Fending off dog attack: How to react correctly

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Fortunately, a dog attack is rare, but there are still incidents in which dogs apparently attack joggers, cyclists or children without warning. If you know how to ward off a dog attack, you are prepared for such cases. When a dog runs towards you, it means: keep calm! - Shutterstock / AsyaPozniak

Usually a dog attack occurs because a dog's hunting instinct has been awakened or out of fear. Most four-legged friends are well behaved and their owners have taught them not to attack people for no reason. But dogs are nonetheless predators and act instinctively - at worst, this can lead to an attack. In addition, there are also aggressive dogs that have developed behavioral problems due to an anxiety disorder or serious educational and postural problems. In such a case, you need to know how to ward off a dog attack.

Fend off dog attack: stay calm and appease

There are two main reasons for a dog attack: hunting instinct and fear. In particular, joggers or cyclists can provoke the hunting instinct of a free-running dog, which in this case considers humans to be prey. See a dog fix your gaze and walk straight for you, stop. It is best for joggers and walkers to put their hands in their pockets or put their arms on the sides of their bodies in order to offer as little contact area as possible. As a cyclist, you get off on the side facing away from the dog, bringing the bike between you and the dog. Turn sideways to the dog, but not with your back to him, and look past him. Averting the gaze and turning the body sideways mimic appeasement signals from dogs, so that the four-legged friend calms down again. If you remain standing until the dog loses interest and turns away, you can calmly withdraw without any hasty movements.

It is important that you ward off a dog attack without provoking the dog further. If you react aggressively on your part or run away, this will incite the dog even more. He understands direct eye contact and a frontal posture towards him as aggression. Wild waving or waving with the arms as well as loud roaring are mostly counterproductive and can escalate the situation.

Before dogs bite: recognize warning signs

It seems that people often get out of the blue when dogs bite. At least who the warning signs ...

What to do if the dog wants to bite

If the dog attack threatens to escalate and the dog wants to bite you, you can fend it off by distracting it. That means you have to give the aggressive dog an alternative to biting. This can be an umbrella, a stick or a bag, a backpack or a jacket. Hold the object between you and the dog so that it can bite into it. However, do not just let go of the object, otherwise the animal will quickly lose interest and attack you again. Keep calm and try to move slowly and evenly backwards away from the dog. If, despite all your attempts to avoid a bite, you have been bitten once, you should consult a doctor. You can find out more in the guide "Bitten by dog: I have to go to the doctor after a dog bite".

Summary: How to ward off a dog attack

  • ● Stand still
  • ● Keep calm
  • ● Put your arms against your body or put your hands in your pockets
  • ● Turn the body away to the side
  • ● look away
  • Wait until the dog loses interest
  • ● Offer alternatives to biting
  • ● Walk backwards slowly and calmly and move away carefully

In the following video you can take a look at these tips again using the example of a jogger who wants to ward off a dog attack:


  1. Xipil

    Very curious question

  2. Kijar

    Certainly. I agree with told all above.

  3. Dougami

    I can suggest to visit to you a site on which there is a lot of information on this question.

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