Have you ever been bitten by a dog in Chile?

  • No
  • 1 - 2 times
  • 3 - 5 times
  • More than 5 times

0 voters

Mordeduras a personas por ataque de perros en la ciudad de Santiago, Chile:

“The mean annual bite rate: 1,262 per 100,000 inhabitants.”

Epidemiology of Dog Bite Incidents in Chile - NCBI:

I’ve been, several times. Once quite seriously, in Valpo. When attacked by a pack of 3, simultaneously, I couldn’t face all of them at the same time – and so missed a bite in the leg, from the dog that attacked from behind. The wound was healing slowly, about a month.

I´ve a few times had dogs grab my leg with their teeth and apply some pressure, but not a full on bite. I think they do it as part of being territorial, or as a warning or something. But they weren´t trying to injure me I don´t think.

So I guess technically I have been bitten, but not really sinking the teeth in. No blood, and little to no mark after.

When I go out cycling and running, I´ve learned to suss the ones that are waiting for me to pass and then chase me. So I shout “hey” at them and point a figure right in their face as I get level. That stops them at least half the time.

Have come close more than once.

I have learned to show as little fear as possible; face the threat without locking eyes, don’t turn tail and run; if more than one, don’t let one outflank you; be ready to use backpack, jacket, etc. as shield and protection. More important is to always scan ahead and analyze any loose dogs ahead which may warrant a detour. Let your instincts determine how to de-escalate or do a risky top dog/human is the master play. Could be low soothing voice; continue to non-threateningly move onwards out of their territory while not turning your back; could be a fake or real rock throw (more risky); could be a loud commanding “NO”; etc.

Mendoza, what happens the other half of the time?

Here in small town Chile, aggressive dogs are captured and dispatched to doggie heaven. The rest of the street dogs are gentle with humans and join parades and attend outdoor concerts. Some street dogs even get memorials and funerals. When a much loved large red German-shepherd/Irish settler mix male died, his death was posted in the town FB page and then I realized the dog had many friends (and descendants).

Not all are so lucky. I found Paloma, covered with fleas and ticks, with a wounded paw, searching through garbage for something to eat. She spent her remaining years at the sanctuary.

There is a street dog hierarchy and Paloma was at the bottom. Top of the hierarchy are the dogs who sit outside or near butcher shops. They may appear to be lounging but they are guarding their real estate. Other dogs have choice locations in the park or near restaurants. Some own whole blocks and defend them fiercely.

Feria days change all the street dog rules. These human-packed days create an almost a neutral zone for the street dogs. Since the dogs seem to know instinctively that aggressive behavior around humans is not tolerated, territorial boundaries are relaxed on feria day. With so much human activity, and dropped food and vendor garbage, there is abundance for the street dogs and those lower on the totem pole get to sneak through the crowds and briefly explore the territories of the top dogs without nasty confrontations.

If you are ever approached by an aggressive dog, lower your voice as deep as possible (growl tone), look the dog straight in the eyes and say OUT. It is how the mother dog trains her pups, except she doesn’t verbalize the word “out”, but instead, makes a similar sounding vocalization. If that doesn’t work, throw something at them or lunge at them with arms outstretched to appear bigger. Running triggers their prey instinct.

The other half of the time they chase after me, yapping at my heels, which I can either ignore or try to flick my legs at them a bit to discourage them if it’s a bit more aggressive. They do make contact with me as I run/cycle but it´s very small contact, not an attack. It´s just kind of annoying when it happens a lot.

I do think there is a slow improvement though. I can recall a pack of dogs in the middle of our town in the middle of the road when we first came, and dogs running across the motorway, and times I had to swerve and brake (while driving a car this time) to avoid hitting a dog, and 2 times I actually saw a dog get hit (and die). All of that was years ago, and I haven´t seen incidents like that in recent years. Also the number of dogs running around the edges of my garden is a bit less this year.

Overall, I suspect stray dogs are on the decline, at least in this area, possibly the chipping law a few years back was a factor.

The problem in Chile is the gray area between real strays vs. owned but living on the streets most of the day.

Those semi-owned dogs are the most dangerous and unpredictable.

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I edited my comments. Running triggers their prey instinct.

Absolutely. The moment the “owner” (the person who not only feeds the dog, but quite often makes a cardboard or wooden dog house next to their door) exits or enters – you have to be very careful and watch the dog’s behavior.

Again, very true.

I leaned about the eye contact thing years ago, and many times experimented – to see how a dog becomes crazy during direct eye-contact. Warning: you need to be sure you are safe before trying such experiment. When I feel the dog is much stronger than me physically, I always avoid eye-contact, when I feel I am stronger I don’t care.

I certainly get more negative attention running or cycling vs walking.

Another thing I sometimes do is charge at them. This is usually when they are far away so say they are twenty yards away and looking dangerous/annoying I run at them (or take a few firm steps) for five yards, cutting down the distance to fifteen yards. It shuts them up and diffuses the situation.

It’s always worked so far and I must have tried it 10 or 20 or 30 times. I would never do this against a whole pack or against a big rottweiler, but against someone that looks evenly matched to me, I do it.

I am a total bluffer since many of these dogs (even just normal typical sized dog) could beat me in a fight but they either don’t realize it or know but aren’t 100%, so aren’t willing to risk it.

Most dogs really are are way more bark than bite.

I am not reccommending my strategy however since even though it obviously works the majority of the time it only needs to go badly wrong once and I may just have been lucky.

If I get an injury, I would just go to the hospital and say “Banmedica” and get out my credit card. The dog does not really have this option (especially if it’s a stray) so it perhaps makes sense to back down from their perspective.

One time for me many years ago. I was on the back of a friend’s motorcycle and he bit my thigh. Nothing too serious, but I did have to get the rabies shots. He was one of those dogs known around the neighborhood, no real home but not exactly a stray either.

Gringalais, I am sorry you were bit. From the dog’s perspective, he was doing his job, protecting his master’s real estate even if it was a block long. They need to constantly prove to the human that feeds them that they are protecting their territory to earn their meals. From the idiot human’s perspective, he enjoys the protection of his home or shop at the small price of feeding a stray without the responsibility of having to pay vet bills or take the time to train the dog. If the dog gets killed from a car he was trying to keep away from his owner’s home or block, no big loss to the human. They will find and feed another. Sadly, all though dogs would give their lives to defend those human’s properties, they are nothing more than cheap disposable alarm systems to those unworthy humans.

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While I have never been bitten by a dog in Chile, I remember in the first place that we lived at, some neighbors would let their 2 dogs run loose at night. Neighborhood protection. :thinking: These were rottweilers. They were from two house away.

It wasn’t a neighborhood with a bunch of houses, there were maybe 7 houses. Each had at least a hectare lot. I think the house we were at might have been 2 hectares. :thinking:

Then there were the rottweilers from the house next door that came over as puppies and they became friends with us as they grew. Very friendly.

And then there was one of the offspring (a mix) of one of those rottweilers. While it was friendly to humans, it wasn’t to our cow which it bit up on the nose. Very bloody sight. Cow needed stitches.