The Federal Republic records a slight increase in dog attacks, there are even an average of three deaths per year. This is due to the increasing number of dog owners. The reasons for the numerous biting attacks are manifold, however, experts emphasize that wrong interactions between humans and four-legged friends provoke an attack. However, if an attack should occur, attacked people have different possibilities to fend it off.

In this article, we present background information about dog attacks and how to defend yourself against a dog – with your hands or self-defense weapons.

In 30 seconds the most important things:

  • Dog attacks can be enormously dangerous in exceptional cases, as they automatically target sensitive areas such as the head or neck.
  • Among the most effective methods of defense against dog attacks are pepper spray, legal self-defense weapons, a dog defense spray or a pepper gun.
  • Dog experts advise not to immediately run away in fear in the event of a dog attack, as the four-legged friends are usually faster than humans. Rather, experts advise a self-confident appearance.

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Dangers of dog attacks (statistics)

According to reports, doctors are seeing a slight increase in dog bites. The number of bite injuries ranges from 30,000 to 50,000. This figure shows how often quadrupeds bite. Experts attribute the increase in biting attacks to the large number of dogs.

  • There are now almost 9 million dogs registered in Germany. Accordingly, the number of attacks is increasing.
  • Behavioral biologists note that mongrels and German shepherds bite most often, but they emphasize the connection to be considered. Dog bites of these breeds are most frequently recorded because they are among the preferred breeds, not because they are more aggressive.
  • Children represent a special risk group. This is often due to their behavior. They tend to intensively annoy the four-legged friends, throw objects at them or even hit them.

Dogs react to the behavior of children. They defend themselves. The four-legged friends are most likely to bite if they have been frightened by the little earthlings or disturbed during feeding. Another reason that increases the frequency of bites is the misbehavior of the owners. They let their four-legged friends run around freely instead of leashing them.

Dogs automatically target sensitive areas such as the head or neck. While they are more likely to hit the arms or legs of adults, they are more likely to hit children in the face or on the neck. Among other things, this is also due to the size of the children. These sensitive areas are more easily accessible to the four-legged friends of children.

How to react to a dog attack

Most people tend to take their legs in their hands and run when they are attacked by a dog. This reaction is an innate flight instinct practiced by our ancestors many years ago. However, dog experts recommend refraining from this spontaneous reaction. Four-legged animals are usually faster than humans. They catch up with their victim. Moreover, running away increases their aggressiveness. They consider the running person as prey.


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Step 1: Keep calm

Dog experts tend to advise a confident demeanor rather than a frantic overreaction. To do this, stand up straight and call out in a confident voice either “off” or “get lost.” Quadrupeds are usually familiar with these terms.

  • However, the person being attacked must by no means appear insecure or shy. Because dogs sense this insecurity. Accordingly, it would continue its attack unimpressed.
  • Also, do notlook the dog directly in the eye, as this can be interpreted as aggression. Look sideways past him, so you still have in view.
  • Also, stand to the side of the dog so that your entire body does not become a target and you have more options for defense.
  • You may be able to distract the dog with an object. For example, with an umbrella.

Step 2: Move to safety

If the intimidation option does not work, it is worth climbing up an object that the dog cannot reach. This does not necessarily have to be a tree. Furthermore, people who are threatened by a dog attack should call the dog owner for help. This knows tricks that calm the four-legged friend. In addition, dogs react to the voice and commands of their master or mistress.

Step 3: The confrontation

We strongly recommend you NOT to fight a dog in a fight. This is because there will most likely be an injury. However, you may not be able to escape and intimidation may not help.

If it comes to that, then self-defense weapons or the tips below on hand-to-hand combat will help you.

Step 4: Call for help

In addition, attacked people can ask passers-by for help. In this way, they will understand the seriousness of the situation. They may be able to distract the dog by throwing it a stick or offering a treat. By calling for help, passersby realize that the dog and the attacker do not belong together and that the person being attacked is actually in need of help.

Dog repellents against an attack

In practice, different defenses exist that have proven to be effective defensive weapons.

Pepper spray

Pepper spray is a popular legal self-defense weapon that women usually have in their handbags to defend themselves against an attack by a human. For a dog attack, on the other hand, a dog defense spray or a pepper gun is used.

  • These weapons are among the effective methods, as they require only a mediocre distance from the dog. In addition, their effectiveness is sufficient to subsequently take flight and immobilize the quadruped.
  • However, the disadvantage is the medium range. The dog has to get quite close for the users to spray the spray into its eyes as well as onto its sensitive muzzle. Under no circumstances should they spray next to it, as this will increase the aggressiveness of the four-legged friend.
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Stun Gun

Electricity is an effective tool that has proven equally effective in a dog and human attack in practice. It definitely puts the quadruped out of action.

  • However, this dog defense tool requires direct contact with the attacker. Those who use this self-defense weapon have trained its use beforehand. For this purpose, they use a stun gun or a cattle prod.
  • They also know exactly where to electrocute the dog to incapacitate it. The disadvantage of this dog repellent is its short range. However, the advantage is that after being electrocuted, the quadruped is unable to continue its attack.
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Whistles impress with their long range. They are characterized by an almost painful unbearable sound. However, they work only when the dog is unfamiliar with this sound.

Street dogs, on the other hand, do not react to this dog repellent. However, since in Germany street dogs are rather the exception and not the rule, the whistle is characterized by a mediocre effectiveness as a defensive weapon.

Warding off dogs in close combat

When attacked people do not have a tool at hand, they have to defend themselves with their own hands. Therefore, they should be aware of the most sensitive point of a quadruped.

  • The muzzle represents the most pain-sensitive organ of a dog. A strong blow on this spot will put the dog out of action for a short time. In addition, there is a possibility that the dog will flee.
  • In the event that an object, such as a stick, is nearby, the attacked can take it in hand and strike the dog’s muzzle. On the one hand the stick extends the range, on the other hand it increases the striking power of the attacked person.
  • If the dog still proceeds to attack, the victim should protect the head, neck and soft tissues. These body regions are among the favorite attack points of dogs. Furthermore, they instinctively know that these are extremely sensitive. If the dog bites, it would be better to offer him a hand. This is a lesser evil, because a bite to the neck could be fatal at worst.
  • To put the dog out of action, the sensitive points of attack should be targeted eyes, muzzle as well as genitals. In principle, a dog has the same pain points as a human. A strong blow on the mentioned points can almost paralyze the quadruped and make it let go. In addition, you can try to hit the eyes or poke them with a finger
Hundeabwehr: So verteidigt ihr euch gegen einen Hundeangriff
Dog defense: How to defend yourself against a dog attack

What to do after a dog bite?

People who have been bitten by a dog should act immediately. An immediate visit to the family doctor or emergency room is mandatory.

  • After the dog bite, victims should apply light pressure to the wounded area to stop the bleeding. For this, they need a sterile gauze bandage or a clean cloth.
  • Furthermore, the wound should be cleaned with clean warm water and soap before covering it with a sterile band-aid.
  • If the quadruped had foam in the muzzle or was ill with rabies, medical treatment is also required. This can be virtually ruled out in Germany, but in other countries this is not to be assumed.
  • In addition, the authorities should be alerted to protect other fellow citizens from the dog or to initiate legal proceedings against the dog owner.

Update: 2023-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Bilder von der Amazon Product Advertising API