Many people instinctively want to run away from a dog that seems aggressive or dangerous. If it runs at you while you’re out for a walk or a jog in the neighborhood, for instance, you may think about running across the street or the other direction down the sidewalk.
But there are actually some compelling reasons why you may not want to run away from the dog. Let’s examine what they are so that you can know how to respond safely:
Dogs can almost always outrun people
First and foremost, a dog that wants to catch someone is going to be able to do so. Dogs are almost always faster than people, so the only way that you would actually escape by running is simply if the dog is defending its territory and so it stops chasing you once you leave. But if it wants to catch you, it will.
Dogs have a chase instinct
Additionally, it’s unlikely that the dog will stop chasing you if you’re running, because many dogs have an inherent chase instinct, known as prey drive. When something is moving quickly away from them, this instant kicks in and they will chase even if they are not acting aggressively. As such, running can merely rile the dog up and might make your situation worse.
You need to get the dog to calm down
The actual way to avoid getting bitten by a dog is by being calm and keeping your energy levels low. Rather than running away, for instance, you’re better off to back away slowly while still watching the dog out of the corner of your eye – but not making eye contact directly.
Of course, even if you do the right thing, you may still suffer from an injury. You may need to know what legal steps to take to seek compensation.