How should I react when a dog comes running towards me barking?

(21 Posts)
RedCatBlueCat Sun 09-Aug-20 17:03:55

Just been walking through the woods. Came round a corner, and there were a couple with two dogs maybe 20m in front of me. One dog started running towards me, barking. I froze, and watched it, and the other dog. One dog stopped maybe 2m in front of me, still barking, other stayed with its owners.

I dont like dogs - I have scars on my face from a "it wont hurt a fly" dog jumped up and bit me, and incase the name doesnt give it away, I'm a cat person.

One owner came to dog, clipped the lead on it, walked back a bit, then shouted at me that my actions caused the dog to react in that way, and why wasnt I moving.
So, what should I have done differently?

OP’s posts: |
Kittytheteapot Sun 09-Aug-20 17:08:51

Oh god, yes yes! I am the same as you, a cat person who doesn't know how to respond to barking approaching dogs. They scare the living daylights out of me. I try to stay calm and still and speak nicely to them, but I hate them. Dh is a dog person. The other day, we were walking through a farmyard, walked past a sleeping dog, no reaction, then a bit further down the track it came after us barking aggressively. Dh just laughed and said hello to it and told me it was embarrassed that we had managed to walk past it without alerting it and it was just doing its guard duties now, but I was so glad dh was with me as I would have been terrified if I had been alone. No owners around.

I'll read what dog owners here have to say with interest. By the way, the dog owner in your post is a twat. Attitudes like that give dog owners a bad name.

Saucery Sun 09-Aug-20 17:13:18

I’d say stand still, cross your arms across your chest so they aren’t dangling and turn slightly sideways so you’re not making direct eye contact with the dog.
The owner was an arse. If the dog has a tendency to bark at people in that way it should be under closer control. Our dog didn’t like people who stood stock still (she sometimes barked, more usually just a Paddington Stare). Not a problem, as she was not allowed to approach people in a friendly or unfriendly way.

Saucery Sun 09-Aug-20 17:17:26

Meant to say, I’d probably keep walking, because I am used to dogs and not afraid of them. Maybe say “hey, what’s up with you, then?” in a friendly voice. Would totally depend on what signals the dog was giving off though. A gobshite woof doesn’t bother me, obvious aggression would and I would do the standing still thing.

ThatBliddyWoman Sun 09-Aug-20 17:18:35

They can sense fear and it makes them fearful. Similar as if you saw someone looking scared you'd automatically think something must be afoot. So just try your best to stay calm and the folding arms is a good one. Be still, unless you could possibly be friendly that's the next best thing.
The owner was a bit of a dick though, not everyone knows how best to react to dogs. Mine hasn't ever done that but if she had I'd be apologising!

Emmagen Sun 09-Aug-20 17:19:42

Staying still is what you are meant to do!

The owner was an idiot.

Centaurpede Sun 09-Aug-20 17:27:15

I'm the same as you, I can never tell if they're barking to say hello or barking because they're angry! Cats are much easier to understand. I usually stand still if they come up to me, I've heard that's what you're meant to do. Unless I'm running, then I run faster and hope the owner catches them before they catch up with me!


im5050 Sun 09-Aug-20 17:32:21

If it was me I would just carry on walking ignoring the dog
Stopping often encourages the dog to jump up on you for a pat on the head .
Staying still and showing your fear will just tell the dog he has reason a to be scared of you
Don’t stare at the dog either, staring at a dog straight In the face is often the equivalent of asking someone to go outside for a fight 😂

RedCatBlueCat Sun 09-Aug-20 17:33:35

Ok, so possible eye contact was the issue. Will try to remember not to watch how close it is getting if it happens again!

Most dogs I dont have an issue with - j just want to be ignored by them! But I HATE it when they come running towards me. Even more so if they are barking at me.

There is a fabulous long haired German Shepard that lives somewhere round here. I regularly see it and its owner our and about. Dog disappears into the long grass, but the second he is called, or they reach the road, it is at heal. Absolutely no problem with it at all - but I'm sure if it decided to attack it would do an awful more damage than this thing that really unsettled me this afternoon!

