One of the most important things you can do if an aggressive dog approaches you is to refrain from running away. It goes against your natural instincts. You feel like you should run and that it can keep you safe. It may actually put you in more danger.

Remember, dogs want to chase. Just as running is your natural instinct, chasing is theirs. Sometimes, it’s to follow the pack. Other times, it’s because they think they’re chasing prey. If it looks like the dog is aggressive and wants to bite you, that’s likely the scenario you’re in.

One woman tested this by running until dogs would chase her and then stopping. Every time she started running, they ran after her without fail. Every time she stopped running, they also stopped. She said that they even leaped away from her and kept their distance.

That woman was a trained expert conducting an experiment, so she knew what she was doing. Many people do not. If a dog charges, they just run and plan to keep running until they get away. Since dogs are much faster, though, they’re not going to outrun a dog that wants to catch them. They’re just going to make the dog feel more aggressive until it catches them and bites them.

An alternative would be to stop running and calmly face the dog without making eye contact. That, as the experiment showed, may actually get them to stop running.

If you do get attacked by an aggressive dog, it’s not your fault just because you tried to run. You may be able to seek compensation for your injuries from the owner.

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