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Can You Fight Off a Police Dog?

04/06/2015 03:32 pm ET | Updated Jun 05, 2015

Can I fight off a police dog?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Rick Bruno

Answer by Rick Bruno, Former police K9 handler for a suburban police department near Chicago


Police Canine Bach, K-9A

I was a police canine handler for 8 years. My dog Bach was as gentle as a puppy unless he was provoked or he detected a threat against me. I had absolutely no problem bringing him into preschools and letting the children pet him and play with him. He was a part of our family, and with 4 sons, the house was always full of kids.

My point here is that well-trained police dogs are not vicious man-eaters. I know dogs have a bad reputation. There are many cases in which they were (and are) misused. I make no excuses for stupidity.

A well trained police dog is trained to stop you and hold you in one place until his backup arrives. If you fight him, he will fight you. If you stop and surrender, the dog is trained not to bite. He will "bark and hold" unless you run or fight him.

A police dog is trained to fight you as long as you fight him. If you stay in the fight, so will he. Keep in mind, while you are fighting the dog, the dog's police partner(s) are not far away, and are coming for you too (if they are not already on top of you).

I know you didn't ask it, but I'll give you this advice: you will not outrun a police dog. When he catches you, he will hit you with his 100 pounds of weight running at full speed. His predator mentality will kick in.

I've heard it said a German Shepherd bites with about 240 pounds of force. Add that to his teeth sinking into your skin, along with you trying to pull away, and you sort of get the picture. I've heard people say you wrap a coat or shirt around your arm, and that way you can fight the dog. I'll just say in our training we took a LOT of bites from other canines (never from our own), and we always used protective sleeves on our arms - or even complete "bite suites" on occasion - and the task was very exhausting. You could feel the dogs' jaws crushing the sleeve.

So I guess, if you think you can handle that, you might be able to fight him off for a short time. But what's the point? The dog's job is to hold you until the uniforms show up, and some of us are pretty fast too.

I would not recommend putting yourself into that situation.

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