Be Safer!

How to Be Safer Against Dog Attacks

Stop Dog Attacks - NOW!
Dog attacks is a serious problem, a real plague that is menacing our communities. Here we give some recommendations about prevention on:

1 – How to Avoid a Dog Attack
2 – How to Prevent a Dog Bite
3 – How to Protect your Kids from Assault
4 – What To Do During a Dog Attack

The most basic situation that can put a person in danger is obviously getting close to a dog, any dog, no matter size or breed. Not to mention how disgusting dogs are. This way staying far away from them is the best we can do, but certainly it’s not possible in a society controlled by dogs that we live in today. Dogs will come to our encounter regardless if we want it or not.

So, what can we do to be safer? This:

Stay Alert

It’s quite unfortunate that in the 21st century we have to be constantly looking for threats in our daily lives, be it within the city center, suburbs, parks and rural areas. Every corner, every front yard, any turn in a park trail may hide a threat to our safety. If you hear dogs barking than you should be on an even higher state of alertness, but remember that many dogs can attack without making any sound.

Get Ready

If you think you may be attacked, be prepared to fight back, both physically *and* psychologically. Sure, some people may “freeze” but hopefully you will remember this article and will stay alert and ready to retaliate.

Protect Your Kids

In case you are with your family, kids and loved ones, position yourself in front of them. At the same time, try to bring the dog to some distance away from your kids, telling them to find shelter like their home, a car or a (good, no-dog) neighbor house. Easier said than done, right? Unfortunately that is the insanity we face nowadays.

Fight Back

As soon as the attacker beast comes on you, make use of any possible object at your immediate reach, be it a baseball club, a stone, a thick wood stick, a gardening fork, a camping knife, a concrete brick, hot coffee, mace, stun gun (more on this ahead), bear spray, your bike (put between yourself and the dog)… or, if you have kind of steel toe boots, just kick it as much as you can to make the beast run away. Try to hit the dog specially at the head and neck, kicking from down-up, not just sideways. Hitting the rear may have little effect but if that is your only option don’t waste it.

Don’t be shy, fight and kick as hard and for as long as you can until the dog stops mauling and biting you.

Don’t be shy, again, because the sanguinary assassin will not feel sorry for you.

Do Not Scream

Your cries of fear will not scare the beast but can indeed make them an incentive for the dog to attack even more. If you do scream — some people may not avoid it — one good Samaritan might come to help you but chances are that s/he will also be hurt. The exception to this rule is when you have a loud, strong voice so you could perhaps scare or at least confuse the dog instead, as long as your voice sounds firm and authoritative, not fear.

Never Run

Remain motionless. If you can not get hold of any hardened object, like above, put hands at your sides or on your chest with your fists in a strong defensive manner. Look the dog on the eyes so that you try to show no fear. Some people say you should never look into a dog’s eyes because they may attack. However, in this case the beast is *already* coming towards you so looking away will only increase the odds of you being hurt even more.

Avoid Further Wounds

If you fall or are knocked to the ground by the attacker, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears,  at the same time than hiding your neck and jugular, and remain motionless as much as you can. If possible, try not stop kicking the dog specially at the head or neck. Remember to try not to scream or roll around. What to do here will depend on your circumstances and abilities.

Leave the area

In case you are less unfortunate, once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until the dog is out of sight. Again, do not yet run or cry for help.

Avoid further health complications

Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water. Dog’s saliva invariably have a number of dangerous diseases, on top of possible leishmaniasis and rabies diseases.

Call 911 (Police AND Medical Services)

It’s extremely important to call Police. First, because they can restrain the attacking dog, together with Animal Control, thus preventing other people of being hurt or even killed. Second, it will have an undeniable record of what happened, at least since when Police arrived. This can be used as the victim proceeds to prosecute the owner of the dog.

At the Hospital

Be very clear to the Emergency Doctors and Nurses about what happened and try to get copies of every paper records you can, and take notes as well.

