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A wolfdog may assault you with an all-out attack when he has used all his testing and warning weapons and it hasn’t gotten him the results he hoped for.  There may be some initial warning displays or it may happen seemingly out of the blue.  As opposed to the noisy challenges they throw at us an attack is quiet.  There are no snarls or growls.  They are intent on doing great harm.  

If you have an animal that has a history of testing or challenging you make sure you have some sort of protection with you every time you enter their yard.  This can be in the form of a shovel or a bite stick or a pooper scooper.  It is also advisable that you have a 2 person rule – no one goes into the yard alone so that you can watch each other’s back.   At the very least have someone close by that you can call to for help.


Avoidance is always the best strategy, but in the event a wolfdog decides to attack you here are some tips that we have been given throughout the years that might help:  


  • When a dog attacks a loud NO is often enough to give you that split second you need to evade the attack, however the focus of most wolfdogs is quite a bit harder to break.  It is certainly worth a try, but be ready to respond very quickly in the event that it happens.

  • If you do have a bite stick or a shovel use it as an extension of your arm as the wolfdog charges or lunges at you.    Most bite statistics show that the majority of dog bites are to the face and the extremities.   Wolfdogs like to lunge at faces and quickly grab and bite the arms.  If you can poke the stick directly at their mouth they will bite it, and continue to snap at it.  This can give you the opportunity to back towards the gate slowly and get out.

  • The very first thing most people think of as the wolfdog is coming at them is to run for the gate or climb the fence.  DON’T DO IT.  Running or climbing does nothing but kick the prey drive motor pattern into high gear and the wolfdog will immediately chase you.  

  • Don’t bother attempting to hit the wolfdog as that can exacerbate the attack.  

  • If the attack comes straight at your head and you have time enough to get your arms outstretched in front of you grab the wolfdog by the throat. This will keep the teeth away from your face and throat and offer your forearms for bites as they can withstand punctures much better than the face.  More importantly it will give you the opportunity to squeeze the windpipe tightly enough to cut off the air supply so that the attacking wolfdog will lose consciousness and give you the opportunity to get to safety.

  • If the attack is aimed at your hands double up your fist so that your fingers will not be mauled.  If your hand is in the animal’s mouth ram the fist down the throat which will make him gag and hopefully release the arm.  The fist may also cut off the air supply.

  • In some cases you can offer him a piece of clothing such as a jacket and back away.  He may or may not fall for the trick, but the distraction might give you the time you need to get away or get to something that can be used as a protective weapon.

  • Some attacks come from nowhere and you can easily be blindsided which takes away any chance you might have for avoidance or deflecting the attack.  If this happens and the wolfdog takes you to the ground most people agree that rolling into a fetal position is the best maneuver.  Get your arms behind your head and neck to protect from bites to the neck and draw your knees up to protect your face and stomach.  Try to lay as motionless and still as possible as struggling may only cause more puncture wounds and the thought is that they will often end the attack.

  • If you are bitten stay still and avoid struggling.  Many times the wolfdog will begin to shake his head or pull during an attack to get a better grip.  If this happens go in the direction of the pull as struggling will most likely lead to more shaking.  This can also throw the wolfdog off balance and give you that split second to get away.


If you are the Rescuer:

  • If you have a number of people available move into the yard making a lot of noise.  This can cause them to surrender and back away from the person he is focused on attacking.

  • If you are the only rescuer you will want to do just the opposite and enter quietly with some sort of implement like a shovel or bite stick.  If the wolfdog does not have hold of the person he is focused on attacking move right next to the person or step in front to screen them.  In most cases they will be so focused on person they are trying to attack this will distract and diffuse the entire situation.  Once this happens back towards the gate and get out.

  • In the case where the wolfdog does have hold of the person the one being attacked must stay still and avoid struggling.  The rescuer can move in and grab hold of the wolfdog’s throat and close off it’s windpipe with their hands.  In a short period of time the wolfdog should go limp which allows the person being attacked to flee.  Once free, both can then back towards the gate quickly.

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