Do you know what to do if a dog attacks you?
What would you do, right now, if a dog came running and snarling in your direction without any appearance of slowing down? Would you know how to react?
Many people who are afraid of dogs have seen the damage they can cause. Bigger breeds, and breeds who have been saddled with the “aggressive” label (whether or not that is accurate) are often feared the most.
And there’s a reason for that. A lot of small dogs actually have nasty, spoiled temperaments because people laugh at their attempts to attack. A snarling Chihuahua is an ankle-biting nuisance, but a pit bull barreling down on you is sure to garner a very different response.
People often panic, running or attempting to hit the oncoming dog with something. But those are both triggers: the first, a trigger to chase, and the second, to escalate their response.
What you’re actually supposed to do is slowly, calmly move out of the dog’s territory and try to get onto higher ground or somewhere that you are physically inaccessible to the dog’s onslaught. Many dogs are all bark and no bite, and if you’re in their territory, that’s all they’re trying to defend.
Some hikers and walkers will walk with sticks or golf clubs, but many times hitting an attacking dog will only enrage them further, and they’ll renew their attacks. Pepper spray is much more immediate and has far fewer lasting effects (just make sure you can aim it well or you’ll get a taste of your own medicine).
I’ve seen some dog fights in my time, and many dogs protecting what they consider “their” property will attack your dog before they attack you. Inexperienced owners will react and try to grab the dogs, by collars or anything they can reach, but that puts their limbs in direct target range.
Really, what you want to do is grab the dog by their back legs. This forces them to concentrate on standing on their front legs, and they will usually let go — they can’t bite you, either, because you’re controlling their direction, like a little pupper wheelbarrow. If they try to spin and snap at you, they face-plant.
Many times, hitting a dog or otherwise inserting yourself into a situation where a dog is focused on attacking something else will get you hurt. Even a dog that is not usually people-aggressive will transfer their attack in the heat of the moment, and many people have been bitten this way.
That’s why, when one woman saw a pit bull viciously attacking her car, the cops who showed up told her to wait until they had a suitable catch pole to try to intervene.
The Georgia resident, Jessica Dilallo, found a medium-sized dog tearing at her — get this — brand new car’s bumper. She called the authorities, who showed up and surveyed the scene.
It’s clear something must have been driving the bully to pummel the car so ferociously. Apparently two cats had run under the car for cover, and the dog had followed them as far as he could.
The rivalry between dogs and cats is ancient. It’s so rooted in our culture that we pass judgments on people by asking if they’re a cat person or a dog person.
And apparently this dog wasn’t about to let a measly car stand in his way. Since the cop, Lt. Matthew Locke, knew that cats were involved, and that the dog wasn’t human-aggressive, he was trying to avoid escalating the situation.
The dog can be seen barking when he takes breaks, and it’s unclear whether it’s a frustrated bark at the cats or the people standing around — either way, it’s clear that the pup could do some real damage on the significantly softer flesh of a human if he was shredding the car.
At one point, Dilallo grows so angry at the whole scene and the cop’s unwillingness to stop the dog yet that she asks if they can throw rocks at it or shoot it. The cop responds that since the dog is not attacking people, he didn’t want to needlessly shoot it.
I mean, any of us would be upset too if we were watching something like that happen to our property, but it’s still better than a person getting hurt. Later, Bruce Frazier told WTVC that the officer hadn’t intervened because “he didn’t want to be in a position where the dog attacked him and he was forced to shoot the dog.”
Eventually, a makeshift catch pole was found, and they were able to separate the dog from his obsessive destruction. The owner was eventually located as well, and willingly paid for all the damages.
This is an excellent example of the proper precautions that should be exercised in a high-stress, high-excitement situation with canines. The car ended up repaired, the dog went home safely, and no one was hurt: a happy ending to this potentially dangerous story!