As you’ve probably heard, the government plans to ban the XL Bully breed.
Some people are concerned for theirs and their families safety and are wondering just what to do if they ever unfortunately become the victim of a dog attack.
Luckily, there are some things to do to improve your chances of survival if faced with the jaws of a vicious dog.
Bear Grylls, British adventurer and survival expert, shared his tips with GQ.
Firstly, Bear says it’s important to remember that any dog can be dangerous, not just ones that are bred to look big and scary. If a dog is regularly chained up and confined, it’s more likely to become aggressive and want to protect its space. Likewise, a dog that is feeling unwell, or one that is overly protective of its food, is likely to snap.
He says that you should also never tease or torment a dog, especially one you aren’t familiar with.
“You can learn a lot about a dog by its body language.” he says, explaining: “If it’s growling or baring its teeth, that’s a sign of aggression. But also pay attention to the head: if it’s above the body or lower than the body, the dog is more likely to be relaxed. If the head is in line with the body, it’s a sign that the dog is preparing to attack.”
Bear says never to look a dog showing signs of aggression in the eye – the dog will consider this as a challenge. Smiling is also a big no as that could be interpreted as baring your teeth.
Instead, you should stand sideways on to present less of a threat and slowly back away out of the dog’s line of sight.
If this fails and you end up in conflict with the dog, you’ll need to act quickly.
“If a number of aggressive dogs are attacking you, your chances of winning that fight are small. In this case, your best chance of getting out alive is to run and get up high as dogs can’t climb.” says Bear.
If that’s not an option, Bear recommends raising your arms to look taller and yelling loudly to intimidate the dog, or throwing stones at them to make them ‘think twice about attacking’.
If the dog keeps coming for you, it will probably try to bite. Bear says to get something between you and that bite such as a stick, jacket or rucksack.
“If it’s unavoidable, you need to think about which part of your body you would prefer the dog to attack. It’s a Hobson’s choice – the bite will hurt – but you want to protect your most vulnerable parts: your neck, your face, your chest and your groin. This might mean offering it a less vulnerable part of your body such as the thick flesh on your outer thigh.
“If possible, though, you should wrap whatever clothing you can around your forearm and offer that to the dog. Your arm has a higher proportion of bone than your leg and will bleed less. This maneuver will leave you with three limbs with which to fight back.
“Remember, when dogs bite, they dig their teeth in firmly and don’t let go.
“If you try to rip your arm from that bite, you’ll only worsen the tear and end up with a vicious, debilitating open wound.” he says.
This next part might sound violent, but in a life or death scenario these tips are vital.
Bear says avoid tussling on the ground as this can leave you exposed. To ‘quickly neutralize the dog’ he suggests you fall onto the dog and crush it as their ribs break easily.
“With your free arm, go for the dog’s eyes, or strike at the back of its head, just at the base of its skull. If you’re in the wild and you have a survival knife with you, the dog’s most vulnerable parts are under its front leg or just above its shoulder.”