Dog attack defense using knife?

Jun 12, 1999
After reading about the boy who defended himself with his knife against a brown bear attack in Knives, News and Your Views, I was wondering if anyone has any stories of defense against a dog(s) attack using a knife?

Not quite personal defence, but..

I was woken up at 5:20 am this past morning to a dog fight outside my house. Two ppl were walking their dogs when one guy walking his two pitbulls lost control of them and proceeded to watch the other man's dog get the s--t beaten out of it. I almost grabbed the VG and ran out there, but fortunately, it was broken up in time. I'm not sure if I would've jumped right in there for fear of my life, but at least I had something that could've possibly evened the score. Regarding your question, I guess you could classify that as an "almost"

"Earth has its boundaries, but human stupidity is limitless."
Hmmm.. funny you should mention this, coz just yesterday, I almsot got attacked by a dog myself.

I was walking down by the road inside an apartment compound when this black dog (which everybody was afraid of, but shouldn't be out until at night) spotted me and made a dash for my leg. I made a move to pretend I was going to pick something up to throw at him and it stopped him in his tracks, but didn't scare him off. I saw the hairs on this dog's back all frizzled up, and I know it really meant business. I was really afraid that time.

So what I did was slowly pull out the knife I brought that time (a Kershaw Talon bought here at BFC) and opened it with a flick of a wrist. I don't really know what it is with knives, but that did the trick. I think the owner of the dog saw it, too. When I went by the same road 20 minutes later, this time carrying a big stick, I saw the dog tied to a tree. I guess the owner didn't want us to have doggie steak for dinner.. ehehehe.

I guess dogs can smell fear in a person, but it can also smell INTENT TO HARM, in which case, that was what I had in mind all along during the confrontation. Had it made that stupid move of biting me, no problem, but that's probably the last thing he'll ever do before it's lights out for him.


PS. I would have given anything to have a VG with me that time, as I think 4" of blade steel seems too short for me to confront a dog.
A human can kick the ass of any one dog. If it gets out of line, kick it. Crush ribs and break jaws. Yeah, it'll bite, but people are un-necessarily afraid of dogbites. It's a different form of attack than you're used to, but it's not magic. It's the fear of the bite that'll kill you. They have rabies shots and stiches these days, so there's no need to get unduly upset.

When you're in trouble is when you're facing a pack. Just like when faced with multiple human adversaries, odds are stacked against you. Unless it's a group of toy poodles or something.

I don't like to mess with dogs, I happen to like them quite a bit. I once had the displeasure of having to whoop up on what looked like a German shepard mix. This is sad because I really like German Shepards, almost as much as mutts. I got bit. I also killed the dog. It was feral, all mangy and gross. It'd probably been mistreated and abandoned. I didn't even want to mess with it, but it chased after me(I'm own no motor vehicle, I'm always on foot).

Seeing stuff like that really upsets me. Under different circumstances that dog could have been a much loved pet and friend. More than any other animal, I feel a real connection with dogs. You know, even when everybody else has given up on you, a dog will always be glad to see you. You can rough house with them, or just chill on the back porch. They have charachter, and that's real damn rare these days.

That's all I got.
In Toronto, after about a year of plentiful dog attacks, some leading to death, ppl are really pushing for the ban of dogs such as pitbulls, boxers, rottweilers, etc. I read a letter in the paper today that mentioned the thought of charging the owners of violent dogs with attempted murder in the case of an attack. *slaps head* And the sad thing is, I can actually see that happening.

"Earth has its boundaries, but human stupidity is limitless."
As most of you know, knifes are commonly overrated as combat tools. However, defence against dogs might prove easier with a blade. Dogs are not considered to be a "hard" opponent. Most of you can easily learn how to take out a dog without a weapon. "A" dog that is. If attacked by two or more at a time, a knife may save your life. A scared dog usually just "snaps" at you. A determined dog will take a bite and then hang on, not letting go. With a single dog this problem consists of two things; your ability to ignore pain and your knowledge in strangulation / canine anatomy. If you do not whish to kill the dog then stop the suffocation when the dog loose control over its bladder. As I mentioned, two or more dogs will present a REAL problem as they often cooperate and coordinates their attack. You need too keep in mind that unprecise stabs and slashes may cause escalated aggression. There is no such thing as overkill in these situations.
I agree with all that's being said. I wouldn't want to kill a dog either. But here are a few things to remember.

1. You are a lot bigger than a dog.

2. You are a lot taller than a dog.

3. They may not look it, but dogs are probably more scared of you than vice versa.

4. Most house dogs never learned to hunt or kill. They bark, but they don't know how to kill you.

Dogs kill by going for the throat. It's hard for them to do this while you're standing erect. So the dog has three options: knock you down, drag you down, or trip you.

Dogs can't trip you if you're standing still. Their best shot is to built up momentum in a run and knock you over. Stand against a wall/tree/car and get ready to get out of the way of a charge.

The dog will be forced to stop the charge and lose all momentum. It's last recourse is to drag you down. That means biting a limb. Your least precious limb is your unfavored arm. In my case, my left arm. Stick it out to entice a bite (preferably protected by a rolled up jacket), then finish the dog with a knife/rock/stick or your bear-hand. A stick is probably better than a knife in my opinon.

