Personal Safety

11 Tips to Avoid Animal Attacks



How Can I Stay Safe From Animal Attacks?


  1. Don’t approach unfamiliar animals regardless of their friendliness.
  2. Stay calm in their presence.
  3. Pay attention to the animal’s temperament. Back away at the first sign of aggression.
  4. Be aware of your environment and the animals that live in it.
  5. Keep in mind that both predators and prey are equally dangerous to people.
  6. Follow proper outdoor etiquette when camping.
  7. Never run away because it makes you look like prey.
  8. Yell for help and always travel in a group so there’s always someone who can respond.

A while ago I received a call from my mother, it was a very unexpected call that caused me to jump into my car and immediately drive 4 hours away…

My brother was mauled by two pit bulls and now had 45 staples in his legs, groin, arms, and face.

I was absolutely petrified  at the thought of this.

(As a toddler I was attacked by a pit bull and still have a few scars left to prove it!)

Now, I don’t harbor any ill will towards the dog or that breed in general… I have personally found that in general it is more often than not the small dogs that are the most vicious.

In fact the most terrifying thing I could think of would be a 100lb Chihuahua…

(Sure, go ahead and laugh but think about it… that would be one hell of a guard dog!)

So here is the scoop.

The first dog that attacked my brother was actually just let out of quarantine for biting someone else.

My brother opened his door to see this friendly pit bull sitting in his front yard.

It came up to him and let him pet it, so my brother decided to walk it next door, open the gate and put it back in its own yard.

He opened the gate at the same time that the neighbor's young child opened the front door.

Somehow this triggered the dog into thinking that my brother was going to hurt the little boy and the dog immediately went into attack mode.

It tore open his thigh, and according to the doctor, barely missed severing an artery.

The dog kept going for my brother’s throat but, luckily, he was able to keep it away  from his neck.

That is until the neighbor's SECOND pit pull decided to come through the gate that my brother had just opened and began to attack him too.

Thank God that the other neighbors were home, they heard the screams and came out.

It took three people to pull the dogs off of my brother… he still hasn't fully healed and  probably never will.

An animal attack is no joke.

Animals act on instinct, not reason.

You can’t talk your way out of a fight with an animal…

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to try and avoid an altercation in the first place, regardless of if you are in your front yard or out on the trail…

You may never know when an animal can or will attack or bite you.

And it is sad to say that the victims are usually children, under ten years old.

They constitute 60 percent of all animal attack cases.

Information regarding animal attack prevention is very serious and you'd do well to read on. To help keep you and your family safe from any form of animal attack, look into the following tips:

1)     Do not approach unfamiliar animals even though they look tame or friendly.

2)     Stay calm and do not scream when an animal is approaching toward you.

3)     Pay attention to the animal's behavior. If you see or feel that the animal shows aggressiveness, stay away from it.

4)     Report any lost animal (especially dogs) immediately so that its owners may be contacted and be warned of any possible danger.

5)     The main thing is to know where you might be in danger. Be aware of areas where wild animals attacks are common and be vigilant.

6)     For example, there have been many attempted attacks on joggers along trails. If you go camping, it is a good idea to know what animals, especially predators, might be in the area. You need to be prepared if you are out in the wild. Some people live near a forest and have to be on the alert at all times.

7)     Realize that it isn’t just predators that you need to look out for. Many animals such as hogs, moose, mule deer, and more can become aggressive at any time, especially during mating season.

8)     When hiking, especially if you are in bear country, it is a good idea to make a good amount of noise. Whistle, sing, talk, and rustle leaves as you hike. You can also tie tin cans to the outside of your pack. Bears will hear you long before you see them and 9 times out of 10 they will do anything they can to get away from you.

9)     Make sure that when camping you follow proper outdoor etiquette when it comes to storing, cooking, and cleaning your food at your campsite. (i.e. clean fish well away from the campsite and don’t leave scraps lying around; hang your food high enough in a tree to be out of reach for any animal looking for an easy meal; etc.)

10)   If you see an animal demonstrating odd behavior, remind yourself that you are a predator and act like one. These animals look for an easy target. Watch the animal and see if it intends to leave. Is it just startled and leaving or is it watching you?

Do not run, this instantly makes you look like prey. If you have children you should pick them up.

11)   Yelling for help is usually a good idea. You should ideally be traveling in groups. You should be standing up straight and make yourself big. Do not turn your back on the animal. You should keep watching the animal, but in some cases it is best not to stare (some animals like dogs consider staring them I the eye’s an act of aggression).

The idea is not to start an attack if you don't have to. If you can, start backing away and heading to safety. Throw things and generally let the animal know it would be bad for them to attack. In some of these cases, animals attack to protect their cubs so make sure you're not standing between them and their young.
These are just 11 very simple and basic rules to follow that can avoid you from becoming seriously injured by an animal. Your best bet is to study your area and know what poses the greatest risk to you.

Stay Safe.

