Dogs....what am I doing wrong?

Yes yes, I'm sure it's a boring topic.....but I've had enough.

I like dogs.  We had a black lab when I was a kid and I loved that dog to bits.  He wasn't interested in runners.  Unless they were dressed as squirrels.  Which wasn't often.

I also love running, but recently have sharted having all manner of dog related problems.

It started 12 months ago.  I was out for my usual lunchtime run.  Big, beautiful boxer bitch started running towards me.  Clearly a youngster, and a lovely looking dog.  I looked at the owner to check all was OK and she simply said "she might jump up but she's just playful".  15 seconds later I've got blood running down my right thigh from a bite and nasty teeth scratches down my left thigh.  Off to hospital, various jabs and on we go.  I've seen the dog many times since and it has always been muzzled when off a lead.  Put it down to experience.

Month later, came round the corner near the river I run by and was confronted by two very nasty looking pug things with their skinhead owner.  One went for me and got hold of my foot but luckily I managed to hop up into a tree and the dog couldn't hang on so I escaped injury.

3 months ago, early morning run, white rottweiler appeared out of nowhere and went for me - surprisingly quick for such a big dog.  Luckily I saw it coming and grabbed a bit of wood on the floor and applied wood to dog and got away with a scratch and shredded shorts.  Never saw the owner.

Last week, small yappy type dog decided to chase me along a country road.  I ignored it and carried on assuming that its owner shouting for it and me ignoring it would encourage it to give up the chase.  Wrong.  Bit me hard on the achilles, the little bastard.  I had a right go at the owner, showing the blood and general mess of my ankle and she said "he's only 9 months old, don't be so nasty".  I've just been bloody bitten you stupid idiot.

So, a question to all dog owners, what should I do when I'm out running and encounter a dog who is clearly not utterly disinterested in me?  I know "yours" would never do anything, of course, but you'll know some who are a bit of a handful I'm sure.  What's the safest approach? 

Lots of people never have any trouble at all, and I genuinely like dogs, but this is getting a bit much.  I've been bitten now three times and scratched once and needed hospital treatment twice in 12 months (thigh and achilles).  That can't be right.



  • Batter the dog regardless. Just shoe it as you go by. They'll soon learn. Repeat on the owner.
  •  Write to your MP and join the lobby for the reintroduction of the dog licence. It should be high, prohibitively high in my opinion, and any dog found unlicenced should be immediately put down.
  • Goodness Elsted...what terrible experiences you have had...I too like dogs but am getting fed up with owners who quite clearly can't control their dogs when they are out and off the lead and as for the ones with those extending leads...well they quite clearly belong in room 101 in my opinion...Hopefully all your dog problems are behind you now that you have had 3 bad experiences.
  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    I know what you mean.. it can be a real pain when dog owners are not responsible. I've had a nasty looking rottweiler chase me (whlist the farmer owner was blissfully unaware). Ive been told to stop running, stand like a tree and don't make eye contact.... personally I growl at them and it seems to work (maybe I look threatening?)

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭
    Their owners are pathetic friendless creatures who place their dogs status above that of all other humans. Needless to say the dog feels compelled to protect this pack subordinate even when on neutral ground, hence the public attacks. Evidence that other people do not have much credit in the lives of these owners is when they at best pretend there is no problem with their dog or at worse justify its behaviour.
  • I am a runner and a dog owner and I regularly run with my two dogs and a friend and her one. I can HONESTLY say our dogs have never chased another runner, nor have we been chased by other dogs, whether with our dogs or running dogless. If I am running and meet a dog I don't know I will always slow down or walk depending on whether the dog looks interested or not and I don't make eye contact as this can be taken as a challenge to a dominant dog.  I'm sorry you've had such horrible experiences, most dog owners are responsible,I will always call my dogs back and put them on a lead when a runner approaches out of common courtesy, just as when running and approaching a dog walker from behind I would slow down and let them know I'm about to overtake, giving them a chance to hold their dog. We all have to share the same spaces, respect and a little tolorance on all sides has to be the way to go.

  • I run with one of my black labs and both she & I would be considered submissive.  We might run 100 times carefree and then sure enough some dog comes out of nowehre and usually goes after my poor dog.  She flips on her back and submits as I try to walk her away so we can continue our run. (Difficult as you can imagine)

    As much as I try to ignore the experience it really ruins the whole run.  

    Typically the offending dog is a small yappy thing and the owner tells me the bark is worse than the bite.  A hundred offensive comebacks swirl around my mind but I say nothing and continue on. My worry is for children or just people in general who have a fear of dogs.  It must be terrifying.  

