When a dog attacks
Here’s how to react when faced with an aggressive animal.
Animal behaviourist, Karen Grey-Kilfoil, gives us the following guidelines on what to do in the event of an attack.
You need to teach your children this and practise it with them regularly, especially if you own a dog that is considered ‘potentially dangerous’. This might just be the difference between a bite and a fatal attack.
- DO NOT shout, scream or wave your hands. It is instinctive behaviour for humans, but it triggers the dog’s ‘prey mode’ and only excite him more.
- Be a TREE – plant your roots (stand still) and fold your branches (keep arms still next to the body).
- Avoid eye contact. Look down and away from the dog.
- Teach your child to sing while he is a ‘tree’. It will stop him from screaming and keep him breathing normally. Singing does not threaten the dog and sometimes they will actually lose interest and walk away.
- If the dog does not back-off after this and you are knocked over, assume the TURTLE position – drop to the knees and tuck your arms and head in towards the torso immediately. Remain as quiet and motionless as possible.
After an attack
, you need to get medical help immediately. You also need to get post traumatic counselling for the child. Being attacked by a dog has serious psychological consequences – many an adult is terrified of dogs due to a bad childhood experience.
Have you or your child been bitten? What were the consequences?