Running from a predator is perhaps one of the most instinctive of human behaviors. For most people today, it’s not something they actively think about, but it is engrained in human biology. If an animal charges, it’s only natural to turn and run.
But what if that animal is a neighborhood dog that wasn’t kept on a leash or that was allowed to freely roam the yard? If the snarling dog charges and looks set on biting you, is running your best option?
The chase response in canines
As you may have guessed, it’s not. For one thing, dogs are much faster than even elite athletes. Running feels natural, but you’re not going to escape. You’re simply not fast enough.
Moreover, dogs have a chase response. It can be triggered by someone who is trying to run away. This can make them more aggressive and more likely to run after you. Things escalate when you run.
Instead, you want to try to slow down, stop, and get the dog to calm down. Don’t make eye contact. Then start backing up. If the dog is just protecting its territory, it will be glad you’re leaving, but slowly backing away does not trigger that chase response.
What if you do suffer serious injuries?
Knowing what to do is helpful, but these incidents often happen quickly. You’re out for a jog and then a dog charges before you even realize what’s happening. It’s not your fault if you get bitten, and you need to know how to seek compensation for your medical bills and all related costs. A bite can lead to infection, scarring, disfigurement and a lot of other long-term issues.