Dubai: If a dog attacked you, what would you do?

Dog trainers said your actions before, during, and after the attack are crucial since dogs don’t usually charge when not provoked or threatened.

A 13-year-old Emirati boy was attacked by two dogs on a beach in Fujairah on March 23. The mauling left large open cuts on the teen’s body that required medical attention. He is now recovering.

Andy Neil, who served in the British Army for 24 years. is an experienced dog handler.

Fujairah Police did not reveal the breed of the two dogs but said they were used in illegal fighting. The victim earlier said the dogs were wild and appeared to attack him from nowhere. Police investigation revealed that the dogs belonged to the victim and his brother.

A one-minute video of the attack showed the victim on the ground with one of the canine’s jaws on his upper body. As he stood up, the other dog tried to bite him as well when the other teen wearing a kandoura managed to pull the dog by its collar. The other teen hit the dog on the head and pulled on his collar in a bid to help.

The dog refused to let go for 45 seconds until the bystander blew his horn and the teen managed to pull away.

Andy Neil, who served in the British Army of 24 years working in the infantry and the Royal Army Veterinary Corps as a dog trainer/handler, said hitting a dog in this case is the worst thing to do.

“In the worst case scenario, use the collar to pull the dog away. I would never hit the dog. It’s best to call for help,” Neil, chief trainer at Dog Tags Training in Dubai, told Gulf News.

Emma Greenwood-Petrie is a partner and trainer at Dog Tags Training in Dubai.

“If it’s a single dog running towards you, put your arms up, tucked in. Don’t be negative towards the dog. If the dog tries to close in you, don’t try to aggravate the dog by hitting it. Make no eye contact.”

Not engaging the dog through eye contact is important as they can misunderstand it.

“Some dogs will find the eye contact a challenge. So if you’re not sure about the dog’s intent, then it’s best to not look at them and they won’t feel threatened by you,” Emma Greenwood-Petrie, a partner and also trainer at Dog Tags Training in Dubai, said.

Greenwood-Petrie stressed that this attack is very unusual as most dogs are not naturally aggressive. More often than not, it’s the owner of the dogs or the history of the dog that has made it like that.

“Some people train them to be that way [aggressive]. Some people beat their dogs and then the dogs learn this aggression from their owners,” Greenwood-Petrie said.

“We try and help people before dogs get to the point where they act like this. If you’re a dog owner, it requires early intervention in order to stop it escalating and stop anybody getting hurt,” she added.

Greenwood-Petrie said it is best to read the body language of the animal to know how to properly react to it.

Expert advice

Emma Greenwood-Petrie offers some tips on how one must react in the unlikely event of a dog attack.


What are the signs that a dog might attack?

Dogs that bark at you may be saying that they don’t want to bite you, but they will if they have to. So if a dog is barking at you, it’s a good opportunity to back off. If a dog bares its teeth at you as you approach, it’s saying you are invading its personal space. That’s a chance to step away.


What if a dog is about to attack you?

The best thing to do is to be still. You can’t outrun a dog. By running away, you make yourself a target whether it’s a friendly or unfriendly dog. Dogs want to chase things that move. Unless you can reach a safe spot quickly, it is better to stay still and not become a moving object.


What if a dog jumps at you?

Call for help and stay still. The more you move, the more a dog wants to grab you. If you fall over, curl yourself into a ball, tuck your head in and stay still.


What if a dog actually bites you?

Stay still and wait for the dog to let go, especially if it is a big dog. You’ll just make things worse, or it will make them confused or scared or anxious or whatever it is that’s driving this problem.


What to do if you are bitten?

When the dog lets go, it is recommended that you immediately wash the wound with running water and soap. The UAE has a low chance or absence of rabies, so the risk of infection is low, but it is still advisable to seek urgent medical care. Call 998 right away.