Usually, when a hound attacks me, I just run to some pig-men houses for protection, since they're better fighters then I am. However, if they attack me at night, the pig-men are asleep, and I don't have any protection. Right now my strategy (which is definitely not ideal) is to run in circles around my campfire until dawn, so I can have the pig-men kill them for me. Is there any good way to survive a hound attack at night?
Offloading incoming attackers (hounds, giants...) onto others sometimes works well, but there are other ways of dealing with them.
Usually hounds announce themselves some time beforehand, so you can do some last-minute preparations to welcome them:
- Light your fires up to the maximum
- Grab a spear, a football helmet and a log suit
- Heal yourself using honey poultice, healing salves, dragonpie, fishsticks, pierogi...
- Move to a fighting area if you can (pig village, beefalo herd, tallbirds, panic hallway)
Your fighting area should be well-lit: two permanent fire pits are no unnecessary luxury.
I always advise against a panic room, because you can get yourself trapped in it. An area laden with tooth traps (or bee mines) can be as effective, and if you run arounds, enemy pursuers will often take a shortcut and run straight to you, through the deadly field.
Dealing with hounds becomes quite easy once you got a better weapon (Dark Sword, Ham Bat, Tentacle Spike). A regular spear is an excellent weapon for those non-rushed battles, like killing off 1 beefalo or Werepig, but for hounds at night, don't be afraid to whip out the big guns.
Hounds take 5 hits with a spear. An easy way to kite them is to let them approach, dodge the first bite, deliver two hits, dodge the second bite, deliver three hits, killing it.
This shows why Spikes work better: you only have to dodge the first bite & deliver three consecutive hits (hold F) to kill them. You can usually kill them off one by one this way, dealing with each incoming hound before the next one reaches you.
The way you can deal with hounds highly depends on how many of them are attacking you. Assuming you did not change any settings, early on you'll be getting just a few of them.
Hounds change targets:
If you are near anything they can attack (e.g. Chester, a tentacle, spiders, bee hives etc) they might switch targets after they stop to bark. Just make sure you are far enough when that happens and they'll start attacking something else, giving you time to fight fewer of them.
Just make sure fire hounds dont die and burn something nearby that you need.
Chester in particular can take lots of beating before he dies, so he ll give you enough time to kite and hit them.
Later in the game, when you'll be getting 7 hounds or more, you need to have a reliable way to deal with them. Fill an area with tooth traps, place a stone campfire nearby, and make sure you replace the turf with Wooden Flooring to prevent lureplants eating anything that you have there (they could spawn there randomly).
Also, make sure your trap area is not too close to your base, since fire hounds that accidentally die (e.g. a loose pig, or bee) could set everything on fire.
Don't take hits if you can avoid them. If you are chased by a single hound or 2 of them, you can easily let them start their bite animation, then run away to dodge it, and then attack 1-2 times max. Once you master kiting, and get to know how many hits you can deal before getting hit, the game will be much easier.
Fighting on a road/switching to Walking Cane:
When kiting you might be able to get more hits on your target inbetween his attacks, if you run away faster from his reach when he animates his attack. This can be achieved by fighting them on a road, and/or equiping Walking Cane when running to dodge.
You can hit twice with a spear then must dodge the hound then hit again. 5 hits from spear would kill a hound. With ham bat you only need 3 hits (you don't need to run after the second hit, since there will be no attack to dodge because the hound would die).
Any high damage weapon would help a lot, but ham bat is very easy to make especially later on.
You can check the hits it would take for a hound to die with various weapons here.
If you're in complete darkness the best thing to do is have a torch handy. Equip the torch and run. Keep running and avoiding the dogs' attacks until it's morning. At that point equip your spear (and armour) and attack and kill the dogs. A key strategy is strafing and kiting - get in close, attack, then run away before they have a chance to hit you back. Repeat until they're dead. Further on in the game it might be a good idea to build a panic room - a small area fenced in with stone walls and tooth traps around the entrance. The dogs will run through the traps and get damaged, which will make killing them easier.