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Neighborhood dog "bit" me while running WWYD/prefer be done?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I was running a different way then usual, and ran past a house when I heard a dog barking. Next thing I know, it's right behind me and jumping up close enough that it's foot hit my heel. I have always read that if a dog comes after you while running, you shouldn't make eye contact or stop/speed up suddenly, so I didn't look back at it, just continued at the same pace and the dog ran off. Unfortunately, the street ended in a circle, so I had to run back the same way. This time when I ran past (making sure to keep my pace steady), the dog jumped up and grabbed my elbow in it's teeth. It was very gentle, so I just firmly said "down" and kept moving steady. It again jumped up and grabbed my elbow, so I slowed to a walk. By this time, I was past it's house, so it left me alone (I assume ran back to it's house, I didn't look around), I walked a couple houses further, and then resumed running.

My question is, should I let the owners know, if so, how? Even though the dog was being pretty gentle, I could very easily see that sequence of events ending much messier. I guess one question is, is there much chance they don't know the dog does this? They obviously allow it to run free, so I would hope not, but who knows. I am not a confrontational person, so I would feel uncomfortable going and talking to them in person, but I thought maybe an anonymous letter just explaining what happened would at least ensure they were aware.

My other question is, if I did try to handle through official channels, once the word "bit" comes into play, would the dog have to be quarantined, even though it wasn't really a bite?
post #2 of 17
If the dog was gentle, I would bet he was trying to play and thought the running looked like fun, or that it made him a little nervous and he was trying to get you slow down with no vicious intent. I definitely would not go through the authorities. We had a neighbor call the police when our 6-month-old German Shepherd puppy reportedly grabbed his son's arm when she escaped from the house. (witnesses say our dog never got close enough to the child for any contact, but, regardless, she was still a puppy and, if she had grabbed his arm, she wanted to play). So, we had to deal with animal control--who ended up being very reasonable--and it created a very uncomfortable situation within the neighborhood.

I'd talk to the owners if possible, and approach it not as a complaint, but more as a heads-up, because the dog's actions could be easily misinterpreted by someone else.
post #3 of 17
I would definitely talk to the owners. They need to know that having a dog off leash outside is not OK. If it had been someone afraid of dogs in your place, they could have been in a lot of trouble.

I'd just let them know and try to be non confrontational, like: "hey, your dog is so playful! He ran up to me when I was jogging and jumped on me and was play biting. I love animals and I don't mind, but if it happened to a kid or someone else, your dog could get into trouble. I just thought I'd mention it because I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to your dog"
post #4 of 17
I would call Animal Control and report a bite but specify that it did not break skin. You know, just be honest.

The last place I lived, my landlord had a dog who ran free 24/7. Despite the fact that I had told her that her dog had bitten my 11 year old son on several occasions, she told herself things like "the dog was too small to be dangerous" (not the point) and "the dog just had a problem with T" (not true). So she did nothing about it. I was afraid of repercussions from filing charges on my landlord so my hands were tied. My son wasn't able to play outside at all because of this situation.

I had seen this dog chase after and bite many people (we lived at the end of a road, but there was a popular jogging path that came out at our property) and I can not fathom why nobody ever complained. I guess people are really afraid of confrontation or of 'causing problems'. Reporting a free-running dog is not causing a problem, having a dog who runs free is. Especially if it is pursuing or biting people.
post #5 of 17
As a dog owner, I would be horrified if my dog did this. I would be so worried about what could have happened, say for example if a child were riding his trike with Mom. It could have easily been a very traumatizing experience for a child, even with the dog being so gentle. Then again, I do NOT let my dogs roam free. IMO, that is irresponsible pet ownership. They have gotten out once when I was out (pushed the glass out of a window) and thankfully they are small and very friendly. I was so glad that they were okay and that the neighbors that they went to visit reported that they were sweet and licked their little boy's hand.

