What to do when a dog wants to attack you

It’s also important to be higher-status than your attackers. Otherwise you can get railroaded like Cece McDonald, or like the Nazis are trying to do to Deandre Harris.

Any tips what to do when a large dog is running at you, with no leash and no beastmaster in sight? Aside from panic, because dog, and run away as fast as possible, knowing dogs can run faster?


I know.

I have to avoid the dogs because they make me very sick.

Dogs are said to attack us if we avoid them, and they often growl while I avoid them, so I have to avoid them more and fear them.

Dogs are said to attack us if we fear them, and encountering horror-movie monsters that attack people who fear them, and which are often bred into grotesque shapes, is mighty scary, so I have to fear them more and run the hell away from them if they run at me.

Have to-- I don’t have a choice not to run from the horror.

P.S. You should have trigger-warned that @#$% link!


i’ve also found that hiding your hands seems to be a good tactic – put them in your pocket or behind your back. dogs tend to focus on hands for treats or something to smell and lick. hiding them confuses them.


Never run. Any dog can outrun any human. BE A TREE. Be absolutely still, don’t meet their eyes, say nothing, be BORING.

edited to add…never mind, this is what happens when you don’t read a thread until later in the evening!


Overwhelming fear is overwhelming.

I can’t understand how some people could not be afraid of creatures which are said to attack anyone who is afraid of them. If something is said to do that, then we are in a horror story, which is a bad place to be.

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It does sound a bit like the old “Don’t think of a white horse” joke. But although dogs are said to do that, most dogs don’t. If they are on a leash they are generally docile, and if they aren’t and run up to you, they mostly want to play. Even if you run, they usually think, “Oh good, she wants to play too”, and you trip over them and break your arm. In other words, running is a bad idea whether or not the dog is vicious.

What you describe sounds like a phobia (correct me if that’s not the right term for it). Phobias are counterproductive because they make things worse regardless of the degree of danger. They can be treated, for example by exposure therapy. Have you considered looking into something like that?


I don’t have access to therapy.

If I did have access to therapy, the underlying reasons-- my need to avoid dogs to avoid bad allergies, and dogs’ reactions to my avoiding dogs, and my need to avoid dogs more-- would remain.


A friend of mine is about the same – asthma, allergies, and trauma from being bitten when she was very young – and she found some completely free therapy. There is a friendly couple in her building with a friendly German Shepherd. She is now at the point where she can ride in the elevator with the dog without having a panic attack.

That took months to achieve, but she got there. The dog’s owners were happy to help her out.

The two biggest things for my friend were acclimation and learning body language. She’d try to tell the dogs, “go away, leave me alone” through her body language, when often the gestures and postures she was using had the complete opposite effect. The dog owners would give her feedback on how to tell dogs she doesn’t want to play with them in a way they’ll understand.

At the same time she’s learned about dog body language. One time she was visiting me, and as we were leaving my apartment the neighbour’s chow chow came bounding along the corridor. Come to think of it, this might be why she decided to start working with the Shepherd and his owners.

She thought the chow was running at her to attack her. I explained he was heading to the elevators for a walk, his favourite thing ever, plus I was behind her, and that dog really likes me. All he was thinking was, “I get to walk and I get pets from that lady in the unit by the elevators!”

It’s like any fear. You can blame an entire species and decide they’re all out to get you, or you can work to make sure that you know how to handle it when you do encounter them in public, or you can do nothing and stay the same.

But if you choose the last option, you don’t get to complain.


Just because something is said doesn’t mean it’s true.

It is true that dogs will run after you if you run. It is not true that every dog that runs after you is trying to attack you. It is true that some dogs (usually poorly trained, but there can be other reasons) cannot distinguish between fear and aggression, but it is not true that every dog will attack you if you exhibit fear in front of them.

Don’t make things harder on yourself than necessary. You’ve got enough on your plate without assuming the entire canine world is out to get you.


I’ve got a dog that is basically the pure embodiment of this… she would probably chase after something that’s moving, but once it’s standing still she tends to completely ignore absolutely any kind of animal, toy, or whatever once she’s had a few sniffs. Even other dogs, cats, rabbits, etc get the same treatment. The only way it usually gets her attention after that is if it’s an animal that’s being very actively aggressive, or a human she wants attention from. I’ve even watched cats pounce on top of this dog and bat at her after that few sniffs, and if it’s not a painful attack she just continues walking along like nothing’s happened, not even looking back (and leaving a very confused-looking cat in her wake…).