If you get pestered by dogs when you run and the owner isn't around, you’ll need to play pet psychic and try to communicate with the dog on their level. Dog trainer and animal behaviouralist Kirsten Dillon (companyofanimals.co.uk) offers these tips.
Four things you should do...
Use a deep, firm voice to convey a sense of calm.
Turn sideways on
Fold your arms across your body and neck and stand still. Most dogs will quickly lose interest if you don’t engage.
Move slowly away
When the dog’s calmer, get away without making any sudden movements. Try to avoid turning your back to the dog.
Curl up if you fall
If the dog is showing signs of aggression, then curl into a ball face down, use your arms and hands to protect your face and neck and remain still.
Four things you shouldn't do...
Don't keep going
Most dogs want to play and see a chase as a ‘reward’ for their behaviour. So stop running: if the behaviour is not rewarded it is not likely to continue.
A high-pitched voice may activate the dog's fight instinct.
Don't make eye contact
If the dog is playing, it won’t bite you, but if the dog is guarding, fearful or aggressive, direct eye contact could trigger an attack.
Don't behave aggressively
If the dog’s motivated by fear or aggression, actions such as kicking or lashing out can provoke an attack.
If you're attacked, here's what Dillon advises you do next.
If you are chased or attacked by a dog, you should try to report the owner to your local authority dog warden (search for your nearest warden at localdirect.gov.uk). You don’t need to have been bitten to file a report. Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991) says a dog is 'dangerously out of control' if 'there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure any person'. This refers to all dogs in England and Wales, no matter what breed or size.
Severe bites will require hospital treatment to clean out the wound and remove any damaged tissue. For smaller bites and scratches, clean the wound immediately by placing it under running water for a few minutes. Squeeze the skin to encourage it to bleed freely if it’s not already doing so. Use painkillers such as ibuprofen to help relieve the pain and inflammation, then keep an eye out for signs of infection, such as swelling, redness or pus. If you are worried that it has become infected, see your GP.