Survive A Dog Attack
This is going to be a rather unconventional post for this website. But I do talk often about self defense, and it’s necessary for our people to know how to defend ourselves. That includes against things other than humans.
I recently had to RNC (rear naked choke) a dog that was in an all-out brawl with my dog, and it made me realize that I had practically no idea how best to fight back against a dog if it were attacking. With my recent experience, the RNC worked, but I’m not sure how well that situation would have gone if the dog was focused on me instead of my dog. His distraction allowed me to sweep in completely unhindered. But that wouldn’t happen if it was after me, not him.
I spent some time studying and ended up finding a great resource for defending yourself from dog attacks.
Some target points are similar, but others are rather surprising.
The approach to fighting humans is entirely different from the approach to fighting animals. So, it is good to know. We don’t know where this world is going, and if things do end up crashing hard, it won’t hurt to know how to survive an assortment of potentially lethal situations.
Here is the guide. I’m only sharing the bare fist version, I recommend you go read the full guide for the full walkthrough:
There are three scenarios that I’m going to examine in this post; fighting a dog with a stick or other impact weapon, fighting a dog with a knife or edged weapon, and fighting a dog with your bare hands. I choose these three scenarios because I think these are most likely to be how people will be fighting dogs, and because I have had to fight dogs using all three methods (I’m not sure why but there have been five separate times when I have had occasion to fight a dog). I think for most people this is a scary thought, partly because we’ve all seen what an aggressive dog can do, and partly because most people don’t really know anything about the nuts and bolts of how to go about fighting a dog. You can’t just throw punches at it and win. You’ve got to understand how to disable your opponent. When faced with an aggressive dog attack you only have two options; immobilize or incapacitate the dog.
Fighting a dog with your bare hands
This is a situation that almost guarantees that you will get bit. I’ve had to fight two dogs with my bare hands, and have been bitten both times. It’s almost unavoidable.
If it is going to happen, why not try to minimize the damage? In virtually every case, an attacking dog will bite the first thing that comes near its mouth.
In some cases this will be your groin (very bad), or your abdomen (not good either), but usually this is not a dog’s first choice for attack.
Dogs tend to attack by leaping into your chest with their front paws in an attempt to push you down, so frequently the first thing near their mouth is one of your hands or arms (there are plenty of videos available on the internet where you can see this behavior. Police dogs are trained specifically to attack like this, in large part because this is a natural attack for a dog against a taller opponent).
If you can get a piece of clothing in the dogs mouth rather than a piece of your body, great! Do it! If you have a few moments warning that the dog is going to attack you, wrap whatever you have around your ‘weak’ forearm (jacket, sweater, tee shirt, anything helps), and let the dog bite that rather than an unprotected limb.
If you have the gumption to follow through with it jam your hand in its mouth and either grab its tongue with a death grip, or try as hard as you can to shove your fist down its throat.
In 2005 a 73 year old man in Nairobi killed an attacking Leopard by pulling it’s tongue out. Dogs will not bite down if you have hold of their tongue for fear of severing their own tongue. If you are going to try this I highly recommend that you use the other hand to control the dog’s head so that it cannot shake you off.
Remember that except in very rare cases, you are larger than the dog (if you’re fighting an aggressive dog that is bigger than you are, you’d better give it everything you’ve got because you’re in serious trouble). Use your size to your advantage. If you can manage to mount the dog and stay on top of it, it is quite likely that you can hold the dog down until help can be called, or you can figure out how to incapacitate the dog.
Unless you are the fastest human on the planet, you are not going to be able to outrun the dog, so don’t even try. You do not want an aggressive dog falling on you from behind. The best thing you can do it is to face the dog squarely, do not look it directly in the eye (if you are wearing sunglasses take them off, as dogs see them as big, staring, unblinking eyes that are looking right at them), which is a sign that you are challenging the dog.
Yell at the dog, wave your arms, but do not back away. If you retreat, or show fear the dog will attack you. If you stand your ground, and do not directly challenge the dog by advancing on it, or retreating it may decide that it does not want to attack you.
If you are wearing a belt you can use as a weapon, do so! Belts have several combat uses; you can whip the dog with the buckle end, use it as an improvised garrote or muzzle, and in the case of thick leather belts you can jam it into the dog’s mouth sideways (you’ll need to jam it all the way back to the mandibular joint for this to be more than a very temporary restraint) which can effectively prevent the dog from biting you.
You can use a shirt or jacket as an improvised muzzle, if you can get it over the dog’s head. Anything that you can use to give yourself an edge will help. If you have nothing and it’s mano a canis, you must incapacitate the dog as rapidly as possible.
Dogs noses are extremely sensitive, and easy to damage because they are very soft tissue. Any blow to a dog’s nose is going to be very painful and may cause the dog to pull away from you. Use this to your advantage.
If the dog jumps at you and you can manage to get your hands on its forelegs, jerk them straight out to the sides as hard as you can. Dog’s forelegs do not naturally bend this way and you can easily break the legs or separate joints effectively immobilizing the dog.
If you can manage to get your hand on top of its muzzle and not get bit, you can clamp the dog’s mouth shut and pin it to it’s chest which is also an effective way to prevent bites.
I’ll reiterate, you are bigger than the dog; pick the dog up and slam it into the ground (or wall or a car), or throw it over a fence (I’ve actually done this).
Keep in mind that dogs generally have much looser skin than humans. You can use this in the same way you would use lose clothing on a human attacker, to direct their motion, or as a handhold for applying leverage.
Dogs are susceptible to joint locks and chokes just as humans are (though in the case of a joint lock, you’ll probably want to go ahead and break the joint so you don’t get bit too much while trying to hold the joint lock). A rear naked choke works just as well on a pitbull as it does on a human, with the benefit that the dog cannot use its hands to try to break the choke (I choked out a pitbull once, it took a lot longer than it does for a human but it works).
Aggression is your friend. If you manage to back the dog off, or it turns to run, chase it while screaming like a madman. You want to drive the fact that you are dangerous and will hurt the dog into its primitive brain. Dogs that turn to run may only travel a short distance to regroup before bringing the fight right back to you. Do not assume that the dog is in full retreat.
If you manage to drive the dog off, leave the area and seek shelter immediately. You cannot be sure that it will not return.
It’s better to have some knowledge before needing it, rather than the other way around.
As with most things fighting related, it’s better to deescalate and escape if possible. That should always be the first goal. If that isn’t possible then fight for survival using everything at your disposal.
The author of this resource has a very interesting page for other materials as well. It is a shame they do not post more often. Even if you’re not interested in the dog fighting tips, I recommend checking them out for their other writings. A non-archived link is here: Exigent Circumstance.
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