(Here is a special column from Jeff Cantor, an expert on personal security and safety.)
I just read a horrible news story about a young man who was walking home in Pleasanton, Texas, minding his own business, when two pit bulls attacked him just yards from his front door.
Surgeons needed 28 stitches to close deep gashes in the man’s back and in the back of his neck.
But it could have been worse. As far as I can learn, the only reason the guy survived is because a neighbor came to his rescue and drove the dogs away.
The neighbor was on his roof trimming high tree branches with what’s called a pole saw. He recalls: “I jumped off the roof and hit the dogs with the pole saw and that was about it.”
The incident made me curious. So I did a little research, and I came across these startling facts:
Every year, doctors treat about 850,000 people who have been bitten by dogs, reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. About 350,000 of those victims get mauled so badly that they have to go to ERs. In 2014, dogs killed 42 Americans. In 2015, they killed 35.
In 2013, there were over 345,000 robbery cases reported in the U.S., according to the FBI. And these cases included muggings, highway robbery, carjacking and extortion. In 2014, local police reported over 325,000 robbery cases to the FBI.
In other words, you’re probably more likely to be attacked by dog than a robber. Yet, neither the police nor the media put any real effort into telling you how to avoid or how to survive a dog attack.
So in today’s newsletter, I’m going to give you realistic advice about how to deal with the dark side of man’s best friend. This advice doesn’t come from reading or from researching, but from my years of experience in dealing with aggressive dogs that I have experienced during operations and roaming some third world countries where wild dogs wander through the streets and dog attacks are as common as a cold.
|Be aware of a dog’s actions and posture.|
So perhaps in that regard, I am better qualified than many so-called “experts” to separate fact from fiction and truth from myth.
IF A DOG CONFRONTS YOU:
Remain alert, observe and analyze how threatening the dog appears. Be aware of the canine’s behavior and posture. Do not back away or turn your back on the animal. Do not stare directly at the dog, but do watch it with your side vision. Stand perfectly still with your hands at your sides and don’t make a sound. Hopefully, the dog will decide you are not a threat. At the same time, keep in mind that once the dog perceives you as a threat, it will be committed to attack.
|“Do not stare directly at the dog, but do watch it with your side vision.”|
Tuck your chin. Most dogs have a natural tendency to jump and lunge when they are attacking. It is therefore essential that you protect your throat and neck. If the dog has had protection training, it will attack specific targets such as the neck, inner thigh, groin or an arm.
If you feel an attack is inevitable, don’t hesitate to swing into a defensive position. Wrap a jacket or other article of clothing around your weak arm so you can use it to block bites. Hold your covered arm out away from your body as an offering or target for the dog to latch onto. In this way, it keeps them away from your face and throat and you keep your strong arm clear to use to strike or incapacitate with.
If you can, grab a weapon, such as a rock, branch, stick, or garbage can cover. You can even use a pen to stab the dog’s eyes.
IF A DOG ATTACKS:
When the dog lunges or leaps, your primary focus should be to avoid being bitten while you take control of the canine’s head. You can use your knees to knock the dog off of you or hopefully onto the ground. Your knees can also be used to gain control and pin the dog to the ground.
Try poking the dog in the eyes to deter it, but if that does not work you will have to control the head. To secure the head, crouch low while keeping your neck and face away. Next, either firmly grab the dog’s neck with both hands and quickly slam it to the ground to control it. Or squeeze the neck with both hands as hard as you can while you force the head down to the ground.
If you’re having trouble forcing the head down, use one hand to go for the dog’s rear legs. You will have to fake the dog out a bit to grab its rear legs. With your face away from the jaws, grab one or both legs and pull them out hard and back forcing the dog flat to the floor. Then quickly pounce on the dog, putting one knee to pin it down with all your weight. Keep the other knee up to facilitate quick movement should you have to change positions rapidly. At that point, you can then follow the procedures to control the head.
Dogs are much more agile than humans. So it’s essential that you gain control quickly by closing the critical distance between you and the animal.
Do not yell at the dog. Yelling makes the dog feel more uncomfortable, and sometimes more threatened. It can even cause them to attack faster.
If you are alone and you fear for your life, then you have no choice but to either subdue the animal physically or kill it. You can’t let it go because it probably will just attack you again.
Be warned that certain breeds use head butts when they attack. This is especially true of pit bulls and Rottweilers. These head butts can break bones and easily knock down a man, let alone a woman or child.
If you really want to be well prepared, educate yourself about how each breed attacks. For example: German shepherds have a tendency to snap multiple times, Rottweilers dismember and pit bulls hang on and crush. You can even use this information to gauge how well some mixed breeds will fight.
Pepper spray and mace will discourage most attacking dogs. But did you know that hair spray can be a good substitute?
Use keys as weapons and target vital parts of the dog, especially on the face and eyes.
As a last resort, the least-favored technique for establishing dominance over the attacking dog has to be biting the animal on the face, preferably the snout or above the eyes. With luck, blood will flow into the dog’s eyes and obstruct its vision. This is an act of desperation because you risk contracting rabies or some other blood-borne infection.
Be aware of any visible signs of rabies, such as foaming at the mouth, drooling and bizarre behavior, including fear of water. Keep in mind, however, that rabies does not always present detectable symptoms.
In smaller, less-threatening dogs, you can get away with kicking the dog. But beware if you’re too out of shape because you might lose your balance and stumble or even fall.
If two or more dogs attack you, try to get to high ground, such as a tree or a roof. If can’t do that, then grab a makeshift weapon, wrap your lead arm with a jacket or other covering – and get ready for the fight of your life.
If you are bitten by a dog, seek medical attention immediately, and report the incident to the local police. (The treating physician is obligated to file a police report as well).
DEBUNKING COMMON MYTHS
If a dog is attacking you, DO NOT lay down on the floor in a fetal position and play dead. Dogs have a very keen sense of hearing. They can hear a human heart beat from 20 feet away. And why would you put yourself in a position that leaves you without any tactical advantage or options?
You CANNOT scream, yell or talk your way out of an attack. This is the go-to method for untrained people. If the dog feels threatened, it will attack. The more you raise your voice, the more likely the dog will feel threatened and the more likely it will attack.
DO NOT try to stare down the dog. This usually accomplishes nothing except to distract you enough to dull your situation awareness and to decrease your reaction time if attacked. Some canine experts believe that staring at a dog will even provoke it.
DO NOT try to divert a mean dog by throwing food down. If the dog is committed to the attack, the food will not deter it. It will simply attack and get the food later.
DO NOT waste your money on dog whistles. Again, if the beast is in attack mode, the whistle will not stop it.
Until next time, stay alert, check your six, put your back against the wall and stay safe!
P.S. I’m deeply concerned about the explosion of mass shootings and terrorism we’re seeing in places like Columbine, San Bernardino and Orlando. I absolutely refuse to stand by quietly while these kinds of tragedies continue to happen. That’s why I created FREEDOM FROM FEAR with Sheriff John Bunnell of America’s Wildest Police Videos. And it’s why it’s so critical that you view it the minute it’s released Tuesday, July 12. Click here now to register!