Cassie and I used to walk over three miles back and forth to work, most days every week, even through the winter. We walked residential streets and at least a dozen times a year a loose dog would approach us. I tried to avoid all encounters knowing if Cassie got into a fight, she wouldn’t stop. So as a dog approached I’d pull Cassie close to me and yell at the dog in a loud, low voice to go home, to go away, while waving my arms. This worked for almost every dog, who realized they’d have to take on me as well as my dog. Never raise your pitch when yelling at a dog – this can cause more excitement in dogs.
But one time this technique didn’t work. A female pit bull ran across the street and ignored my warnings. She wiggled around me and sniffed Cassie. Her teats were full of milk, and she seemed friendly. Another pit bull ran across the street and charged for an attack with no warning. With my protective instinct, I bent down and picked Cassie up, trying to protect her from the much larger dog. As I held her, the male lunged at her legs. I tripped, falling backwards as I clutched Cassie to my chest. The male grabbed Cassie’s throat. Her eyes bulged, only inches from mine, her tongue rolled to the side. Terror shuddered in her eyes, only inches from mine. The pit bill could kill her. Both dogs were on top of me. I screamed.
Men came running out of cars. One picked up a four foot landscape timber and smacked the pit bull hard on the back. The dog yelped and ran home. I sat up, thanking the men and assured them I was alright, although my bladder had released, soaking my pants. The pit bull hadn’t bitten me. His target had been Cassie. I crawled over to Cassie, expecting her to be severely injured. I couldn’t find any blood. Other than the shock of the attack we were both fine. I am forever grateful to the men that helped me.
Someone called the police. I eventually found a small puncture mark next to her throat, but it had only broken the surface layer of skin. We were so lucky.
But the nightmare of that attack remains with me. I started carrying pepper spray in my pocket, but luckily we never ran into those pit bulls again.
What did I do wrong?
- I should never have picked Cassie up. At 42 pounds, she put me off balance and her attacker could still reach her. Falling to the ground put both of us in a vulnerable position. If those men hadn’t come, Cassie could have died, or the pit bull could have attacked me.
- I never thought about myself. I just wanted to save Cassie. My mistake. The pit bulls could have come after me, especially when I was on the ground.
What did I do right?
- I screamed. You can’t fight off a powerful dog yourself. You need help.
What should I do next time?
- Carry pepper spray.
- If a dog attacks your dog, drop the leash and find something to beat the other dog off. I panicked and held onto Cassie. With my hands full, I couldn’t help her. Find a stick, a rock, or even a backpack. If nothing else, kick the rear end of the attacking dog.
- Don’t put yourself at risk.
According to this website http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/116322/Pit-Bull-attacks-dog, here are a few additional tips.
- Get behind the dog and punch it in the torso behind the ribs and in front of the rear legs
- Carry a stick to hit it in the rear, or without a stick, kick
- Do not step between the dogs
- Remember the law is on your side in fending off an attack
But this website goes against hitting the attacker, since it might provoke further aggression. http://www.canidae.com/blog/2009/08/how-to-break-up-dog-fight.html
The main thing is to separate the dogs any way you can.
Just watching this video brought back memories. I would have been way more aggressive at attacking this pit bull.