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Forgive me if this is a repeat. I just can't get the experience out of my mind. I was out in my own neighborhood Saturday morning for a jog. I had my MP3 player on with a great song. The weather was hot, but beautiful. All of a sudden something tackled me from behind. I thought I was going to be raped a block from my house. Turned out to be this huge chocolate lab. I'm not a dog person to begin with so this was traumatic. I didn't get bit at all - just scratched on my arm, back & abdomen. All in all the wounds are more mental than physical. This dog had a worn & faded collar, but no tags. I screamed at the top of my lungs, slammed the dog down and pinned it. I didn't want to let go for fear of getting bit. Finally the owner (I guess that is who he was) came out of his yard. I told him what happened and he gave me a half-hearted "I'm sorry". Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I understand it isn't the dog's fault that his owner hasn't trained him, doesn't put his tags on, and let him run loose in the neighborhood at 7am. I'm getting some pepper spray. Only problem is the owner deserves to get sprayed just as much if not more than the dog.
Hopefully getting it out will help me get past it. I've been so on edge since.
Stupid owners should be Tazered. I changed one of my running routes because of some really bad dog owners. One day this big mutt came off his proprerty and charged down the road at me so I froze. These four 25-30 year old guys came out, beers in hand laughing. The dog's fur was up and he was MAD. I tried to calmly tell these bozos that I would appreciate if they got their dog under control. They just looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. Finally I said that if the dog bit me I would sue them for everything they own, they mumbled some profanities and called the dog back. I have not run that road since. Hopefully this won't happen to you. If you don't want to carry pepper spray, ammonia in a water pistol works as well.
Truth in lending - I have two dogs and they are always on leashes. When people pass I out myself between the dogs and the people. My dogs are female greyhounds and while they would not attack anybody or anything, other people don't know that.
The irresponsible dog owners are the problem. The dog is just doing what is instinctive to them. All dogs serve a purpose, wether it is for guard duty, law enforcement, hunting, or companionship. I am a dog owner and I have a doberman. I raised my dog to be loving and kind, especially around children. There are far too many irresponsible dog owners that have dogs as a "status" symbols and don't care what happens if their dog gets free. Accidents do happen and dogs escape. I use to have a lab also, he was an escape artist.
I am glad you took action against the dog and did not hesitate. There are also too many people who don't react to these situations. Pepper spray is an excellent deterrent to dogs. I have mixed feelings about they effect people. I am in law enforcement and have been a victim of pepper spraying by my own beat partners. There is an old saying, "Pepper spray only works on dogs and cops!". I have only used my pepper spray on a few people. It had little effect on them due to drugs or alcohol.
I am glad you were not hurt. My only advice to you is to only use one ear piece when you run. Like you said, your initial thought was it was someone trying to do something evil to you. Giving yourself one free ear might give you enough warning to take action. I think you will soon get past this incident. Chalk it up to life experience and learn from this. If you have any more questions just let me know.
This seems to be a common problem with not only runners, but cyclists as well....like you said, it isn't the dogs' fault, natural instincts, etc. That said, call your local animal control or Sheriffs' Office if you have no animal control. Depending on your locals states laws, they should be able to solve the prblem for you and future runners in the area. Usually confronting these type of owners is pointless..if they were responsible owners you wouldn't be having the discussion in the first place, so letting the local "officials" deal with them is usually the better course. Labs are great, but be careful with the Chocolates, if you're going to get bit by one, it'll be a choc, then a yellow. Until recently it was thought it was a genetic trait, but it appears that the chocolate gene throughout the dog world is predisposed to the aggressiveness.
Not all Choc's are aggressive, but just be careful when you meet one ! Believe it or not, if you have the opportunity and they're not coming up from behind, if you call them to come to you it confuses the heck out of them!
Go hard or stay in the yard...
I understand your frustration, but please don't blame all dog owners. A lot of us are runners/cyclist ourselves and therefore are conscious of what are dog is doing at all times. We take our dog to an off-the-leash park in Baltimore where there are more runners that dogs. We make EVERY effort to pull our dog aside and OFF the trail when there is a runner or cyclist. Hardly ever do we get a thank you or even a glance for being courteous to runners or cyclists!
I am glad you weren't hurt, but if you are in a neighborhood, perhaps it is smart not to have your MP3 player up too loud. You noted you thought you were getting raped, so this should be a lesson to turn it down. You can hear someone running up behind you to cause harm, you could here a dog- mean or nice- running behind you, or you can even hear a car coming- whose driver may not be paying attention or speeding and could potentially run you over. It is an imperfect world and you have to be prepared for anything, anywhere. That is why I don't run with music, because I am being proactive about my well being. I am not saying don't run to music, just have it turned down a bit. Also, remember that you don't own the road, you share it.
With regards to the dog's owner only giving you a "sorry"... Personally, if my dog got away, I would try to see if you were ok, help you get up, and do whatever I could. However, many runners run away before you can say more than sorry because they are embarrassed or want to keep on pace. Please tell me what you would like to hear a dog owner say?
I told this guy his dog hurt me physically in addition to scaring the heck out of me. I'd feel so much better about this if the bum would have come over to see if I was ok and said something about the frequency of the dog's escapes. If it is frequent, he should get an invisible fence or keep the dog on a leash when let out in the mornings. If it was a one time accident, he should still have given a sincere apology not only for the dog's behavior, but for his failure to have tags on the dog. "I'm so sorry. Are you OK? (holding the dog back) This is getting to be a problem. I think it is time to put in that fence (go to obedience classes, move to the country, etc.). I better go get his tags on. Again, I'm sorry. Please let me know how you're doing. Enjoy the rest of your run. Cujo is going in the house so he won't be a bother anymore."
Getting blindsided by a strange dog is always scary, even when it's being overly friendly. I agree with Fistsofury. You should seriously consider wearing one earpiece when you run, so you can hear potential danger approaching. Safety first!
That said, I hope the dog's owner takes extra precautions to keep his Lab in the yard or, better yet, indoors. That way no one gets hurt!
We live in a rural area where too many people let their dogs roam free. It's why I don't run around my neighborhood. We own ten dogs ranging in size from an Akita to a Chi-Pug mix and NONE of our dogs are allowed to leave the property unless they're leashed. It's just not conceivable to me! Not a week goes by that we don't see dead pets lying by the roadside; it's unforgiveable.
I don't know firsthand how effective this tool is actually, but I've been told that a stun baton works really well at scaring off potentially dangerous dogs. Something about the electrical charge when you activate the baton scares the dogs off. I'm wondering if a stun gun would be just as effective since it makes the same noise. It would also be effective should your attacker be human, right?
I know you are not a dog person - and probably never will be after this experience - but I thought I'd share my resolve to the problem. I have had many similar encounters, and find them equally disturbing! After a year of research I decided to get a running buddy that could help me out in these situations. Of course this was one of many reasons, but I became the proud "mommy" of a boxer. Unlike the awful dog owner you had to experience - we have spent countless hours in training and are working on our Canine Good Citizen certificate - which is kind of besides the point...but - since I started running with my 75 pound "cupcake in a mean suite" I have not had any attacks, lunges or even many barks from other dogs.
Now, I know this is not an option for all and in some cases it may cause even more trouble - but I personally feel safer from everything! And I have a running buddy that gets me out of bed every morning at 5:45 and can't wait to pound the pavement or trails - rain or shine!