Has your run ever gone to the dogs?

   August 9, 2011 6:08 am    3


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.





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3 Responses to “Has your run ever gone to the dogs?”

  1. Beth says:

    AMEN! I actually run with my dog… which makes it worse. Any loose dog that see’s us wants to come out and “see” me or my dog. I live out a bit in Harborcreek, and it seems like everyone has a dog… and only 10% actually keep track of them. Seriously. 1 in 10 runs, I come home and tell my husband that I DID NOT have to deal with a dog. I love my dog… but I’m really fed up with other people’s dogs. They often run right across the road to come “visit” us… and I know one of these times the dog is going to get hit… then I’m sure the stupid people will blame me for their dog being hurt. It’s a very frustrating price to pay to enjoy outdoor runs with my dog.

    • Heather Cass says:

      I hear you, Beth. That actually happened to me once…a dog (a beautiful black lab) was killed right in front of my eyes (and it’s owners’ eyes). It was horrible. They were playing ball out front, the dog decided to come “see” me, bolted across the road in front of a cement truck. Not good. I felt HORRIBLE and then I thought…wait…this is the owners fault. But..in the end, it was just a terribly sad situation.

  2. Julie says:

    Heather – I read your blog but never feel the need to comment but today I just have to speak up. I am in Beth’s situation too – I run with my Weimaraner out in Waterford. He’s on a leash and we stay on country roads. However, most of the neighbors have dogs too and those that are not tied up come out to “greet us”. I’m afraid for a) my life and my dog because most of the dogs are almost as tall as my dog, and I do not want someone’s dog attacking me or my dog. and b) for their dog to get hit by a car. This second reason ALWAYS makes me stop running and try to return the dog to the neighbor’s yard. I can’t imagine experience a dog getting hit right in front of me, I would feel so guilty. I usually entertain myself on my runs by keeping track of how many dogs I pass that bark or come out to me.

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