Report the Attack – To Animal Control

immediately report the attempted murder (yes, this may be the case in these situations) to your local animal care and control agency even though they may had to restrain the dog together with Police. Take notes of every detail like time of report/call, name of attendant, case number, direct hone number of the person responsible for your case. Tell the animal control person everything you know about the dog, including his owner’s name and the address where he lives, if known. If the dog is a stray, tell animal control what the dog looks like, where you saw it, whether you’ve seen it before, and in which direction it went.

Report the Attack – To the Media

As soon as you start recovering, either still in the Hospital or right at home, call your media of choice and tell them about the Incident (it was Not an Accident since it was preventable). You very probably will find a reporter or two unwillingly to publish your ordeal so the only answer is to try again until you find a professional reporter. Don’t limit yourself and try to reach Newspapers, TV, Radio and certainly Internet. Once more in other words, Do Not Leave it for Tomorrow.

Contact your Physician

Visit your family doctor for additional care and advice. Keep all bills and receipts even if they paid for by your health insurance.

Contact an Attorney

Due to the ever-growing number of dog attacks and killings and other problems in our communities, there are a number of Lawyers that will take good care of this case. Some Attorneys have even specialized on this specific matter and may have very high rates of success winning a case against an irresponsible dog-owner. There may be one nice Lawyer close to you in your own city. Hiring a lawyer is usually the last thing you should do, but not in this case.

Carry a legal gun or legally concealed weapon

We do NOT recommend this option, so we left it for last. Also because it’s never the best option, even though some times necessary. Some cities or countries allow their use when according to the law of those areas, meaning licensing as a minimum. Every place is different. If a lethal weapon is fired in a park or open area it will be very difficult to prove that you were in your right, specially with the dog craze existent nowadays. Again, this last option is NOT RECOMMENDED.

Some ideas that may come to people’s minds:

Pepper Spray. Well, unfortunately Pepper Spray IS PROHIBITED in a number of places. Also, it takes a couple of seconds to affect the attacker (while a dog takes a split second to attack and wound you.

Tasers™. These are those gun-shaped weapons used by police officers that shot two highly electrified wires onto the aggressor, with immediate immobilization. Their use is basically NOT ALLOWED anywhere, only by the police or the military.Taser is not just a device but also a trademark.

Stun Guns. Remember those cardbox-sized black devices that discharges an extremely high voltage charge (of several millions of volts) when in contact with the attacker? Those are Stun Guns. Note that they only work when in direct contact with the offender so their use against a dog may only be a last resource, specially against furry dogs. They’re useful but not so easy to use since you have to be at hands reach of the dog to apply this device, but is a defense anyway. The good news is that they are NOT PROHIBITED in most places so you could carry them IF the laws in your area allow them. Please check for it before even carrying one.

Bear Spray. One good exception to the use of a weapon, in this case again not a weapon but a deterrent, is the use of Bear Spray. There is no laws against it to this date as far as we are aware of (if you know it, please let us know). Bear Spray is quite effective and has a rapid effect.Then comes the question: “Where can I find Bear Spray? I live on the Tropics!”. And then comes the answer: “The Internet”.

Once more, easier said than done, but knowledge is the most powerful weapon we normal human beings can get possession of.

You may Read it, Learn it, Put it in practice. Certainly you will Not remember all the details in a moment of extreme distress but will perhaps remember certain points. And know at least basically what to do.

All we are doing is protecting ourselves by not being a passive victim.

“Enough is enough!”

Any comments? Suggestions? Displeasure? Improvements? Solutions!? Please let us know them below.

Further reading from the CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
CDC’s 10 Most Dangerous Dogs List

27 Responses to Be Safer!

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  6. CopChierieder says:

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  7. KaD says:

    I have to argue a few points here. If you see the dog coming from a distance and have time you can try getting on top of a car. If a dog attacks you screaming may save your life by attracting the attention of other people, many have been spared by the interference of strangers, as you can see here (scroll down):

    Pepper spray does not have much of an effect of pit bulls much of the time. ( A knife is a good weapon, concealable, and has helped many live through a pit bull attack.(

    • MrMAD says:

      You have good points, KaD.

