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Fear of Dogs
Carbon Mike and James LaFond

You must be psychic—your email showed up right when I was reading your post "Fighting a Dog Pack". Excellent post, as usual.

Fighting A Dog Pack

Now here's what's crazy: my ancestral people (they're Caribbean) have this thing about being afraid of dogs. I was raised with it. But sometime in my thirties, I decided to train myself not to let dogs make me nervous. I don't know what it was—I think maybe I got it in my head that if you shouldn't be afraid of any man, then it certainly wasn't becoming for a man to be afraid of a beast (especially one that doesn't even rise to the level of a wild animal).

So I started to reason about the thing from first principles at the same time that I tuned my reflexes. My reasoning was that beasts—mammals in particular—are easier to read than people. That is, a man is capable of smiling calmly at you and then trying to kill you, but a dog will almost always signal its intent to attack, so learn to read the signals, which are glaringly obvious once you stop being a fucking pussy. The ears lay back, the hackles rise, tail stops wagging, lips pull back to display the primary weapon (the canine teeth), the posture angles low to protect the belly, and so on.

To tune my reflexes, every time I walked past an aggressive dog, I'd turn toward it and bare my teeth. Didn't have anything to do with the dog, it was just to set it in my mind that I wouldn't turn away from a conflict, and that if it came down to one, that I was going to win.

There is really no reason for a man armed with a stick to be afraid of a dog, even if it's feral and even if there's more than one. But since I don't carry a stick, the tactics I envisioned came down to empty-hand or knife tactics—if an animal attacks me, how to protect my soft points long enough to get position and either break its neck or rip its guts out with a blade.

Pit bulls are, unfortunately, a big thing with a lot of the youngbloods in the hood, who have no fucking idea how to raise them in a civilized way, so walking the streets of Brooklyn, you understand that this is not just an academic exercise. What I came up with is more or less exactly what you said: first prepare your mind and get it straight that if it goes kinetic, you're going to kill this animal.

From knowing the pit bull body type and doing some research on oppositional-force reflexes in dogs, I arrived at the conclusion that not only should you decide that you're going to get bitten (because you are), but if you're attacked (ESPECIALLY by a pit-type dog) you should never pull away with your shield arm (which of course needs to be your off-hand arm). This is because the grip strength of the animal's jaws, combined with the neck and shoulder strength, mean that if you let it become a tug-of-war, the dog is likely to come away with a chunk of your arm, as opposed to just making some holes in it. You can live with some holes in your arm, but a chunk torn out of it is potentially disabling in a fight; the blood loss alone can send you into shock, which is never what you want.

So: if the fucker bites your shield-forearm, move forward as quickly as you can, because he can't back up as fast as you can two-step or three-step forward. This can buy you enough leverage to either pull up on his head (thereby exposing his lower jaw and neck) or literally push him up on his hind legs, exposing his belly. At which point, if his primary weapon is buried in your arm, you can take him.

One tactical element that is not present when you're facing off against feral dogs is that you need to be ready to take out the owner as well if his dog attacks you and he doesn't know how to act.



Check out Carbon Mike at

Notes by James

Briefly, some additional anti-dog deviltry is included below.

Dogs in the Caribbean

A version of the Italian mastiff, which was used by ancient Romans as a war dog, was developed for hunting Natives of the Canary Islands. The breed was later improved by the Spanish from breeding stock on Cuba. The Aztecs and other Indians—who were used to mutts and hairless eating dogs—were more terrified of the Spanish hounds than of the war horses. Soto had a famous dog named Bruto who was said to be the fiercest soldier in the army that invaded Florida and killed entire civilizations. Spain ruled most of the Caribbean for its early years and their favorite death sentence for slaves was being thrown to the dogs. Chief Mosco’s mother was fed to the dogs by Navarez.

Greyhounds and Irish Wolfhounds were added to the human hunting mix. During the Haitian uprising, as Marshal LeClerc lay dying on his death bed from yellow fever, he wrote two dispatches. One was a letter to Napoleon citing the fact that very Negro over 12-years-old would have to be killed [that was about 400,000 humans] and another sending away to Cuba for packs of specially trained negro-eating hounds. Your Caribbean ancestors had some negative canine interactions to be sure, and these would trigger our natural fear of wolf packs. There was a similar tradition in the U.S. of using dogs to track runaways. Since the whites that got away developed their own canine traditions, there seems to be no unusual level of fear of dogs. But since only a tiny minority of African American slaves even tried to escape and the fact that most post-slavery blacks did not migrate to rural areas with hunting traditions, but gravitated to farming land and urban centers the percentage of American blacks with high levels of canine fear seems to be as high as their opposite, the dog-abusing criminals. I have had huge black men comically seek my protection from tiny dogs on three occasions. It seems to be a point of honor among criminals among African Americans to overcome this fear or dogs and use it as a weapon against others or simply as a masculine status symbol.

On a comic note, when a lady of color rented a room to me in 2003, her mother, still living down in the southland, was scandalized and said, “But you’ll have to throw out the bed! After that white man sleeps in it you’ll never be able to get the smell of wet dog out of your house, Baby!”

A year later, when my Land Lady’s mother came to town I had to resist the impulse to hug her and howl.

Moving Forward with the Shield Arm

This is extremely desirable when bitten and even when grappled in street situations as you have an opportunity to smash your foe between you and a bunch of unyielding surfaces: concrete, asphalt, brick, spiked wrought iron fences to impale his ass on, etc. I once read a book by a big game hunter who was patrolling a fence line for a man-eating leopard [there you go, Bro, a wolf-sized cat!] when the cat got the jump on him and clawed him and pulled him into it’s fangs from the other side of the fence. So this dude is pinned to a wire fence by a 150 pound cat who has its claws buried in the back of his shoulders and his thighs and is trying to rip out his throat with his Dracula fangs. Dude dropped the rifle and shoved his hand in the way of the fangs. The leopard chomped down on the hand and the man could not pull the hand out against the inward curving fangs. The hunter then shoved his hand and entire arm down this fucker’s throat!


Man over beast in an unarmed equal-weight battle. So if your hand gets bitten you know what to do with that ebony arm, shove that thing down the dog’s throat.

Dealing with the Owner

Even big pit bulls only weight 80 pounds. I used to wrestle with 60 pound Chico all the time and he was stronger than my lean 150 pound self of the past. Never forget that a man’s hand can easily grasp a foreleg or hind leg of a dog. If he is chewing on the left arm grab his rear leg with your right, lift and break his back over something, like your fucking knee, on a fence or brick wall, and if his owner is threatening you than grab the other hind leg in your left and beat him down with his own dead dog!

Less savage is the option of dog tossing, where you spin around and throw the thing. A friend of mine once threw another dude’s dog at him, which killed the dog and made the other guy quit and cry.


The Logic of Steel Paperback


The Logic of Force


Add Comment
BobMarch 24, 2018 11:10 PM UTC

Punching muzzle, kicking ribs, for what it's worth:
BobMarch 24, 2018 10:28 PM UTC

The dog's weight isn't the real problem, it's the combination of weight and speed that destabilizes and shocks (like when a shark attacks a seal). Minus the speed, half the mortal threat is gone.

Thanks Carbon Mike for the nightmarish Bruto. I know what's in Room 101.
PRMarch 24, 2018 11:33 AM UTC

If a pitbull attacks your dog or a child, run around behind it, grab both of its hind legs and pull up so as to break them out of their sockets behind the dog's back. The dog will have to let go to deal with the threat to its locomotion.