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Mimishu1995's avatar

Why did the dog behave like that, and should I scare it the next time I see it (details inside)

Asked by Mimishu1995 (22317points) October 11th, 2022
25 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

So this is an update to this question since new information has come out and I just had new experience with the dog.

So over time I have learned that the dog is quite infamous in my neighborhood. It usually roams the park at night and will chase anyone coming near the area, so it wasn’t just me. No one has done anything about it, maybe because the owner is also a questionable figure.

So anyway, yesterday I was riding back home from work. I have been taking the alternative road since the incident of the last question, but there is a cross between the old road and the road I was taking. And that was where I was at when the dog ran toward me. I was riding very slowly at the time so I was able to see it coming now, unlike the previous incidents. I decided to stop still in my track and see what would happen, because dogs usually don’t attack people who don’t run. The dog came to me and sniffed my leg. Then it made a strange jump backward then ran away.

Now this is the part where it got strange. I was about to ride off when the dog ran back and start barking while doing that strange jump earlier, then ran away again. I then continued to ride back home. But just as I was close to my door the dog came running again and barked again. This time it just kept on barking and sniffing without running away. I was at a loss of what to do when a group of men saw me and one of them came out to shoo the dog away.

Is anyone here familiar with dog behavior? If so do you have any idea why the dog behaved that way? I learned that dogs don’t attack anyone who stands still calmly, because they aren’t people with any motive who are afraid of being “found out”. But this dog just continued to harass me even after I stopped moving. It’s as if it was trying to start a fight. My friend suggested the possibility of it not being vaccinated for rabies. Is that true?

I’m considering shooing it away the next time I see it like the men did, but I’m also afraid of getting bitten. I’m not sure if it’s just “all bark and no bite” or if it’s really a mentally disturbed dog that will cause harm. What I saw last night is really unusual and I’m really worried. I can take all the alternative routes in the world, but when the dog just came to me right at my door I don’t think I have any choice left. What should I do?

Not sure if it helps, but I was able to get a clear view of the dog. It has the short body similar to a corgi, but its head is that of a German sheperd.

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Jeruba's avatar

Were you on a bike? Just trying to get a clear picture even though I don’t know anything about canine behavior.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Jeruba I was on my motorcycle. Both times when the dog came to me I stopped still on my track.

Pandora's avatar

When you stopped still it probably was trying to figure out if you were standing and ready to fight. Especially if you were looking at it directly. Now as for the sniffing and jumping back it could be one of three things. Trying to engage you in a fight but trying to keep a safe distance or just trying to scare you off, or trying to engage you to play.

Dogs can sometimes sound aggressive when wanting to play. My dog always chases the cat next door but has no intention in actually fighting. Twice now I have seen her have a good chance to catch the cat she always barks at and suddenly her spitfire run comes to a screeching stop when she sees she can actually catch the cat. I think she just likes the chase and wants to scare the cat off.

Vehicles and especially motorcycles make noises and sometimes it could be the noise is annoying to them or that the speeding vehicle just triggers their prey drive. If the dog hasn’t been known to bite anyone yet then it probably is just posturing. If it steps back and digs its legs back then it’s warning you that this is his territory. Don’t come near.
If it’s growling and clenching its teeth and staring directly at you and is still while doing this, then he is ready to attack.

I can tell when my dog really wants to go after something. The hair on her back goes up. There is a big dog that walks by every day and every day when she sees him the hair on her back goes up and she lowers her head and growls and barks but her posture is way different from the cat’s.
Is there a reason you can’t report the dog as a menace to the city and have someone come pick it up?

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Pandora Is there a reason you can’t report the dog as a menace to the city and have someone come pick it up?

There isn’t any organization that deals with that kind of situation. My city used to have a team that pick up dogs roaming around like that, but they don’t do that anymore because it’s hard to train people for the job. Plus, it’s ingrained in people’s culture that dogs are people’s personal matter, so the “mind your own business” thing applies. There is also the fact that the owner is a questionable figure. I think there is a reason why noone has reported the dog, even when it has been known to roam the area for some time.

snowberry's avatar

The fact that the dog comes and sniffs but doesn’t growl is important to me. When you stop, what does the dog do if you rev your engine? What happens if you begin walking your motorbike slowly after the dog comes to you? It would help if you speak quietly to the dog.

