Thursday, March 12, 2009

Self Defense Products and Techniques for Aggressive Dogs

An aggressive dog is a really frightening thing to face. Dogs don’t follow human social rules, and stronger, pound for pound and are hard to predict. As social animals, dogs are deeply affected by how their owners treat them. That means that an innocent gesture can set a dog off because it’s reading signals into your behavior that it interprets as a threat or territorial challenge.

Don’t Approach Without Permission: Don’t go near a dog unless you have permission from its owner. Even then, you should approach slowly and calmly, without making eye contact. If you must touch the dog, be gentle and stay away from its face

Respect the Bark: Dogs bark for all kinds of reasons, but in most cases a dog you don’t know is barking to make you go away. The answer is simple: Go away! Don’t run, but calmly move away from the dog and the person, place or thing you feel the dog is defending.

Remain Calm: If you think a dog is considering an attack, the key is to avoid acting in a way that the dog can interpret as aggressive. Don’t make eye contact and keep your hands at your sides. Once the dog begins to lose interest, slowly back away and move on.

Don’t Run: Unless you’re an Olympic-level sprinter, any large dog can run faster than you. Worse, dogs are natural predators, so running arouses their hunting instincts, increasing their aggression level. Many larger breeds will instinctively attack your legs while you run, bringing you down. This is also a good reason not to try an kick an aggressive dog from a standing position.

Protect Your Face and Throat: Dogs tend to latch on and shake whatever they can grab. In the event of an attack use your arms to cover your face and throat, which are the vital areas most in danger from its teeth. Some experts counsel that you not try to release your arm from the dog’s grip, to avoid the dog from attacking more intensely or moving on to a more dangerous target. If you have a choice, let the dog get your non-dominant arm.

Get a Barrier: A big dog can cause serious lacerations and puncture wounds, so heavy clothing, a stick or a bag can help mitigate the damage. Don’t try to retrieve these objects.

About Fighting Back: If you’re concerned about encountering aggressive dogs it might be a good idea to buy pepper spray or a chemically similar dog spray. These are effective tools to ward off even large dogs, which are no more resistant to it than human beings. Aim for the eyes, not and mouth. If a dog latches on to you, many authorities advise you to remain calm, curl up and stay still until the dog loses interest. If the dog doesn’t calm down, however, you may have to hit back. Aim for sensitive parts of the face but always remember that your first priority is to protect your head and neck.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Self Defense and Property Crime: A Hot Issue in Atlanta

Atlantans have become particularly worried about crime in recent months, due to a reported rise in property crimes and a number of brutal murders, including the February 10th killing of cancer researcher Dr. Eugenia Calle. While anecdotes from citizens give them impression that violent crime is on the rise, too, this is disputed by police statistics. Who’s right? For the purposes of this article the answer isn’t important, but one fact is indisputable: property crime and violent crime go hand in hand. In Dr. Calle’s case, it appears that her killer’s motive was money, as he took cash, jewelry and credit cards that he later used in a spending spree.

Preventing and protecting yourself from property crime is one of the fundamentals of self defense. Where do you start? The key is to understand how burglars, muggers and thieves pick their targets, and why they steal in the first place. Here are two landmarks that apply to a great many criminals:

Addiction: Drug addiction is one of the most common motives for serious property crimes. Addicts have trouble keeping jobs, have impaired decision making skills and have a regular need for substantial amounts of money to keep up their habits.

Impulsiveness: Despite movies that show us meticulous criminal capers, most thefts are decided on the spot when an opportunity arises, or out of a sudden impulse, combined with a memory of a likely target.

As a result, you can’t be sure that simply not resisting a theft will ensure your safety. Even though we associate the term “career criminal” with a cool, street-smart professional, the average example is a desperate drug addict who isn’t thinking things through rationally. I’m not saying this to get you to sympathize with him – I’m saying it because this is what makes him dangerous. If he decided he’s going to hit you with a hammer and take your wallet, that’s what he will do, even if you would have given it to him in the first place. That’s the mental “script” he’s thrown together to commit the crime.

In essence, there are two ways to protect yourself from property crimes, or at least keep them from escalating into a threat to your safety: prevention and response.

Prevention: These measures make it less likely you’ll be hit in the first place. Make sure your home’s exterior is brightly lit and you stick to a routine of locking your doors – and you have sturdy deadbolts. In terms of self defense products, home protection tools that send a message that your home is more trouble than it’s worth are highly recommended. These include alarms and door braces. Some thieves will give openings a test kick or shove; if your doors and windows don’t budge, or it looks like an alarm will go off, they may move on to easier pickings.

Response: If the crime proceeds despite your best efforts you need to keep it from transforming into a violent attack on you and your family. Obviously, escape if you can. Gun ownership is a personal choice with pros and cons; exercise your rights at your discretion, but do your research, and take an accredited safety course. As an alternative, you can buy a Taser Gun. The C-2 model is designed for personal protection. If you get a Taser or buy stun guns make sure you get familiar with drawing them quickly and store them safely.