OP’s posts: |
WeAllHaveWings Sun 09-Aug-20 17:33:41

Stand still, keep your hands close to your chest. Talk soothingly to it, maybe try some common commands such at sit, down. Back off slowly stay calm. Don't make direct eye contact.

Once the owner has the dog on a lead, if the owner is not very apologetic and reasonable, be firm tell them their dog is aggressive and needs to be controlled, stay on lead/be muzzled, ask for their details to report to police and council, take photos of them/dog. A dog doesn't need to cause injury to be reported, making you worried it might injure you is enough for a control order to be considered to make them keep it on a lead.

WeeMadArthur Sun 09-Aug-20 17:39:55

I think you did the right thing, it’s hard not to stop and stare at something that could be a threat. Although not looking at them might be seen as less aggressive by the dogs, you still need to know what they are doing!. I don’t have the same fear of dogs that you do so if a dog ran up to me barking I would loudly say No! and say Bad dog! in the hope it would be deterred. I’ve been run at by a lone dog, no owner to be seen, as it got to me I bent down and said hello there! in an overly friendly way and it skidded to a stop. If I hadn’t bent down I think it would have jumped up and knocked me flying.

Worstyear2020 Sun 09-Aug-20 18:28:07

I would calmly walk away and not paying them any attention. I am used to dogs.

Worstyear2020 Sun 09-Aug-20 18:30:25

I only worry if they growl at me...

vanillandhoney Sun 09-Aug-20 19:33:29

You did the right thing, but next time, avoid eye contact too. A lot of dogs don't like having direct eye contact with strangers - it can come across as a threat.

But the owner sounds like an idiot.

MsAdoraBelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 09-Aug-20 19:39:17

The owner was an arsehole. If they know their dog will react to total strangers just standing there they should have it on a lead and under control.

Shambolical1 Sun 09-Aug-20 19:57:34

Turn side on to the dog, fold your arms, stay still, don't make eye contact.

The owner is an idiot. To give the dog the benefit of the doubt, with lockdown, some dogs have genuinely become afraid of strangers/unknown things or situations. It's down to the owner to appreciate that and manage the situation, not blame the situation for happening!

You came across a twonk. We're not all like that, honest!

LolaSmiles Sun 09-Aug-20 20:05:46

Depending on the dog and the nature of its run, I either ignore them and keep walking calmly, or I stand still with my arms folded and ignore it.

A more confrontational dog I'll tend to do the latter, but if it's a playful dog then I ignore and carry on on the grounds that they're their owner's problem.

PrayingandHoping Sun 09-Aug-20 20:09:58

Absolutely u did the right thing!

Staying still and acting calmly is the right thing

One of mine will do this... bark at people for no reason (if they say hello to him he stops and wants a pat. He's an idiot). I always keep him v close to me so he can never ever do it.

My other dog doesn't give a hoot about people.

I can't remember the last time he actually managed to do it but when it has happened what u hear from my mouth is firstly "sorry" and "he will only bark" (not that I necessarily expect people to believe me but still I think it's good to hear) along with me calling him which does work and he comes back. But it's unacceptable that he's done it in the first place and I apologise profusely. I have never had anyone have a go at me so I must seek genuine and been lucky he hasn't worried them.

tabulahrasa Sun 09-Aug-20 20:11:07

Well I usually talk to them blush lol

But standing still and letting their owner grab them is exactly what you should do.

I’m going to go with - the owner is probably a numpty and would have blamed you no matter what you actually did.

RowboatsinDisguise Sun 09-Aug-20 20:12:27

Usually I completely ignore them.

A jumpy dog or one that’s getting really close and seems wound up, I’d cross my arms and turn away.

Moondust001 Sun 09-Aug-20 20:19:39

Starting out with, I have a dog, have always had dogs, and the owners here are idiots. Even if you did something "wrong" they should instantly control their dog. The only circumstance in which my dog will engage with you is if you threaten me!

Honestly though, keep going, ignore, don't engage with the dog or the owner. Some dogs smell fear (well they all smell fear, but some, like humans, are bullies). Your past experience suggests that the dog smelt fear, your stopping and body language probably confirmed that, and it was being a bully. From a safe distance of course, because all bullies don't like to be challenged!

The owners are idiots, sorry this happened.

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