What to do if a dog attacks you on your run

They may be man’s best friend, but if you're out for a run and come across an angry hound, they can feel more like the enemy. What's the best things to do if a dog attacks you? Follow our seven steps and stay safe on the streets.

What to do if a dog attacks you on your run

1. Stay calm

If you come across an angry dog, try to stay calm as adding excitement to the situation is counterproductive. Slow your run to a walk, as speed can actually agitate many dogs. Be as boring as possible and if the dog approaches you, stop and stand very still. This will create a calm environment and hopefully demonstrate to your four legged friend that you are not a threat.

2. Give the dog a wide berth

If you spot an angry dog in the distance, divert from your route and create some space between you and the aggressor. A lot of dogs are chasing or charging to keep you away from their property, so if you act in accordance with their wishes, you reduce the chances of trouble. Don’t act aggressively – this will create a tense atmosphere and our money would be on the hound winning.

3. Speak their language

Try to communicate with the dog in a positive manner – barking is not advised. You can calm the situation by using commonly used phrases such as 'Wanna go for a walk?, 'Where’s your ball?' and 'Good dog'. Most dogs are conditioned to react positively to one or more of these phrases, especially if spoken in a happy tone of voice, so words they recognise could placate the situation.

4. Be quiet

If you come across an angry dog on your run and feel threatened, do not yell and scream. Most dogs behave aggressively because they are afraid and this will only make their fear, and therefore their undesirable behaviour, even more unpredictable. It's also best not to throw anything at the dog, as doing so can be perceived as threatening, which could make the situation escalate.

5. Walk away 

In the face of danger, the most sensible option is to turn and head the other way. It may be frustrating to change your route because of a pumped up pooch, but safety first! Most angry dogs will be trying to get you to go away, and if you do, it will leave you alone. It’s best to head the other way slowly so you don’t incite the dog to chase you.

6. Hit the deck!

If the worst case scenario does occur and the dog attacks you, then lie on the ground, cover your head and curl into a ball. If the hound's owner is close by, ask them to retrieve their dog. If that doesn't placate the beast, start yelling for help.

7. Report it

If an aggressive dog continually threatens you on a run, choose a different route and file a report. Anyone can report a dog and their owner to the police or to your local council's dog warden service. It's important to let the authorities know, as a dangerous dog could cause harm to other people too.

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