Every park user, whether a human or a dog, has a right to go for a walk without being bothered by unsupervised or uncontrolled dogs. A dog coming wildly toward you might be friendly and have nothing more fearful in mind than saying hello, but its bulk and speed can be quite intimidating. However, you may be dealing with a fierce brute intent on terrorizing you and your dog.
We’ve met people who have such a phobia of dogs that the prospect of walking across a park causes them misery. Though these are extreme cases, they’re indicative of the fear that uncontrolled dogs can inspire. Badly behaved dogs ruin the reputation of the rest. If you fear being on the receiving end of an attack by an aggressive dog, read on for advice on how to deal with the situation.
When dogs are about to attack other animals, they normally go through a three-stage process:
- Stage One: Predatory Aggression, identify prey. Potential victims are sized up and one is singled out.
- Stage Two: Predatory Aggression, pursuit. Suddenly they take off at full speed toward their target dog.
- Stage Three: Predatory Aggression, the kill. The final stage is the actual attack. That’s the wolf ancestry in your dog revealing itself.
Practical Dog Attack Avoidance Technique
If you or your dog is attacked, here are some suggestions on how to deal with the situation and defuse the crisis.
Before you adopt any of the defense methods that follow, do be certain that the approaching dog has aggressive intentions before you act, otherwise you could precipitate a fight when otherwise there would not have been one – your dog might be simply and correctly displaying appeasing behavior.
An example is when a very assertive, bold dog approaches yours, and your dog appears frightened. You may feel that you need to rescue your dog from this humiliating or dangerous situation. By misreading and interfering, you can cause fight. Sudden movements or shouting can activate the fight-or-flight mechanism of the dogs.
If you notice how dogs normally meet, sniff, and say hello to one another, their movements are deliberate, synchronized, and slow so that neither dog gives the impression of aggression. Dogs use a wonderful variety of body language signals that generally defuse tension and identify rank, sex, and age. Nothing bad happens and they will happily go on their respective ways or play together.
However, if you or your dog are attacked in the park, this can be a very frightening experience, especially if your dog is small or timid and the attacker is large. In cases where the aggression is mostly vocal, simply telling your dog to sit and keeping your body between the two dogs will stop the situation from becoming worse.
It is amazing how the aggressive dog will not come too close to a human to get at his canine target – circumnavigating an owner takes more courage than normal. The antagonist might be expecting your dog to flee so the chase can begin. By keeping your dog calm, disappointment will be his reward.
If the dog is very aggressive and is attempting to bite, or if you believe from its body language that it will bite, try holding a solid object like a stick or bag in front of your body with an outstretched hand. Don’t be threatening or wave it. This display will normally distract the aggressor’s attention and, if a bite does take place, the object is normally what is bitten. You need to appear calm and make few sudden movements when adopting these defensive actions.
Alternatively, you may have to let go of your dog’s leash if you feel that your personal safety is in jeopardy. In the final analysis we can advise but not anticipate every possibility. It’s your decision.
The most successful method we have found to stop dog attacks on you or your dog is a telescopic umbrella. It’s called Defense Enlarge or DE. The basic idea is that most aggressive dogs are not as confident as they appear. By carrying a telescopic umbrella with you, you are equipped with a superb, quick-action device.
If you believe that a dog is about to attack your dog, simply activate the umbrella release button as the tormentor approaches, also pointing it in the direction of the attacker. The sudden pop of the umbrella will take the dog by surprise; keep your dog either on a leash adjacent to your body or hold him by one arm. During tests in more than 300 practical situations of aggressiveness, only two dogs did not either run off or just bark until their owners arrived and controlled them.
As the aggressor begins to bark, stand still and place the fully extended umbrella with its outer edge touching the ground. Then roll the umbrella clockwise or counterclockwise according to which way the aggressive dog is circling you. The antagonist will find difficult to bypass the defense.
The behavioral principle involved is based on the bluff principle familiar in the animal kingdom. We have all seen how some lizards expand their ruff around their necks when threatened by a predator in order to makes themselves look larger than they are in life; this trick works for them, and the good old umbrella can work for you and your pet dog.