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Everything You Need to Know about Surviving a Dog Attack While Out on Delivery

A word to the customer that inspired this post: Thank you so much for letting me take pictures of Brutus. I have included his pictures as promised. They will be found toward the end of this post. reports that canines killed 360 Americans in the 11 years between 2005 and 2015. (Sources.) In 2015 alone, 34 dog bit-related fatalities were reported. 41% of those were children.

Getting attacked by a dog is serious. If the dog is large enough and angry enough, they can kill you. Being prepared can save you from injury and even death.

So how do you prepare yourself? It’s simple. Let’s start the first point with a hypothetical:

There you are, minding your delivery. You step out of your car with your delicious cargo and walk up to the fence. The ground is bare right up against the chain-link. There are holes dug in the yard. There’s a human appendage sticking out of a mound of dirt near the porch. You assume they have children and continue forward. Business as usual.

You move to open the chain link fence, but the clasp – that happens to be covered in strange red stains – is stuck.

Better just call the customer, you think to yourself. At this point, you hear a faint, light rustling.

That, my curious reader, was the sound of the wings of the angel of destruction. He just passed you by. Why? That bloodstained fence clasp just saved you.

Keeping your eyes peeled for indication of a dog of any size can more than make up for any negligence by the owner. It’s not foolproof, but it helps.


You need to pay attention.


What if the fence gate would have worked? Let’s take our story down a different path.

You step up to the fence – with the bare spots, the holes, the human appendage sticking out of the dirt – you assume they have children, and open the fence. Perhaps you are considerate enough to turn around and close the fence behind you. You wipe the strange red stuff from the clasp on your apron and move toward the porch.

Then you hear a low growl. You turn toward the sound and see a large emaciated emerge from side of the house. He’s as stiff as a board, wagging his tail and the hair on his back is raised. As soon as your eyes meet his, he locks on your gaze and yawns.

This moment is tense. What do you do?

Know and read the signs. Amy Bender with wrote about the top seven signs a dog may bite you:

  1. Growling and Snapping
  2. Wagging Trail
  3. Raised Fur
  4. Rigid Body Posture
  5. Lip Licking, Yawning and Averting Gaze
  6. Cowering and Tail Tucking
  7. Seeing the Whites of the Eyes

If you’ve gotten this far, you need to do a number of things. All of them involve getting away from the situation. You’re not going to look the dog in the eye. You keep them in your peripheral vision. Turn slightly sideways and put whatever is in your hands between you and the dog. Slowly back away and get out of the yard. (If you closed the gate, that may be difficult.)

If the dog charges, use what is in  your hands to keep the dog’s mouth occupied and get away as best as you can. If the law provides, carry pepper spray.


Body language is everything to a dog.

Be defensive, not aggressive.


Even so, there’s a chance that you got through the fence and up to the door without encountering the beast.

A dog attacked a young boy on a tricycle two years ago. They got it on the security cameras. And just like that (now euthanized) animal demonstrated, a dog that wants to attack you may do so without any audible warning whatsoever.

Again, notice the state of the tail, the hair and the gaze of the dog before it closes in:


Give that kitty some fancy feat for ninja-kicking the offender.

This is real. You may get to the door, interact with the customer, and suddenly have a dog on your arm, bit down. Hard.

This kid had a cat to save him. You might need to do something else.

Some sources say to curl up in the fetal position and protect your head and neck with your arms as best as you can. Others say to fight back, depending on the size of the dog. Either way, you need to escape the situation. Just don’t turn your back and run. The dog will win at a foot race.


If all else fails, protect yourself as best as you can.


There are other things to remember. If you’re attacked, seek legal counsel. Work closely and openly with management. If you’re injured, seek immediate medical attention.

But I want to end on a different note. Last Friday I didn’t get attacked by a dog. I got attacked by cute. His name was Brutus and his owner gave me permission to take pictures. They’re not the best, but I can’t say enough how cute this dog was.




All of his body language was right. His size was right. He was just say daggum cute. It helped that his owner was awesome, too.

So, be prepared. You need to pay attention. Body language is everything. If all else fails, protect yourself as best you can.

And don’t forget to avoid debt like you would a dog attack.



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