When Dogs Attack Walkers, Runners, Bicyclists

I received an email from a lady asking me about helping with training walkers, runners and bikes in deterring dog attacks effectively and safely.  Interesting request.


The actual activities of walking, running and biking (motion activities) all tend to elicit the prey drive in dogs.  While avoidance is the best cure for the problem, it doesn’t take into consideration the seemingly “out of nowhere” surprise appearance of dogs, taking you completely off guard.  And, to complicate things even worse, you don’t know the intentions of the dog.

You can break it down into two categories:  Over friendly and aggressive.  Of course the over friendly may still chase after you and nip at your heels or legs, BUT the aggressive dog is different.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t make direct hard eye contact.  Body language counts
  • Turn sideways, giving a calming signal.  DO NOT RUN.
  • Keep your arms and hands down and tight by your side

The following defensive tools may work on some dogs:

  • Air horn
  • Where legal, pepper spray
  • Direct Stop is a Citronella spray (available at PetSmart and PetCo
  • Defendabrella – a small tote umbrella to suddenly pop open to scare the dog
  • Having a “sacraficial” garment (old shirt, sweater) around your waist to offer up to the dog instead of you.
  • Always carry your cell phone and call for help if you can.

The safest is to avoid routes where dogs are known to be loose.  Change routes.  Plan you activities on routes where there are a lot of people.  The safety in numbers idea.  Have loose dogs picked up by the local dog catcher.  Make irresponsible people aware of leash laws and in Texas, Lillian’s Law  – 1st and 2nd degree felonies for owners who’s dogs attack when unprovoked. http://www.dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/Texas.htm