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Expert explains how to avoid, escape dog attacks

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Jun 17 2013 04:53:49 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 16 2013 11:00:00 PM CDT


A Bristol, Virginia mother and daughter are recovering from bites after being attacked Friday by a dog in a park.

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. -

A Bristol, Virginia mother and daughter are recovering from bites after being attacked Friday by a dog in a park.

Passersby finally got the dog to stop by hitting it with an umbrella. Read more about this story.

That attack made us wonder -- what should you do if you're in a similar situation with an aggressive dog? In an effort to protect you and your family, News 5 got some potentially life-saving facts from an expert.  

They're often considered 'man's best friend', but like many animals, dogs have instincts that can make them dangerously aggressive.

We spoke with master dog trainer Grant Holmes, with Perfectly Pawsible dog training, who told us there are things you can do to avoid becoming a victim, like being aware of a dog's attitude and posture. "A dog that's straightened out and starting to hunker down, that's more of an indication of you're on guard [and] you're being watched carefully," said Homes.

If you are watched carefully, Holmes said never stare back at a dog, but do try to get away from it. "Turn your side to the dog. Don't use direct [eye] contact, and you just want to slowly step away," said Holmes.

Holmes also told us, you should never run away. "[If you are] thinking 'Ah!' and running, you're saying, 'chase me.' A dog will beat you in that game all day long," Holmes explained.

The dog trainer went on to tell us, you should be extra cautious around a dog that's tied or hooked on a chain. He said that makes them more territorial, and you especially want to avoid getting inside their territory.

But what if you are attacked and the situation becomes dangerous? "The best thing you can do is at that point is you can fall on the dog. I'm talking full-body, right on the dog's body. You might break a rib, you might break its bone," said Holmes.

We're told you can also try to gouge its eyes and throat.

Once released, Holmes said step away slowly with your side facing the dog, careful not to let it chase you while you escape to safety.

Holmes told us it's important to teach your children how to approach dogs. He said you should never reach out immediately to pet it, but let it get familiar with you first and then slowly offer your hand for a pet.