Dogs!: Hi, I've just completed W8 run 1, but... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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I've just completed W8 run 1, but 5 minutes from the end of the running part, a dog suddenly came barking and snarling up at me.

I was really concentrating on getting to the end of the run and it was a shock to suddenly have to deal with this dog. The owner thought it was really funny and just sat there laughing. My husband who was running with me saw the dog off.

I'm scared of dogs anyway and I'm really wary when I run past them. This is the first one to come at me in 8 weeks though.

Does anyone have any tips on what to do about dogs when you are running.


13 Replies

Kick it in the nadgers? Dog or owner, your choice :)


My routes occasionally go through dog parks, and my Parkrun is in an off-leash area. If I see excitable dogs around, I usually just walk, because I know running by them can rile them up and they'll sometimes jump. Sometimes they'll leave you alone if you give them heck in a deeper booming voice. I'm sorry you've had to go through this - I used to have a fear of dogs prior to adopting a couple of them.


I am a dog owner and a confirmed dog lover but I have had a few run ins with loose dogs while running. If a dog is openly friendly, tail wagging and looking super friendly, I am fine and will always stope for a stroke after asking the owner. However, big dogs are sometimes frightening, I am pretty scared of a large dog running towards me or chasing me. I once had a Dalmatian running at me showing its teeth (not it was not smiling) and the owner said "don't worry, it's friendly!" I always call my dog back and put it on a lead when other dogs or runners approach. Many of these large dogs just are not under control as the owner calls them and they do what they want


I have an unnatural fear of dogs since I was bitten by one. I have a lot of this when I run in the woods and owners normally laugh when they jump up at me and I'm petrified. I'm so sorry I have no tips but I'm going to follow your post to get some. I hope you are ok? I get really mega shaken up after dog- related incidents 😢

janiefGraduate in reply to ju-ju-


Thanks for the replies. I'm just

annoyed that instead of feeling great about the run, I ended up being angry about this dog and it's laughing owner. 😡 x

ju-ju-Administrator in reply to janief

I'm so with you, I get so cross too as it feels like they have ruined my run. Try to put it behind you and don't let it put you off.... 😎


I had a small dog running between my legs, the owner laughed and said' she won't hurt you' I said, if she trips me up it's very likely to hurt, and I will be incredibly cross! She put the dog on a lead from then on. I just don't think she had thought of the tripping threat.

Sad for the dogs to have owners who really have no idea! Many owners are really great mind you!


I like dog's but some owners don't control them properly, I've had one run in front of me at a Parkrun on a long lead! One of the rules of Parkrun is for dogs to be on a short lead! Anyway I am wary of them as I was badly bitten on the hand when trying to stroke a stray dog as a young boy going home from school...


Firstly, the sudden appearance of a walker or runner can cause a dog to be fearful and even a friendly dog may well give several 'alarm' barks. Ignoring the behaviour is the best thing to do but not easy, especially if the dog is running towards you. My advice would be to stop running because many dogs, particularly younger ones will get excited and instinctively want to chase you. Keep hands/arms still (cross arms so your hands are not visible), again moving objects can be very 'arousing' (to use a technical phrase). Avoid eye contact - especially if the dog appears aggressive. If the owner is coming towards you continue walking at a steady pace and hopefully they can catch the dog when you get nearer. If the owner is behind you then you could turn around and walk towards them or stand still and turn away from the dog so you are less threatening.

Regarding shouting or making noises at the dog - be careful, some dogs may well become defensive and growl back at you! Dogs pick up very quickly on how you are feeling so try to stay calm and call 'hello' to the owner in a happy voice this will make the dog feel more relaxed and less scared of you, hopefully.

*NB these are my thoughts, as an owner of a young dog and runner, certainly not professional advice.*


I meet hundreds of em on my trail. Never met a scary one, fortunately. 🙂🐕


I second the advice to keep hands still - either out of sight or down by your sides. I learned when our precious dog was a pup that he associated hands with treats, so if a nervous person (naturally) lifted their hands up, it made it worse as he tried to jump up at them in excitement. (This makes me sound like a really bad dog owner. I hasten to add that he was on the lead in public, and this was something we had to go through with visitors to our house. But if anyone was nervous of dogs he was removed straight away!)

Walking towards the owner is always worth a try - not least because it makes it easier for them to get the dog under control if it's coming near them rather than following its target into the distance! And it makes it easier for you to ask them to remove their dog, too, if that's needed.

It does bug me when people say 'don't worry, he won't harm you' or such, as though that makes everything ok. Some people are phobic, some people just don't like dogs, some people don't want to be accosted by unknown dogs. And they should be able to do what they're doing, whether walking or running, in peace.


It may help to think of the owner's laughter as embarrassment (true or not - may have been an ignorant git)

I think there may be difficulties in some areas... my Dad used to run where ju-ju- now often runs and he was forever coming home with stories of getting into arguments with owners about their dogs (he always made things much worse but there was a problem in the first place)

I've never had a problem with other people's when running (I get friendly attention but then I am always carrying dog treats so labradors especially)... my own once did jump up at a runner who was moving much faster than I thought and I didn't get the lead on quickly enough (still not expecting the dog to jump up) Utterly cringe making. Even friendly contact could damage your clothes or scratch you.

I think you are taking the right attitude by trying to develop strategies for the future... which I hope you'll never need. I used to say "Stop running, just stand" but I now understand much better that is a complete pain when you are doing the programme or not just 'out for a run' on this occasion. Remembering that most dogs like this are acting out of fear may help guide what you do.

My brother got bitten once when he was just standing talking to the owner in friendly fashion. He thought it had just got his trousers but later found a nasty bruise that messed up his running for a while. It wasn't even one of the 'nippier' breeds.

Has anyone tried a whistle? I bike where there are two big dogs always loose on a farm nearby. Each day I have to stop and walk the bike by them as they bark at me. I dare not run in that direction but it would be a pleasant run. Thinking about getting a whistle, anyone know if that might work?

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