My Potentially Disastrous Encounter with a Family of Undomesticated Dogs in Colombia
As I was up driving in the Andes Mountains outside of Bogota Colombia, my driver pointed out some puppies playing off the side of the road. Of course I told him to stop so I could take some pictures.
There appeared to be two 4-5 month old puppies playing in the grass with the rest of their dog family close by in the woods. One of the adult males initially made an aggressive charge, but then retreated as I photographed them. As you know, I love photographing dogs around the world and generally don’t have any issues with them. I tend to leave them alone and observe them in their natural surroundings. This time I kept back about 30 yards to watch them and was close to the car (which was pulled off to the side of the street). After about a minute of observation I made a sound to alert them to me, to try and see their faces and of course to get a better shot.
All of a sudden a black dog aggressively started to charge me, then three more adults came at me as well. Thank goodness dealing with aggressive dogs is something I do very often. However, a whole group of dogs all at once has its challenges.
The first thing I did was to hold my ground. I put on a small bit of forward body pressure and faced them squarely. Forward body pressure is what a drunken person talking to you looks like after he has had 4 martinis at a cocktail party. It is a very dominant position. You lean slightly forward, head leading and you face the threat directly with your shoulders square to it. Your head and shoulders are in front of your hips.
As the dogs were close to biting me, I quickly faced each attacker with a hard eye and never for a moment showed any wavering. It is fairly uncommon for a dog to bite when faced with this kind of confidence. However, if I pulled away my body pressure for a moment or tried to retreat back to the car and put my side or back to them, I imagine I would have been seriously hurt. This is when most people are bitten, when they retreat and show any fear upon the attack. Once the dog figured out I was not retreating, they started to get a bit intimidated. As they ran back towards the woods, I showed them I was the victor and did a bit of barking myself, which pushed them far enough back for me to retreat to the car.
However, getting back into the car was also a bit tricky. As soon as I started to lower my stature and get into the front seat, they all started to charge me again and I quickly shut the car door. Now they surrounded the car and barked at us until we left.
Thankfully I left the scene without a scratch.
One thing I saw was that these dogs in the Andes are more group or pack oriented. They are also less socialized to humans than the dogs on the streets (which makes sense).
The driver and salesperson I was driving with in the car thought I was an absolutely crazy Gringo which of course I am! I would tell any of you NOT do anything similar to what I am showing you here in these videos, as it would be very dangerous.