If you are a runner, hiker, or biker you will encounter dogs along the way. With a better understanding of dogs and some tactics to deal with them you can finish your workout safely.
Dogs are territorial. If someone approaches their yard they will bark and growl by instinct. It’s important to keep this in mind, they are wired to be aggressive no matter the odds.
Their barking may a response to fear – on their part or yours. There’s no need to scare them any further, do what you can to placate them. Run on the other side of the street or just don’t engage them. But always keep an eye on them.
The signs of an angry dog are:
- Ears back
- Tail not wagging
- Teeth bared
The signs of a happy dog are:
- Ears out
- Tail wagging side-to-side
- No teeth
To befriend a dog, stand still or crouch. Your manner and voice should be non-threatening. Say something soothing. Put out the back of your hand well below their face. Curl your fingers into a fist. Let them smell you.
Here are some dog situations and what to do in each case.
Dog is tied up or fenced in. Leave them alone. They can’t hurt you, it is their instinct to bark and growl. Just keep going.
Dog is loose. Keep your eye on them, even after you have gone by. Let them know you see them. Stay calm, don’t look nervous. They can sense it.
Country dogs or wild dogs. Carry a rock in each hand while you run. One the size of a golf ball is not too heavy, but will hurt. In a pinch you can bluff a dog by picking up an imaginary rock and throwing it.
The dog is attacking. Yell “No”! Keep a foot between their teeth and you. Kick them in the nose or face.
Little yapper attack. Don’t ignore them. They have sharp little teeth and if they break the skin you get to go get a tetanus booster and have the dog checked for rabies.
Big dog attack. Don’t run away, face them. Kick them hard in the face or anywhere you can land a hard, painful kick. This works for Dobermans, German Shepherds, Great Danes and Mastiffs. You will seldom have to kick them more than once, if at all.
Wild boars or tigers. Start looking for the nearest tree.