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How to Save Your Life If You Meet an Aggressive Stray Dog

Dogs are man’s best friend until they are on their own. A dog that lives in a dangerous environment all on its own can have more in common with a wolf than with a regular dog. Stray animals unite in packs, live in certain territories, and protect these territories. And many are likely not afraid of people.

The Bright Side team has found out what to do if you encounter an aggressive stray dog.

If you meet a stray dog, don’t run away and don’t try to throw anything at it.

If you see a dog, don’t try to run or even quickly walk away from it. The animal might feel a hunting instinct and might think that you are good prey.

The best thing to do is:

  • Stay at a safe distance and wait for the animal to walk away.
  • Slowly step back, watching the reaction of the dog. If the dog follows you, stop. If the animal doesn’t move, keep walking backward. As soon as the dog looks away, keep going at your normal pace.

You can distract the dog by putting something between yourself and the animal. This could be your backpack, your umbrella, a shoe, or a jacket. Hopefully, the animal will interpret the object as an obstacle between you and itself and will get distracted.

If you are riding a bike or a skateboard, you become very attractive to the dog.

Stray dogs react to movement and they are often aggressive toward bikes, motorcycles, cars, and other kinds of transportation. If a dog starts to chase you, just stop: the animal should lose interest in you.

You can continue going when the dog turns away and starts walking away. Don’t try to ride faster — dogs are extremely fast and they will catch up with you.

If you are walking with your own pet, you’ll have to choose: either take the risk by yourself or with your pet.

If a stray dog is barking or snarling at your dog, it is natural to want to pick your dog up. But the stray might react to this movement and try to attack you. If you leave the pet on the ground, there is a risk that the stray will try to attack it. In this situation, your pet might get hurt.

There is no right solution here. If you can’t leave the dog on the ground, it is better to throw it over an obstacle, like a fence, or put it up in a tree (if it’s a cat).

However, there is another option. Leave your animal where it is, and instead, try to distract the stray. If you have a treat with you, throw it to the stray. Very often, they are hungry and they won’t say no to food. Ideally, throw the treats as far away from you as possible: the dog will walk away and calm down, giving you a chance to get away.

It’s not a good idea to use pepper spray: the dog will only get more aggressive and dangerous with this tactic.

If a dog is getting ready to attack, don’t look it in the eyes: this will be treated as a sign of aggression.

One of the worst situations you can be in, is when a dog approaches you and starts to growl.

Freeze and don’t look the dog in the eye. Eye contact for dogs is a signal to start a fight. And if you freeze, you might seem like a boring thing for the dog, so they might just bark at you and walk away.

If the dog approaches you and starts sniffing you, just let it happen. Don’t move and don’t try to touch the dog with your hand — this might be treated as an attack.

The recommendation to hit the dog in a specific spot (usually, the nose) is not likely to help because dogs are very fast, and you will probably miss your shot. And your handwaving will most likely make it even angrier.

Of course, the best way to protect yourself from an aggressive animal is to not go near it at all. If you hear loud barking or see a pack of dogs, try to avoid this area, even if you have to walk further to get around it.

Do you often see stray dogs? Tell us about what you do in these situations!