As for what to do, I think what Mamangazelle suggested about talking to them very friendly about their dog is a good idea. If you're afraid of confrontation, perhaps printing off the leash laws in your area and leaving them anonymously on their mailbox is a good solution.

post #6 of 17
Originally Posted by Missy View Post
I'd talk to the owners if possible, and approach it not as a complaint, but more as a heads-up, because the dog's actions could be easily misinterpreted by someone else.
post #7 of 17
Do you know for sure who the owners are if the dog was running loose?

If you knew the people who owned the dog then I could see approaching them about what their dog did before involving authorities.

If you don't know them then I would just call the authorities about a loose dog in the neighborhood and give the facts.
post #8 of 17
I really don't see the problem with handling this as a complaint. I don't feel that the owners should have their hands held or whatever. They irresponsibly let their dog run loose, and it caused a problem- could have been much worse.

In my experience, pussyfooting around an issue like this does not cause a solution. It causes the owners to feel justified in saying to themselves "it wasn't so bad" or "Fido is a good dog, he would never do something bad, no reason to keep him contained".

And very few dog owners are realistic about their dog's ability to act like 'the dogs that leash laws are directed toward'. Chasing people, cars, livestock, biting, fighting, etc. Nobody ever thinks that their dog will act that way.
post #9 of 17
Yes, this needs to be taken seriously. No need for "oh your dog is so playful, he play nipped at me!" Because a lot of people will then laugh and pat fido's head and say "what a silly boy! don't nip at people you silly-willy wubby…"

When what's really happening, is that the dog didn't like you in his territory, so he started out small, barking, then chasing, then a "soft" bite to warn you away (yes, Okapi, he did bite you, he just showed a great amount of restraint in doing so). And because you then left his territory, he now thinks those things are acceptable ways to scare off intruders. What's going to happen is he will keep up those actions and most likely escalate them, meaning he will end up biting someone he sees as threat to his territory.

By reporting this to both AC and his owners, hopefully you can stop this from happening, which will hopefully let this dog stay alive. I guarantee that if he's allowed to get to the point of biting someone, he will be put down.

Do you have a good friend or partner who can go with you to talk to the neighbors? I also hate confrontation and I would def. have my partner come with me for this kind of talk.

post #10 of 17
Do you feel the situation needs a complaint or are you more worried about how future interactions could go or how someone else could be affected? it sounds to me like the latter. personally i would also feel uncomfortable going up to their door so a letter explaining the incident seems better than calling animal control and IMO a print out about leash laws seems a bit passive aggressive. while it sounds like the dog was playful it could also be territorial and i would worry too that someone else would over react to the same situation. i wouldn't want my dog to bother anyone but if he did i would take action-not everyone thinks their dog can do no wrong and not every dog bites. i don't have a problem with lose running dogs as long as the dog doesn't hurt anyone. i also think people often overreact but thers not much you can do about that-and yes some dogs do have issues that their owners aren't taking care of
post #11 of 17
I would tell the owners.

I had a dog issue like this in my old neighborhood. He looked like a ridgeback to me. Or some lab/ridgeback cross. EVERY single time that I would run he would nip me gently. I don't mean agressively. He's be wagging his tail, eyes shining with playfulness, taking whatever body part of mine he could get in his mouth and tugging.

This was a playful game to him. It was NOT agressive.

However, I knew this. And I knew to slow down whenever I came around the bend. I also knew to carry treats with me to throw the other way, lol.

I talked to the neighbors several times because if a child had been going by on their bike or just running and the dog ran into them, it could have ended in injury - even though, again, it wasn't agression on the dog's part.

Nothing worked in talking to the neighbors. And I never called animal control, only because I knew the dog wasn't agressive. I didn't want anything to happen to the poor guy, just because his owners couldn't contain him.

Eventually, I moved, which obviously took care of that issue.

So, if I were you, I'd speak with the neighbors, and threaten Animal Control. I would call Animal Control ONLY if the dog was truly agressive, as opposed to playful. If the dog gets picked up enough times for "biting" - they won't care if it was playful or not, they'll just put him down.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advise!

