An aggressive dog runs out of a yard and comes straight for you. It is barking and snarling and baring its teeth. It is not on a leash and you do not see its owner anywhere nearby. What is your first instinct?
Odds are, your fight-or-flight instinct is going to kick in, and you’ll be tempted to run. It’s a natural reaction, but it’s the wrong one. Do not try to run away from the dog.
Why not? First of all, dogs are predators at heart, and they know how to chase prey. It’s instinctive for them. If you run, you identify yourself as prey, and they will chase you. You don’t want them to view you that way, and you do not want to get the dog more riled up than it was to begin with.
Secondly, running is pointless. You can’t run faster than that charging dog. You can’t. It doesn’t matter if you’re in great shape or not. Dogs are incredibly fast compared to humans. So, in the risk/reward analysis, you are just increasing the risk — by appearing to be prey — when there is no possible reward. If the dog wants to bite you, it still can.
Rather than running, try to stand your ground or back away slowly. Don’t make eye contact, but keep facing the dog. Many times, the dog will not actually bite, but will stop and bark at you. If you calmly back out if its territory, it will leave you alone.
That said, there are cases where you can’t avoid the bite. That’s when you must know what legal steps to take.