Safe on the Streets: 5 Tips to Ward off Stray Dog Attacks

Dog bites are a common problem in the US today. According to USPS, there are over 4.5 million people bitten by dogs annually in the United States. One of the scariest things to encounter is an attack by an aggressive dog. In most cases, these dogs are off-leash and straying without their owners.

There are several reasons to protect yourself from dog attacks. Most dog bites will cause injuries and spread germs which cause diseases. 1 out of 5 people that are bitten by dogs requires medical attention. An evening walk in the park can easily turn into several stitches, and hundreds of dollars spend on medical bills. Getting paid after being bitten by dogs can cover all the expenses and emotional trauma, but I guess nobody wants to undergo that experience.

In this article, we look at simple tips that can help ward off stray dog attacks with ease.

How to stop a dog charging towards you

Gauge the demeanor of the dog

Is the dog afraid or aggressive? Gauging the dog’s demeanor alerts you if the dog wants to attack or is simply afraid. When dogs are aggressive, they usually have their tails lifted. Look for signs of bare teeth, raised ears and hackles. Hackles are the hairs/fur behind the neck. These hairs are usually raised when dogs are aggressive. They might be hard to see in small breeds but are quite visible in large breeds. Do not attempt to run like the dog will run after you. Climb on trees or anything you find and call for help.

However, when the tail is tucked and the ears laid back, the dog is afraid. Sometimes the dog will bark or snarl which is an indication it doesn’t want you any closer. If the dog is afraid, walk away slowly until the dog is at ease.

Maintain a safe distance between you and dogs on the street

There are cases where a dog on the leash can bite you when you get too close. It is advised that you always maintain a safe distance between you and any dog on the street. It doesn’t matter the size of the breed. Some dogs simply snap when you get too close and can bite. This is because they get excited or frightened by your presence.

Some dog owners walk their dogs on a long leash. This might lead to tripping when walking frightening the dog which may then bite you. Make sure you alert the owner to reduce the leash before passing by. If you simply love dogs and want to approach one, make sure you ask the owner before making any moves. Don’t go by the old rule ‘dogs are man’s best friend’. Some dog owners today color-code the dog collar alerting passersby of the dog status. Look for warning signs on the collars like, ‘Nervous’, ‘Do Not Feed’, ‘Caution’, ‘Deaf’, ‘Blind’ and much more.

Do not stare straight onto the dog’s eyes

When you stare straight into the dog’s eyes, then you also give a sign of aggression. It tells the dog you’re not ready to back down. Most dogs will look away when they are backing down. Look away from the dog to show it that you’re not ready for a fight. If the dog is aggressively approaching you from a distance, turn sideways. This is a sign you’re presenting less threat to the approaching dog.

You can also look for objects around like trees, street benches and posts to create a barrier between you and the dog. While standing still, withdraw slowly at a constant pace and get out of the dog’s territory. You also need to be aware of your surroundings when walking in public places. Beware of any dog/dogs on your path. Be ready to change your route to stay clear of dogs without a leash.

Try to lose the dog’s focus to something else.

This is another excellent tip of warding of aggressive dogs coming your way. If you have some treats at hand, toss them towards the dog to startle it. Sometimes the dog will stop to see what hit him. This is your break to walk away from the dog’s path slowly. The aim of throwing something at the dog is not to hurt the dog. It helps to lose the dog’s focus on you for a few seconds giving you a chance to escape.

If that trick does not work, try and make yourself look big. Square your hips and shoulder while raising your hands like a cop trying to stop a vehicle. Then softly speak to the dog saying stay, stop, sit and much more. If you happen to have an umbrella, open it and direct it towards the approaching dog while urging it to stay away. Most dogs will stop and slowly walk away when they view you as a bigger and more dangerous opponent.

Use a spray if the dog comes too close.

This should be your last resort if the dog gets too close. Most spray products are aversive to dogs but will not cause any serious harm. Well, this is only possible if you have a spray with you at the time of the attack. You can also use a taser or stun gun to stop the charge. However, the use of guns can be dangerous as the dog is too close. You also need to learn the use of such weapons in your state to avoid breaking the law.

If the dog gets too close and you don’t have any of these weapons, get something between you and the dog’s mouth. This can be a stick, umbrella, jacket or anything you find around.

Lastly, if the dog manages to attack you, curl up into a ball like-shape and protect your face, head and neck.

Final Verdict

Children are at a higher risk to be bitten by dogs than adults, and in most cases their injuries are severe. It does not matter if you know the dog or not. In fact, most dog bites are from dogs that we are familiar with or that we have met once or twice. Always seek for medical help when you’re bitten by a dog whether the injury is minor or severe.

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