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Do not run away from a charging dog

When a dog that you do not know charges you on the street, your instinct is to run away. Don’t do it. This is only going to make the situation worse.

For instance, imagine that you go out for a jog. You do not see the dog in the yard before you run by the house, but it’s clearly not on a leash or a tether. Since you’re running, the dog wants to chase you. Maybe it felt surprised. Maybe it thinks you’re a threat. Maybe it’s just following that natural chase reflex that dogs are born with.

Regardless, if you try to speed up and run away, the chase reflex just gets stronger. This is when dogs really get aggressive. There is no way you’re outrunning that dog anyway, so you’re really just making things more dangerous for yourself.

Instead of running, slow down and stop. Try to appear relaxed and non-threatening. Stand as still as you can. Face the dog directly, though you may not want to meet its eyes. Fold your arms across your chest; this keeps you still and means the dog cannot bite your hands or arms as easily.

Much of the time, this alone is enough to defuse the situation. The dog will stop running and bark at you. This gives you a chance to slowly back away, and it may not follow. If it returns to the yard, walk a good distance away before you start jogging again.

If you do get bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your costs.

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