How to Protect Yourself from a Stray Dog

Опубликовал Admin
16-12-2020, 05:10
When encountering an unknown dog without an owner (a "stray"), many people's first instinct is fear. However, with a little knowledge, you can feel more secure and know what to do if this happens, to you.


  1. Gauge the dog's demeanor. Is it aggressive or afraid? Signs of aggression include: baring teeth, lifted tail, raised ears and hackles (the fur behind the neck, in many large breeds the hackles are very easy to see when they are lifted). Signs of fear include tucking the tail, laid back ears and also snarling or barking. Barking is a sure sign that the dog doesn't want you any closer than you already are.
  2. Do not be mislead by breed stereotypes. Look for body language to understand what the dog is trying to convey. A dog's behavior is determined more by its training (or lack thereof) than its genetics.
  3. Most dogs, big and small, are not aggressive and are likely to be afraid of you. The most common situation is that a dog is lost, scared, and doesn't trust you. Even if they look frightening, their first instinct will be to repel you and get away.
  4. For scared dogs, back away slowly until the dog is at ease. Do not try to command them. Note your location and, if the dog is unknown to you, call animal control immediately. If you know who the dog belongs to, of course, call them first!
  5. For an aggressive dog, the first priority should be to protect yourself. Do not run, as the dog will catch you and will be encouraged to bite. Many dogs instinctively know how to "take down" a runner, and the last place you want to be is on the ground. Search for something to climb onto and call for help.
  6. If there is nothing that can safely remove you from an aggressive dog, you should use your arm to deflect or absorb any bites. Do not aggravate an aggressive dog by shouting at it or staring into its eyes. Eye contact is aggressive and will likely spur an attack.
  7. Very few dogs will actually bite a human being, if unprovoked. Stay calm and try to keep your stance tall and confident. Walk away, if you aren't being chased, and call animal control at the first opportunity. Dogs are pack animals. When they are alone, they are not usually looking for confrontation.


  • If the dog can sense that you are scared, you will be letting off a smell. Dogs may like this smell and then they are more likely to follow you. If this happens, try to distract yourself from the dog by looking at something else and not standing there staring at the dog. This will show the dog that you are not too afraid of it and it should hopefully lose interest.
  • If you talk in an angry voice, this might frighten the dog and could lead to aggressiveness.
  • Try not to annoy a pregnant female dog or walk too deep into any dog's territory.
  • Carry mace (where legal) to protect yourself from any kind of animal attack.If you do happen to be attacked by a stray dog, strike for the nose - this will stop most dogs in their tracks.
  • Don't try to pet the dog.
  • If you are in a foreign country and don't know the area very well, go with somebody else if you must walk around unknown neighborhoods.
  • Know that most dogs are not going to actually hurt you unless you provoke them.


  • If a dog ever attacks you, it is best to not let it knock you down. Stand your ground, and shield yourself. Keep the dog in front of you, and keep anything between you and the dog.
  • If you are bitten, go to a doctor as soon as possible and get a rabies vaccine.
  • If a dog knocks you to the ground, you should curl into a ball and cover your head and neck with your arms. Some dogs may lose interest if you "play dead."
Users of Guests are not allowed to comment this publication.