What you need to know to survive a dog attack

(WXYZ) - Its happening at a staggering rate. More than a dozen gruesome dog attacks in the past 6 months across metro Detroit.

It's caused many to fear for their safety and question how they can protect themselves.

Most recently, a 5-year-old girl from Detroit was hospitalized in critical condition, after being mauled by several mixed breed K-9's.

Another victim, Sandra O'Connell says two dogs recently attacked her and her Cocker Spaniel Molly during a nature walk in Clarkston.

"Once the dogs noticed us, they came at us full run. She was bit and I was bit. I kicked the dogs. Finally picked her up and got her in my arms" says O'Connell.

To gain a better understanding of how we can protect ourselves, we suited up with K-9 training expert Michael Burkey with Michigan Dog Training.

"First thing is to stop. If you're running it's like prey, like chasing a rabbit. They will catch you" says Burkey.

His dog "Kaboom" gave us a first hand look at how it feels to be attacked. Despite wearing a protective sleeve, we could feel every bite and the dog's strength.

Afterwards, Burkey telling us the following techniques and pitfalls associated with surviving a dog attack.

When trying to separate 2 dogs, Burkey says, "I never want to come between them and grab collars because I'll get bit by one or both of them."

Instead, he suggests coming from behind the dog and pulling its head back. Putting a knee into it's back. Grabbing it's hind legs and moving it like a wheel barrel. That can also work if your child is attacked.

Also, if you are being attacked, he says fold your hands in and avoid eye contact. Back away slowly without turning your back. Don't scream and look for something to put between you.

If you fall, lay on your stomach and cover your neck.

"Signs a dog might be about to attack include ears forward, a sudden pause in panting, and even a wagging tail" says Burkey. He adds "When we were doing the bite work earlier, he was wagging his tail while he was biting you. It just means high arousal. Could be good. Could be bad."

In addition, local stores and websites sell a product known as "pet corrector" which is a can of condensed air that scares most dogs.

Burkey recommends carrying it as a tool while walking or running, in particular because of the loud noise it also makes during release. 

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