Do you know what to do if you end up in a close encounter of the stray dog kind while skating? Many outdoor inline skaters, skate boarders and bike riders have been greeted and even chased by stray dogs. These adventures are usually unexpected and sometimes a bit scary, so here are some suggestions of things you should and should not do to avoid to protect yourself from strays and keep Fido off your tail on a trail:
Try very hard to avoid eye contact with the dog, since this may seem like a threat to an animal.
Stop skating or riding and try to keep still when a dog approaches you. If a stray dog that is not aggressive comes close to you, let him sniff you. But be sure to avoid fast or sudden movements, screams or yelling that might appear threatening.
Make an effort to appear relaxed, because dogs can sense fear. Most of the time the dog will move on if you do not seem afraid or interesting.
This is not a good time to be friendly. Do not try to pet a stray dog, a dog that is sleeping or or a dog who is eating. Leave them alone to prevent unwanted bites.
Don't try to out skate the dog. Most dogs love to chase moving objects and they can run faster than you can skate, scoot or pedal. If you just keep still, the dog will probably lose interest.
After the dog loses interest, carefully walk on your skates or with your bike or scooter in the opposite direction and do not look back. You will appear slow and boring and will be leaving the dog's territory.
Consider a new route if you continue to meet up the same dog, and file a report with your local animal rescue center before the dog hurts someone or is hurt by someone.
If you are ever actually attacked by a dog, throw something at him (a backpack or even a helmet) to distract him while you find an enclosure, something to climb on or other protection. If you are attacked before you can find shelter, curl up in a fetal position and protect your head, ears and neck with your arms. Always report attacks to the police and get medical attention right away.