T Nation

Self Defense... Against Dogs

Yes, I’m serious.

I’ve been fortunate enough to never have had to defend myself against a person, but I have had to fight a very large, muscular, and smart german shepard.

I was going for a walk, I hear a bb gun and hollering and a hissing cat… and here comes Fido walking straight towards me. I didn’t have any good escape options so I tried just be calm, loose, and giving the dog the very slow blink which is some stuff that in my experience calms a dog down.

But nope, Fido here lunges at me. Fortunately, I have the sense to deflect and not block it’s jaw with my hand and it was just side kick, side sick, side sick, and side kick again straight into it’s face. But wholly shit that thing was quick and fast! Not one of them landed cleanly.

The dog did learn to respect the foot and started working angles on me, but I kept side kicking the dog. I start stomping my foot to make it back away. It does… then it charges me and does a leaping lunge. I caught it by the scruff and slammed and pinned the dog down. I tried to get on top of it so I could choke the dog out, but it was kicking so much with it’s feet from it’s back I was afraid it would get my face and eyes. I had to abandon my position because the dog was working it’s way to biting the hand that was pinning it.

I try to kick it while it’s down, but it gets up and jumps away super fast. It back ups a lot again still eyeing me down. At this point, I’m worried because the dog was effectively timing me and adjusting strategy according to how I was fighting so I stop doing defense and become aggressive.

I run at the dog and use the momentum into a snap kick. It barely dodges it and I quickly get into a stance to defend against a counter strike that never happens.

Finally the dog trots away. It looks back, I puff my chest out and growl/snarl and it runs away tail literally tucked between it’s legs.

I only come out with superficial damage. The worst one was on my ankle from kicking it the face. It got scraped by it’s teeth much like punching someone in the teeth.

FWIW, I kept a bladed stance the whole time.

After vomiting a few times, I make it back home where my hamstrings start cramping up real bad.

Psychologically, it was the wierdest thing. It’s like thought and action became the same thing. It didn’t feel like I was moving faster, it felt like everything around me was moving much slower. I wasn’t scared. It was actually quite exhilarating.

Physically, I felt an enormous surge of energy going through my legs and it didn’t feel like I could ever fatigue.

Okay… I guess I wanted to share my story as much I wanted to know if there are good tips for this kind of self defense. But if anybody knows any, I’d love to hear them!

Cool story bro… srs

What kind of walks do you do where you get jumped by German Shepherds?

Who owns this dog?

Hypotheticals… hmm

Play with range I guess. Dog isn’t gonna throw a rock at you. Keep your throat out of range of its mouth by staying on your feet. Use your advantage in effective range to shut out the dog.

Improvise weapons e.g rock or club/waking stick. Bags/packs aren’t really good weapons but can shield you.

If the dog’s intent is to harm you respond with lethal force. Bring a knife. Stall while you pull it out. To bite you the dog has to come into range of your knife. Punish any attack successfully and the likelihood of further attacks and success of those attacks decrease.

If you’re an impatient mf you can always stick out your non knife hand as bait and when the dog turns it into a chew toy respond by spilling his guts.

Weird discussion lel. Brb putting pocket knife in bag

It sounds like you kicked that dog’s ass and got your rocks off a little bit, so what’s the problem?

To prevent future dog attacks, you could always buy a large, menacing dog of your own. Or a hyena. Nobody fucks with a hyena.


I have pepper sprayed several dogs (Including Chows, Boxers, and Dobermans)and it always seems to work.
You must get them with a healthy dose as they come up and not wait til they attack.

Had some close calls myself, OP, I can relate. I had the luck of being near a fence I can climb up on. It was smooth sailing from then on, the occasional kick to the snout coupled with the damn critters getting bored did the trick.

Not that it’s exceedingly practical, but in Inside Delta Force, Lee Haney writes that you can stop a feral dog dead in it’s tracks with a water pistol filled with water mixed with ammonia.

The scariest part wasn’t even the teeth, strength or speed of the dog but just that it was so smart.

Surprisingly to me, it actually went into chess mode for both of us thinking more than one move ahead.

I later learned that this dog is a former military dog that belonged to a vet that was a neighbor just a few houses down. It was trained to take people down and not back off so that might explain how things ever got to chess mode.

Had the dog set up a bear trap for you?

OC spray works well against a typical dog (pet). A LEO/Mil or similarly trained fur-missile can be a different story.

Than you did exceptionally well! I’ve seen those dogs train, they don’t take it lightly.

The bizarre thing though, is why did a trained dog shape you up randomly?

As someone who owns a a GSD from working lines I find this story rather hard to believe. It is highly unlikely someone will “fight” a bite trained dog and not get bitten. Jab at it with your foot like it’s a karate point fighting match and the dog will simply bite your foot. And the dog will always be faster than a human. When my dog was a puppy I used a tug to teach him to target a moving object but I had to stop once he was around 8 months because he was too fast and ended up biting me. This is standard training for working dogs. You start them with a flirt pole then move to tugs and so on until you use a suit or sleeve. A human foot won’t pose much of a problem.

If anyone gets the chance to put on a bite suit and “fight” a trained dog he will quickly see that any ideas he may have had prior, such as kicking, dodging, or whatever Chuck Norris moves he thinks will work, were pure fantasy. Keep in mind that a bite trained dog will have more experience fighting a person than the other way around.

If this story is true then it sounds like the dog just wanted to play. If he wanted to bite then the OP would have been bitten. The fact he says he wasn’t scared tells me that this was not a serious dog.

Cookies. Hold it up about waste level. Tilt your head and in a highish pitched voice say, ‘cookie?’

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Some of the WWII and old Special Forces manuals talk about wrapping your arm in some sort of protective cloth/tree bark/really anything that can minimize damage and basically letting the dog bite it, then stabbing the dog in the throat/stomach with a knife. You have to be sneaky and quick though or the dog will release your arm and bite your knife hand (likely rendering your attack non lethal).

There is also talk of breaking the dog’s jaw/neck by hooking your arm behind the animal’s skull and using your arm in its mouth to lever the neck into extreme hyperextension. I find this option highly unlikely though unless you are a physical beast or you are being attacked by a chihuahua. No way the average human is going to snap a Rottweiler or Pit Bull’s neck with their arms.

In the end though I’d have to say that without some type of weapon or barrier that you can use your chances of dealing with a committed, powerful breed of dog that wants to hurt/kill you are not good. There is a reason why human beings became the dominant species on the planet, and it’s not because of our unarmed combative abilities.

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It was pissed off and scared after being shot by a bb gun and I happened to be in it’s way without a way out.

I’ve never moved as fast I have or felt as physically strong as I did in those moments. It was truly the biggest adrenaline pump I’ve had in my life. That is, I had an extremely strong fight or flight response, but psychologically fight or flight moments don’t cause me to spaz out like I’ve seen some people. I don’t know why. Maybe it has to do with my adhd.

Maybe it knew it could take me down, but just decided I was more trouble than it was worth? It’s hard to say since I can’t ask the dog.

I’ve seen those bite suits. They heavily restrict mobility.

I imagine it was a combination of my physical strength and agility and the massive adrenaline dump and the way I respond to that and prior martial arts experience. Without all of those things coming together I know I would’ve toast.