      On the case when you see the mutt coming from a distance, what I meant was that a person should not scream of ‘fear’, like “ahhhhhhhhhhh” or such. You could instead, as an additional attempt to avoid confrontation, yell to the best of your lungs commanding words like “STOP”, “NO”, “QUIET”. Perhaps the canine attacker has a minimum of training and may obey your commands. Surely worth a try, but do not count much on that since chances are that, as the mongrel is already at large, probably its ignorant owner never cared for or trained it, at least not for good manners.

      On the other situation you mention, what experts suggest is to yell for help using words like “HELP, HELP”, “FIRE, FIRE” (it is more effective than ‘help’ because this word today became ‘banal’, sadly). It may help or not, we never know, and depend on the situation. I wrote that part because, at least in my case, most attacks seem to happen in let’s say deserted areas, like a natural park trail, in the woods… not in more populated urban areas with a number of people around. So, if you have a chance to block yourself from the beast attacking you, sure, you certainly call for help, as much as you can. The other situation is when the animal is *already* on you, biting, mauling… because this behavior usually make wild animals to cause even more harm, until they finally immobilize, kill the victim, us. If the victim stays motionless and ‘speechless’, perhaps him/her has a better chance.

      Regarding the weapons, it is too sad decent people have to resort to this. Regular, nice citizens deserve better. Anyway… Pepper spray is prohibited in many places for use by civilians, while bear spray seems to be widely allowed or yet not-prohibited. Pit bulls are a beast of their own, they seem to have thick ‘skin’ and higher aversion to pain so I agree with you, those sprays are not the final answer. One option would be a knife, good, but let’s say you just had to kill a mutt that attacked you with it. You would be the one to explain why “YOU killed” the dog “with a KNIFE”, a “WEAPON” that you were “CONCEIVING” in public, with little regard from the police that in fact it was the animal that attacked you, not the opposite. Clever people and lawyers though, know how to counter that argument.

      Certainly, there is no absolute answer for this, except one: to have dogs Leashed, Muzzled, and Appropriately Controlled at ALL times when in public. No exceptions.

      Constructive criticism is highly appreciated here in our site, KaD. Keep them coming!

  8. KaD says:

    Here is some good information about what to look for as a warning sign:

    Here are the 6 danger-signs that warn of a dog attack. Knowing them can keep you and your children safe.

    1.A dog in its own yard, and no master present. In 2008, 78% of the human fatalities were by dogs in their own yard.

    2.Pit bull, Rottweiler, Akita or Chow. Most fatal dog attacks are by pit bulls. In 2008, 65% of the fatalities were by pit bulls.

    3.The pack mentality. Three dogs are worse than 2, 4 are worse than 3, etc. Docile dogs often become uncharacteristically violent and vicious when they are in a pack. In 2008, 39% of the fatalities involved multiple dogs.

    4.Chained or tethered. Dogs that are tied up are dangerous. In 2008, 9% of the fatalities involved chained dogs.

    5.Male. Male dogs are several times more dangerous than female dogs. Unneutered male dogs are the worst.

    6.Newness. A new dog in the house is dangerous for the first 60 days, and a person who is new to a household where a dog resides is in danger of attack for the first 60 days. In 2007 and 2008, 20% of fatal dog attacks involved a new person or dog sharing a household for a period of two months or less.

    The presence of any one factor indicates danger. Two or more of these danger-signs should be avoided at all costs.

