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To want to be able to protect myself against a dog

(76 Posts)
fizzwhirl Tue 02-Aug-11 11:47:32

This morning when I was out jogging, a dog repeatedly rushed at me, snarling. The first time, he rushed past me from behind, just growling as he went past. I didn't react too much to that, and just kept running. Then it turned around and came at me again twice from the front - a bit bolder. The second time, I yelped a bit and the third time I shouted for the owner - who was out of sight on the other side of a hedge - to call the dog away, which she did.

Further around the park, I came past them again. I called for the owner to stop the dog from coming at me, but she didn't do anything and it came at me again another 3 times. This wasn't playful: the head was level with the body wolf-style, and it was full-on snarling and slathering. After the first feint, the owner started calling the dog, but it ignored her and just turned round and rushed me again. By the 3rd time - each time it was snarling more, and breaking off later - I really thought it was going to take my throat out.

Now, I know I did some things wrong here. After it got funny with me earlier on, I should have stayed right away. But I wasn't really scared at that point, and I just wasn't thinking. After all this, I stayed at one side of the grounds just running back and forth along one side, and the owner stayed at the other side - and put the dog on a lead thank goodness. But I don't really think I should be chased out of a public area!

And from reading stuff on the internet when I got back, it seems that squealing, looking the dog in the eye (I was transfixed by this great slathering beast!) and lifting my hands up towards my face (my scardy-cat instinct!) would all have made it think I was aggressive/weak and made it worse.

I am scared of dogs. And it seems that something in my body language shows that, and makes them more likely to see me as a target, since I've had a dog come at me a couple of times before when cycling or running, and they always seem to go for me rather than other people. But I'm fed up of it! My dh suggested a personal alarm.

So, my (rather long-winded) question is, would one of these high-decibel personal alarm things make a dog back off? Or might it just make it more likely to attack? I know there are some dog-lovers on here - so I'm hoping some of you will have some insights into dog behaviour.

Ormirian Tue 02-Aug-11 11:50:11

I don't know if it would help but YANBU.

I've just got a dog and it's made me more conscious of the way people behave with their dogs and control or fail to control them than I was before. And some of them are fucking twats! angry

Glitterknickaz Tue 02-Aug-11 11:52:23

If you're prepared to kill it there is a way.

vintageteacups Tue 02-Aug-11 11:53:17

If I saw the woman again, I'm shout to her to put the dog on a lead straight away. She's obviously not in control of it and in a public park where she has seen it being aggressive, it's a danger to others, esspeically children.

What is strange is that you didn't say what breed of dog it was? Assuming it's a big one as you thought it'd take your throat out wink

Glitterknickaz Tue 02-Aug-11 11:53:41

(in attack situation I meant)
I don't know if one of those Pet Corrector air cans would work.

vintageteacups Tue 02-Aug-11 11:53:47

I'd see if she takes it there again and then report her.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 02-Aug-11 11:56:24

Next time you're faced with a snarling dog that won't leave you alone, kick the bugger. It saw you as running prey... dogs like chasing stuff ... but it would run off if you lashed out.

Birdsgottafly Tue 02-Aug-11 12:01:35

You can buy an alarm that dogs don't like the sound of on Amazon, just google 'alarms that stop dog attacks', but you should have stopped running.

It is difficult to stop a dog from reacting to a jogger if they keep on going, i cannot run (lung damage) so i would have no way of giving chase.

There is no excuse for the next time she saw you, unless you were deliberately running were she was when you had a chose not to.

If it is a herding or hunting breed it is natural for them to give chase. I have never had this happen to me though, i have very good recall on my dogs and don't let them go to far from me when off a lead.

Birdsgottafly Tue 02-Aug-11 12:05:42

Cogito- depends on the breed, sometimes dogs react to what they think is suspicious behaviour, running can be decided as suspicious and if lashed at will bite.