In times with less than mortal danger, it's a good idea not to kill the poor thing. A good slap to the face will deter most dogs. Bear in mind that your options are not limited to fight or flight. A practiced, deeply-vicious/psychotic roar will scare the $#^& out of just about any animal.

[This message has been edited by tallwingedgoat (edited 23 June 1999).]
My wife and I regularly walk our dogs, we have 2 small dogs. I have had 2 occasions in the last 6 months when we have been atacked by dogs and both times I have used a 2 foot hardwood baton, actually an old shovel handle that I cut down, to discourage them. Both dogs are still around but run a mile when they see us coming now.
The most sensitive area on a dog is the muzzle and a sharp rap there will discourage them very quickly. The first hit I use is usually fairly light as it is possible to break the bone which would probably result in the demise of the dog. I really like dogs also, but if it kept coming after that I would consider it dangerous and if need be kill it. I always carry a knife but I consider the baton to be far more effective, both for 4 legged and 2 legged dogs.
My beef is with the owners for allowing the dogs to wander loose in the first place.


Just another thought.

Often dogs are the most silly creartures. I was once "attacked" by two puppies. They couldn't have weighted more than 5 pounds together. They started barking like crazy and then charged me. I just stood there dumbstruck by how cute they were.

the pups were plainly aware that they could not knock me down with a charge. But they did it anyway, breaking off their "attack" run inches from my legs. I made like I was going to pick 'em up and toss them, so they ran off to cower under a car. Then they came out, looking indignant, bark some more and charge again. . .

The moral of the story is that fear runs both ways. Deep down, most house dogs are little more than big puppies. They're brave, they try to control their own fears, bark a lot, and charge you. But once you call their bluff, dogs get confused and wouldn't know what to do. Quite often dogs break off an attack at the last second because they don't know what to do with you once they got you.
I've just got to step in here and ask if you folks would be confident even when faced with a Pit Bull or big Rottweiller? Would you still use the same tactics? I think I would be extremely scared, but if my life was in danger or especially my significant others, I do believe I could make a successful (read: live to tell about it) defense. I've always heard to defend your neck with your weak limb, then when they bite it, go for the nose/muzzle area.
Some extremely viscious dogs will first bite your lower leg, then when you bend down to get to the dog, they will snap for face or neck area. How do you remove the dog from your leg without opening yourself up for such an attack?


There's more than one way to skin a cat!

swball: I think it would be entirely approprite to charge dog owners with assault or worse when their dogs get loose and do damage to humans, unless in a protection scenario. Don't you think owners should be held responsible for keeping their dogs under control ?
Ive had Pit Bulls all my life (literally, my brother had one when i was born).

I raised them for about 5 years, having anywhere from 10 to 30 at any given time.

I NEVER had one bite me on purpose. I have had them bite me as i was breaking up a fight or walking one dog by another and having one bite me trying to get the other dog.

Dogs DONT kill by going for the throat. I use dogs to hunt coons, possums, hogs etc...and they go to the throat no more then they go to the stifle,shoulder or anywhere else.

The last coon we caught with a 28 pound female and she stayed in the shoulder the whole time. Anther dog i have really likes the back end, another the muzzle etc.....

Any how, let me get to the point-

If a large pit bull WANTS to hurt you, buddy your gonna get HURT. However, i think an able bodied man could get even a maneater off of him.

Every time ive been bit the dog has stayed in one place, working the hold until he realized he had me and not the other animal. Ive been bit on the hand, ass (twice), calf, inner thigh, and fingers.

So i do agree with most of the post, you can fight a dog off you. HOWEVER, if the dog is a 70 pound pit bull THAT WANTS TO HURT YOU, your gonna get hurt and i dont think it is a 100% bet that you win.
I worked for a vet for a couple years when I was in college. I've been attacked by everything from chihuahuas to mastiffs.

What I'm about to say works with one caveat: I have never faced a trained attack dog, and I suspect these techniques wouldn't work with them. However, as I understand it, standing still and letting yourself be arrested does keep you safe when faced by a trained attack dog.

Anyway the following has always worked for me:

When a dog rushes you, just stand your ground. Depending on whether you want to calm the dog down or just back it off, you can talk quietly to it, or a yell a single, loud, sharp "HEY!" which will startle it and get it thinking about things. Dogs do not have egos as we understand them. They will back down if they think they're overmatched. As long as you don't get between a protective dog and the person (or puppy) its protecting, the dog has no reason to risk itself.

Something else to understand is the way dogs communicate. They communicate the idea "I don't want you here" by rushing at you and barking. They don't necessarily have violent intent at this point. Every time I've been rushed -- even when I'm on a dog's property, I've just stood there, facing it and it has broken off the rush. (running is foolish anyway as very few people can run faster than a dog -- even a little one -- and running just kicks in their "chase the prey" subroutine)

At this point the dog will usually either stand their barking loudly or slow down and continue moving a little side to side, growling. The ones who bark loudly can often be coaxed over to be petted (I've actually made some pretty good dog-friends that started out with a rush and barking). The ones who are still growling at this point will usually not let me approach them, but will retreat a little, still growling.

