How To Deal With Dog Attacks & What To Do After A Dog Attack

Since beware of dog signs need to grab the attention of potential trespassers, the most effective signs typically come in fluorescent yellow colors. 3M™ – the company that invented reflective signs in the first place – manufactures three grades of reflective: Engineer Grade, High Intensity Grade, and Diamond Grade. 

All three types have rounded corners for user safety and per punched holes for convenience, and will survive 10 years of bad weather outdoors (though 17 years’ suitability is more typical).

At 80 mil thick, Engineer Grade signs are the most common type for indoor use where reflectivity is less appropriate. These reflect flashlights and headlights well, but without glare (and with slightly less visibility in low-light settings than other varieties). 

3M’s High Intensity Grade signs are three times as reflective as Engineer Grade and use a special film that reflects well not both head-on and indirect light well, using angled surfaces to scatter light. These are particularly effective outdoors. For ultrahigh visibility, though, Diamond Grade offers the most intense retro reflectivity (albeit at a premium price). Diamond Grade triples High Intensity signs’ visibility, and are ideal for traffic signs or any notice that demands prompt and lasting attention.

Besides differences in material, “Beware of dog” may not be the only signage needed to account for our four-legged companions. Canines aren’t always welcome in sensitive environments, and dogs are ritually unclean according to some religious beliefs, necessitating no dogs allowed signs; property owners often need no poop signs or curb your dog signs to keep dog walkers honest; and of course, Dogs At Play signs warn drivers to stick to the speed limit and prevent potentially fatal accidents.

How to deal with dog attacks?

There’s no two ways about it – there’s been an explosion of dog attacks over the past decade. Experts have a few tips on avoiding or surviving dangerous dog encounters:

  • Dogs hate surprises. If you’re nearing a dog that hasn’t seen you, make low, quiet, calm noises like humming to alert the dog to your presence.
  • Don’t make threatening noises or look the dog in the eyes, both of which dogs tend to interpret as challenges. If there’s some electronics that cause noise, like a lawn mower or pool cover pump (you can see how much noise they produce on above) - turn it off if it’s possible. Calmness and a low-key appearance are paramount when you’re trying to avoid an encounter in the first place.
  • Avoid smiling at the dog, which might consider bared teeth as an invitation to fight. Yawning can calm dogs – they interpret it as a sedate gesture.
  • Stand with your hands at your sides and body at a 90 degree angle from the dog but with your head tilted toward it, so you can keep an eye on its behavior.
  • If you have a phone handy, call for help immediately, being careful to speak in a low, even monotone.
  • Don’t throw objects at dogs. It’s a surefire way to provoke.
  • Don’t run away. Dogs are far faster than humans, making escape unlikely, and engaging their instinct to chase can end in disaster. That isn’t to say you should stick around, though – if you can, step slowly away from the dog, without moving suddenly.

Once the dog charges and begins to fight, your tactics need to change.

  • If you have time, wrap a jacket or shirt around your off arm, allowing that arm to take the brunt of the damage while you punch and kick the dog.
  • Punching dogs in the nose is particularly effective. Some people are able to hold dogs’ mouths shut, but this can be risky as it is difficult and opens your hands up to attack if you fail. Hitting the dog in the eyes or nose with a stick or hard object will often drive it away.
  • Try not to let the dog knock you to the ground – being prone is dangerous.
  • Forcing a dog’s front legs apart prevents them from breathing, and can help save your life, particularly if you find yourself tackled to the ground.
  • Screaming can increase the ferocity of a dog attack. Avoid it if possible.
  • If all else fails, roll into a ball and cover your face and neck tightly with your arms or hands.
  • Of course, get treated immediately at a hospital for bites that break the skin, even small ones because dogs can transmit rabies.

Final Talk

Male dogs are six times as likely to attack as female dogs, and depending on the year, 50-60% of all dog attacks are carried out by pit bulls. There is vigorous debate about whether pit bulls are inclined to attack by nature or their owners tend to buy and train them to attack, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Either way, their instincts lead them not to let go once they bite, so be on your guard for pit bulls in particular.

love your dog

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Mike Stiven

I'm a pet owner, blogger, and writer from the Massachusetts. I've worked at the Alpha Dog Training Center, a dog boarding and training facility, and also shared the knowledge garnered over the years with a good number of pet sites. As a firm believer that great care has to be given to pets, beside sharing my whole experience in this blog I also work as volunteer at pet stores during the weekend.

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