jacket in my left hand and the knife in my right hand. As he charged me he reared and went for the jacket. His throat was now exposed. I stabbed him numerous times until I had taken out his carotids, jugulars and windpipe. I made damned sure he was dead and no threat to my child. I was desperately scared for my son’s life and mad as hell at the dog. I did what I ad to do. My son is a scrapping teenage jock now. Thank God for my excellent military training and my sense of always being armed and ready to do what has to be done. Thank you DoD!

  • It is well known that when a dog is about to attack, i is best to put either an arm or leg closet to the og because they will latch onto whatever part of the body is nearest them. Yes it is going to hurt, but better your arm or leg that your throat. A dog like most attacking animals will leap toward your chest, neck,or head in the attack if you have not put out an arm or leg. Best to put out your arm and then when it is near enough kick the dog as hard as you can in its chest. Police dogs are trained to bite and hold and as long as you do not attempt to pull away you can minimize the bite, but the moment you try and pull away from its grip, it will clamp down hard (200 lbs of force) and will likely cause your skin to be punctured or torn as it agressively holds on to you.

    I speak from experience as I was biten by a police dog after I had just taken it for a short walk. As it layed down I leaned down to pet it and it had my hand in its mouth before I knew it. I didn’t even see it move it was that fast. Lesson to be learned – never attempt to pet a police dog on duty because it will bite you.

  • An umbrella is a good tool too.

  • I been a dog owner all my life, and have never encountered a stray that I couldn’t
    gain its trust, except Chihuahuas, but I don’t consider those little demons, dogs anyway. In fact that was the only time a “dog” ever bit me was my best friends little demon. I would suggest that if you are about to be attacked, the best you can do is cover your non dominant forearm with your jacket or at least a shirt if you have the time, and offer it to the dog as it attacks. As it bites down take out your knife and stab it right through the ear and into the brain. That should end the encounter rather quickly and hopefully the shirt or jacket prevents your skin from being broken, although it will still hurt like hell.

  • In a military base in family quarters I raised a puppy. He became very territorial, he was attacking my neighbors. I gave him away to guard the base. In the weekends I visited him with my six year old son. Bobby, the dog always greeted us happily. One visit the neighboring dog became vicious, trying to attack us, broke his leash. I told my son to hide behind me. As the dog came close I took a sudden attack pose, like I want to attack the dog and grab him, growling as loud as I could. The dog stopped, turned around and with his tail tucked between his hind legs ran back to his sector into his doghouse. I may have ruined that dog as a guard dog.

  • If you can’t get to an emergency room or a doc and you get bitten, wash the bite with soap and water and douse the bite with full strength 3% hydrogen peroxide to clean it out. Bandage or use clean paper towels straight out of the roll and tape or tie in place.
    It’s great for cuts too, even after they get a little red and infected. I’ve been using it for years and it’s gotten rid of lots of infections from cuts, splinters, etc.

    • Hydrogen peroxide mixed with povidone iodine makes an excellent wound cleanser. Can prevent any infection including tetanus from setting in.
      Pour it straight into the wound and scrub it in as hard as you can….without causing any further tissue damage to the skin, of course.
      Learned that from a medical doctor.

    • I was bitten by a dog that attacked my dog. As I kicked the attacker it manage to bite my wrist, and punctured it in 2 places to good depth. It hurt like hell, hard to drive my car from there, or focus. Luckily I ran into a friend to advised me to place the hand and wrist into “a bowl of water as hot as you can take, with a handful of Epsom Salts”. The wound looked black, so my friend said that the hot water mix would pull out the starting infection as well.
      Less than 5 minutes of immersion in that hot Epsom Salts water changed color of the wound to a healthy pink, and pain stopped INSTANTLY, which was a really big deal. Wound healed safely and without ANY further pain.

  • Being an ex-mailman I’ve had plenty of dog encounters but I’m not afraid of them. One day on a new route in a rough neighborhood I went up to a porch that had the biggest beast I’d ever seen. A half wolf half German Shepherd baring its fangs but tethered by a thick chain to a post. The owner, a tatted up sort of redneck said the dog would kill me if he wanted him to. That’s nice, here’s your mail, have a good day. The next day I came around the corner and there was the beast in the middle of the yard, chewing on a football and not on his chain and no owner in sight. In a flash he leaped at me and all I had time to do was lower my stance and yell at him, one of those crazy blood curdling guttural yells that got across my intention to stop or I’d kill him. He put on the four paw disk brakes and retreated to the porch. Dogs can sense if you are afraid of them or not and unless they are rabid or they’ve been trained to give up their lives to attack you, you have a chance to turn the tables in the event of an attack from a furry buzz saw. If they’re attacking strike first and hard!