The conversation that has taken place is the following (for the still-growling situation)

dog: "I'm superior to you, so get off my property"

me:"no you're not. I'm superior so cut it out."

dog:"OK, you're scaring me, but you better not go near the folks I'm protecting".

This is for dogs confronting you out in the open and it works, really.

The dogs that attacked me when I worked at the animal clinic were a different matter. They were often in pain and in a strange place and I had either invaded their space (to clean their pen or get them for their owner) or they were sufficiently frightened that they decided it was me or them. Dealing with this kind of attack is different and I've gone on long enough.
I don't know if this qualifies, but one of my Golden Retrievers was playing in the backyard and, unknown to me, the annual family of bunny rabbits had returned to their usual hole in the middle of the yard. The dogs were outside for a while and were being quiet, so right away I knew something was wrong. I went outside and found the male with his nose in the ground and bunny fur from the nest all over his face as he was apparently flushing the babies (man, they were SO tiny) for the three-legged goldie to catch! She had one in her mouth and would not let it go for the life of me, so I grabbed a kit knife I had just finished (beautifully ground by Madpoet!) and stuck the handle into her mouth to use as a pry bar! she finally gave the little bugger up, but he was dead already. It was tough to get mad at dogs doing what they instinctively know, and it was sorta cool to see them hunting in tandem like that, but at the same time I do not hunt and am in a career where preservation of all life is paramount.
Plus, the three-legged female is dying of lung cancer, so I pretty much disposed of the rabbit, gave a half-assed scolding, and gave them some rawhides a few minutes later. A dog's life...

Palmer College of Chiropractic
On Two Wheels
My family had Pit Bulls all the time when I was young so I don't have much fear for dogs.
The last incident I had with an attacking dog was last summer. I was doing some yard work while my son was skating around our driveway. A large dog of some mix ran up and chased him. Before he could get away the dog had ahold of the back of my son's pants. The dog kindly received at least 12 puncture wounds from the three-prong garden tool I was using at the time. No damage to my son, some nice scars for the dog to think about, and a not-so-nice talk with the dog's owner. It's amazing the level of "killer-instinct" that comes out when it concerns the safety of your family.
In reading through these posts, I feel that I must respond to this thread because it appears to me that some people have no concept of exactly how much damage a dog can do.

I have trained and shown dogs for many years, both Rottweillers,and Ovtcharka's (Russian flock guardians) and can say firsthand that if a large dog is intent on attacking you, you WILL be injured. You may or may not wind up seriously hurt but you will be hurt.

I have had and/or trained Rotties that were 160 lbs. If these dogs get a hold of you, the jaw pressure alone is enough to break bones.

I currently have and show the Ovtcharka's. These are rare dogs from Russia and their job is to protect.( They are bred to protect against wolves, bears, and people). These dogs are 135+ lbs and extremely quick. I was recently bit while trying to break up a fight, and have four deep puncture wounds as a result.

Some posts here have said that a dog will go after the neck, this is nonsense. In the wild, a dog will chase down it's prey and grab for it's rear legs to take it down and then go in for the kill. A dog that has been trained in protection, will most times go for a limb. You CAN get in a knife slash or stab if you are quick enough, but if the dog gets in on you you are in trouble.

If it was so easy to defend against a dog attack, it would not be a fact that there are many,many thousands of people that have to go to the emergency room each year.

Your best line of defense in a serious dog attack is to stand your ground and try to get a grip on the dogs throat at arms length.This will enable you to keep his mouth off of you. It is true that some dogs will run when hurt, but an awful lot will just keep coming, and believe me, taking a hit from a 150 lb dog at full run is like getting tackled by a NFL linebacker.

For those who say, "I really don't want to hurt the dog" think about this. If that big dog is attacking you for real, and you let up and give him a second chance,you might not live to tell about it.

The point I am trying to make here is that you should NEVER underestimate a dog nor it's abilities.

C.O.'s-"It takes balls to work behind the walls "

[This message has been edited by Jailhack (edited 23 June 1999).]
I like dogs. That being said, I have shot strays that have charged me when hiking. I have also smashed rocks on many an agressinve dogs head. I only once used a knife to defend myself against a mutt that came charging after my hamstrings when running one morning. I slashed it on the side and it took off yelping like crazy (used a BM cqc7). Of course, these were large dogs in the 75lb or greater range that I didn't find particularly harmless or prudent to ignore.

I love animals. I even would venture to say that I have a soft spot for dogs. I do not however, put up with stray pets and wild dogs
that do not back down from stern words or taking an agreessinve stance to make them back down. I would no more let an animal take a snap at me as I would let some punk take a swing at me. It's my sincere wish that no creature on this planet will never know what my blood and flesh tastes like!

At one with the animal kingdom,

Chris Canis
Draw the knife with your using hand, extend the forearm of your nonusing arm horizontally in front of you, let the dog bite down on the forearm, raise the forearm as far as necessary, stab or slash the throat until the dog dies, go to the doctor.