Tips from trainer Ekaterina Frizorger
How to protect yourself from an attacking dog? The question is complex. When dogs are taught obedience on training grounds, a good instructor looks for an individual approach to each dog. What works with one dog may not work at all with another. Because every dog has its own set of instincts, different degrees of their severity, and in addition to genetic predisposition, the dog’s life experience also plays a significant role. Even within the same breed, dogs can be very different. Therefore, there is no single recipe for how to fight off a dog.
You may be surprised, but the most dangerous bites are, more often than not, domestic dogs. Yes Yes Yes! It is those who are very much loved, appreciated, those who are assigned a very high status in the family. It is these dogs that can inflict the most serious injuries on humans and even their own owners. Therefore, I would be more afraid of an uncontrollable pet that fell off the leash than a whole flock of stray dogs that move along the streets of the city in order to find food and survive. And who survives in nature? Strongest or cunning? Definitely the trickiest! In order to survive on the street, a dog must be careful and cunning, it must have a well-expressed instinct for self-preservation. Otherwise, there is no chance of living. Stray dogs, most often, avoid people and are afraid. On the streets of the city, they get food, they have enough problems and they do not need conflicts with people. Therefore, the easiest option, seeing stray dogs in the distance, is to bypass and not frighten them. The likelihood that they will run after you, and even more so will attack, will be extremely low. If the dogs are quietly walking past you, just stop, turn sideways and turn your head away. This signal will indicate that you do not want conflict. Most likely, the dogs will pass by and then you calmly continue your movement …
If we talk about serious measures, then I must remind you that all dogs are different and what works with one may not help with the other. I’ll tell you about the simplest thing, about what helps most often. Almost all stray dogs are afraid of swing. Often it is enough to pretend that you are picking up a stone from the ground at a distance and toss an imaginary stone towards the dog, shouting “Get out!” And stamping your foot as well. Usually stray from childhood are faced with this, they are often frightened and they get scared and run away. If there really is a stone, then you can throw it in the direction of the dog that you are so afraid of. But naturally not in the dog itself.
If the dogs are already very close and are trying to bite, then you need to use whatever is at hand. Packages scare very well … if you wave them actively and swear convincingly, the dog can retreat. But you do not need to do this, if there is no attack, you should not attack a dog that just wants to pass by and attract too much attention.
I’ll tell you my childhood experience, what if it helps someone. I was 10-11 years old, I was walking in the park with my little Pekingese. A drunk man lay under a tree, and his aggressive shepherd dog was running around the park. His dog bit both people and other dogs, I knew her. And then I see that she was flying at my Pekingese and it was clear even to a child that she was flying to tear him. In my case, everything happened instinctively. I very abruptly lay down on top of my Pekingese and curled up in a club, face down on the ground. The shepherd dog attacked us, but she had nothing to grab onto. My face is in the ground, my arms and legs are hidden, my dog is covered by me. After some time, people came running, hitting this shepherd with something, and then the owner “crawled”, fastened the leash. As a result, I was decently bitten on my back, my clothes were torn and I had a strong fright … but everyone was alive, without serious injuries … well, yes, there were deep scratches on the back, but this is such a small thing compared to what could have happened. And my Pekingese only had time to get scared, they didn’t eat him. If I hadn’t reacted like that, then I wouldn’t have had a Pekingese. If I grabbed him in my arms, then with a child’s growth, both the face, and the hands, and the dog would be in danger. I’m afraid to tell this as a recommendation, we will assume that I just shared my experience in a situation where you are completely helpless and cannot repel an attack.
But we live in the modern world and it is much easier and safer to carry a pepper spray can with us (I have a Spag can, once a student gave it to me). It will not hurt the dog, the discomfort will pass, but you will have time to go. Well, or a shocker that produces an electrical discharge. Many stray dogs are frightened even by a crackling sound from a shocker and run away when they hear it at a distance. The downside is that it is usually forgotten at home and it is difficult to develop the habit of carrying it with you. But, if you are very afraid of dogs and can get confused, then you will be much calmer this way.
In conclusion, I repeat, it is better to bypass and not get into conflict if you are very afraid and do not need adventure.