I have my dogs under control but i have noticed with my young GS, she doesn't like men crouched down not moving once it is dark. She came from aworking GS line (military), so perhaps she has the same instint in her.

fizzwhirl Tue 02-Aug-11 12:37:13

Vintageteacups - that's a good idea about asking her to put it on a lead if I see her at the park again (which unfortunately seems likely). I don't know what kind of dog it was - she had another dog with her (who behaved fine, i.e. ignored me!) which I think was a border collie. The one that rushed at me was the same kind of shape, but a bit bigger (about 4 inches taller and more robust) and had brown in its coat as well - maybe a cross between a collie and something bigger? So not a huge dog - certainly not one that looked like a dangerous breed. I'm quite a brave person (do lots of outdoor sports), but dogs running at me snarling just really frighten me! blush

Glitterknickaz, Birdsgottafly - Pet Corrector spray or some other spray that is designed to stop dogs is a great idea - I didn't know that existed! Thanks!

Glitterknickaz - what would be the way to stop it in an attack situation? Obviously hope that it won't come to that, but it would definitely make me feel better to have a strategy in case it did. My take is that if a dog attacks you, then any defence is acceptable.

Birdsgottafly - that's a good tip to stop running, though I'm not 100% sure at what point I should make that decision. If I stop any time a dog comes near me, I'm not going to get much running done (quite a few people walk dogs in the park: it's the only one close by). After it had rushed me the first time, it just kept coming back even though I stopped. Any tips on how to tell the difference between a dog just running full pelt at you to be friendly (which also happens) and one who's being aggressive? I don't know much about dogs so I'm probably missing their signals

hephaestus Tue 02-Aug-11 12:45:46

Tell the stupid bloody woman to put it on a lead next time. Scream it at her if necessary, threaten police and dog warden if you have to. If she can't or wont, stand confidently, legs shoulder width apart, take a deep breath and tell the dog to fuck off. If it approaches, kick it (hard).

I am a dog owner and dog lover but am so sick of idiots like this. Allowing a loose dog to approach someone at all is rude, never mind it snarling and chasing people. Having given the owner fair warning, I wouldn't hesitate to belt it one.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 02-Aug-11 12:49:02

"Cogito- depends on the breed, sometimes dogs react to what they think is suspicious behaviour, running can be decided as suspicious and if lashed at will bite."

I wouldn't be worried what breed it was. Kick it and yell at it first and then find out its pedigree later. It's the OP's nervousness the dog is picking up on and how do you know if they are being aggressive? They are snarling and snapping rather than wagging their tails.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 02-Aug-11 12:56:19

My mother was nervous of dogs (had been bitten a couple of times as a child) - her tactic was to carry, not an alarm but a biscuit!

The owner of this dog needs to get it under control in a public place. Either she needs to train it better or keep it on a lead. The behaviour you describe isn't acceptable. We come across this sort of thing from time to time, not so much dogs rushing at us, but at our dachshund. It doesn't really matter whether the other dog is aggressive or playful, injury could occur either way.

anchovies Tue 02-Aug-11 13:06:32

I have the same problems when running and always give the owners a right mouthful when their dogs wont leave me alone. Have never kicked or shouted at a dog though (or considered it) but if I actually got a bite I probably would do whatever it took! Threatening the owners with the dog warden usually works best I find.

northerngirl41 Tue 02-Aug-11 13:22:15

I'd be taking a picture of this dog on my mobile and reporting it to the local police - it sounds out of control and dangerous.

fizzwhirl Tue 02-Aug-11 13:55:38

'They are snarling and snapping rather than wagging their tails.' - that's fantastic, cogito! Reading this has made me realise that even with friendly dogs, I'm usually looking at the teeth rather than the tail! I think I do need to get past the nervousness - I'm sure they react to it. I'll try to replace the squeal with shouting 'go away' next time: fake it 'til you make it..

GimmaTheNome - I'm intrigued, did the biscuit work for your mother? I'd be worried that it would see that as an invitation to come and get more?

Anchovies - what do you do when a dog comes up to you? I find that the owner can sometimes be quite far away. Do you stop running - as BirdsGottaFly suggests - until the owner comes and takes control of the dog?

NorthernGirl - I don't carry my phone when I'm running. I did consider making a complaint to the police, but since I didn't take the owner's details I thought there probably wasn't much they could do. If it happens again with the same dog, I'll try to get her details and make a complaint.

