How to Protect Yourself from Dogs While Running

Do you remember those wild childhood moments when a surprise encounter with the neighbor’s aggressive dog turned into an infinity race for the ages? Back then, you were able to run for your life without doing anything else. What if you get to experience this again, as an adult now? What would you do? The answer to “How to Protect Yourself from Dogs while Running” will be explained in this article as we’ve got some good tricks and tips to keep you from accidentally earning a gold medal in this unintentional and potential, professional sports running.

Apart from that, if you’re a passionate runner, who loves the thrill of pounding the pavement, have you ever encountered another less friendly chase from an overexcited and aggressive dog during your runs? In this case, as well, you don’t need to worry, we’ve got your back.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll equip you with the essential techniques to ensure your safety while running in the presence of dogs. Let’s get straight into the article.

Are Dog bites common?

Research has shown that:

  • Approximately 4.7 million people get bitten by a dog every year in the U.S. Half of these injured people are children between the ages of 5-9.
  • On average,16 of those 4.7 million people pass away due to severe complications from dog bites.
  • Although not dependent on breeds, research has shown that Pit bulls have a 25.07 percent rate of bites while Labrador Retrievers cause 13.72 percent of dog bites.

Hence, this data shows that we should really be cautious around dogs.

Are dog bites harmful?

Yes, they can be! It really depends on the severity of the bite and how much damage it causes. Immediate medical help should be sought.

In general, it’s always a good idea to be cautious around unfamiliar dogs and avoid situations where you might get bitten. However, research conducted in 2019, showed that 80 percent of dog bites occur at home. Hence, you should always be cautious even around your own dogs.

You should ensure that your dog is vaccinated against rabies and that your dog doesn’t show any strange signs of aggressive behavior. In the latter case, do seek professional help.

You should seek relevant medical knowledge in this regard as well.

How to Protect Yourself from Dogs While Running

If possible, try to stick to a route where you know there are fewer chances of encountering an unfamiliar dog.

If you’re running and minding your own business, and you get a surprise encounter with an unfamiliar dog, it’s time to follow the following techniques to help tackle the situation in a better way.

1. Stop Running For a Moment

Now that the unfamiliar dog has entered your life at the moment, you need to stop running. This is because running away from a dog that’s in attack mode can actually trigger their chase instinct. It’s like an invitation for them to go full-on sprint mode and catch up to you.

Dogs are naturally fast and agile, so unless you’re Usain Bolt, chances are they’ll catch you. Instead, it’s best to stand your ground and avoid running. By doing so, you’re showing the dog that you’re not a prey to be chased after. It might sound counterintuitive, but trust me, it can make a huge difference.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should just stand there and do nothing. The tips explained in this article in the later part, combined with not running will help communicate to the dog that you’re not a threat and this may deter them from attacking.

2. Observe the Dog’s Body Language

A dog won’t usually get prepared to bite you unless he thinks you’re a threat. So, you need to observe his body language to be prepared for a potential attack and then thus, protect yourself.

When it comes to observing a dog’s body language, there are a few telltale signs to keep an eye out for. First, check out their tail. If it’s wagging gently and relaxed, that’s a good sign they’re feeling friendly. But if their tail is stiff or tucked between their legs, it might be best to give them some space.

Next, keep an eye on their ears. If they’re perked up and facing forward, it usually means they’re alert but not necessarily aggressive. However, if their ears are flattened or pulled back, it could be a sign of discomfort or unease.

Also, pay attention to their overall posture. If the dog is standing tall and confident, chances are they’re feeling pretty chill. But if they’re crouching low with their body tense or showing their teeth, it’s a clear indication that they’re not in the mood for hugs and kisses.

3. Don’t Make Direct Eye Contact With The Dog

Direct eye contact can be seen as a challenge or a threat in the doggy world. So, by avoiding intense or prolonged eye contact with an unfamiliar pup, we’re showing them that we come in peace and mean no harm.

4. Carry Some Distractions

Carrying a distraction while running can be a real game-changer when it comes to dealing with dogs. When a dog tries to chase you, instead of panicking or sprinting away like an Olympic athlete, you carry out a trusty toy or a treat from your pocket. You give it a toss or offer it up, and just like that, the dog’s attention is diverted. Now, they’re too busy chasing after the toy or enjoying their tasty treat.

5. Keep Your Movements Steady

Instead of panicking and making sudden, jerky movements, you stay cool as a cucumber and maintain a steady pace. Dogs are incredibly perceptive creatures, and sudden movements can trigger their prey drive or defensive instincts. By keeping your movements calm and steady, you’re sending a signal that you’re not a threat and avoiding any potential misunderstandings.

Now, as you keep your movement calm and steady, try to walk away without making any noise.

6. Carry a Pepper Spray

If the dog is getting prepared to attack you, you can use pepper spray. Make sure to carry it with you when you go out for a run.

Carrying pepper spray is quite beneficial to help stop a harmful attack from an approaching aggressive dog.

You can use it depending on its availability status in your country. Carrying this spray is legal in the states of the U.S. If you live elsewhere, you’ll have to find out the rules.

Now, I’m not suggesting we go all Rambo on the dog, but a quick spritz of pepper spray can create a temporary deterrent and you can safely run away from there. The strong scent and irritants in the spray can discourage the dog from approaching further and give you a chance to safely distance yourself. Just remember, it’s important to use it responsibly and only when you feel genuinely threatened.

What to Do if the Dog Ends Up Attacking You?

In this unfortunate case, you should start shouting and yelling for help as you’re fighting back with the dog.

Create a barrier between you and the dog. You can use an object like a jacket, backpack, rocks, a bicycle, or anything that’s available at that moment. Put it between you and the dog while keeping your hands and fingers tucked away to avoid getting bitten.

If all else fails and you’re still in danger, remember that self-defense is crucial. Aim for the sensitive areas of the dog, such as the nose or eyes, using any objects you have on hand to deter them. It’s fine to hit them at this point because you have to fight for your life as dog bites can be fatal.

If you’re knocked down on the ground, curl into a ball and protect your vital body parts with your elbows.

Last but not least, you should get proper practice from the professional staff on how to protect yourself if the dog ends up attacking you because this is a major concern.

Conclusion: Protect Yourself from Dogs While Running

In conclusion, running can be a fantastic way to stay fit and enjoy the great outdoors. However, encountering an aggressive dog during your run can be a frightening experience especially if you’re not armed with necessary relevant precautions.

Remember, prevention is key. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can better protect yourself and ensure a safer running experience. Remember to stay alert and aware of your surroundings, avoid sudden movements or loud noises that may trigger a dog, and if confronted by an aggressive dog, try to remain calm and confident. Utilize objects as barriers, use your voice assertively, and if necessary, defend yourself using self-defense techniques.

It’s important to prioritize your safety while still enjoying your favorite exercise routine. It’s completely okay to use things like pepper spray on the dogs as too much gentle attitude of yours in this case can cost you your health.

So lace up those running shoes, be prepared, and keep on running with confidence. you should be protect yourself from dogs while running now.

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