Loose dogs can make even the most pleasant running route a place of fear. Spending your time worrying about whether dogs will bite will ruin the thinking time and zone-out time that so many people value while running. If you end up getting bitten, your running days could be over, at least for a while.
What can you do if you meet a loose dog?
Stopping or slowing to a walk may be enough
However fast you are, most dogs will be able to outrun you, so speeding up is not an option, and it may encourage the dog to keep chasing you. Remember that some breeds were bred to chase wild animals, so if they see you running, their instinct may kick in. Once you slow, they may bore and drift back home.
Make yourself more human
Most dogs are not scared of most humans. They know what they look like, and they know what they tend to do. Running garb can make you look distinctly inhuman, though. Things such as mirrored wrap-around lenses or poles can leave a dog wondering what kind of scary creature you are, and they might decide that attack is the best form of defense.
Talk to the animal
Not shouting, but talking – in the same voice a dog owner might use when praising a dog or telling it that it is about to get a treat – can help. Your calmness will hopefully transmit to the dog. If you speak in an agitated or fearful tone, that too will transmit, which could worsen your predicament.
You can only do so much. If a dog does bite you, remember there may be legal options to claim compensation from the owner.