Dog attacks are all too common and rapidly on the rise as criminals take advantage of relaxed laws to breed and train dogs as assault weapons. Self defence against such attacks is therefore an important consideration. Dogs can be extremely dangerous. A knife won't chase you (or your child) down the street and rip off your (or your child's) face. So in a sense dogs are much more dangerous than many traditional weapons of criminal assault. They are also much more random and unpredictable - the owner may not intend you to be a victim. But that won't help much.
A dog in an attack-frenzy can be extremely difficult to stop. Do not underestimate their weight, strength, or persistence. Attacks can happen randomly and out of the blue. They can happen extremely quickly (trust me!) and you, your dog, your child, or another loved one could be seriously damaged, with no face or a mangled windpipe, before you have time to react. Be particularly wary of bull terriers with children, as these dogs are particularly prone to sudden extreme violence. Pit bulls are particularly unstable but it is important to note that Staffordshire bull terriers and some other breeds can be gentle for many years and then suddenly attack a child or another dog without warning - although Staffordshire-bull attacks are not usually quite so ferocious.
Children are particularly at risk and you should keep them well away from even potentially dangerous breeds - any that has ever harmed a child - and teach your child to be vigilant - and to cover their face and neck with their arms and hands the moment they fear an attack is imminent. This simple lesson, if properly impressed upon a child, could save their life, or their good looks, for just long enough to allow your or a good Samaritan to intervene. It is unlikely that a child could effectively fight back, unless they were armed and extremely capable. Facing a wall or the ground may help a little.
An attacking dog may be kicked or punched, but attacking dogs are fast-moving and hard to distract and this will usually have little effect. You should also expect to be bitten yourself if you try to interfere with an attacking dog.
If you must intervene, or if forced to defend yourself, fight through the bites and aim to stab your fingers, keys, a stick, or other pointy object as deeply as possible into an eye - both eyes if possible. This is one of the best self defense responses to an attack by many other animals, including crocodile attacks. Wrestling, holds and chokes are all unwise - the dog is much stronger and faster than you and they will bite you: you don't want your neck or face to be within range.
Kicks should be aimed at the head or underbelly. Be careful not to strike the victim! Punches should be aimed at the centre of the spine or the base of the skull where it joins the spine. The groin is a good and relatively safe target, especially if counter-attacking from behind which is common for parents.
Look for any nearby heavy or sharp object - this should be a habit for any self-defense enthusiast. You should be aware of your surroundings at all times, including possible human and animal threats and improvised weapons. A large ready-broken flint or bottle is ideal but heavier or longer sharp objects are better and should be aimed at the spine, ribs, belly or groin, to minimise the risk of injury. The further you stay from the jaws the better. Heavy objects can be used to strike the back of the head or the spine, especially closer to the head. A knife-blade could be used to slit or stab the throat area or the eyes or if you are unsure of your aim stab at the belly, chest and groin.
Never run away from a dog! Make sure your children know this if nothing else! Dogs run much faster and have more stamina - you will tire. And the sight of a running target triggers their hunter-killer instincts!
Be aware that you may also have to deal with the owner, who may be also be dangerous, especially if the poor dog has been trained to hurt other people or dogs. If needs be, use the pressure points and techniques described in the Self Defense DVD at to disable or neutralise the attacker.www.combatskills.net