It was a beautiful fall day and I was about a mile into my run through the neighborhood.
I was getting closer to a house that had a dog that had been threatening in the past (running up to the edge of his property and barking menacingly).
I crossed the road to avoid a confrontation even as my heart rate sped up. Indstead of stopping at the edge of his property like usual, the dog kept running toward me barking and growling. I slowed to a walk and didn’t look at him, but it was to no avail.
The dog bit the back of my thigh ripping a hole in my running pants. Fortunately, he didn’t attack further so I got out of there as quickly as possible.
When I got home I called animal control. After describing what happened the officer went to the house and impounded the dog to make sure it was rabies free. The outcome was fine and I wasn’t seriously injured, but that incident has made me hyper-aware of dog safety. Here are some helpful tips I’ve found:
Dog Safety for Runners
- Dogs are territorial so do not approach them even if they seem friendly, get away from their territory
- Their prey instinct is triggered by fast movement- slow to a walk, cross to the other side of the street, don’t turn around and look back
- Don’t stare a dog in the eyes, this can be seen as a challenge and can cause more agression
- If a dog approaches- stop and stand still, don’t yell or make sudden movement, in a firm, calm voice say, “NO,” “Go home,” or “Good dog.”
- If a dog tries to jump on you, turn to the side and push it off with your forearm
- If you have problems with a paticular dog, change your route
- If the dog gets aggressive try to put an object between you and the dog like a tree, telephone pole, or car
- Carry pepper spray if local laws allow it and use it if the dog rushes at you barking and growling
- Remember, you cannot outrun a dog even if you’re really fast
- If you are attacked, curl in a ball and protect your head, face, and neck
- File a report with your local animal control if you are bitten or attacked