    Oh advice....I think dogs in the care of useless owners will be here forever and it's one of the sad realities we have when just minding our own business and going for a run.   I worry about saying the wrong thing to the wrong owner and escalting an already volatile situation.

    Good Luck!

  • ExhaustedExhausted ✭✭✭

    Commiserations Elstead. I posted a couple of months back seeking advice, and did get some good advice on stopping, not engaging eye contact, folding arms into the body. Assuming statue pose, basically. However, I got alot of derision from the dog lobby saying that this theme is worn out. However, on a forum called Runner's World, it stands to reason that there will be a bit of repetition!

    Here in the South West, we don't get the dangerous nutter dog owner too much, just people with too many dogs, often more than 3 per owner. There are now 9m dogs in the UK, and there has been an explosion in dog ownership. Every time I go out, I have some sort of incident. I wouldn't believe in harming a dog, so I'm not sure why dogs and owners think it's OK to go for me.

    I've now devised myself dog free routes, and always breathe a sigh of relief once I'm through an unavoidable dog-zone. Last week, a huge St Bernard knocked me down on the beach. Leapt at me on all fours. It weighed a ton, and I hurt just from the jarring to my body for days afterwards. Owner looked on almost dotingly. They rely on our restraint and sangfroid not to lash back - but my patience is certainly wearing thin. 

  • Interested to know where you run?  Is this in a park or on roads?

    I've never once had that, although I suspect it's because dogs in Richmond Park tend to be accustomed to seeing dozens of people, dogs and horses each time they go out, from an early age.  The only time I've had similar is running in France, where dogs in front gardens tend to be trained to bark aggressively at passers by; they tend to be locked or chained up, but it's quite wearying.

    The points about body language and eye contact above are important - I got a dog a year ago and am still amazed at his sensitivty to body language and moods.  I presume it's a bit of a self-perpetuating thing - if you tense up at all, they'll notice that, and if you shy away from them or try and speed up, it won't help either.  Slow down, don't change direction, and don't make eye contact.  Don't be afraid to knee them in the chest too if they jump up - that winds them nicely.

    Also, do you wear anything unusual when you run?  Dogs sometime react to unusual clothing, which is one reason that badly-socialised ones hate posties. 

  • Tmap wrote (see)

    Also, do you wear anything unusual when you run?   

    Reckon these could be a problem  ....

  • Elstead

    Sounds like you've had some horrid experiences, and really sorry to hear that.

    I'm a dog owner and regularly run with my black lab off the lead in places where there are lots of other people out and about.

    I do this because I have absolute confidence that I just need to blow my whistle, and my dog will instantly stop what he is doing and look at me, and if I whistle or call him to me, he will come immediately.

    Any dog owner who has their dog off lead should be able to do the same, and if they can't, then I believe you have complete freedom to react in whatever way you think is appropriate to protect yourself.

    My advice would be to stand absolutely still, don't look at the dog, and if the dog doesnt back off or goes to jump at you, I would shout very loudly (a big roar would be equally effective) and try to either knee it in the chest, kick it, or push it away from you... Also, if the dog owner hasn't by this point started sprinting towards you, apologising like mad, and trying to call his/her dog back, then keep kicking and yelling at the dog until it backs off and runs away.

    If you do stand still and the dog is just running around you like a loon, wanting to play, then I would call loudly for the owner and ask them to please come and control their dog. Any responsible dog owner at this point would come running and apologise, but if they refuse, and say something crap like " fido is only playing, he won't harm you" - then I think they are irresponsible and feckless, and at that point I would walk slowly away, and react aggressively to any move the dog makes to impede you....

  • Hi Elstead Runner.
    Very Bad luck with the K9 experiences. Been there and its just not on. I used to jog with my German Shepherd and there was a small brown dog with black tiger stripes that always came at us.. he was called Tiger for a reason I guess. Being a dog lover I put up with just shouting at him and intimidating him until one day he got my toe. Silly mistake .. Tiger suddenly found himself airborne (I directed him onto soft grass so he was OK but shaken). Didn't see him again.

    But there was another farm dog that really went for me and I started to fear going past him. You can get ultrasonic repellers etc but honestly it was too much of a faff and in the end I just ran at him making very strong eye contact and threatening to hit him with my fist, and making lots of noise and he too backed off forever.

    So, my own totally non-scientific pet theory (!) is that dogs think that runners are below them in the dog hierarchy because runners end up running away from them and that if you can do the complete opposite of what everyone says and run at them and confront them and really mean it - you can assert yourself as top dog.

