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What should runners do when a dog attacks?

When dogs are not properly restrained, they can be a serious threat to runners and joggers all over New York. Many dogs see people running and want to give chase, either because they feel threatened or because the quick movement naturally makes them feel like the person is prey. Either way, they do chase and they do bite. This happens to thousands of people every year.

So, as a runner, what should you do when threatened by a dog? How should you react?

First off, even if it lowers your time for the course, stop running. The dog very well may stop chasing you. It's instinctual. Slow down and refrain from escalating things. Never try to outrun the dog. You can't do it. It just makes it worse.

Watch the dog, but do not make eye contact. Some dogs take this as a challenge or a threat. You do not want to seem overly aggressive or the dog may think it has to "defend" itself.

At the same time, stay calm and collected. Try to keep from showing fear or cowering. Be confident and make yourself appear as large as you can without being aggressive. If you can, try to be boring. Make no sudden movements. The dog will probably lose interest.

Talk firmly and calmly to the dog, in a deep voice. Do not reach out to it or try to touch it.

These tips can help, but dog bites still happen every year. If you get attacked while out for your daily run, make sure you know how to seek financial compensation.

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