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  11. Anti Bark says:

    The very best way to protect against an attack is avoiding the mauler altogether. I know it’s not so simple, but here are things I do:

    Knowing what houses in your neighborhood have dogs of dangerous breeds (In USA: Pit bulls/ mixes, Rottweilers, Bull Mastiffs, Wolf Hybrids,) or other threatening dogs (ones that growl, snap, etc) is important for your daily routine. I just do not walk on streets full of pit bulls with my babies, any time I can avoid them. I won’t walk within 100 yards of them, and even avoid fence lines that contain pits.

    Making sure you, and your kids especially, do not visit homes with dangerous dogs, especially pit bulls. This means no baby sitters w pit bulls, no play dates with friends that have them, and make sure its totally clear that NO such animal will be allowed near your child. Don’t assume schools and libraries are safe! Check every time, some allow “pit bull petting days” and other such nonsense.

    Pits kill the most kids (and adults), by far, more than all other breeds combined!

    This is why I promote BSL, which will help more than anything else! It has the added bonus of also being good for animals.
    Next up…..
    I am not an expert, but there needs to be tips just for pit bull types (pits, their mixes, near relatives). They have completely different behavior, and attack patterns. They won’t warn you, attack wholly unprovoked, silently, and often wag their tails the entire attack.

    Some common actions will not only not work, but may intensify an attack, as pain makes them fight even harder. It wont slow them down. Yelling may be the only way to get the help you need, so avoiding this with a pit bull is unwise.

    Fire Extinguishers are highly suggested, and said to be 70% effective in stopping an attack before you get hurt, (guns are only 80%). They startle the mauler and make it hard to breathe. These are also available in most places, so are often within easy reach if needed.

    Carrying something to defend yourself when walking outdoors is also a wise idea, as long as the risks (legal, physical) don’t outweigh the benefits. other than guns and bear spray, all other weapons will need to be used close enough that you will be bitten. This is better than death, so it’s still worth having something w you. If nothing else, have a stout leash, in case you have to choke the dog off of someone else.

    I hope this adds to the info!

    • MrMAD says:

      Excellent comment, Anti Bark.

      People should follow your advice, they will save lives and prevent injuries.

      You mentioned something I’ve forgotten: Teach our kids to NEVER GET CLOSE TO DOGS EVEN IN SCHOOL, LIBRARIES… since it’s becoming a serious trend nowadays. Also, we must tell our kids to immediately call us on the phone or report to the principal as if there was a problem, because there was. I don’t want my kids close to animals, no exception, period. No teacher/principal will tell me the contrary. Informing the school administration would help perhaps but I don’t trust them on this matter.

      Fire extinguishers are a new for me but quite a wise use of what you have at hand. But I’m confused: should we hit the fire extinguisher tube on the head of the pitbull or just vigorously spray the smoke on them? (I’m joking, ok?).

      Regarding something to carry with you when outside, some people here suggested a knife, but that can put you in trouble in many places. Bear spray are an excellent suggestion but in some countries you will have a hard time explaining to cops what were you doing with them in places like Argentina, for example. I like to ride my bicycle and what I’m doing lately is carrying a 2 foot/50 centimeter long wood stick with a sharp end. It’s just attached right along the frame so it’s not so flashy, let’s say. Where do I use it? In my garden to support newly planted trees, so no one could argue the contrary. And is quite effective if a pooch comes too close, being either safe or lethal for the vicious beast.

      Sure the best is to avoid them at all costs and since most of us can not carry a Magnum 45, we do what we can to be safer, just safer, because we will never be fully safe whenever this dog craze persist. Hopefully one day it will end.

      Thanks for your comment again.

