Several years ago while teaching a self-defense class, one of my associate instructors commented to a class, “…it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there…don’t be the guy wearing Milk Bone underwear!” While that comment received a few muted chuckles throughout the class, the overall thought is a rather valid one.
If you look like prey…you will be eaten and while that “truism” may apply to thugs and those intent on doing us harm, it also applies to the four-legged type of predators that we may encounter as well. Fully 70% of recreational runners (joggers) say they have had a bad encounter with an aggressive or even vicious dog.
This does not mean that such an encounter results in the runner being bitten by a dog. On the contrary, it may only mean that they were chased by the aggressive animal…or even forced to change their route to avoid provoking a more violent outcome. In short, most runners must constantly remain vigilant for hyper-aggressive K-9’s while out enjoying their exercise.
What to Look For?
While certain breeds of dogs are more commonly thought of as “aggressive,” any breed can be stimulated to bark, chase and bite someone under the right conditions. It is a fact that more people are bitten by smaller breed dogs than larger more physically imposing ones. This is most likely due to several different factors…one of which is that people are usually more apprehensive and cautious around larger breeds, hence they work harder to avoid a negative interaction.
However, the bottom line is any dog that is unknown to you can end up being aggressive. This can be because you inadvertently trigger an aggressive response by doing something that is interpreted as hostile to the dog (such as entering their territory or making direct eye contact) or it could simply be that the dog is hyper-aggressive and therefore needs no outside stimulus to attack.
Some overt indications that you are encountering a dog that can be potentially dangerous are:
- The Dogs Body Language is “puffed up,” and angled directly head-on at you.
- The hair on the back of the dog standing at “attention” to make the dog seem bigger.
- A deep guttural growl emanates from the animal.
- The dog’s eyes locked directly on you.
- A slight lowering of the head as it begins to “stalk” towards you.
- An overtly agitated dog that seems almost like it is in a frenzy or out of control.
- A dog that is with small children or puppies may be over-protective.
- The dog that is on a full-out dead sprint towards you with its ears back.
- Very aggressive snapping of its jaws.
What to Do to Protect Yourself!
Most K-9 experts will tell you that avoiding a confrontation with an aggressive dog is the best way to not get bitten. However, if you are surprised by an aggressive animal, there are certain steps you can take to minimize injury to yourself.
- DO NOT make direct eye contact with the dog.
- Stand erect with your arms pulled inward so as to make yourself seem bigger.
- DO NOT turn your back on the dog. Back slowly away from the animal until you are safe.
- If the dog begins to move towards you, discharge your stun gun repeatedly directly at it.
- If the dog attacks, sacrifice your weak arm by holding it in front of you. When the dog bites you on the forearm, immediately deploy your stun gun into his face and neck area. Do not be afraid to discharge the unit in the dog’s eye.
- If you do not have a stun gun, attempt to strike the dog on the bridge of its nose as hard as you can. Repeatedly strike the dog in this area or attempt to gouge the dog’s eyes until it releases its grip.
- It is imperative you attempt to stay on your feet so the dog cannot get on top of you. If you are knocked down and are totally defensive, roll into a ball clasping your hands behind your neck protecting your throat.
The Sting of the Yellow Jacket…
It is thought that when a dog smells the burning ozone associated with the discharge of a high-powered stun gun and/or sees and hears the high-voltage discharge…they will associate this discharge with lightning. This may be enough to disengage the animal’s aggressive action towards you.
However, in no case should you let your guard down. You must be prepared to deploy your Yellow Jacket repeatedly against the animal as needed. You are in a “dog-fight,” once it starts there is no reasoning with the attacker. You must win the fight….plain and simple!
Remember….the future of self-defense is in your hands.