When a dog attacks

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2011, 12:00am

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It's a lovely day outside, perfect weather for your weekly hike with friends.

You're familiar with hiking's basic do's and don'ts. But, as with everything else, surprises are bound to occur.

Out of nowhere, a fully grown feral dog leaps on to the path. Behind a nasty set of razor-sharp teeth, the beast has its narrowed eyes locked in on you and your friends.

What to do

Rosalind Cheung, founder and director of HK Dog Training, says your first objective is to look as non-threatening as possible. Stay calm while avoiding eye contact.

Dogs are protective of their territory and become aggressive when they sense a threat. Under no circumstance should you run. Dogs instinctively chase when they see a person running.

Stand sideways towards the dog. Slowly fold your arms or place them to your side - clench your fists to protect your fingers in case of an attack. This will make yourself appear smaller and thus less of a threat. Avoid any sudden or jerky movements, which may be seen as acts of aggression.

Cheung recommends holding your position. The dog may approach you, sniff around and bark aggressively without actually biting. Most of the time, dogs will lose interest and leave. When the dog wanders off, slowly walk away to a safe area.

If you cannot walk away, use an umbrella or stick, a bicycle or backpack to create a barrier between you and the animal. If it has latched onto you, try throwing a jacket or shirt over its head while striking it on the back of its neck or another sensitive area like the nose.

You should not try to pull away. This will only tear the skin and cause a more severe wound. If you are bitten, go to a hospital. Wild dogs carry rabies. Immediate medical treatment is essential.

Steps to deal with an aggressive dog

1 Do not run

2 Stay calm. Avoid eye contact

3 Make yourself appear non-threatening

4 Stand sideways, fold your arms or place them at your side, your hands clenched into fists

5 If you can, create a barrier between you and the dog.

6 Slowly walk away once the dog wanders off

7 If bitten, try to strike the dog in a sensitive area to make it let go

8 Visit a doctor or call 999

HK Dog Training provides training and behaviour consultation for dog owners. For more information, visit www.hkdogtraining.com or call 9184 5606