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How to Approach Strange Dogs (Part 5)

In the last article, we identified different types of dog biters, how to approach them, and how to behave around them to avoid being bitten. But what if we tried everything and we still find ourselves being attacked by a strange dog?

If All Else Fails, Defend Yourself

If you have followed all the general precautions and still find yourself face to face with a dog that’s determined to attack, shield your face and neck with your arms, and expose only the side of your body to the dog. Act only with the purpose of defending yourself.

Yell with the loudest, strangest, most alarming sound your voice can muster. Remember that the dog might not understand what is happening and doesn't trust what he doesn't understand. Strange, loud, noises might confuse and stall him while you are calling for help.

Try to Keep the Dog Off Balance

Raising your knee can protect you by keeping the dog off balance. I saw an example of this method of protection myself one day when a large German Shepherd pushed through an unlocked screen door and leapt at a new mailman that was approaching his mailbox.

The mailman cut loose by making loud, ghastly sounds as he shielded his face and neck. The German Shepherd stopped in his tracks at the very same sounds that drew the attention of all the neighbors, and the postman emerged completely unharmed.

The mailman later explained that he had so much confidence in his technique that he never had to use dog repellent as so many other mailmen carry around.

Some occupations, such as mailmen, garbage men, meter readers, newspaper deliverers, and pizza deliverers, have a high incidence of dog bites. Especially high-risk are door-to-door salesmen. Children, too, are high risk. Due to their lack of understanding, they tend to force themselves on the dog, or panic and run. Dog bites could be greatly reduced, if not completely eliminated, if people had a better understanding of dogs and what makes them bite.

The important thing to remember when a dog confronts you, whether it is the fear biter or protective biter, is to allow the dog to come to you in his own time. Don't make the mistake of assuming the dog will immediately know you're not a threat. Kneel down to his level. Extend your arm and offer him the palm of your hand so he can sniff you. Remember to be patient and let him take all the time he needs to decide whether or not you're a threat. The time you give the dog to get to know you could be the very thing that keeps you safe.

Content provided by Heather Witherspoon of, check out our complete assortment of dog beds online.



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