I’m waiting to see what our resident dog experts have to say.

smudges's avatar

Sounds to me like the dog is torn between wanting to be aggressive and being scared. It’s interested in you, hence the sniffing and returning, but it is fearful.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@snowberry @smudges this is the dog that has chased me three times when I was riding, so I was too scared to move. I was afraid if I moved the dog would return that chasing again.

But both of you have raised a very interesting point that I didn’t consider. Could the dog actually playful instead of aggressive? The whole time it didn’t growl, it just made that back jump and barked.

janbb's avatar

I would think it was trying to engage you in play but am hoping @longgone will weigh in.

snowberry's avatar

I would not encourage this dog to try to play. It’s not well socialized and doesn’t understand how to interact with people. This dog seems to recognize anything that moves as a potential threat. If you’re moving slowly away (as in pushing your motorbike), I doubt that would seem nearly so threatening. Also, dogs can smell fear (your body actually gives off a scent), and that can make a dog more likely to attack.

janbb's avatar

@snowberry I agree. Even if that is what the dog was indicating, this is not a dog to mess around with.

flutherother's avatar

If the dog is roaming around on its own at night it is probably because it is neglected by its owner and this can lead to emotional problems in the animal. I would report it to your local dog warden. The dog sounds unpredictable, I would keep it at a distance as far as possible.

janbb's avatar

@flutherother Read mimi’s comments above. Apparently they don’t have such services in her city.

flutherother's avatar

Ooops! missed that.

longgone's avatar

That sounds like a fear-aggressive or possibly just fear-reactive dog. They’ll come up to the “threat”, but their weight is on their hind legs, and they’re ready to jump back as soon as possible. He’s coming up to sniff you because he wants to know how much of a threat you are. Sounds like he determined you’re not too scary. That’s why he left. But then you became fast and loud, and that increased his fear. So he went back to barking, trying to scare you away.

I can’t know for sure without video, and I realise that might be impossible to get. But I can say that fear-aggression is very common. It is totally normal dog behaviour to be ambivalent about a threat. It’s not an indication of rabies. Barking at people who are standing still is also very, very common.

I would actually take this as good news! You’ve discovered that the dog will go away if you become less of a threat. There are many ways to be less threatening. Turning away, blinking, loose movements that are fluid and not too fast. Yawning. Calm chatter, but without looking at the dog.

There’s a good chance you could scare this dog away, too. At least as long as there’s an escape route and he knows he isn’t cornered. But I hesitate to advise you to try this because. I haven’t seen the dog. You’re on the safe side by deescalating, and it’s also a better experience for both you and the dog.

JLoon's avatar

Unfortunately animals, just like humans, can be nuerotic and dysfunctional. And in some cases the odds of craziness increases the more time they spend around people.

From what you say this dog is a problem, but so far not a threat. I agree with some of what Pandora says. You’re probably not in danger of being attacked, but you should continue to show that you’re not intimidated.

snowberry's avatar

So, next time when the dog approaches you barking, stop the motorcycle, let it sniff you, do not look directly at it, but talk calmly and quietly. And I think you should be able to push the motorcycle toward your home.

Brian1946's avatar

Re: the dog’s reaction to your motorcycle noise: is the motor an internal combustion engine?

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Brian1946 what is internal combustion engine?

Brian1946's avatar

It’s one that runs on gasoline (petrol).

They usually make more noise than an electric motor.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Yes, my motorcycle uses gas. It’s the kind of motorcycle you mostly find here.

RocketGuy's avatar

Dog probably doesn’t like the putt putt sound.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Update: BIG SURPRISE! I just went home from work. When I was crossing the “danger” path, I made sure to ride very slowly. While riding, I saw the dog minding its own business with another dog then part way with it. I went on my way and saw that the dog was sitting and looking at me. I decided to test my hypothesis and stop the motorcycle altogether, then hopped down and started pushing the motorcycle. The dog looked at me for a short time, then got bored and walked away. BIG WIN! I DIDN’T GET CHASE TODAY!

The dog was distracted by another motorcycle and came barking though. There seems to be something about the sound of motorcycles that triggers the dog.

smudges's avatar

^^ Yayyy! Good for you!

longgone's avatar

^ Great news!

Madison264's avatar

Scaring the dog isn’t a good idea. Its probably just a confused stray, and it needs help. Scaring it will only make it worse – lots of dogs attack when they are scared – so whatever you do don’t scare it. Call a rescue centre or something. – sorry didn’t see the update. just ignore this

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