    • cool story! 🙂 I don’t understand people who train their dogs to be uber-aggressive…it’s very dangerous and quite irresponsible tbh, dogs are animals after all and sometimes they act unpredictable.

  • My dad worked for years near the arctic circle where he had many sled dogs. Whenever possible, he would always wear heavy leather gloves, preferably with gauntlets. His technique was to thrust his gloved hand directly into the attacking dog’s mouth and press down hard on its tongue. This made it impossible for the dog to continue biting. Then he would grab a leg, flip the dog over and place a knee on its throat. If the dog has any fight left the knee can remain there until the dog is dead. I’ve only needed to use this once but it worked without killing the dog, maybe because it realized it was no longer the alpha male.

  • As a small child I was bitten by a family dog.
    It was a big furry monster from the poodle branch.
    The dog had always been friendly to everyone including me (in the past).
    I leaned over the dog to give him a hug, like a child might do who was not taught better.
    The dog jumped out of my hug and lunged for my face.
    He got my nose pretty good.
    Luckily my uncle (dogs owner) was a very large mad and he was right there and was able to grab the dog by the scruff of the neck and pulled him off of me.

    I have always loved dogs and until recently have had dogs all my life (55 years).
    In my last marriage we had three dogs, 2 beagles and a gigantic chocolate lab.
    We also had five grandkids (hers). And all of the children grew up with those dogs and we never had a single incident… not even once.
    One time my wife got a picture of a small grandbaby lying on the labs back as it was in turn lying on his stomach on the kitchen floor.
    The child was pulling the labs eyelids and leaning over to look into the dog from above.
    Dog never even flinched.
    Unbelievable what that dog would allow those kids to do to him.
    I was standing there watching in disbelief, but was ready to save the baby if need be.
    Even so, since I was a child I never fully trusted any dog around children.

  • Howdy!

    I trust NO dog, especially one I don’t know. I don’t care about “making friends” with a dog I’ll never see again. I notice on Pinterest and other public forums that there are tons of posts trying to convince me that Pit bulls are sweet and cuddly. “Methinks he doth protest too much.” These dogs were bred to be fighters. Dobermans are guard dogs. German shepherds are used in the military for many reasons, most of them life-or-death reasons.

    Dogs are not little humans wrapped in fur. They are predators. 10,000 years of being “man’s best friend” goes out the window when they are threatened or scared or trained as guard/attack dogs. Respect any dog, treat it with kindness and enjoy its company, but be prepared to kill it, if necessary. We have four dogs, each of them thinking she is our especial favorite. We love them and appreciate their help and companionship, but also know that at any given moment, if they get hurt or scared or feel threatened, the “family pet” will disappear and the predator will emerge.

    Don’t anthropomorphize. Dogs don’t talk or reason or have others’ best interests at heart like they do on movies such as what Disney produces. No animal does, for that matter. They are all instinct-driven.

    Thank you, Mr. Black, for the original article, and thanks to readers for the comments they have made. Common sense is a scarcer and scarcer commodity, seems like, so I’m glad there are still some realistic folks out there!

  • I recall the attack dog in the spoof sitcom, Get Smart, he was a harmless mop named Fang, LOL. Aside from regular pepper spray, you can order bear spray, bigger can, more potent (10% ORC vs. 2% on the typical keychain sprays) and shoots 5-6 yards. It’s also far better for 1 or more scumbags, when you still wanna stay in the non-lethal realm. The “act calm” advice is good but remember dogs smell pheromones, kinda like your voice says I’m fine but your pores scream “help me!” I never walk outside unarmed and even a trekking pole with a nice carbon steel tip can dissuade any pooch from taking a bite.

    • I hand raised a half Chihuahua half Jack Russell Terrier and we have tried so hard to raise this girl right. But the built in Natural instincts all ways takes over. And she has a mean streak in her we can not trust! Not around children or strangers, we can’t take her into Pet’s Mart because if you walk up and say aw how cute and try to pet her she will bite you. If she is in my car and the window is down don’t stick your hand in to pet her because you will be bit, I had to buy 2 Beware of Dog signs one for each side of my car because people are so stupid they will try to pet my dog that does not want to be petted. We tried to raise her to be a sweet loving gentle spoiled rotten brat, but she decided she wanted to be our guard dog that was just fine with her daddy! He is very proud of the way you can’t get near the car or the front porch or the side door without losing a leg! She weighs in at 12lbs. of solid muscle. I remember the first time she bit me, it hurt my feelings and I cried. she has bit my husband and she doesn’t care, her attitude is don’t get in my face and I won’t bite you. Fair deal! She is the most loving and devoted dog you could ever ask for other than that. When we watch T.V. she takes turns on our laps. and she sleeps with me, no matter what. Whatever room I’m in so is she. I love her so much my son say’s more than him but that’s because she doesn’t ask for the car keys and my wallet! She just wants my lap and her dinner and she good to go. Him he’s hard to fill up. Her What’s not love?

