How to Protect Yourself in a Dog Attack

June 17, 2006 — -- Last week, a pair of loose pit bulls charged into a San Fernando, Calif., school, chasing students into a restroom and attacking an 11-year-old girl. She's going to be okay, but she's just one of 4.7 million people who'll be bitten by dogs this year.

Bob Conklin, a professional dog trainer at the Hudson Valley K9 Academy, and his assistant Harry Lazorda appeared on "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" with a German shepard patrol dog to give advice on how to protect yourself or your child from a dog attack.

What Not to Do

Take flight. Don't run away from the dog, because it triggers the dog's prey drive. Once that happens, the dog will want to turn and chase you.

If the dog catches you and starts attacking, don't hit it. The more you fight back, the more the struggle feeds into the dog's defensive drives and the more he wants to kill that prey and take it home.

What to Do

If you are approached by a vicious dog, relax and be as still as possible.

Drop your head so you don't make eye contact, but maintain an upright position.

Cover you ears and press your elbows to your sides. This way, if the dog bites you, your ears, eyes, rib cage and vital organs are protected.

If the dog grabs your arm or your leg, try to remain motionless. If the dog thinks you're dead, it should let go of you.

How to Rescue a Child

Grab an object and start hitting the dog so you can redirect it.

You can also grab the dog's "scruff" -- the area on the sides of the dog's neck. This should control the dog's head and keep it from swinging around to bite you.

You can go one step further and grab the dog's Adam's apple and choke him.

Do not pull the dog off the child. That can rip the skin right off the child.

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