The other day I had been having one of those days. The type of day where, although you greatly appreciate the community you are a part of, you just want to curl up under a rock and be left alone. Needless to say, I thought a run would help lift my spirits.
Then I was chased by a dog.
I am by no means a dog-hater. I actually really like dogs. Well, I did. I’m not really sure anymore. Part of me really wants to get a St. Bernard. I think I watched Beethoven too many times as a kid. But another (increasingly growing) part of me is hugely afraid of dogs. The bigger, the scarier.
You see, two years ago (holy cow, is it really 2012 already? It took till almost March for me to figure that out!) I was bit by a dog. Everyday, on my way home from work, I had to walk past my neighbor’s house and their dogs would run at me. For awhile it was mostly annoying, but one day one of the dogs got overly protective and bit my knee. I had to call Animal Control and it developed into this whole thing (the owners refused to believe that their dog did anything).
Since then I’ve been super cautious around dogs. I don’t think I ever really quite got over it. Yet, I still want a St. Bernard (of course, my dog won’t be a biter).
Back to my “No-Good-Very-Bad-Day”. As I said, I just wanted to run and clear my head. I even went out without my phone or a watch. When I started out, my neighbor was taking her dog out and hooking him up to his chain. The chain broke, and the dog tore after me. Thankfully, the owner yelled at me to stop running and don’t move (T-Rex can’t see you if you don’t move), the dog came to a skidding stop next to me, jumped on me a little, then got distracted and ran off. My neighbors were able to corral him back inside and I continued on my run. However, it shook me up a bit and I wasn’t able to enjoy the run as much as I wanted.
I looked around for a bit of advice on avoiding dogs and even checked with the local animal shelter. Here are a few suggestions for how to avoid run-ins (ha) with dogs.
1. Don’t run. You’d think you could just run away, but in reality, you probably can’t. If you run and/or scream the dog may think you want to play chase.
2. Turn to the side in an unthreatening position and don’t make eye contact. Facing the dog can seem threatening and turning your back to him may encourage chasing.
3. Wait a couple of seconds before trying to get away. Lots of time dogs will simply bark for a while, then get bored and move on. At that point you can start backing away (but still don’t turn your back to him).
4. Take your shirt off. If the dog lunges at you, give him something else to bite besides your arm. Give him your jacket, or shirt, or water bottle, or a stick. Get something between you and the dog as fast as possible. Paul suggested spraying the dog with your water bottle (he’s a biker and that works pretty well on a bike).
5. Contact Animal Control. If you are bitten by a dog, you have the right to report the dog to Animal Control. Many states and cities (mine included) require you to report dog bites. For more information on what to do you can take a look here.
Anybody else have dog chase stories or advice? I’d love to hear them!