  12. Lee Vreatin says:

    My 28 year old daughter was walking her 15 pound cockapoo in a Brooklyn park recently. Two unleashed pitbulls suddenly tried to kill the little dog. Miraculously, without weapons, and with little help from the pit bull’s owner,she was able to rescue our dog. My daughter was not bitten, also a miracle. But her dog’s vet bills will be about $2,500.00, and the wee pooch is recovering from severe neck, leg, and body wounds. I have since made effective heavy leather body armor for the dog, and several effective anti-dog attack weapons for my daughter. One simple weapon, easily purchased,is a 1/2 inch drive socket wrench. It has a knurled handle and is about one foot long. You can crush a dogs skull with repeated blows, or shove the handle down the pit bull’s throat to make it release the victim. The rest of the weapons I made are stabbing and striking weapons, fashioned from various materials that do not draw attention and are not specifically outlawed, but are lethal when used to effect. Carry more than one weapon, in case multiple dogs attack and you lose your grip or break off a weapon in the first dog. Never stop fighting until the pit bull is dead or runs far away. Pit bulls have the breeding to continue to fight with two broken legs. The person who owned the pit bulls in this incident ran off after the attack.

    • MrMAD says:

      Hi, Lee. Welcome to the blog.

      What a world we came to: WE have to carry devices (I call them devices or tools, not weapons, as these are used to ‘attack’, not to defend, like in our case. In my personal dictionary anyway).

      If possible, please share with us some images of the tools you and your daughter are using to defend yourselves. It would really help in the discussion. Tools that are “fashioned from various materials that do not draw attention and are not specifically outlawed, but are lethal when used to effect” are exactly what we need.

      I must say this is the first time I hear of an “effective heavy leather body armor for the dog”.

      To finish, no surprise the pitbull owner ran away. Regular cowards that pretend being machos behind a gun, a canine gun.

  13. Janice says:

    A suggestion for a (somewhat) long distance deterrent: Hornet/Wasp killer. It shoots a stream, not a spray, for several feet. A big shot in the eyes and nose of a threatening dog (or wild animal) will usually be enough to deter the threatened attack. It messes up their vision, and sense of smell, and it’s painful. (pitbulls and other dogs that have been purposely bred for fighting may be an exception) If you can’t get pepperspray or bearspray, you can get Hornet/Wasp spray, pretty much anywhere, and it’s not illegal anywhere. Also, if you are out walking, carry a walking stick, a good sturdy one.

    • MrMAD says:

      Thanks for the suggestion.

      I’ve heard about Hornet/Wasp killers recently and some people are making good use of them, already!

      However, It seems to be not a universal choice as a few people are saying they may not work but I’m Not believing them too much as they may be doggists trying to avoid any ‘harm’ to their beasts at large. In any case it helps to pay attention to the brand of the wasp killer And the type of dog. Just a note of caution.

      Another issue is that it’s not widely available as it should be. My local Walmart doesn’t have them. I could only find one at the farmers supply store, close to insecticides and such stuff.

      Anyway, that is one of the best options you can almost always carry with you when out in the field. And many other places, too.

      • S. D. Martin says:

        My sister-in-law, when walking in her former neighborhood, carried a 15-inch length of 1″ steel pipe with a rolled newspaper wrapped around it. The bare end of the pipe was the handle, hidden in her hand. It looked like she was just carrying a rolled-up newspaper. There were a few jerks in the neighborhood whose dogs would come racing toward anyone going past, barking and snapping at their heels or chasing the bicycles. A good WHAP! upside the head with her newspaper billyclub, and those dogs very soon learned to leave her alone! And since it was “only a rolled-up newspaper”, she never had some doggie do-gooder getting in her face about “beating that poor dog”…

  14. Rachael Cornwall says:

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button!

    I’d without a doubt donate to this brilliant blog! Dogs, specially pit bulldogs, are really nasty.

    I suppose for now I’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.

    I look forward to new updates and will talk about this blog in my Facebook group.

    Chat soon!

  15. Lee Vreatin says:

    Hello again! How would you like me to attach photos? Also, there is another excellent defensive tool from It is an indestructible umbrella that is legal to carry anywhere, even on the airlines. It can be very effectively used when closed as a jabbing tool, having a semi blunt stainless steel tip. Also, it can be used to strike severe blows without breaking. If an dog is approaching, the umbrella can be opened, and then it acts as a shield to keep the dog away. One of the models available also has a wide curved handle like a crook, that can be used as a hooking tool. Highly recommended. I cannot underestimate the structural strength of this umbrella. By the way, Bear spray is legal even in NYC, since it is many times more concentrated and therefore classified as a pesticide, and thus not banned like pepper spray. Bear spray will also spray farther and harder than any pepper spray. It is designed to instantly stop a charge from a 600 pound grizzly or 1,000 pound brown bear, so a 60 pound pit bull will be stopped easily with a full blast.

