Dog Behavior – Guard Against Dog Attacks

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Guard Against Dog AttacksAdam Katz is a professional dog trainer, although some of his views on dog training are occasionally viewed as a little controversial.

In the following article, Adam provides advice on methods of defending yourself against an aggressive dog that may be about to attack you.  Some of these methods seem to contradict common understanding on how to deal with aggressive dogs.  Many dog experts are of the view that you should never look directly at a dog, and that to do so may well cause the dog to attack you.

One of Adam Katz’s suggestions is the reverse of this, although he’s probably referring to specific types of circumstances, and he may also be directing this advice to an audience who understand dog training methods and dog psychology, which he does refer to in his article.

Take his comments on board, but don’t ignore any advice you may have heard about never looking at an aggressive dog.

Here’s the article:

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.

Guard Against Dog AttacksIf 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.

Disclaimer: 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.

Copyright 2002 By All Rights Reserved.

About Brigitte Smith

Brigitte Smith is an entrepreneur with a love of dogs and a healthy lifestyle. Brigitte is passionate about holistic health alternatives for dogs, most of which are today suffering foreshortened lifespans in the wake of a lifetime diet of commercial pet food, and further contributed to by unnecessary over-vaccination and chemicals and poisons applied topically and internally. is one of Brigitte's sites dedicated to dog health, and in particular dog food reviews.

2 thoughts on “Dog Behavior – Guard Against Dog Attacks

  1. Bevin Pettitt


    I read your website item about keeping still and facing the attacking dog. This is contrary to what I have been told by trainers at our local prevention-against-cruelty agency. They say turn your back and keep still or slowly move away. The aim is to avoid eye contact… because the dog see this as being threatening or confronting.

    This has the ring of truth to me because of my observations with servicemen/meter men that would come to my house and either had my rottweiller cross attempt to bite an individual or greet them with a wagging tail. After observing these events it seemed to me that those who ignored looking at the dog and just opened the gate and walked in were not attacked. Those who looked at the dog and attempted to open the gate would cause the dog to jump up on the gate and try to bite their hand.

    Just the other day when I was taking my toy poodle for a walk, a large dog in the front yard began barking at us. I turned from him and kept walking while it stayed where it was but still barking. After I had walked (with my dog who was quiet) for about 10 yards or so, I looked back at it and it immediately run towards me barking. I attempted to intimidate him by striding towards him shouting but he kept coming. I stopped and turn my back to him ans stayed still (with my dog on a short lead in front of me.. he was not barking but obviously scared). The dog stopped behind me still barking but not so savagely. I slowly walked away from him (with my dog in front). Again the dog remained where he was, barking and did not follow. After about 30 yards, I looked back at him and again he began running towards me. I picked up a large stone and threw it at him. He then turned around and went back to his home.

    I think he was a young dog (or at least not old) but I believe he would have bitten me if I had tried to “eye ball” him. What do you think?

    Bevin Pettitt

    Canberra, Australia

  2. Brigitte Smith

    Hi Bevin,

    I must say, I, like you, was of the view that it’s best to never look a dog in the eye if it’s unrestrained and doesn’t appear friendly.

    Adam Katz, the author of that article, is a professional dog trainer, so I imagine he does know what he’s talking about. He does qualify what he says, by saying you “may” be able to intimidate the dog by, among other things, making direct eye contact. He also stresses that you need to ensure that the dog has easy escape path, and that if the dog feels cornered, you’re “in big trouble”.

    I think what you say about the behaviour of your Rottweiler cross is related to the fact that this was in his front yard. When people didn’t pay any attention to him and walked in as if they belonged there, he probably assumed they were friends. On the other hand, the people who looked at your dog before attempting to open the gate were probably a bit apprehensive, and a dog can sense that. Your dog probably assumed that they didn’t belong there and were not friends!

    A very interesting experiment you carried out with the large strange dog while walking your poodle. It certainly seems to conclusively prove (in that particular case, anyway) the theory of not looking at a dog if you don’t want to provoke him.

    I don’t think I’d risk looking directly at a dog myself. I think the risk is just too great. The options of not looking at the dog and/or turning and walking away seem much more sensible (to me).

    Thanks for your input, Bevin.


    P.S. If anyone else has any thoughts, please leave your comments here and let us know what you think.

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