When an aggressive dog approaches you, you probably have just a split second to make a decision – Should you run? Should you fight? Should you yell for help?
In other situations, you may not even have time to react. Some people get bitten by a dog before they even know it’s there, such as when it chases them while they’re jogging. But if you do have time, what should you do?
Here’s what you should know when dealing with aggressive dogs:
Running can make things worse
The problem with running away is twofold. First, you can’t escape the dog because it’s going to be faster than you.
Second, dogs have a chase instinct, so running can actually make things worse. It makes the dog want to chase and bite you, rather than de-escalating the situation. As noted above, some of these attacks happen specifically because the person is already running.
So what should you do?
Naturally, you need to take some sort of action to protect yourself, but the key is to focus on being as calm and collected as you can be. You should consider staying still, turning slightly to the side, keeping your hands close to your body, avoid yelling or making loud noises and then slowly start trying to back away from the dog.
Ideally, this will not activate the chase response and your calm manner will reduce the energy in the encounter. This could calm the dog down so that they will let you back away from their territory.
What if it doesn’t work?
This is your best strategy, but there’s no guarantee you’re not going to be bitten, even if you have the chance to use it. If you do get injured, you may need to make sure you know how to seek financial compensation.