April 15, 2014

Running and dogs

This is a hard post for me to write.  I had an unfortunate encounter with a dog and this time, it was while I was out running in my neighborhood.

Sorry for the graphic photo, but I want to emphasize the importance of self protection.  April is the month when dogs are back outside in force after spending the harsh winter indoors.
My poor leg post dog bite.
Safety while running is clearly an important issue, but what do you do to keep yourself protected from animals?  This is something all runners should think about because a stray dog can appear out of nowhere and having a plan will help protect you.  As someone who has unfortunately been attacked in the past, I never run without Halt attached to my running belt or clothing.  Postal carriers have used Halt for many years and I remember as a child, my mother carrying Halt on her daily walks.  Fortunately for me, I had my spray accessible last week and managed to fend off the attacking dog after it had already bitten me on both the hand and lower calf.  Clearly this post is being written to help you avoid an unpleasant situation while out on what should be a pleasurable run.

Ways to protect yourself from an attack:
* Stop running and walk at a slow pace or stand still when a strange dog approaches you.
* Do not make eye contact with the dog.
* If your gut is telling you a dog in the distance is unfriendly, heed the warning
* Kicking a dog in the jaw is an option, but if you should lose your balance, you will be completely defenseless on the ground.
* Know your running route and always check a new area before you run there.  Better yet, run with a buddy if you are going to try out a new route.
* Buy yourself some Halt. (available on Amazon here)
I always have a few in reserve!
Have you ever been bitten by a dog? Any other suggestions on how to protect yourself?
(Pam)

30 comments:

  1. That photo of the dog bite on your leg just makes all of this so real, and very scary. I've been fortunate to not have a dog attack me during a run, but that absolutely does not mean that it won't. I've never carried anything like dog repellent but that is a very good idea. I do run on trails that have lots of runners/walkers and have their dogs on leashes but you just never know. Thanks for the tips Pam!

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    1. Lauren, I posted simply to inform others and to hopefully help others be prepared if an unfriendly dog approaches them. Halt is easy to buy on Amazon.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I know I have taken it for granted that dogs will stay in their yards when I run past. This is a wake up call for me! I hope you're recovering well and feel comfortable running outside again soon. Take care!

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    1. Thanks Cristina, Always proceed with caution when it comes to dogs....most are friendly but you never know.

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  3. Oh Pam, that looks painful. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I run almost entirely on trails, not through neighborhoods, so I've not encountered unleashed dogs. Have not heard of Halt, but I'm going to go and look for it. For general safety though, I almost always run with buddy.

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    1. Monica, You can buy Halt on Amazon. Please do yourself a favor and buy some for you and Disney Groom! :)

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  4. Replies
    1. Emilie, It was a very small dog, mixed breed that had been rescued some time in the fall of 2013.

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  5. I'm so sorry you had to experience this! We appreciate you making sure to help out your fellow runners and learn from your experience.

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    1. No problem. I would hate for this to happen to anyone else.

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  6. I didn't know there was such thing as dog repellent. Good information. Thanks.

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    1. Jennifer, You can easily purchase Halt on Amazon. It is an inexpensive way to keep yourself safe.

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  7. Great tips. I was almost attacked a couple of month's ago. The dog's owner never even came to check on me and my running partner. This dog has lunged at us before but this time he got away from the owner. I always carry mace. And I have learned to stop immediately. Even if it's a friendly dog, I don't want them to possibly get hit - they always seem to think it's a game of chase!

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    1. Heather, It sounds like you had a really close call. Glad you carry mace and are prepared if a dog does come after you.

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  8. So sorry this happened to you Pam! I've encountered several mean dogs but fortunately they never attacked me...just growled and barked and chased me into the street. I'm going to look into buying some Halt for sure! Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Mindy. You can buy the Halt on Amazon.....I should have included that in my post.

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  9. I have had some scary encounters with dogs on my runs but thankfully have never been bitten - thank you for sharing your experience so others can learn!

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    1. Kristen, Glad you have escaped any serious issues with dogs. Unfortunately, it is usually bad pet owner behavior that causes the problem (keeping the dog properly contained).

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  10. ouch...going to go get halt now!

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  11. I have never been bitten by a dog while running. I am so friendly when I see them, perhaps I should be more careful. All good tips. Hope your leg gets better soon.

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    1. Meranda, I am a dog lover, but am cautious with strange dogs. It is important to note that this attack was totally unprovoked and the dog dashed from inside his house down a driveway and straight across the road at me. I did not one thing except offer it my fist which it promptly bit Then it went for my leg and would have continued if I had not sprayed it with my Halt.

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  12. So sorry this happened to you. Great that you are sharing your story to help others though.

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    1. Abby, I would hate for anyone to go through what I have. Thankfully I have very supportive family and running friends! :)

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  13. I'm sorry Pam. That is horrible. If you need a rental Ace is up for the job. He will protect you to his last breath. It really frustrates me when people don't take care of their dogs and allow them to slip away.

    My brother was attacked when he was out running once and the AC in our town had the balls to ask him if he provoked the dog! He was running. I guess he kicked the dog hard in the face to get him away, I think you getting back out there is crucial. SHIT GIRL! You got Boston don't you?!

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    1. Thanks Meg! I will be running Boston in 2015 and yes, this will not stop me. Angry dogs can be quite scary so I hope this post will make runners more alert when outside.

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  14. I am so saddened to see this pick Pam as it makes this event SO real... So sorry you had to endure this event, but I appreciate you educating the rest of us in the running community!!! I see far too many walkers out with their dogs off leash and probably thinking " my dog doesn't bite" and I am ALWAYS cautious around all dogs off leash...

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    1. Thanks Leslee.....it was interesting to hear the Animal Control officer tell me that when she first started her job, she thought only certain animals/breeds would bite. Now her opinion is that if something has teeth it can bite! Stay safe during your outside runs and watch those dogs off leash carefully.

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  15. GIRL! I am SO sorry!! I'm glad you had spray with you and were able to fend off the dog. These are great tips!

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  16. Oh gosh Pam how scary!! I've never been attacked by dogs while running, but I was attacked by a pack of dogs when I was 8 riding my bike. A neighbor had to fend them off with a can of Easy Off Oven Cleaner. I still bear the scars, both physical and emotional!! I tend to run with pepper spray for the 2 legged attackers, but I'll be sure to use it on 4 legged ones too!! hope your leg heals quickly!!

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