Preventing dog bites on your runPosted on Mar 19th 2008 11:42AM by Bev Sklar
Ever been chased by a strange dog? It's terrifying. When I was five years old I was bit in the thigh by a German Shepherd while riding my purple Schwinn Pixie bicycle. I'm convinced the terror of that moment transfered into a lifelong fear and uneasiness around big dogs. Dogs like me on a bike -- as an adult I narrowly missed a bite from a lightning fast black dog nipping at my heels on a country road. I pedaled as fast as I could and outran speedy thanks to a shot of adrenalin from the biological 'fight or flight' response.
Check out RW Daily's post on dealing with aggressive dogs. The post itself is devoid of much helpful information, but readers' comments are enlightening. What amazes me are the varying and sometimes contradictory strategies runners employ to defend against a dog bite. While I don't necessarily agree with all of these tactics, here are a few comments by readers to chew on (sorry, couldn't resist):
- If you're too urban to carry a revolver with blanks (who would run with a revolver?), carry an air horn to scare off Rover. My dad swears by the air horn, used to clip one to his shorts before every run.
- React calmly, send silent, positive thoughts to the dog, act with a casual indifference. This strategy would not work for a Bite Veteran like me. Does mental karma honestly stop a dog bent on attacking you?
- Stop running, but keep walking and don't confront the dog. The dog usually backs off.
- Squirt vinegar on them -- this commenter claims it's not toxic.
- Halt running and yell, "STOP" or "GO HOME" to the dog. Pick up a stick, rock or snowball and throw it in the dog's direction. You can even fake a throw.
- Stop running, extend an arm out in front of you with palm facing outward and yell, "NO, SIT, STAY!" Do not look Rover directly in the eye, look 'through' the dog. Carry Halt or Halt II dog repellant spray, too.
- Turn around, yell loudly at the dog and then run toward the dog to give it a swift kick. Unbelievable.
- Bear Spray
What's in your Dog Bite Defense playbook? There are hundreds of dog bite prevention tips out there -- here is a set of strategies from the American Animal Hospital Association.