Ro62 Tue 02-Aug-11 14:13:51

I run a lot and most dog owners are great - they know if their dog is ok round runners and hold it while you run past if not . But one time when I was jogging while pregnant, I had a (thankfully quite small) dog attack me, jumping up at the bump and snapping its teeth. After that, I went on the Runners World site - there are lots of suggestions on there about how to react. I can't be faffed carrying stuff when I run so I followed the advice to slow to a walk if a dog races towards you, either put your hands on your hips or cross your arms across your chest then calmly walk past it and only start running again when you're a good few steps ahead. I've done this with all sorts of dogs and it has always worked.

DooinMeCleanin Tue 02-Aug-11 14:27:00

Please do not kick aggressive dogs. If you like your feet attatched to the ends of your legs it is not a good idea. My dog is fear aggressive, if you kicked him he would go into fight or flight mode and he would bite you. This is common in fear aggressive dogs. Fear is the most likely cause of aggression.

The best thing to do is stand still, with arms crossed or by your side (i.e not flapping manically) looking at the dog but not staring directly into it's eyes/face as this is seen as aggressive behaviour.

Kicking is just asking to be bitten. Killing it is a major over reaction and chances are you would be prosecuted and/or beaten to a bloody pulp by the owner. Feel free to kick the owners, though. I hate dog owners like this. They give us all a bad name angry

TooImmature2BDumbledore Tue 02-Aug-11 14:33:36

Try saying very firmly and loudly (and as calmly as you can manage) 'No! Bad dog!'. If you sound in control the dog may react to that and back off. It sounds to me like it thinks you are prey because you are running, so you need to be very clear that you are the boss and it is not to touch you. I hope the owner has the common sense and courtesy to prevent this from happening again - I would be mortified if my dog behaved like that.

Seconding the urge not to kick it! Some dogs will bite back if you do - yes, it is usually out of fear rather than aggression, but that doesn't make a difference to the bite!

Glitterknickaz Tue 02-Aug-11 14:34:47

Dooin if I was actively being attacked by a dog (not one single bite, properly attacked) then I would have no hesitation using the technique I know that would ultimately kill it.

I say this as a dog owner.

Tanif Tue 02-Aug-11 14:39:21

Collies and collie crosses can be funny buggers.

I own a border collie who, despite coming from a long line of working stock hasn't got the herding instinct in the slightest. However, I've heard of other collies who naturally want to herd things and if they see something/someone running, will automatically give chase and try to 'round them up'.

Now, you say you're scared of dogs, which may have made you view the dog as more aggressive than it was actually being, collies do growl a bit and also nip sheep when herding this up (as an aside this instinct is apparently invaluable to farmers and can't be trained into them - fun fact!).

My mum's collie was a bugger for herding in her younger days, hence she wasn't allowed off the lead unless the coast was completely clear, but the advice regarding collies and collie types that possess this instinct and DON'T have responsible owners that keep them under control is to stand still when it rushes you - it won't herd something that's moving - and instruct the owner to get it back onto the lead immediately. Continuing to run will only make it continue to chase you.

Tanif Tue 02-Aug-11 14:39:47

herding *them up - I can spell, honest.

DooinMeCleanin Tue 02-Aug-11 14:40:12

I find it amusing when people threaten to do that. Might I ask how you would manage to grab the dog in the right place, whilst avoiding having your arms torn off?

Besides which I am fairly sure it is a myth. I have witnessed many chasing dogs fall awkardly after I've mopped my floors. None of their hearts have burst as yet.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Tue 02-Aug-11 14:40:44

Im with dooin do NOT kick the dog, but DO kick the owner.

This is something which personally pisses me off. I have 2 dogs, both trained not to chase runners/horses/children/bikes etc etc but I make them go to one side and let whoever is running/cycling past before allowing the dogs to walk on. It is basic manners,sadly not all dog owners have them.

Give the owner a bollocking, tell her to get her dog on a lead otherwise you will report her and the dog to the dog warden/police.

janelikesjam Tue 02-Aug-11 14:43:11

I hate dogs and dog owners like this. They really think they are in the right too. Absolutely pathetic. Call the police. Thats what these people understand. I have my local police stations number in my mobile now.

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