  • When walking my dog or going anywhere for that matter I’m carrying. However if you are going hand to jaws then you can give your forearm to the jaws and put your other forearm behind the dogs neck and bend forward breaking its back. Obviously your arm will be injured but with the adrenaline flowing you won’t notice till afterward. You would use your whole body weight to push the dogs head back with your forearm while using your other arm to pull as you push your weight down. This was an old style techniche to take out a dog by Bruce Lee when he was asked this question.

  • Thanks for putting for an article with a good amount of practical down & dirty, nitty gritty truth. I say when a dog is actively making its move to bite you at close quarters, shoving your hand or arm down its throat in order to choke the dog (from the inside out) actually works very well. The moment you grasp and squeeze the dog’s tounge (as if you intend to rip it out) most dogs will reflexively open their mouths and attempt to get away from you. As further tactical measures against an already biting dog, make a fist when your hand slides into the dog’s throat, thereby cutting off his air. Or, you may opt to cram your fingers into the dog’s windpipe, in order to crush (and or) rip and tear the dog’s larynx (vocal chords) as you clench your fist and twist and shake (wag the dog) abruptly and violently as possible. Remember, in that last ditch scenario, the dog is already violent toward you (and or yours) and you are fighting for your life and or the lives of your children. I grew up around pit bulls that were conditioned for fighting; and yes, I did have to deal with some dogs that went unexpectedly berserk.

    • +1 for shoving your hand down their throat. As far as you possibly can, as if you’re planning on grabbing their heart and taking it home with you. I’ve needed this approach a couple times when working with rude dogs, and it does work. Strangely, more owners than you might think take offense when someone is forced to educate their poorly or un-trained dog. The truth is, sadly, usually the owner is the one who actually deserves such a lesson but the dog still gets the short end of the deal. Most dogs will back off once they realize you’re playing for keeps, but vigilance is the best policy.

  • Oddly enough, one of the best ways I’ve found is to crouch a bit, offer my LEFT hand (just a bit, as if to let them sniff), and say something like, “GOOD DOGGIE! COME HERE, ATTA BOY…..” in as cheerful, friendly tone as possible.
    Even the most hostile dog around will pause for a moment – confused as hell – just long enough for me to pull and open the folding knife from my back pocket with my RIGHT hand, and have it ready behind my back in case the mutt wants to try to take off my left hand…..
    Never yet had to use the blade, and more often than not, end up making a friend.
    ….then again, I’m retired Infantry, so the mutt likely recognizes the fact that I’m not much more civilized than it is…….LOL

  • I was jogging in a park and ran past a group of picnickers. After passing them I heard the sound of very fast clawing on the pavement behind me. As I turned I saw a large Routwiller bearing down on me. I was only lightly dressed for the run and with no other options, as a gut reaction I turned to face the dog and slightly crouched to get every bit of volume from my voice. I yelled at the dog Marine Corps style in a booming voice! The dog turned on its heels and ran back to its owners as fast as it ran towards me! I shouted a few more words about leash laws as I finished my run with plenty of extra adrenaline!

  • Good info but a bit on the mellow side. I have had big bad dogs all my life (58) years. I have fought dogs and fought dogs (no not fighting dogs on dogs in a ring or cage). I mean that since I was a young boy I have fought and rough housed with many a big bad dogs. I have mostly owned German Shepards and my last dog was a purple ribbon pedagree very tough Pit Bull. He never started fights but was very able to defend himself. When I finaly had to have the vet “put him down” the vet told me he was 115 years old. In the last year of his life (in self defence) he put two dogs in the hospital and also took a full sized Bull with horns down to the ground. If you are attacked by a ficious dog, one excellent target is the belly. Dogs have no mussles in the belly. give them a target to focus on and come up just as hard as you can with your toe in the belly. that will finish them. if you can get a hold of the toung do so. pull it anywhere out of the mouth and the cannot and will not bite. yes, if they have hold of you hand or something, don’t pull, push into thier mouth and throat to choke, they don’t know how to deal with it and it is a suprise to them. You are most likely bigger and and more heavy than the dog. use your wieght and lay on the dog and pin it to the ground and attack what you can such as the belly. the dog will think twice before getting to close to you again. Finally, I will defeat any dog you send my way, from a junk yard dog to a police attack dog with a small sharp knife. Police dogs, and others, are trained to attack the hand / arm that is holding an object (gun, knife). keep your knife out of sight behind you and offer the attacking dog a target (your other arm) and as soon as it latches on cut the throat…end of story.



