This is an actual Facebook post from a friend tonight:
“How many times am I going to run up my road and there is a dog running loose. People tie up your dogs. Always happens when Im having a good run and feel like I could go a little farther.” — A.M, Greenfield Twp.
Oh, boy, can I sympathize. I live near the country and there’s some beautiful running if I were to run south, further into the country, but I never do. I always go north, toward the city, and stick to busy roads for one reason — dogs.
They tend to be contained in the suburbs of Harborcreek and Millcreek. And, if I stick to the busier roads, the dogs are almost always contained (or they’re not around for long).
Sadly, after 15+ years of running, I’ve come to not like dogs very much.
I don’t care if the owner tells me (as they often do)… “Oh, he won’t hurt ya!” or “he just wants to say ‘hello,’” or some other crap about how harmless their dog is (if the owner is actually around). Your dog should not be out of your yard. Period.
If I sound angry, let me be clear: I am. I’m angry at people who don’t keep their dogs in their yard because they have ruined more than a few good runs for me. When I spy a losoe dog on my route up ahead, or one that’s just waiting for me to come running by, I know better than to go that way. I turn back or run miles out of my way to circumvent the dog.
It pisses me off.
Sure, that loose dog could be the nicest pooch on the block, but I’m not taking that chance. I am running and it is a dog’s natural instinct to A.) guard his property and B.) chase. That’s two strikes against me.
I’m not stupid.
On the few occasions that I’ve been surprised by a dog in my path, I’ve employed one of the following tactics, depending on the behavior and aggressiveness of the dog:
* Walk slowly past the dog, not making eye contact.
* Back up slowly, never turning my back to the dog.
* Tell the dog in a loud, firm voice to “Sit” or “Go Home!” to indicate I’m in charge.
* Stop running. Start screaming at the top of my lungs.
* Throw a running partner in between myself and the dog (and pray to God I can outrun my partner).
What do you do when you encounter a dog on your run?
P.S. I used to carry dog spray, but I rarely had occasion in which the dog was so clearly aggressive that it dictated use of the spray and, when it did happen, I always forgot I even had the stupid spray anyway.