Among some of the most serious dog bite injuries are those that occur when more than one dog attacks at once. Outnumbered and overpowered, it can be virtually impossible for victims to fend their attackers off. Understanding the dynamics of pack mentality, however, may provide an opportunity for people to limit both their injuries and the duration of these events.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about protecting yourself during any attack that involves multiple dogs. Do the following if your safety is at risk.
Try to remain calm. Keeping your head will allow you to make sound decisions, even as it gives dogs good reason to pause. In general, attacking dogs want people to exhibit stress and fear before they move in as this guarantees that they'll have the upper hand.
Do your best to maintain a firm, fearless stance, and avoid making direct eye contact with any of the dogs around you. If you back down or run, this will invariably incite increased levels of aggression. Having a calm, assertive energy shows dogs that you intend to maintain your space.
Using a strong, clear voice, shout commands telling the dogs to move. In most dog attacks, the dogs attacking have owners of their own and are used to receiving commands. If you deliver your words with authority, one or more of the dogs may listen.
When dogs in a pack attack, your goal isn't to convince all of the dogs to leave you alone. If you can encourage enough of the animals in the group to back down, the remaining dogs will likely follow. The best commands to use in these instances are:
Choosing simple, single-word commands increases your likelihood of using one that multiple dogs recognize and respond to. As individual dogs change their mind, you will significantly increase your odds of avoiding an actual physical attack.
Using an elevated voice increases your likelihood of attracting attention from someone who can help you. When your goal is to avoid showing stress or outright fear, shouting common dog commands can be infinitely more effective than yelling for help in a panicked voice.
If you're able to do so, try slowly moving away from the area without dropping your shoulders or your gaze. Efforts to defend territory are among the most common reasons for dog attacks. It may be that the dogs are simply being territorial. Once you have cleared out of their territory, their aggression might come to an end.
Protect Yourself From Potentially Lethal Dog Bites
When dogs launch a physical attack, you want to do the best that you can to minimize the severity of their bites. Curl your fingers into fists to prevent them from being bitten off. Tuck your head and use your forearms to shield your face and neck.
Being bitten in the leg can result in severe bleeding. If necessary, curl forward into a ball and use your forearms to fend off your attackers as best you can.
Target the Most Aggressive Dog
In any grouping of dogs in which the pack mentality exists, there is always an alpha or leader. Even if dogs have not spent any significant amount of time around one another, they can quickly establish ranks of dominance.
What's helpful for dog attack victims is that it is sometimes possible for humans to claim the role of alpha. In healthy relationships between pets and owners, humans always act as alphas. This role is naturally assumed with submissive pets. However, it can additionally be achieved through behavioral training with more dominant dogs.
If staying calm, holding your ground, and forcefully shouting commands does not prevent a physical attack, your best bet is to physically respond to the most aggressive attacker, or the alpha. This will likely be the dog closest to you, given that attacking packs often form a line.
If possible, deliver a sharp, forceful blow to the alpha's neck or nose. This should cause the alpha to turn tail. If you have a walking stick with you, try using this to fend the dogs off while remaining most aggressive with the primary aggressor. If the dogs are unified in their attack due to a pack mentality, effectively warding off the alpha has the greatest likelihood of ending the attack quickly.
Whether walking your own dog or strolling through an area that's known to have strays, it is always best to keep a walking stick with you. A sturdy walking stick makes an excellent defensive weapon.
Keeping a bright-colored sweatshirt tied around your waist will give you something to distract dogs with should they gather to launch an attack. Sweatshirts and other heavy clothing can also be used to minimize the effects of dog bites.
Remaining calm and standing your ground is always the best choice. Running from potential dog attacks can both incite and encourage aggression. When dogs attack in a pack, assuming a protective, defensive position while working to thwart the lead aggressor could bring the event to a quick end.