How Walkers, Joggers, And Runners Can Prevent Dog Bites

One problem that many walkers, runners, and joggers face is the threat of dogs. Even a well-trained dog can become aggressive in many circumstances. If you exercise daily, it helps to know what you can do to prevent a dog bite.

Understanding Why a Dog Might Bite

Several factors can cause dogs to attempt to bite you.

  • The dog fears for her pups
  • The dog fears you for some reason
  • You are encroaching on the dog's territory or space
  • The dog is in pain

One of the larger reasons a dog may attempt to bite you is because of a concept called "prey drive." This term describes how likely the dog is to give into its basic instincts to aggressively chase something down. Even with mild or trained dogs, the build up of that prey drive can cause them to eventually attack.

The motion of your exercise can eventually lead to an attack because it works as a trigger for many dogs. For example, if you jog by the same dog every day, a process is occurring you may not be aware of.

As you pass, the dog may bark. The dog barks because you're in its territory, but since you leave the territory during your run or walk, the dog assumes its bark did the job.

Over time, this can embolden the dog because it assumes you're scared of it. The next time you happen by, the dog may want to chase you away rather than bark you away. After that, the dog may want to actively chase you down and attack. This is an example of the prey drive in action.

Of course, you can happen across a stray dog with an already high prey drive. In such cases, the chase and attack may happen immediately.

Preventing a Dog Bite

A dog bite can come with serious consequences that go beyond the bite itself. Preventing a dog bite isn't always easy, but it's sometimes possible.

  • Stay calm, don't run
  • Stay still, no sudden movements
  • Avoid eye contact with the dog
  • Narrow your profile (stand sideways)

The key is to let the dog know you're not threatened by it, but you have to do it in a non-threatening manner. A dog feels you don't want to fight, and that you're not a threat, it will usually move on. However, sometimes they do attack. In such cases, there are a few other tips you can use.

Give the dog a target – For example, if you have a pouch, backpack, or can get an arm out of a sleeve, let the dog bite that. The dog may be satisfied with what it feels is a piece of you. Meantime you can back away and make it to safety.

Curl into a ball – If the dog manages to knock you down, or you fall, then you should curl into a ball. Tuck your head in and place your hands over your ears and neck. Do not roll around.

When Prevention Fails

It's not always possible to prevent a dog bite. If a dog bites you, seek medical attention immediately, even if the bite seems mild. Then you need to contact a dog bite attorney to help you figure out where to go from there.

Dog bite laws vary from place to place, but if the dog that bites you has an owner, that owner shares in the responsibility for your injury. Speak to a dog bite attorney about seeking the compensation you deserve for your stress and injuries.