Dog Chase

What should one do if one were chased by a domesticated dog?

Do these dogs tend to bite? Or do they only give you the impression that they’re going to attack you by running toward you and then stopping to bark at you from a few feet away?

There’s only one sure way of telling if that dog running toward you is playing, bluffing, or attacking. That is to stand there and see if he knocks you down and starts chewing on your throat.

Assuming you aren’t really interested in gathering empirical evidence, you should try to determine if the dog is growling and/or has his teeth bared. If not, it’s possible he just is being exuberant and wants to play. Or, he wants to rip your throat out but has forgotten to bare his teeth or growl.

People tend to grossly exaggerate both the intelligence and the predictability of dogs. I would assume the dog is being aggressive rather than friendly, but rather than running away (which would encourage the chase behavior), I would run TOWARD the dog with my arms raised, baring my teeth, and making some growling noises of my own. This would at least give Fido pause.

a situation to stand your ground. be big and loud.

If I’m on my own, or public property, I wait until they get really close, then shoot if necessary!

a couple of earlier related threads:

Dog-Defense Martial Arts

How to defend against dog attacks

Running is probably going to make things worse - you can’t outrun most dog, and they’re hardwired to chase things moving away from them.

I’m voting for stand ground or move towards it.

The second part of the question, “Do these dogs tend to bite?” - I guess badly trained agrressive ones do, other ones don’t. I wouldn’t imagine there’s a clear answer to whether domesticated dogs tend to bite; I’d be inclined to say no, but with exceptions.

Most of the advice is wrong. Do not stare down a dog. That is an invitation to fight. Do not try to intimidate a dog. Again, its a sign of dominance and who will win. Stand still and try to ignore a dog that is chasing you.
If a dog is going attack there is little you can do. Running won’t help. They have four legs to your two and they can run and turn faster than you can. Most dogs are only displaying their breed instinct, such as a Boarder Collie chasing you to round you up. It may even nip. But they are not trying to cause pain or injury. If a dog is trained to attack, then again little can be done. Remember, dogs are not stupid. There is a reason for any dog to attack. They feel threatened or are protecting their turf. Think when approaching a dog and try to see things their way.

Never, NEVER run from a dog. Just don’t. In a sprint virtually any dog on earth can outrun you. Even a mild mannered dog will have to fight down the urge to chase you and bite your leg under such circumstances, as it is an open invitation to switch on the prey drive.

Dog aggression arises from some combination of fear, territoriality, and prey drive. (I’m leaving a few motivations out that don’t apply here). These are different emotions, in a dog. Whether the dog will actually bite you depends the dog, your behavior, and the circumstances (are you inside the zone that they think of as their property? are you wearing something strange to an inexperienced dog, like a hat, or a beard?).

Finally, back to the OP – in almost all cases, the best thing you can do when meeting a dog – in your case, any dog at all, since clearly you are not at the point of being able to read a dog’s intentions via its behavior, posture, and expression:

  1. DO NOT look at the dog except out of the corner of your eye. Staring is aggression, to a dog. Don’t fan any possible flames.
  2. Do not make any sudden moves, yell, wave your arms. Dogs are not wild animals, they are highly socialized to human beings. Unlike any other animal, they can and do read human faces for emotion. Subtle is the watchword. Do stand tall and present a confident, calm bearing.
  3. Do not turn your back on a dog you are unsure of. Back away slowly without looking at the dog.

reading dogs:
A dog who is staring at you intently with their ears forward, tight face, standing very erect, tail straight up, perhaps wagging at the tip? That dog is the most apt to bite you. It is a pose which says in dog language, I am the boss here, I’m not afraid of you, and you better leave, now. You are in danger.

A dog with their ears back, tail wagging relaxedly low, soft face, eyes averted, is not going to bite you. They are saying, I’m a happy submissive greeter. They may even mouth your hand, but they are friendly.

A dog who is snarling and barking with their hackles up, looking ferocious, is trying to scare you off, because they are half afraid, half angry. This dog is fairly likely to not bite if you back away slowly, fairly likely to bite if you turn your back, extremely likely to bite if you try to run away.

I stand my ground and start talking to the dog in a high-pitched “good dog” voice. So far, I haven’t had my throat chewed out. I’m also reading the dog’s body language: where’s its tail, wagging, up high, down low? Is the fur on the back of its neck sticking up straight? Mouth open? Teeth showing or just panting? If I get a whiff of “dog on attack” vibe, that high-pitched chirpy voice immediately drops several octaves to growly, angry Mama Dog voice and I’ll start calling out commonly known (to dogs) commands, “SIT! STAY!”

But yeah, there’s no 100% accurate prediction if the dog is fearful and fearful dogs bite.

Need answer fast?

This. If Toto or some small breed under 20 pounds or so is charging, I’ll let them come and kick or stomp as needed, if they really have a mind to draw blood. You’ll never convince a judge that these guys deserved 4 rounds apiece from your .45. Or 9mm.:wink: Might have to make an exception forthis one, though. I just don’t like his attitude.

Big ol’ dog? Shielding with my left and mag dump with my right. The incredible -and admirable - capabilitiesthey have preclude a wait-and-see attitude.

Search here and you’ll find my story of protecting my little girl from a GSD attack.
As I got to her and yelled, he stopped and circled, but did not come back in. My .40 was hammer-back and ready, but couldn’t justify the shot.

I love dogs, but the bitey ones have gots to go.:dubious:

Not bad advice – but I wouldn’t do a high pitched voice, it can communicate appeasement/weakness to an aggressive dog. What you really want to communicate is, “I’m not a threat to you, but I do own the space I’m in.” Calm, low-pitched “self-assured leader” voice is the way to go. If talking helps your emotional state become calm and confident, then talk, but it’s your body language the dog will be cueing off of.

To those who advocate preemptive violence:

Being aggressive back to the dog works – if the dog is liable to be scared off (probably most dogs). But some dogs who would have just threatened and done nothing if you behaved neutrally, will feel obligated to rise to the challenge. And then, the attack will be your fault, although the dog will be put to death, and you’ll have a great story about your toughness.

You can’t outrun a dog. Just stand and make yourself as tall and loud as possible. Do not look into the dog’s eyes. Dog will lose interest. Police attack dogs are different. Try to lift the dog as it bites you and attempt to knee it in the belly or grab the genitals. This will make it let go. Kick and stomp as much as you can after it lets go.

Dogs have many vulnerable points. A human who keeps his cool in spite of the pain can win. How else do you think we domesticated wolves and turned them in to dogs?

Fantastic write up. This is perhaps the best description of dog behavior I’ve ever read.

aw, shucks.