What to do if a dog attacks

Escrito por Mundocachorro

One of the most common fears among people who have contact with dogs is being attacked, whether by a stray dog, a friend’s dog or their own. Cases of dog attacks are always publicized, often with erroneous or excessively alarming information, causing fear and false myths surrounding this subject.

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But if there is one really important thing for people to know, it is the fact that dogs do not attack without a reason. The possibility of receiving an attack exists, and the reasons behind it are varied, which is why being informed about what to do if a dog attacks, why and how to avoid it, is so essential.

Why does a dog attack?

There are multiple reasons why a dog may be aggressive or attacking, and these depend largely on its upbringing and lifestyle. Most attacks caused by domestic dogs are usually due to fear and irritation, as well as inappropriate treatment. Dogs, like people, can become angry or feel threatened, and their instincts will kick in to defend themselves, even if there is no real threat.

Another reason why a dog attacks is due to territoriality, they will defend their territory, pups and humans tooth and nail if they consider that there is a danger to them. Pain and illness are also another common cause, cavities, infections and fractures are the most known, as well as rabies; but mental factors such as stress and anxiety are also a strong trigger.

In terms of breeding and lifestyle, most dogs considered dangerous breeds are the most affected, as well as those dogs living in highly deplorable conditions. These dogs, who do not receive the care and treatment they deserve, are often forced to live in situations that are overwhelming for them, making them extremely aggressive and dangerous.

How to identify when a dog wants to attack?

It happens quite often that people mistake a dog’s playful attitude for one of aggression, leading to misunderstandings. To stop an attack in time and prevent the situation from escalating, it is important to identify when a dog wants to attack by recognizing its body language signals.

Signs include growling and barking, showing teeth and the whites of their eyes, stiff and tense body, with the hair on the back bristling; head level with the rest of the body, ears back, licking their lips along with a slow and steady gait. All signs can appear together or separately, and their appearance is a clear signal from the dog for the person to take precautions.

What to do in the event of an attack?

All professionals specialized in dogs agree that taking a calm and serene attitude is the best option, even if it seems almost impossible. Dogs have a great capacity to read human body language, resulting in the saying that dogs smell fear; if the dog detects fear, nervousness or aggression, it will consider the human as a major threat and its irritation will increase.

It is important to emphasize that attacking the dog should be done as a last resort, and focus energies on distracting and calming the dog; hitting or throwing stones at the dog will aggravate the situation and put the person in an unfavorable situation.

What you must do is to keep still, with your body rigid and your arms close to your body, closing your hands into fists, and placing your body sideways, that is, in profile, without facing the dog but without turning your back to it. The dog should not be looked directly at and observed through peripheral vision. This will serve to make the dog lose interest in the person and not see them as a threat.

If the dog does not desist, the next step is to use an object as a distraction or barrier. Food, bottles, sticks, bags, among others, are good distractions, these should be thrown for the dog to follow or be distracted and take advantage of that time to climb to a high place if there is the possibility. If this method is not feasible, an article of clothing should be used to block the dog’s vision by throwing it over his face.

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