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Attacked by Dogs in Antigua

We travel to find new and different experiences, but while being attacked by dogs in Antigua qualified for both categories, it was an experience we really could have done without yesterday. In some countries, street dogs are a problem, particularly for we runners and parents. We have had run-ins with dogs several times. We didn’t think Antigua Guatemala had much of a dog problem until we had the bad experience we describe below.

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Our Dog Problem in Antigua

We are a family of 4, we have two small children, 7 and 9. We are staying in Antigua, Guatemala for a while and just quietly getting on with our lives, the kids are doing some school work, my husband and I are blogging and planning our next move on this nomadic travel adventure.

Last night, about 4pm, we thought it was time to get out for a walk, we’d been hanging around the villa all day and needed some exercise. My husband told me about a couple of beautiful old churches he’d spotted on his run the day before, so I grabbed my camera and off we went.

Attacked by Dogs in Antigua, In a Church!

We walked around the outskirts of the town until we came to the ruins of yet another old Spanish church, My 7-year-old pushed the gate open and we wandered in to take some photos. The light was amazing as the sun set on the other side of the valley.

The kids were running around, I was snapping away, when we heard barking coming towards us rapidly, from more than one dog. We all froze. When the dogs rounded the edge of the church we knew we were in trouble, 3 big, angry aggressive dogs heading towards us at top speed.

Escaping The Dog Attack

My husband is a dog man, he normally tells the kids not to be scared of dogs and to stand their ground but this was different.

“Boys run!”

Luckily the dogs were a fair way away and the boys had time to get behind us and toward the corner with the gate before they arrived. My husband and I stood our ground, parental instinct in full flood and tried to out-bark and out-snarl the dogs-from-hell. The only object I had to hand was my camera. I swung it wildly at the dog that had decided to pick on me. It kept the animal back, but my camera broke in the process.

The trick we use in Asia, bending down to pick up imaginary stones to throw at the mutts wasn’t going to work here, these animals were way too aggressive.

We backed away, eventually getting through the gate as the animals continued to snarl and snap at us.

I though maybe they were rabid, maybe strays. But they were wearing collars. Once we were through the gate I noticed a group of male and female heads sticking around the door of the old church.

Was it a Deliberate Attack?

Did they set the dogs on us?

I don’t know, but they certainly didn’t make any attempt to call them off.

So that was our adventure yesterday, we’re all OK, we had a bit of a shock, but the kids don’t seem too traumatised. The gate wasn’t locked, there were no warning signs and this was a church, one of the dozens in Antigua which we have been visiting over the last few weeks. Nothing like this has ever happened to us before in any country. I thought I’d share as a warning, expect the unexpected, brief your kids on any possible eventuality and always have a plan.

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nomadic family life

Alyson is the creator of World Travel Family travel blog and is a full-time traveller, blogger and travel writer. A lifetime of wanderlust and now over 7 years on the road, 50+ countries allowed the creation of this website, for you. She has a BSc and worked in pathology before entering the travel arena and creating this website. World Travel Family Travel Blog has been helping you travel more, better and further since 2012, when Alyson and James first had this life changing idea. On this site you can find endless travel information, tips and guides plus how to travel, how to fund travel and how to start your own travel blog.

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Amy

Friday 28th of March 2014

Scary story, glad you're all ok. We've only had one 'dog incident' in Asia and that was in Kerobokan in Bali, the road we had to walk down back to our guesthouse in the dark was crowded with packs of dogs barking aggressively at us; it was no where near as bad as what you experienced but enough to scare us and we're firm dog lovers. Most pooches we come across in Asia are lovely though, we're just careful. Bad news about your camera, is it repairable, or a write-off?

Alyson

Friday 28th of March 2014

It's jammed on fully zoomed in Amy, but still works for now. I need a new lens. The only other incident was one of the poodles on Ko Phangan biting James, but we got to know those two in the end and the boys could play with them. Old dog "Baguette" was a sweety, did you meet him at Haad Salad?

Zai Zulkifli

Thursday 27th of March 2014

I'm glad you guys are ok. That was really scary.

bev

Thursday 27th of March 2014

Hi Alyson Wow glad you guys are all ok, this is a concern of mine when we start our travels to SEAsia in June, think i might walk around with a walking cane or treking pole :) Oliver is pretty wary of dogs in general and hoping that helps somewhat.....love your blog, so much useful info for us, keep finding older posts before you left about packing and starting your journey thanks again for sharing your adventure x bev and eyre family

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Thursday 27th of March 2014

Hi Bev, we've never had a problem with dogs in SE Asia. The kids know not to go near dogs and cats and all has been well. The only place we encountered a lot of dogs was on Ko Phangan, but most of them were friendly. Watch out for the monkeys though, horrible things!

Renee - RambleCrunch

Thursday 27th of March 2014

Scary! This has alway been an issue for us, since we travel with Archie. We've never been attacked like you were, though we've had several tense moments in both Mexico and Turkey. Glad everyone's okay.

Robbie Smyth

Wednesday 26th of March 2014

Woah - that makes my heart race just reading it!. And coming from someone who lives in Bali, the land of angry canines, that's saying something! I've actually grown fond of the treadmill at the local gym so as I don't need to run on the streets here! Hope your cameras not too damaged :)

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Thursday 27th of March 2014

A few years ago I actually had a dog phobia brought on by being constantly surrounded by them back in Port Douglas. Since we've been travelling I'm way better, I've even grown to like a few. I was stunned by my own bravery Robbie! But when your kids are at risk something takes over.