Without the basic skills to protect yourself, being attacked by a dog can be horrifying and even deadly. While they may seem rare, dog bites happen to 4.7 million people every year in the Canada alone. These attacks are usually minor, but serious attacks certainly happen. If you find yourself being attacked by a dog, there are things you can do to avoid the attack completely, or minimize the damage. It’s important to remember that dog attacks are not limited to strange dogs. Pets can be just as dangerous.


  1. At Home

    • Teach children to never tease your pet dog. Children are naturally curious and may hurt the dog by accident. This can trigger an attack in an otherwise docile dog. Never allow small children or babies to play with your dog unsupervised. Children are highly susceptible to dog bites largely because they lack the skills to interact properly.

    • Allow your pet to sniff your hand before petting. When you do pet them, make sure you avoid the dog’s face and tail. Over time, the pet may grow comfortable with other areas. Always be gentle when you first pet your dog.

    • Give your pet space when it is eating and sleeping. Many dog bites result from dog owners startling their pets at the wrong times. Likewise, you should give a mother a wide berth with her puppies. Dogs can be very protective of their offspring.

    • Provide a quiet space for your dog. A dog house or even a simple bed in the corner of the bedroom does wonders for a dog’s attitude. Allow it space to get away. This is particularly necessary in a house full of children.

    Strange Dogs

    • Keep your eyes and ears open while walking in unfamiliar neighborhoods. A dog is particularly protective of its territory when a stranger is involved. If you see a strange dog unleashed, go the other way and avoid the confrontation.

    • Call ahead if a friend or neighbor has a dog. Make certain she is outside to meet you when you arrive. Having her there can act as a buffer between you and the strange dog.

    • Ask permission before petting another person’s dog. The dog may not be social or may simply be aggressive. This is also very important if you have your own dog with you.

    • Avoid making eye contact with a strange dog as it may perceive that you are challenging it. Instead, move slowly and back away.

    Dog Attacks

    • Recognize the signs of a dog about to attack. An aggressive dog will often lower its ears, snarl and show its teeth. The fur on its back may stand up and the dog may growl.

    • Remain calm and do not run. If you run, most dogs will be inclined to chase you. Stay calm and still or slowly back away.

    • Give the dog an exit strategy. If you corner the dog, it will attack and fight vigorously. Make sure you allow the dog a way to escape.

    • Stay on your feet if the dog attacks. Protect your head and neck and keep your fists balled up. Use anything that you can to protect yourself. Do not hesitate to use force if you feel your life is in danger.

    • Ball up into a fetal position if the dog gets you off your feet. Cover your head and neck with your fists and pull your knees up to your chest to protect your vital organs. If the dog is large enough to knock you off your feet, it is likely strong enough to keep you there. Once it feels you are no longer a threat, it may go away.