How to Defend Yourself Against a Dog Attack

My name is Adam Katz. For [approximately] seven years, I owned a company called South Bay K-9 Academy. I currently own the web site:  And I am the author of the widely acclaimed book, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!”

Here are the facts about defending yourself against a dog attack. 

–          If the dog is a trained personal protection or police dog and it is a good specimen: You have no chance. All of this nonsense about kicking the dog at the right time is baloney. Your best chance of surviving is to stand absolutely still. If you are unarmed, and you try to fight the dog, you will lose. The dog is fast enough to bite you two or three times before you even realize where you’ve been bit. And by then… it’s over.

Anyone who does not believe me can contact me, and we will outfit you with a padded suit and you can give it your best shot.

–          You cannot outrun a dog. Even a big, heavy slow dog like as a Rottweiler.

–          If the dog is not a professionally trained dog, you may be able to intimidate the dog with forward-leaning body language and moving directly in towards the dog, making direct eye contact. However, make sure that the dog has an easy way to turn and escape. If he feels cornered, you’re in big trouble. (This technique relies on using the dog’s psychology.)  [Although this technique will work very often, there is still a good chance that you may get bit.  Better to stay still and call for help, or back away slowly until you can get to an object that will help separate you from the dog.]

–          It is a myth that a well trained dog is taught to bite and hold on to one arm. A good dog that is taught to bite the arm will also be taught to release the first arm and bite the other arm when it comes close to his face.

Furthermore, many trained dogs are taught to take chest bites, back bites, leg bites, etc…

–          Stun guns often work well to deter untrained dogs. The electrical sound will very often scare them away.  [Buy one at a local hardware store (or on the internet) that makes a loud crackling sound (most do) and keep it with you when you jog, go for a walk or a hike.]

–          Pepper spray works well on some dogs. On others, it is ineffective.

–           Kicking or punching a trained dog will be ineffective. We’ve documented several cases where large breed dogs were latched on to an individual and neighbors ran out and beat the dogs over the head with baseball bats and the dogs did not let go. (Again, it depends on the dog, but if you’re going to put together a defense strategy, it’s important to take this into consideration.

–          Let me recap: For both a trained or untrained dog, your best defense is to stand absolutely still. If the dog walks around behind you, turn smoothly but slowly to face the dog. Do not try to run or move quickly as you will turn into prey.   Keep a stun gun on your person, or at least pepper spray.  Aim for the nose.

–          If you are in possession of a weapon, there are other strategies which should be employed. But I’ll save that for a later discussion.

If you are a reporter or media journalist, please feel free to contact me for more information at:

Copyright 2002 By  All Rights Reserved.

No guarantee is stated or implied in this article and if you follow any of the advice in it, you do so at your own risk.  If you ever feel that you, your dog, or others are at risk because of your dog, please seek the services of a professional dog trainer.


For more information on preventing dog bites, and understanding why your dog may be aggressive, click here.

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