No Category selected There are no bad dogs…

    There are no bad dogs…


    Funny story:  one day I was out for a run on the rail trail with my brother, and we encountered a pedestrian walking a dog off-leash.  I am somewhat knowledgeable about dogs, having worked at a vet clinic in my youth, however this was not a breed I recognized.  It was a tiny, white puffball of some kind.  Anyway, the dog saw us, and predictably, gave chase while the owner screeched “get back here!”  I stopped running, and the dog stopped and looked at me; the owner came and got it, and we continued on.  Quite a few seconds later, we heard the owner screeching again from a long way back, just before the dog was hanging on to the back of my brother’s ankle.  I knew enough to stop again, and this time I added a stern “No!” but my brother, who is so skinny I can see why he would be mistaken for a stick, was hopping around trying to avoid the dog.

    Yes, the image of my 6′ 4″ brother hopping around with the puffball will forever make me chuckle; but the principle behind it isn’t so funny. This dog was off leash in a leashed area, and clearly outside of the owner’s control.

    As much as I like dogs, I hate it when I am running along, and someone’s dog comes bounding towards me, while the owner is yelling “don’t worry, he won’t hurt you!”  Well quite frankly, I don’t really care that he won’t hurt me; I just don’t particularly want to pet him (I need those hands hair and slobber free to wipe sweat out of my eyes!), trip over him, or have to stop running so the owner can regain control.  If I am running in a leash free area, that is my stupid fault; but if not, I don’t want to be harassed by a dog.

    Even worse is when I am running on a country road and a dog comes tearing off its property after me.  Once I can recall that happening when a car was coming and I was on the opposite side of the road.  Fortunately the owner was outside and I was able to get their attention to call the dog back before it got into the path of the car, but not before I felt thoroughly sick with panic.

    Almost every runner I know can recall a story of being chased by a dog.  It can be inconvenient, or downright terrifying.  There are a number of reasons why dogs like to chase runners, be it playfulness, protectiveness, or just the compulsion to chase moving objects.

    If you are being chased by a dog, the best thing to do is stop, stand at a 90 degree angle to the dog, and shout “NO!” at it.  Most times the dog will lose interest when it realizes that you are human and not interested in being chased.  Then you can back away so you can keep an eye on it; do not start running again until you are sure the dog is either back in the control of its owner, or is no longer in sight.

    If the dog attacks and bites, you are well within your rights to protect yourself.  If you can get your knee up as it is jumping at you, you can catch it in the chest and knock the wind out of it, which might make it think twice.  If it is determined to get a piece of you, however, a sharp kick to the chin should cause the most amount of pain with the least amount of damage.  When it is over, by all means feel free to take appropriate legal action; after all, if letting a dog attack people is a habit for the owner, you could be doing a public service.  If you are a dog owner having trouble with your dog’s compulsion to chase, this is a great reference article that might help you.

    And a video on the subject…


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    A runner for just over four years, Karen has already completed a marathon, two half marathons and a variety of 5k and 10k races. She describes her first marathon - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last September - as "a nightmare." However, she met a very interesting person in the process - a man named Sydney who was running his 152nd marathon! Although the race didn't go as well as planned for Karen or Sydney, he showed her that no matter how experienced a runner you are, you can still have a bad day. "Does that mean we shouldn't bother to prepare, or maybe just shouldn't bother at all? Of course not!" says Karen. "In the end, it is what we make it." We like her optimism!


    1. The video was a nice touch! I have had my fair share of “dog chasing runner” moments. My issue is that I tend to stop and cuddle! That’s not really teaching the dog owner anything, is it?

      On the flip side one of my all time favourite signs on a closed gate that keeps in 2 very large Irish Wolfhounds says “I can make it to the gate in 3 seconds….can you?” I don’t believe I could so I think I’ll avoid trying!

    2. Thank you for writing this. I was bitten from behind a few years ago by a tiny little dog on a retractable leash, and I still have the scar to prove it. The owner just walked away even though I was bleeding-so I went to the police-but sadly nothing can really be done if the other person takes off. I’m tired of dog lovers thinking that just because they love their dog, we should too. When I see someone coming with a dog, leash or not, I get off the sidewalk until I pass them, and boy do I ever get alot of dirty looks! But at least my legs are bite-free.

    3. I used to also carry dog mace , and puppy treats… as stupid as it sounds I hated the thought of having to kick a dog – my first line of defense was to lob a treat at the dog – and change to a walk… and hope that appeased it…

      My second move would be mace (if it was seriously a threat even after I moved to walk) I never did need this move…

      Some dog owners will NEVER understand that ALL dogs can and will bite at some point in their life if the situation is right. That we have the right to protect ourselves, and to be angry when they ignore the LAWS and expect us to smile and be all happy when their beloved pet approaches us.

      I have also seen a few RUNNERS WITH DOGS who have the same stupid attitude. Shame…

      Good post as always.

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