You are coming onto the home straight, one block to go to your house, and you are in full flow on your 10 km training route. Then out steps that dog. There is nothing that spoils a run so fast as a loose aggressive dog.

It can be tempting to plow on past; after all, you are going at quite a pace, and the added incentive of a dog on your heels, may inspire you to crush your personal best. However, this could result in an injury that stops you running for months.

Here are five things you could do to reduce the chance of a dog bite:

  1. Walk: Some breeds love to chase. So, as much as it hurts to lose your record time, it will be far more painful if the dog catches you, which it will do, and bites you, which it may do. Slow down to a walk or a complete stop. A dog cannot chase a stationary person.
  2. Cross the road: If the dog is outside its house and you want to keep running, crossing the road may create enough distance between you for the dog to leave you alone. If a dog is protecting its property, it will have a specific radius that it feels it should defend. Stay outside that, and you should be fine.
  3. Tell it to go home: Some dogs are obedient enough to follow such a command.
  4. Talk in a cheery voice: This will not work for all dogs, but some dogs can be snapped out of chase or defensive mode by a cheerful voice.
  5. Lose the sunglasses and hat: Hats and sunglasses disguise your face. If you have those big reflective face-covering glasses, a dog may think you are an alien they need to attack to save the planet. Looking like a human makes you less scary.

Despite your best efforts to understand dog psychology, sometimes it is not enough. If a dog bites you, seek legal advice to recover compensation for your injuries.