    If you'd like to try this theory out for me next time you meet the white Rottie, I'd be interested to know if it works..... !
  • Do Rottweilers come in white? The only thing I'd say about that technique is be prepared to see it through, a direct challenge to a dominant aggresive dog could be messy!
  • P.S. Do like the pecking order theory though
  • Dog owners a group whose so huge that their actions are best seen not as specific to that group but as simply behaviour typical of humans.

    Some people are not good with people, and in fact are quite hateful towards others. Some are not able to empathise with other people.Their emotional development has in some respects been retarded.Some really cannot careless about anyone who is not them or theres. Kith and kin.

    Sociopaths. Misanthropes.Selfish bastards

    When some of those people have dogs you see this behaviour channelled through their dogs

    There is nothing really you can do as how do you know the dog owner is a see you next Tuesday?

    You can avoid parks at certain time, stay away from areas that you know dogs are walked.

    Most of all dont blame yourself unless you're going around with pieces of steak in your pockets I really think your doing nothing wrong.

  • ^^^Exactly.^^^

    Which is why this is wrong....

    "We all have to share the same spaces, respect and a little tolorance on all sides has to be the way to go."

    How is an innocent runner being disrespectful or in intolerant? I doubt the op deliberately provoked the dogs to attack them, and most likely completely ignored them. If someone threatens me with a knife, should I treat them with tolerance and respect? Or should I think they're scum?
  • settergirl wrote (see)
    Do Rottweilers come in white?

    Funny, I thought that.  I've never seen a white Rottie myself either. 

  • On a more sensible note, the female vet who is in this year's VLM RW team thingie gave a very very comprehensive reply on a similar thread about what you should and shouldn't do to keep safe.  Maybe someone can find it.  I can't remember her name?  image
  • I've just remembered another dog attack. I was with Mini SS (aged about 14 then) and we were walking up a hill with our German Shep. On the other side of the hedge was a very noisy athletic boxer dog barking and jumping up at us. It suddenly broke through the hedge and went straight at our poor dog, biting her ear and drawing blood. I was useless, just stood still and did nothing. But Mini SS just flew straight in and went for it telling it to go home and really viciously telling it off without even touching it. Boxer ran away to the (closed) gate to its home with tail between legs and didn't come near us as we passed. The problem with this theory is that if you are scared (as I was in this instance) rather than angry (as Mini SS was) its almost impossible to do anything.
  • ps it didn't have a tail but if it had, it would have been between its legs - it looked so sheepish
  • What I hate most of all is... the wrong use of 'disinterested'!! It means unbiased, not uninterested! Dogs? I'm neither here nor there about them.
  • "clearly not utterly dissintersted" Do I not like that!!!
  • compo 1compo 1 ✭✭✭
    some dogs can be a pain when runners past I blame the owners for not keeping control of them

    Dazer is a hand held dog deterrent; might be of interest
  • Re "the white Rottweiler", it is apparently an American Bulldog, not a Rottweiler.

    It got a bit close to a horse being ridden and got a kick last week from what I can make out. Very close to where it chased me.

    Anyway, thanks for the replies and reassurance. Another useful tip I've had from the police (who I have also contacted for some advice) is to take a smart phone/camera with me and get some sort of picture/video. They say that if they have that they will prosecute if appropriate. Although they weren't specific about it, I got the feeling I wasn't the only person who has had trouble recently.

    Hey ho.
  • HellywobsHellywobs ✭✭✭

    Well I don't like dogs and I was absolutely petrified of them as a child to the degree that I nearly got myself run over several times avoiding them.  I don't know why, as I loved with a German shepherd as a small child in New Zealand and wasn't scared of that.  But from about 3 years old, I was always terrified.

    So it's fortunate that I have never had a bad incident with a dog while out running.  Most owners get hold of their dogs or at least stop and move into a recess on the path.  But one of my friends had two bad experiences in as many weeks - bitten while running then made to fall off his bike and broke his collar bone and was out of running for 3 months.

    I just try to avoid areas where there are dogwalkers, for example, I run down my local canal path at lunchtime, as most people walk their dogs in the morning and evening. 
  • Has anyone tried using a dazer ?
  • I can honestly say that you are one unlucky runner! Only problems I occasionally encounter are people driving past shouting abuse
  • @Elstead runner - no police force would do much with a hastily-snappy cameraphone photo of a dog. "If appropriate" means "If we can be arsed and the photo manages to record details from a dog tag."
  • The only problem I've ever had with a dog was the other week when I was running in the forest and this huge overly friendly beast lept up at me. Didn't attack or anything it just wanted a stroke. Got mud all over my top so it looked like I'd falllen over and slobber all over my shorts. Gave it a quick stroke and the owner was very apologetic.
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