  • The sweetest dog I ever met was a Pit Bull belonging to my son-in-law. But I was sure pissed when he (s-i-l) brought her home around my grandkids. I had a friend who had a big dog (mutt, I guess) who was also sweet. They were rough housing, and apparently David hurt her somehow. Daisy turned and bit a hole right through his lip. She was immediately sorry, but the damage was done. I’ve seen the Pit bunch up to twice her normal size when she thought the house was threatened. Imagine the damage she could do, accidently.

  • How to Survive a DOG ATTACK. What are the most dangerous dogs in a dog attack?

  • I lived in NYC for 25 years,then moved to Western NYS.
    I was an LEO in WNYS for 26 years .
    I was attacked in NYC about 4 times by large dogs,ALL but the St Bernard stopped their attack when I ran at them [ with blade in hand ].
    As an LEO I was at many nasty dog calls,the most I ever had to do was Taser one and finish shooting another.
    The rest [ yes including pit bulls ] RAN LIKE HELL when a command voice told them too.
    I was VERY loud and assertive,came with martial arts training and then police D/T instructor work.
    The big stick [ walking stick ,NOT a weapon officer ] was helpful as is the FACT that no man or dog will jump a man with a baton [ ‘stick’ ] in his hand.

  • i regularly walk my dog (a lab) down the local playing fields ,and i also find the smaller dogs most aggressive especially towards my dog. JRT have the most territorial and unpredictable temperaments as well as shih tzu’s towards my dog (who is a larger lab) . one time when i was walking near the woodland area a JRT came running out ,owner nowhere to be seen ,and started growling and barking at my dog ,as well as biting his face and chest .only a few steps away from it i was so angry i lost it and started sceaming at the JRT. immediately it let go of my dog (who has a furious bark ,but is so gentle and clueless he doesn’t defend himself ) looked at me and ran as fast as he could back into the woods.i never let my guard down with any animal (as so many people my age would ) but i often find its the small dogs who you need to look out for more ,with owners spoiling and not disciplining/training their dogs .every aggressive or wild dog i’ve come across has the owners to blame ,yet its the dog who gets punished because of irresponsible owners.if you really are animal lovers ,insted of spoiling and fussing your “cute baby ” these owners need to man up and teach their dogs how to behave instead and their dogs will be happier for it ,its time for people to realise the dangers. great article!

  • I have been walking a 3 mile round trip course from my home in rural MN for over a year and a half; no problems. Yesterday as I was coming home a St. Bernard an Black retriever ran at me from their yards. The owner was outside and although I screamed “get your dog” the St. Bernard kept coming despite the man calling him back. I was terrified and reacted as such (which probably didn’t help). The black dog was barking but not getting close, the St. Bernard wouldn’t stop so the man had to stand between me and the dog while he continued to scream at him to get in the house. He just kept barking and then began growling and running amok. Across to the neighbors yard then back at me while this man kept blocking him from getting to me. I don’t think I have ever been as scared and at this point was crying and standing stock still with my hands covering my face. It took about 5 minutes of this insanity before he finally corralled the dog into the house (kicking it in the ass he followed it inside). He left me there shaken and sobbing to walk the remaining 2 blocks home. I could cry right now just thinking about it. I did report it to my sheriff’s department and they said they would speak with him. I do not know these people. The saddest part is that although I wasn’t hurt, this experience has now left me afraid to walk my route. And why I am researching options that might protect me so I can again enjoy what has become the favorite part of a routine day. I think I will try and find a pepper spray, and maybe carry a walking stick. This man first kept saying “he won’t hurt you” as the dog became more and more excited and aggressive I think he finally realized he had no control of this HUGE animal that could easily cause serious damage to a person. I’m sure my response didn’t help things but the bottom line is a person is responsible for restraining their animals and if they can’t then they have no business having them. I don’t care is this is the ‘country’. The roads are still for public use and I should be safe walking them. I will keep looking, and may try a walk again with my husband the first few times. And if you’re asking if there is another route? there isn’t, I live on a dead end. Last resort will be to go walk the track at the local health club.