    • Lee Vreatin says:

      Sorry, in my last comment, I meant to say “I cannot OVERSTATE the strength of the umbrella.”

    • MrMAD says:

      That umbrella must be really awesome. Made of Kevlar? I just wonder how we would be seen caring one in Las Vegas even with the many pit bulldogs running lose.

      A powerful Pepper spray is also good, Bear spray is even better (Wasp spray seems to be the best):

      Btw, your site is not working.

  16. tg says:

    If walking to the movies or park with my son, where we go by the AmBully’s apartment, I always look for items I could use. There are bricks and cinderblocks which might be short range but would at least give us a chance. My pepper spray and butcher knife are always with me to and from the bus stop, and if I see the dog out I take another route. It’s always leashed, but I take no comfort in that, this dog is not nice and not afraid to show it. I’m making complaints, hoping something is done soon.

    When my late husband was unemployed we took quite a few paper routes. I kept most of them when he found work. Twice vicious dogs came at me. The first time, I screamed and climbed on top of the owner’s car. The dog had dug out and he was unaware, luckily he was home and responsive. That dog was a pit. The second time it was a chow, it came from a house that sat about a 1/4 mile from the street. I was yelling at it and looking around for something to defend myself. A tree branch was what I found. I smacked that dog upside the head after it had chased me four or five blocks. It wasn’t going to give up, but when I hit it, it ran back home. I encountered other dogs, some not so friendly, but they backed off if I held my ground and shook a newspaper at them. I’m glad the pit owner was home and quickly got his dog, I had nothing to defend myself with. I’m very thankful the storm blew that tree branch down with the chow, it wanted blood, and I have no idea why. It’s not normal for a dog to chase you for almost a mile, and I only walked by it’s yard, out in the street. My advice is, if you don’t have something for defense on hand, and you want to walk, look around and be prepared in case of attack. I should add, we do not ever walk in front of the Ambully’s apartment, we use the street that runs behind it.

    • MrMAD says:

      That’s wise advice, TG.

      Always look around. First, to see if any vicious dogs are around. Second, for anything you could use to defend yourself (in case you already don’t have something with you, like bear spray or a sturdy pointy umbrella). What a said way of living we came to today.

      Your comment is so nice I took the liberty to re-post it as Neighbor of AmBully’s Apartment Defending Herself – Personal Stories so that even more people could find it instead of being buried in a comments’ sections. Hope you agree.

  17. tg says:

    I’m fine with that MrMad. You know, the older people across the street have all kinds of small dogs. They’re quiet, and cleaned up after. It’s a senior citizen’s complex. I have no problem with the people or the dogs. I want another dog someday. I will be responsible. I do understand that’s what you’d like, if you must live among people who like dogs. I want the same thing, always. Nobody should have to live in fear of being attacked, or even killed. I shouldn’t have to carry things to defend myself, but until something is done about the dog, it’s my only choice. Remember, I don’t agree with poisoning animals, and the dog is never out without a leash. He snarled at me through the window again this afternoon. I hope the police get tired of my complaints and make him get rid of the menace. I’d gladly advocate putting this dog to sleep, by its actions, rehoming it would just make it a danger to someone else.

  18. Wein says:

    It’s my oppinion we must do anything within our means to make and keep us safe.

    We call exterminators to spread poison all around our homes and neighborhood to kill any mice menacing us. Legal and considered ethical and humane. The same must be aplied concernng those yard decorations that only know how to bark and bite, to keep things simple.

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