Dogs can often be found on the street jogging. And while some animals show no interest in runners, others can be aggressive. We explain how to behave when you encounter a running dog and how to avoid an attack.
According to Rospotrebnadzor, approximately 450,000 people in Russia are attacked by dogs every year. Runners are more likely than many to encounter an animal while jogging in a park or forest, and not all dogs will react calmly to a running stranger.
Most often, she runs and chases a person out of curiosity – a runaway object is seen as something interesting to play with or hunt. And the dog will never attack like that. If she attacked, it means she is not feeling well or she felt a threat to her life.
The task of a person when meeting an ownerless dog is to prevent an attack. You should try to quickly read the dog’s intentions in body language. And then, with your body language, show that you are not a threat, that you have not planned to attack, but that you do not want to play either.
Do’s and Don’ts When Dating a Dog
1. Stop and understand what she wants
A common object for a dog is either an invitation to play, something interesting to catch up with and study, or a hunting object. As soon as you stop, the dog will most likely lose its former fervent interest, sniff you and fall behind.
Pay attention to his behavior, read his body language to properly connect yours.
A tail turned over with a “pistol” and wagging it, a raised head and a straight look, upturned ears, if the dog jumps in front of you from side to side – all this is good childish interest, a desire to getting to know each other, begging for a piece of energy bar or an invitation to play.
If you’re not in the mood to play, if you’re not ready to scratch an unfamiliar animal behind the ear, or just scared of it – stop running, don’t look at the dog and walk past it.
If you come across a dog guarding an object (cottage, garages, factories) and barking, take a step and walk away at a leisurely pace. The dog won’t follow you, she did her job – chased the stranger out of the protected area.
If the dog presses its ears and bends to the ground, presses its tail, if it freezes at your sight, looks askance and closely follows your movements, if it moves slowly, growls, shows teeth – this is already a dangerous sign, probably caused by the fear of the animal itself. Such a dog can attack, and your task is not to provoke him to aggression with sudden movements, to show that you are not going to fight and claim any resources around him.
A dog with puppies belongs to a separate category of potential threat. It should be remembered that his task is to drive a person away from his offspring. A stray dog with puppies will bark, twitch, behave restlessly and may even bite. But we must remember that she only wants one thing – that you quickly leave her territory and stop posing a threat to her offspring. That’s what you should do – rather get away from her.
A pack of dogs is another category of danger. It is better, of course, not to meet her at all, but if the meeting cannot be avoided, try to stop at a decent distance in advance, not to meet the eyes of the dogs and move away from them without sudden movements and loud cries.
2. Ignore a barking dog
If a barking dog becomes attached to you while you’re jogging, stop running and move on: ignore the dog, don’t talk to it, don’t look at it. Most likely, she has decided that you are on her territory – be it garages, a driveway or an open door to someone’s house.
These dogs are not to be feared. Barking is primarily a means of communication, and it can mean both “Get away from me, man!” and “Come in, let’s be friends”.
It’s worth starting to worry if the dog has gone into a throaty growl, pressing its ears to its head, and adopting an aggressive pose. Therefore, ignore the barking dog, but watch it closely and walk past it.
3. Try chasing the dog
There are several ways to keep your dog away from you. If there are 10-15 meters between you and the dog, but you are sure that he is interested in you and his intentions may be bad, then sit down and pretend that you are picking something up on the ground, for example, a stone. In dogs, this movement of a person is registered in the subcortex as dangerous, followed by a throw of something in their direction. Most likely, after that the dog will leave the thought of getting to know you, turn its tail between its paws and leave.
If the distance is already less, put anything between you and the dog – a cap, a running backpack or bag, a stick picked up from the ground. When there is nothing, put your palm forward and don’t move. Most likely, the dog will sniff it and leave.
4. Lower your voice and act as confident as possible.
Remember how conflicted dogs communicate with each other – they use throaty voices, growls and low barks. If you’re going to say something to a hostile dog, speak quietly.
An animal can really be hunted with a voice, and it doesn’t matter what the dog says exactly at the same time. If she’s not wandering, she probably knows commands like “No”, “Fu”, “Stop”.
The main thing is to behave as confidently as possible: in addition to a low voice, you must have a straight back, a direct gaze, outward confidence without the slightest manifestation of fear.
5. Don’t Panic and Show Your Fear
Dogs feel fear, as they say, with their skin. EIf you are afraid of dogs, overcoming your fear will not be easy. When you meet an aggressive dog, hide this fear with all your might. Don’t run away, don’t scream, don’t shake, control your breathing, try to calm yourself mentally.
6. Do not make sudden movements
When the dogs prepare to attack each other, they stand almost frozen, their movements are extremely slow. Embrace that body language. If the dog is near you, do not make sudden movements with your arms or legs, throw anything or jump up.
7. Don’t shout or raise your voice
Remember the advice about using a lower voice? Control your voice so that instead of a scream or uterine cry, the dog can perceive them as an act of aggression. Also, the squeaky tones definitely won’t give you confidence.
8. Do not make eye contact with your dog.
Two dogs that are about to mate spend a lot of time “playing peepers” with each other. You can’t look directly into the dog’s eyes, especially with a hard look under your eyebrows. She will see in you a will to fight, and this can turn out to be a provocation. Keep your dog in sight, but avoid eye contact.
9. Don’t turn your back when you leave.
They turned their backs – they showed their weakness, showed their vulnerability and provoked the attack of an aggressive animal. In conflicts with each other, dogs do not allow the enemy to enter from behind and do not turn their backs themselves.
10. Take your time running again
Before you start running again, make sure the dog understands that you don’t want to play and don’t give him food. If she fell behind and turned away – that’s all, you can continue to train and catch up. If the dog is still following you, keep moving away from him. The ideal would be to pass behind some kind of obstacle – a fence, a car, a corner of the house. After that, the dog will most likely fall behind, as there is still nothing to get from you.
What to do if a dog attacks you
- Arm yourself with anything: a stick, a stone, a handful of sand or snow. This can be thrown in the dog’s face and stop the fight before it starts.
- If you fall, protect your neck. The dog will try to bite the arms and legs, but it is the neck bite that can be fatal. Curl up and don’t let that happen.
- Never attack first, in a fight with a dog a person has little chance. In adrenaline, they almost do not feel pain, and blows can irritate the dog even more.
- In a fight, try hitting the dog in the nose, stomach, or groin. Most likely it will not work, but it is these points that the dog hurts. An effective way: grab the dog by the hind legs and tie him to the ground, to the tree, to the wall. The same method is suitable for moving the dog away from another person.
- Try to choke yourself. If the fight is not already for life, but for death, try to grab the enemy by the neck with both hands and start strangling him with all your might. Squeezing the dog’s trachea is almost the only chance to calm him down or force him to open his jaw. You won’t choke to death anyway, but you will save your life.
- If you regularly pass dog packs or protected areas, arm yourself with special things. Suitable for this:
- stun gun – just discharge it in the air;
- ultrasonic dog repellent or regular whistle;
- anything that can be thrown away.
If you have been bitten, you will need to be treated and possibly vaccinated. See a doctor.
The chances of being attacked by a dog are extremely low. Dogs chase runners precisely because they run – animals turn to instinct and natural interest in a moving object.
To make the dog fall behind, it is usually enough to take a step and ignore it. If this is not enough, you must say in a low voice “No”, “Fu”, “Stop”. Hand tools can help.
The main thing is not to show aggression and fear towards the dog: do not shout, do not wave your arms, do not make eye contact. If the attack happened, first you need to protect the neck.
Related article: Canicross: how to run with a dog