By ChrisPAmbulance

13 January 2008 20:33

What's the best way to deal with a snarling dog that is not under control?



By GrahamThompson

Become a tree! Plant your feet firmly to the ground, wrap your arms around your chest and stand still. Children are recommended to quietly say a nursery rhyme as this will calm them down. Adults may find repeating a nursery rhyme equally effective at calming themselves down. Finally, look at the ground so there is no face-to-face contact with the dog.
The above is often enough to stop a dog progressing an aggressive challenge further and it will tend to stop and may walk off once it realises you are not a threat. If it does not stop, shouting “Help!” may draw the attention of passers by. Some people even recommend saying the word ‘sit’ or ‘down’ firmly, and this can work if the dog is trained.
If all that fails then the next stage is to slowly back off, without turning away and without making the dog more aggressive. This may be enough to stop the dog barking and growling if it is guarding a territory.
If the dog is following and remaining aggressive, then look for something you can get behind, such as a wall or door, and slowly back away towards it.
Another tip is to have something you can give to the dog, such as some food in your bag, your bag itself or a jacket. Throwing such items to the floor for the dog to have may distract it enough to allow you to calmly walk back and away from it.
It helps to understand why the dog is being aggressive towards you. It may be frightened of you entering what it thinks is its territory, or it may think you may take something from it, such as its food. The dog may also be driven to chase by your movements if you are running or walking. It may simply be frightened of you for some unknown reason. Some dogs are frightened of people with beards, caps, sunglasses or those that smell of beer, for example! So the dog is acting to protect itself or its property – and this is why it is so important not to give it more reason to be scared of you.
Even the most aggressive dogs are not aggressive all the time and most will stop being aggressive when the person stands still and ignores them before slowly moving away.

>> The Kennel Club Safe and Sound Scheme provides more information on how to behave around dogs:

>> Trail gear tester, Graham Thompson, is a dog trainer and pet behaviour counsellor  and graduated in Applied Animal Behaviour from Southampton University in 2007.



Rate this...

Average rating: rating is 0 (0 votes)

Discuss This

How do I deal with a snarling dog?


Your comment

By submitting your comment, you agree to adhere to's Terms and Conditions



reward badgemoderator

GrahamThompson says

Re: How do I deal with a snarling dog?


Great way to make a dog really scared of humans ... and fire extinguishers!!
There are spray devices available to use as positive punishment for dogs, and they fit on the collar. When combined with positive rewards, they can be effective sometimes. However, I have used them sometimes and the make the dog far more scared. I've also known of dogs attacking the person using similar spray devices or other punishment devices. 
Humans tend to act the same way when people spray things at them .... for some reason we only kill the dogs when they fight back though!

15 February 2008 23:08


reward badge

vick says

Re: How do I deal with a snarling dog?

Quite simple really !  A fire extinguisher (not the foam type ) BUT this has obvious limitations when back packing or walking around the countyside  :lol: If its your dodgy neighbours dog its very effective



15 February 2008 21:00


reward badgemoderator

GrahamThompson says

Re: How do I deal with a snarling dog?


The problem is the faster you run, the more exciting you are to a dog, particular a border collie that is highly movement motivated, so the more likely the dog will chase you rather than your slower mate!!
Check this link for running speeds of animals and you'll see humans are pretty rubbish at running ... that is why the police use dogs to catch people!

14 February 2008 10:49


Glyn says

Re: How do I deal with a snarling dog?

I find it's useful to go walking with someone who can't run as fast as me.


13 February 2008 19:21


reward badgemoderator

GrahamThompson says

Re: How do I deal with a snarling dog?

Hi Old Cragrat

The trouble with the kicking the dog or poking the dog with stick method is that you could make the dog more scared of you and hence even more likely to attack - as discussed elsewhere on this thread.
So you could end up getting bitten when you kick or poke the dog. But what is more of a problem is that the dog will now tend to be more fearful of trekking poles and swinging legs and it will tend to want to protect itself even more from these and hence it will probably bite someone else. 
When I'm dealing with aggressive dogs during my animal behaviour work, it is often very easy to spot the trigger for the aggression and often a swinging stick or moving foot or even a hand coming close to the dog is enough to make it scared and for it to bite - hence I stay still!!!!
Furthermore when you kick or poke the dog it will tend to become more fearful and aggressive and the rise in adrenaline to deal with this stress will make the dog switch into automatic responses, rather than more considered responses , so once again a bite is more likely as the dog is now reacting in a fight or flight response to pain and a direct attack on it.
In short if you want to encourage a dog to bite you or someone else, then kicking it is the best way ... hence it is among the worst ways to deal with the problem.
Same problem with dealing with humans of course too, or other countries for that matter .... ie using aggression to solve a problem just creates more aggression.
If you are really interesting, then read a book called Coecrion and its Fallout, by Murray Sidman, which looks at the effects of aggression in lots of situations.

An interesting talk on aggression can be seen here too:

Also this one, which is about a theory called Non Zero Sum which says that progress only comes from understanding one another, rather than through conflict

That isn't top say that punishment does not work, as it does sometimes, but the outcome is unpredictable and timing, level of punishment and the form the punishment takes must be more controlled that purely lashing out with a stick or boot ... or gun or bomb for that matter!

13 February 2008 11:45

Can't find the correct answer? Post a new Question