When a Dog Attacks a Runner

Running outside is a great way to exercise, and a popular sport here in the Golden State. In fact, weather in some areas of our state is conducive to running year-round. However, almost every serious runner has at least one story of a close encounter with a hostile canine. Dog attacks on runners are fairly common. The offices of Steinberg Injury Lawyers receive many calls each month related to dog bite injuries in Los Angeles alone, and many of these injuries could have been prevented by following more stringent safety tips. Here are some to follow the next time you lace up your running shoes and take to the streets or trails.


Be acutely aware of your environment. The more you are aware of what’s going on around you, the better prepared you will be for dangers. Know the route you plan to run and leave the headphones at home if you’re unfamiliar with the terrain. The sound of music in your ears can drown out auditory warnings, such as an oncoming car – or the growling of an angry dog nearby.

Avoid unsafe and unknown areas. Don’t run in places where dogs may be on the loose, including bad parts of town, areas near dog parks, or rural areas close to farms.


Keep distance between yourself and a loose dog. If you have the space to do so, try changing direction or crossing the street in order to put distance between you and any loose dog. Even one who does not appear hostile can change its temperament very suddenly, especially if it decides you are a threat once you come closer.


Read the dog’s body language. A hostile dog will provide you with telltale signs that it’s on the offensive. Look for loud growling, tense body with hackles up, erect ears, and a tail held high and stiff or wagging much too fast. Dogs also communicate via eye contact, so if the dog is staring intensely at you, try not to stare back. Instead, keep your head turned slightly away and keep track of the dog in your close peripheral vision.


Remember, if you are bitten by a dog while out running, the dog’s owner may have a duty to cover the costs of your injury as well as other costs, including pain and suffering or time you have to take off from work to deal with your injury. Call the Los Angeles dog bite lawyers at Steinberg Injury Lawyers if you find yourself in this situation. Our experienced staff can advise you on the best steps to take right after a dog bite injury. Our number is 1-800-350-8888 and our lawyers are standing by to help. ​

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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