“I know this sounds crazy, but running excites dogs.”
- No eye contact: One source recommends not making eye contact with loose dogs you encounter on runs. Some dogs might think a stare down means you want to invade his or her territory, thereby triggering an attack.
- Cross the street: You can also try to stop running and just turn and go the other way or cross the street.
- Walk instead: Experts argue that you won’t seem as interesting to the dog if you're walking. Also, the dog won't think you're trying to invade his or her space if you're heading away from it. If you do employ this tactic, don't turn around to look at the dog once you've changed your direction..
- Stand your ground: I'm not sure how comfortable I am with this tip, but you can stop and be still. Tell the dog firmly and calmly common dog commends that he or she may know: “Sit,” “No,” or “Go home.” Definitely avoid yelling, screaming, or waving your hands all around—this won't help. This tip comes from About.com, and I have to say I don't think it is common to teach a dog, “Go home.” I know none of my dogs have ever learned it?!
- Protect yourself: If a dog looks like he or she is about to jump you or attack you, turn away (protecting your face) and push the dog away with your forearm.
- Use another route: Of course, if you encounter the same loose dog in the same general area of your run, change routes to avoid that area.
Some runners like to carry big sticks or pepper spray—I'm not sure how effective these things are. I do know that pepper spray does not generally have much effect on larger, more aggressive breed dogs like pit bulls, rottweilers, and Akidas. Although postal workers carry pepper spray for the purpose of dog attack safety, it is really only effective on little dogs—ones you probably aren't terribly concerned with in the first place.