On Dogs that Want to Chase Me

14 Oct

A runner's worst nightmare

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post. Today let’s explore the dark side of the relationship between running and dogs. I bring this up because on my run yesterday morning, I got chased by a grand total of FOUR DOGS. Usually I attract maybe one dog who’s exploring his yard in the morning, but never four on one run.

Fences are very unpopular where I live, unless you have a nice garden and you want to keep the deer out. This means that dogs are free to roam their owner’s yard, the neighbours’ yards, and the road in front of the house. There was one German Shepherd when I was growing up that specifically came into our backyard every morning to drop a deuce. It was annoying at first, then funny, and then back to annoying.

This doggy freedom must be nice for the canines, but for innocent joggers that get lunged at as they run down the street, it can be a heart-pounding experience.

You should know that 99% of dogs that come tearing towards you screaming bloody murder in dog language (barks and growls, etc.) just want to check you out and be on their way. They’re protecting their territory, and once they know you’re not a threat, they’ll trot away. Alternatively, flopping down on the road for a belly rub is a good option. Even a dog that’s behind a fence will bark at you until you’re far enough away that they can smile smugly to themselves and pat themselves on the back for being so good at scaring intruders away.

So how do you avoid being torn to pieces by aggressive dogs? This is from my experience only so if you find yourself with bite marks… I’m sorry, please don’t sue. When I see dogs coming towards me, I follow a couple of steps:

  1. First, slow right the eff down. Stop moving, and let the dog come to you.
  2. When they’re close enough, greet them like you’re happy to see them. A few “hi puppy, good puppy” types of things are good.
  3. Let them smell your hand when they approach.
  4. Meanwhile, don’t look them in the eye, as this can be seen as a challenge.
  5. Pet them if you get the sense that it would be okay with them.
  6. When they’re finished with you, slowly continue on your way. Better to slow the pace than to lose a couple fingers or something.

Likely, at worst, you’re going have mud prints on your new leggings from an overeager jumper. Usually the dog will demand a few ear scratches and then flounce away, content to know that you are not a threat.

I don’t have any advice for actually mean dogs that actually want to kill you. My go-to instinct is to punch faces but I don’t know how well that works with dogs. All I can say is good luck.

5 Responses to “On Dogs that Want to Chase Me”

  1. rickyeddie October 14, 2011 at 11:46 AM #

    Good post, thanks. I occasionally have dogs chase me when I am road cycling and I get scared that I am going to crash! I think I will try to stop and have a meet and greet with them next time instead, and not look them directly in the eye!

    Very helpful post.

    • thetortoiseruns October 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM #

      Ohhh I can imagine that. Dogs have some sort of vendetta against bicycles. At least you’ve got some incentive to go faster! Silver linings all the way.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. thetortoiseruns - November 4, 2011

    […] so I know I’ve already claimed that deer, dogs, and slow-walking people are my archenemies, but no one ever said you can’t have a lot. Maybe I […]

  2. AM Runs « thetortoiseruns - December 28, 2011

    […] Dogs: 2 (more interested in their early morning escape than in chasing me.) […]

  3. Secondary Running Skills « thetortoiseruns - February 26, 2012

    […] The chops to deal with dogs, deer, and various other creatures you meet early in the […]

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