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Getting away: Defusing a dog attack

Everyone knows that coming across an angry pooch could to lead to injuries, but what do you do if it's too late to avoid an interaction with an angry dog?

Your best bet is to try to defuse the attack and get away to safety, so you can call for help and keep track of the dangerous animal.

It's not always easy to break away from an attack, but there are a few techniques that could help. Here are a couple things to keep in mind.

1. Blocking a dog's vision may get it to disengage

First, remember that dogs can be very visual creatures. They see, and smell, their targets. One way to stop them from seeing where you are is to block their vision. It's not good enough to run and hide, because a dog will find you through scent alone. Instead, consider throwing a blanket or jacket over the dog's head. This makes it switch its aggression toward the new "enemy" and away from you.

2. Don't scream

Screaming or hitting the dog is a good way to make the attack more vicious and to escalate the situation. Your best bet is to calmly ask for help as soon as you know there will be a problem. If a dog is approaching you, avert your eyes and stand sideways to show you aren't a threat. Don't run and scream, since it may decide to attack based on that action.

3. Stay calm

Stay calm. It's hard to feel calm when you're getting hurt, but if you lash out at the dog while it's attacking, you're opening up your body to more injuries. The best decision you can make is to curl up into a ball and cover your face and neck to prevent potentially serious bite wounds.

Staying calm also keeps you in a state where you can decide the best step to take next. For example, if the dog is small enough and taking smaller bites or nips at you, you may be calm enough to pick up and restrain the dog or to roll it onto its back and sit on it to prevent further injury. This won't work for every kind of dog, but if the dog is small, restraining it is a good way to stop an attack in its tracks.

These are just a few tips to follow when you're attacked by a dog. It's not always possible to stop an attack completely, but by protecting yourself and staying calm, you can find a way out of the situation and to safety.

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