On the run: being chased by a dog

“On the run” will be an occasional series of posts about musings and happenings that happen on my journey to fit. They might be new goals and PRs or just me sharing a pleasant run with you. Or, they could be about mistakes and blunders that happen as I continue training.

I woke up early this morning at 6:15 a.m. to head out for a run (pretty impressive for a Friday if I do say so myself). I put on my running shorts and sneakers, got my lime-green non-slip Lululemon headband, guzzled down some water and I was off.

I only planned to do an easy 3-mile run because I have my long run (9 miles!) tomorrow. It was hot and humid, even for 6:30 a.m. but I was going at a steady sub-10 minute pace and feeling pretty good. My head was clear, breathing was steady and legs strong.

As I approached the 2-mile mark I turned up a slight incline and started to hear loud barking. I had run this route many times before and never before been approached by a dog. But this time was different. I hadn’t even reached the edge of the dog’s owner’s property and he was bounding up to the street, barking at me, ears perked and staring me down. I stopped running immediately and was terrified.

As someone who used to be literally phobic of dogs, I didn’t know what to do. My fear of dogs has subsided and I really do love them now but I still get nervous when a dog runs up to me. From the sound of this dog’s bark, it wasn’t a friendly bark, it was a defensive, aggressive bark. I had to make a quick decision because I could tell the home didn’t have an invisible fence so I knew the closer I got, the more aggressive the dog would get. I decided to turn around, go back behind the corner and run in the opposite direction.

I realize now this was sort of a fight or flight mechanism but I didn’t know what to do. After reading some message boards, other runners suggest to keep running, don’t look at the dog and pretend like he/she isn’t there. I don’t know if I could have done this in this particular situation but maybe on the go forward I’ll be able to. If anything, I’d issue a word of caution for runners and beware of dangerous dogs. If their tail isn’t wagging, they most likely aren’t a friendly dog, so be careful.

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