The two biggest threats to people who run, walk or cycle outdoors are dog attacks and, especially for women, attacks from assailants.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has statistics that show that close to 5 million Americans annually are attacked by dogs with nearly 1,000,000 of them requiring hospitalization.
To combat this common threat we suggest that you learn some basic dog attack prevention techniques. Some suggestions are:
- Carry a pepper spray for runners that has a hand strap.
- Avoiding areas where dogs congregate.
- If you see two or more dogs together, a pack mentality for the dog sets in making them more dangerous.
- Some people claim that dogs can sense fear and if you panic dogs may become more confident in an attack.
- If a dog is just barking at you, hold your position. He may lose interest and leave.
- Because dogs are very territorial, if you approach a dog that is in a fenced in area, he may be especially aggressive.
- Never pet a dog while he’s sleeping, eating or drinking.
- Never yell at a dog and for that matter don’t smile at a dog either. A dog sees your teeth from a smile as a sign of aggression.
- Learn to read some dog body language. It’s a dog’s ears are pinned back he is ready to attack you. If he is loping at you he may just want to play.
- Never run away from a dog.
Techniques to defend against human assailants include walking, jogging or cycling with a friend and avoiding what might be considered high risk such as darkened areas or areas that have lots of hiding places such as wooded lots.
When out walking always carry a pepper spray for runners such as this one from Sabre brand. It contains approximately 25 shots up to 10 feet away in a tight stream pattern which reduces wind blowback. The adjustable hand strap makes carrying while cycling, jogging or running simple and easy. There is thumb lock safety to help prevent accidental discharge.