If you run, you no doubt have come across your fair share of Fidos. Most of the time they are just barking at us from behind a fence or living room window. Sometimes they are coming at us dragging their owner by the leash. Other times, they are loose. There are three ways they get loose.
1.) The owner thought their dog was such a “good widdle puppy” that they could take the leash off and the dog would stay by their side and obey every command. Here’s a newsflash for those people: Your dog will not care about you when it sees some random person running, and will instinctively run towards said person. Keep the leash on.
2.) The owner opens their front door to get the paper or mail or chat with a neighbor and the dog takes this opportunity to run out the door and chase the jogger down.
3.) Dog escapes another way like digging under a fence, or the owner accidentally leaves the backyard fence door open, or they do not properly secure the chained up outside dog.
This morning I dealt with the last one. Luckily I knew how to approach this situation, and it worked out for me. Lemme splain.
Almost every run I go on takes me to a park near the house. To get to said park I run past a house that has no fence and the owners keep their dog chained to a spike in the ground. The best way I can describe this hound is that it looks like a junkyard dog. It’s big and mean and goes absolutely berserk every time I run past. I also think of it as a junkyard dog because the owners keep their pick-up trucks in the same yard. Yes, I live in Texas.
Every time I run past this yard, I always think up a plan for what to do if this dog ever gets loose. I always figured it was an eventuality that he would eventually pull the spike out of the ground so he could fulfill his dream of mauling me. I’ve always thought that I would jump up on top of one of the cars parked on the street. But here’s what I did do this morning when he came after me.
I’m not an expert, but I’ve lived with dogs my whole life, I know how they think. I also used to watch the Dog Whisperer religiously. And luckily, I instinctively did what some of the things he says you should do if you come across an less than friendly pooch (along with some of my own techniques):
1.) Stop running! If you run, the dog will chase, and it will catch you as they have the advantage of running on four legs.
2.) Turn and face the dog.
3.) Make yourself look big – stand tall and puff out your chest.
4.) In your lowest and loudest voice (mimicking a bark), yell at the dog. This morning I yelled, “No!” and “Go!”
5.) Stand your ground. You may even take a couple steps toward the dog.
6.) Have no fear! Dogs can sense it, so you must portray confidence and dominance.
7.) When the dog backs down and retreats, do not turn your back, but back away until you feel it’s safe to turn and continue on your run.
I did all of this stuff this morning, and it worked like a charm. When he came at me barking, I turned toward him, puffed out my chest, and yelled. The display and noise seemed to shock him out of his pursuit and he stopped in his tracks. He barked a bit, but when I took a step toward him, he retreated with a defiant “woof”.
Sometimes though, these tricks don’t work and the dog will still come at you. I was prepared for this this morning. When the dog started coming at me, before I turned to face it, I looked down and saw a large rock in their neighbors yard. I picked it up. If my display of dominance wouldn’t have worked, I would have fought that dog with the rock.
Before I go on, know that I am a dog person. We have two at home that we rescued from a shelter. I’ve also helped catch dogs who have escaped from their owner’s house, while I was on runs. But I’ve also been bit before. It was a nightmare, I had to report the dog to animal control who put it in quarantine. I had to go to the emergency room to make sure I didn’t get rabies or anything. So when a dog does come at me on my runs, I don’t care if the owner is standing there or not, I will kick it. I will throw stuff at it. Anything to get it to back down. If you’re worried about kicking a dog in front of their owners – don’t worry, I have yet to have them get mad at me. Instead they apologize and yell at their dog. I’m a pretty laid back guy, but in those situations, I will yell at the owners to get their darn mutt on a stinking leash (perhaps with harsher language than that).
For those who feel sorry for the dog, I’m with you. They shouldn’t leave it chained up alone outside all day. After I got home, I contacted Animal Control who said they would investigate to see if there are any code violations. I believe they have to have access to water, shade, etc to avoid a violation. If anything, a visit from Animal Control may scare the owners straight into properly housing their pet. Hopefully in the future they will treat the dog better so that it won’t be so angry that it wants to kill joggers.
What about you? Anyone else have any doggy stories or tips? What do you do when a dog comes at you snarling and barking?