There is a saying in the Firearms Training Industry “Your Body Won’t Go Where Your Mind Hasn’t Been.” This saying alludes to the importance of mental training and having a plan to deal with dynamic critical incidents. Visualization and Mental Training have been used for years in Competitive Sports and the importance of “training your brain” to respond before an event takes place is even more important when contemplating using deadly force to protect yourself or your loved ones. Unfortunately, Mental Training is one area that often gets overlooked in firearms training classes. So this month, we thought we would introduce a new Training Tips segment called Tactical Mental Training (TMT). These scenarios will be pulled from actual experiences or from self-defense stories in current events or news stories.
TMT – Out For A Walk & Less Lethal Options
It is a nice spring day and you and your spouse decide to head out for a walk around your neighborhood. As you round a corner there is a LARGE potentially dangerous dog in the front yard of one the houses on your normal route. What should you do?
1) Are you carrying any type of self-defense device to protect yourself from a dog attack?
2) If you have a firearm on you, have you thought about how you would draw and fire on a dog that has a hold of your arm or leg and is violently biting and shaking you?
3) If you are able to draw and fire and actually hit the dog? Will the owners sue you if you injure or kill their dog? What happens if you miss the dog, what will your bullet impact? What are the potential legal ramifications if you cause personal or property damage when you miss?
My wife and I recently encountered this situation. As we rounded a corner we were confronted by a LARGE German Shepard. While I do carry a firearm when out for a walk, I know there is no way I would be able to draw and put accurate shots on target on a dog that is charging me. Based on the Tueller Principle, an average person can cover 21 feet (seven yards) in about 1.5 seconds. A dog can do that A LOT faster. Drawing a firearm to the ready position, is also not a good look in the neighborhood and can lead to calls to the police of “a man walking around with a gun.” I also know that turning around to run is not a good option because I am 50 years old with a bad knee, plus running would likely entice the dog to chase me. In this scenario a less lethal option might be best. My left hand immediately went to my pepper spray while my right hand motioned for my wife behind me. For me, pepper spray is part of my everyday carry. Not only is this something that I could use against people, it can also be a very effective tool against dog attacks. In fact they actually make pepper spray specifically for dogs and the US Postal Service has a guide on using dog repellant. I encourage everyone, whether or not you carry a firearm, to carry pepper spray on you at all times. It may not only stop a violent attack from a person or a dog, but may also prevent you from having to use a firearm against them as well.