DOGS: What you need to know to protect yourself

So, on a run not too long ago, I was chased by two dogs who had collars but not on leashes. Their owners were no where to be seen, and I was terrified because while they looked friendly enough, I’ve seen videos of how dogs can just snap and try to rip your face off. I’m withholding the breed of these dogs, because I don’t think that should matter. I’ve seen all breeds snap and attack.

I saw them coming at me and slowed to a walk. When they got close enough, I firmly yelled “No!” as the younger one tried to get close to me. Wide eyed, mouth open, tongue hanging to the side… if it was a large dog and was black in color, I’d swear it was Hocus (my dog) but I knew better. The older one was following the younger, slower and breathing heavier. I kept darting my eyes between the two to figure out what was going to happen.

The older of the two was walking away from me, and it caught the attention of the younger one and they left me alone. I quickly got out of their view; Not running but walking fast enough to move out of the way. As I looked over my shoulder, the younger one had walked around the corner and started toward me, looked back at the older dog, and back at me. Thankfully, he then turned and walked away.

The rest of my run, I was scared that I was going to see these two dogs show up again only to attack me and kill me… and that there would be nothing I could do about it.

It’s the first and only time I’ve encountered an issue with dogs while running. Most dogs I see on my runs are on leashes (as they should be) or are in yards. Some people run with their dogs and I see them from time to time too. But never have I been on a run and genuinely afraid that after I turn that corner, I’m going to come face to face with a dog that could very well kill me.

And it looks like my fear is not unfounded. This story out of Michigan tells me that I should be afraid of dogs that are out and about, running around free. It breaks my heart and confirms my fears that dogs while running are starting to be something to be afraid of.

So what are you supposed to do if you are chased by a pissed off dog, hell bent on attacking? Runner’s World has shared this article with these details:

IF YOU ARE CHASED:
1. Slow down: Stop running slowly, moving to a walk.
2. Walk in the opposite direction of the dog, but keep watching it out of the corner of your eye.
3. Don’t stare at it. (I did this one wrong. I totally stared that other dog down)
4. Be boring. If the dog approaches, stop and stand very still.
5. Don’t cower. They could see you as prey, and might attack.
6. Use a deep, firm voice. No screaming or shrieking.
7. If a scary dog really comes at you, spray it with water if you have it.
8. Report the dog to animal control. Choose a different route.

IF YOU ARE ATTACKED:
1. Hit the ground, curl into a ball, and protect your head.
2. Start yelling. Scream something that will get people’s attention. Unfortunately “help” doesn’t work, so try “fire” or “snake.”

Here are a few more sources you can visit to learn how to protect yourself when it comes to dog attacks while running:

Pet Health Network and WikiHow

And just to show you that I am not a dog hater (I’m really not!) here’s my adorable dog Hocus!182848_10150900538245975_1709755996_n

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One thought on “DOGS: What you need to know to protect yourself

  1. Leah @ Running with the Hayneses says:

    One more tip–look for a stick or something on the side of the road to defend yourself with. If there’s nothing on hand, be prepared to give the dog a good sturdy kick if it comes at you. I’ve been chased by dogs lots and bitten once. I love dogs, too, but after I got bit, I stopped assuming dogs will leave me alone if I do all of the things you’re “supposed” to do, and I discovered that picking up a stick works wonders.

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