Yeah, my main concern is what could have happened if it had been someone like, say, my DH. He was attacked pretty badly by a dog when he was young, and if a dog did that to him, the dog would have ended up hurt or dead. Not to mention if it was a child or someone who was afraid but not aggressive, they could have easily freaked out & the dog could have hurt them. Just seems like a disaster waiting to happen. I definitely don't want to bring it up to the owners and have them blow it off like a PP mentioned. "Well, obviously you weren't hurt, so what's the problem?" KWIM?

We had a dog when I was young who played like Sailor mentioned, so it seemed like the same sort of thing to me, but if it's more like Julia said, that is definitely a problem (like I said, I wasn't looking at the dog, so I couldn't really say - just assumed based on my previous experience).

I will try to get up the nerve to go talk to the neighbors, and if I can't do that, send a letter outlining the incident. If the dog is still running loose after that, I will alert the authorities.

ETA: I don't know the people, just the address of the house the dog ran out from. I have seen the dog at the same place when driving by, so I'm pretty sure that's the where the dog lives.
post #13 of 17
Hi Okapi (nice username btw, okapi is ds1's favorite animal!)

Concerning your situation you should definately address the dog being off leash with the owner. This dog reminded me of my 4 1/2 mo australian shepherd/boxer mix Charlie. He definately has a strong prey instinct and if something is running he will chase. He will also nip at/mouth whatever he is chasing. I am working very hard to curb this behavior. I think your continuing to run when this dog gives chase is encouraging him to chase you and to nip at you.

In Cesar Milan's book Be The Pack Leader he has a section in the appendix titled "Facing an Aggressive Dog". In this section he says if a dog is charging you (running toward you - chasing) the best response is to "simply stop, remain calm, and claim your own space". He says to face the dog and project calm assertive energy toward him. He also says if it is a dog you pass regularly it is very important that you do not back down. Once the dog starts to move away from you you should walk toward it (projecting the same calm assertive energy) or use a sound such as hand clapping to get the dog to move away quicker. He emphasizes that if the dog is moving towards you not to make any sounds because you can add to any of the dogs aggressive or excited energy. Most importantly - never turn your back on the dog until it retreats, if there is more than one dog never let one get behind you!

DH put this concept into practice when my puppy was much younger. He was taking Charlie for a walk and two dogs charged them from someone's yard. DH placed the puppy behind him and started walking towards the dogs. They stopped in their tracks and began barking at him. Dh continued to walk forward and the dogs retreated.

Hope this is helpful to you!

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by MissSJ View Post
Hi Okapi (nice username btw, okapi is ds1's favorite animal!)
Thanks - it's my favorite, as well!

Thank you so much for this information. It is *completely* opposite from what I have heard, but certainly makes more sense (esp. the part about not letting the dog get behind you). I will definitely keep this in mind while I am running - I have no intention of going the same way again, but I doubt it will be the last time I'm faced with a loose dog (it wasn't the first, just the first I've ever had one get that close!).
post #15 of 17

I had the same situation while running the other day. I like to run distances and my husband worries (I always roll my eyes and ignore him)
But no longer. I was surrounded and followed by 4 large dogs while running in their neighborhood.

I could see the headline in the paper "Jogger mauled to death by 4 dogs"

So now I carry pepper spray.

Of course I don't think this is your situation - but I would for sure head off a potentially bad problem by letting the owner know.

The bad thing for me is that there is no leash law in my county. So these dogs have the right to follow me. It was scary - they were circling me and two of them had the hair between their shoulder blades raised.
post #16 of 17
I think you should definately let the owners know. I'd do it face to face -especially since you don't seem too upset by it- less chance they will get defensive. Even if the dog was just playing- he still bit at you! They really need to know ther dog is doing this so they can take precautions.
post #17 of 17
If im out walking and a dog is off leash bothering me, im on my cell with Animal Control right then. I'm not even sure if they really "enforce" the leash law unless there is a complaint.

Sorry, I just dont think I should be harassed by un-controlled loose pets - their owners should be more responsible or they should not have a pet at all.

Obviously I would be complaining, LOUDLY if someone's dog was loose and harrassing me while I was on public property.
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