Want to know more? Check out these related articles:

Animal Attack: How to Survive

What To Do When Animals Attack

Defending Against Wild Packs of Animals

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  2. rev. dave

    August 11, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Joe – you’re basically discussing large mammal attacks here, but folks get attacked by snakes and birds too, as well as anything else that might be in the woods, swamp, lake, etc.
    Those require different kinds of avoidance methods – e.g. out in the swamp don’t dig in large piles of detritus as it could be a gator nest. Don’t stick your hand in bank holes along the stream – a large snapper or a beaver can both cost you a finger or two faster than you can pull you hand out – and down south you might grab a huge water moccasin. A person needs to be mindful of attacks from everything and take appropriate steps – long pants and shirtsleeves to avoid mosquito, spider and tick bites for example at the ‘small critter’ end, up to making noise and carrying bear spray for bears and cougars. And coyote packs may be entirely different too – I don’t know as I’ve not been around many coyotes so far nor have I seen any advice about avoiding their attacks.

  3. Lola

    August 11, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Carry a sturdy walking stick and (if female) avoid camping when on your period.

  4. Jody

    August 11, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    I knew a guy in my jiu-jitsu academy who applied a rear naked choke to a pit bull that was attacking someone, and choked it out. Was on the news.

    Avoidance is 99%, but if you are attacked, you must be hyper-violent against it. Go for the eyes, throat, back of the head if you can.

    Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan recommends this:

    • Anonymous

      December 25, 2017 at 10:18 AM


  5. RyDaddy

    August 11, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    I’ve found, at least with what might be considered “neighborhood dogs” that are out wandering away from home, that speaking with authority to them usually does the trick. If the dog starts to act like it is YOU on THEIR turf in your yard, simply commanding them “NO!” and “GO HOME!” as their owner would do, if nothing else, causes them to pause for a few seconds or a minute and gives you a chance to retreat.
    But I am over 6ft, 225lbs, so maybe my authoritative voice is more effective than some others might be. 🙂

  6. johnny

    August 11, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    A 15 shot 10mm Glock is also not a bad idea.Who go’s helpless?Why is this not mentioned?

    • Dave

      August 11, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      Johnny – my understanding was that it was a piece a out AVOIDING attack, not dealing with one. That would explain your question. I think.

  7. Deez

    August 11, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    Great tips except for #9. So much wildlife has grown accustom to humans = food that making noise with cans is like an open invitation to a meal. Unless armed with something to defend yourself, noise with cans just bring attention especially with bears. Just another sign of the times.

  8. gbs

    August 12, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    Speaking about Chihuahuas – did you see the video about a pack of them in Arizona terrorizing people? They, and their PUPPIES run around snarling and scaring people. Funny but dangerous. My pit bull is old now – always was even-tempered unless another animal tries to eat her food. My Chihuahua turns nasty in an unpredictable manner. Just depends on their temperament and socialization.

  9. David Deitsch

    August 16, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Thanks Joe;a lot of good ideas. I would add one. Be prepared to use weapons of expedience if you must. Rocks (which you mention) tree branches, your backpack (not a great shied, but I’m talking last ditch, back against the wall stuff). In other words, be prepared to go cave man if you have to. Yes, weapons of expedience are bad options; plan ahead so that you always have a better option available. But sometimes you might have to fall back on using whatever is within reach, so be prepared to do that too if forced to.

  10. SF Frank

    August 16, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    when a dog attacks, it will either go for your neck or your groin.
    crouch forward, hold out forearm of weak hand, shove it hard to the back of the dog’s mouth when he bites
    hold front of jaw w/ other hand and place thumb inside front of dog’s mouth
    and press down hard, it will hit a nerve that causes the dog to relax its’ jaw.
    or hopefully have a knife or sharpened stick, sick dog under the rib cage into the heart.

  11. Yellowstone Man

    August 16, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    I do not agree with your advice for prevention of a bear attack, I work up in Yellowstone National Park and quite honestly bears are very curious creatures. Every single year I go up there for months on end and every year the park seems to change there advice for dealing with these predators. I remember a few years back them giving that same advice about putting something on your pack to make noise like cans or some bells only to hear that that seems to increase the likely hood that you will see a bear a lot closer than most people want too. They are curious like I mentioned and they learned very quickly that those strange noises were often a dinner bell walking through its turf. Your best option in my opinion is stealth, you want to get in and out of there turf without them even knowing you are there and just with taking precautions with your food to not lure them in the same is true with your noise. If shtf bear spray which costs $40 and is available basically everywhere in the park is your best bet to deal with a bear that gets too close. Just remember to your in his back yard and all wild animals can be dangerous, never approach… I see tourist every single year slowly creeping in on animals off the side of the road just trying to get that one good picture… only to hear of multiple cases every year of someone getting mauled or trampled by an animal. Respect from a distance.

  12. Gary Barrett

    August 16, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    I just commented on a home invasion article where a guy shot an intruder holding his daughter. My suggestion included not walking out the door w/o some type of protection. You don’t think your yard isn’t safe, but it is one place you usually don’t think being at is a problem. This article proves otherwise, I lately have been making an effort to create a habit of taking a knife when going outside, if just to check the mail or any reason. A knife in his brothers pocket would’ve sure come in handy, dogs that get their balls or ears sliced off are real likely to run like hell in the other direction. I recently took advantage of the SurvivalLife knife deal on the Hoffman Richter spring assisted opening, I love it and don’t leave home w/o it, even to check the mail.

