Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Running and street dogs - II

Deccan Gymkhana Post office. Estd. 1923.

What can you do about street dogs?  

This is the follow up. See Part I.    
This is important. It’s all about body language.  Yours and the dogs.
1.       Barking dogs really don’t bite.  They are warning you off.   They may not even look at you.  Do not stare at them.  But this behavior could change to an attacking one. Be alert. 
2.       If a dog lopes towards you quickly and kind of growls in a low tone with hackles raised, this is bad news.  He/she wants a piece of you.   Stop.  Face and look them in the eye.  Make yourself big by raising and waving your arms. Shout. And walk out of their space slowly.  Don’t kick.
3.       To preempt this, pretend to throw a pebble at them.  They have been pelted so often in India that they will run away by conditioning.
4.       Dogs in packs could be serious trouble.  If you are going past an agitated pack, walk or wait for them to pass.   If one chooses to bark at you, all will follow and then they tend to go into a ‘hunting’ mode.  Pick up stones and hurl to hit. 
I have not been bitten yet.  I have been ‘attacked’ quite a few times though.  While scary, it has a bright side.   When you are in a long run your mind tends to drift.  Work, family, and other thoughts take you away from the run.   A dogs growl brings you in the here and now like nothings else!   All your senses are alert and you are completely in the present moment.   

Like most fears in our life, keep an eye out for dogs but don’t obsess about them.  For the most part ignoring them works.    And, once in a while, they will bite you in the behind.