What to do if a dog charges at you

Author picture Jessica  - updated: 10/06/2017

At Pawshake, we are so lucky that all of our wonderful Community Managers are experienced pet sitters and dog walkers themselves. We have a chat with Sam this week about what to do in the event of being charged by a dog...let's hope you'll never have to use this post, but you can feel confident that you'll know what to do if it should happen!

As pet sitters and dog walkers, we spend a lot of time around dogs and have all no doubt come across a few that behave unpredictably. Perhaps in the course of your pet sitting duties you've found ourselves on the receiving end of some not-so-friendly behaviour....would you know what to do in the event of a seemingly aggressive dog charging you?

  • Most dogs who charge towards you barking, growling and snapping may not be intending to attack you. They are simply excited or reactive dogs who will run off again if you are calm and turn away from them without making a fuss. 
  • The first thing to remember if a dog charges you is to remain calm. Do not scream, and do not try to hit, kick or show aggression to the dog. If you are walking or running, stop and either turn sideways or slowly back away. Avoid eye contact with the dog; if you stare this will often be perceived by the dog as a threat.
  • If the dog continues to snarl and snap at you, position your body side-on and fold your arms. Again, remain calm and do not try to run away otherwise the dog will become more excited.
  • If the dog is trying to bite you, try and block the attack with something you are carrying, such as a bag or rolled-up jacket. This can often defuse the situation and give you more time in case help is at hand from the owner or others who can bring the dog under control. If the dog continues to lunge or jump at you, try to protect your face by turning away. 
  • If the dog is large enough to push you over, tuck yourself up into a ball and clasp your hands around the back of your head whilst trying to remain as calm and quiet as possible. If the dog bites and holds, it will make things worse if you try to jerk away. Again the key is to try and be calm, which is easier said than done.

In summary; staying calm is the key to avoiding any nasty encounters, but it is good to be armed with the above knowledge if you are out and about enjoying the fresh air in our lovely parks and beaches! Let’s hope you won’t have to use it - stay safe and happy pet sitting!