    • Gary Barrett

      August 16, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      SurvivalLife, wanted to say thanks for the Hoffman Richter knife.

  13. Liz Swanson

    August 16, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Years ago I was breeding, showing, training, etc. dogs. I’ve read that when it’s an in-air attack a German Shepherd (and similar breeds) will jump with front legs tucked in…. so go for the mouth as described or
    grab for the lower jaw and jerk down to break the jaw. On the other hand, Dobies will spring with front
    legs extended, so grab for a leg and jerk it on past you.

    As an aside, a friend who raised both the above breeds told me that if a guard (e.g. in a warehouse) with a
    companion guard dog is confronted by two or more attackers, a G.S. will die in an effort to protect you
    but a Dobie will assess the situation and depart the scene.

  14. Carl Smith

    August 17, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    Anytime you are in an area that reptiles may be present[ is water around ?] utilize a walking stick. anything that you can use to THUMP the ground is the best snake deterrent available. A reptiles senses are great but the best is vibration. All bets are off when the reptiles are molting. they are blind and will strike on instinct.

  15. John Matheson

    August 18, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    I have turned back about 25 pit bull charges simply by yelling “No! No! Bad Dog!” in an authoritative voice and pretending to through something at them. It was usually not necessary to pretend to through something at the charging dogs. I know that 25 pit bull charges sounds like a lot. However, I live in the city and I usually return to the areas where I was charged in order to insure that local authorities had either, captured the offending animal, or convinced the owner that he (or she) had to do a better job of keeping it under control.
    It is important not to get over confident once you have turned back a pit bull charge. NEVER ENTER A STRANGE PIT BULL’S YARD.
    IT IS UNWISE TO ENTER EVEN A FRIENDLY PIT BULL’S YARD, WHEN THE OWNER IS NOT IN THE YARD. Pit bulls are extremely territorial. They will probably attack if you try to enter their yard when the owner is not present. I’m not sure if the method, outlined above, will work for women. I have never heard of a woman who has turned back a pit bull charge in this manner.

  16. rabidrex

    August 18, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    I think one of the reasons I carry a handgun is to take care of these kind of problems; especially in the outback, but anywhere as needed.

  17. Ralston Heath

    August 25, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Here in Florida, you run into more than just loose dogs. Everything from snakes and gators, to bears and boars. The key is to be aware of your surroundings, don’t be texting and walking along the lake shore, as you might trip, but most likely will come face to face with a predator.

    Even raccoons will attack you if you seem to be a threat, and surprising a skunk will have you friendless for a few days.

    Carry a walking stick with you at all times when not in your own yard, and while in your yard have a stick handy. Those large flashlights that take four d batteries work well too. Sure, you may have just come home from Target with your AR over your shoulder so you are ready to repel the loose pit bull, but most of the time you will be walking to the mail box or getting the paper and you will find the stray dog coming up to you. Having a stick near both front and back doors will increase your attitude about fending off the dog.

    Most important of all, always act like the apex predator, and you will avoid becoming prey.

  18. Karen

    September 3, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Yes, I have turned away dogs by yelling at them. Two big dogs were trying to come through the window of our back porch at my cat and I went Ape woman on them and they we out of the yard before I got out the door. Unfortunately they discovered my chickens a week later and killed 3 d maimed another before we could stop them. The neighbors won’t forget the visit they got when I returned their dogs, ( the dogs went very meekly with me back to their home and haven’t left their yard since. And better not.)
    One way t stop a dog, is to grab it’s ear, with your thumb on the inside, grasping the top, and turn HARD. It brings them to their knees. I learned that trick when I worked for a vet in my younger years. You just gotta know how to treat a dog and yeas, the little ones are the worst!

  19. hasan

    September 9, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    my grandparents had a dog he always barked at me until one time i stood in front of him and kept starring at him until he stopped since then he never bothered me, but the way you say he should have attacked me why didn’t he attack then???

  20. mrbill

    November 26, 2014 at 7:22 AM

    simplest thing ANY human big enough to carry a spray can is able to use is a can of the strongest wasp spray you caqn find in the taqll size that shoots a thick line of wasp poison about 20 ft. i have used ot against bears, in their eyes, burglars, and mad skunks in arkansas. the spray stops annything if when it gets in their eyes. and at the worst will mess up their vision for a few hours, and possibly make them sick if you get too much in their mouth. a 5 year old or a tottering grangmother behind a bush taking a nature break is able to wave the stream enough to get their eyes quickly enough, especially if you carry thee can at the ready with the top off. another useful trick is to carry a lighter, the longer fireplace style in your hip pocket or belt to light the propelant and make a great short range blow torch. even a grizzly will take off when its face runs into a wall of flame, and its eyes are burning with chemical poison,

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