The road in front of my neighbor's house is not a park, but this post is dog related.
I've been running to and from work since last June. At one house a half mile from where I live, two dogs frequently come out to chase me. One is a miniature pinscher and the other is some kind of a mutt that reminds me mostly of a herding dog — medium sized. Neither dog respects my space at all. I wouldn't be concerned much if they were both miniature pinschers, but the larger of the two is much more threatening and persistent. The way it usually works is that they spot me well before I reach their house. The larger dog stands off in the yard until I am parallel with its position and then charges. (It used to come out into the road, but learned that I would run directly at it.) When it gets about 6' away, it starts snarling and charges in even closer before wheeling away for another pass. A couple of times I've nearly brushed it with my right leg as I was running. Much too close!
I've been alternating between ignoring them or trying to chase them back into their yard. Last week, I was doing an interval workout on the way home and was in the middle of a hard effort as I passed their house. The larger dog got much too close for comfort and though there was no biting or anything, I decided that something must be done. So, I've started picking up 3-4 rocks from the gravel road before I reach that house. For some reason, the dogs did not come out for a week after I started this practice though I was usually on the other side of the hill when I picked up rocks and there was no way they could see it. Fortunately, I remained consistent in picking up the rocks and I was prepared when I met them again. On Tuesday, the larger dog met me on the way home. As per it's usual routine, it waited for me to get close before charging. Just as it started to snarl, I unleashed my rock. I missed, but not by much and the dog stopped in its tracks and watched me run by.
Yesterday morning, both dogs charged out, but I was already past their driveway. The big dog stayed by their drive and the little dog gave chase. I turned around and chased the little dog back the way it came and noticed that it has gotten very fat.
This morning, the big dog attempted two passes as I ran to work. Each time I threw a rock and it never got too close. I think that it had time for a third pass, but it appears that the rocks have stymied it for now. I am not a very good shot with the rocks — especially since I continue running as I throw. I don't really expect to hit the dog — though I must admit that I really am trying to do just that.
In contrast, there's another house just a hundred meters away from the house where the dogs give me problems that also keeps dogs. In the past, they had dogs that would come to the road. One was a rottweiler. Although the rottweiler was bigger and more threatening, it did respect my space — giving me at least 8 feet of clearance. Still, I was careful never to turn my back on it. It did a lot of posturing and I did not want to test whether or not it was just bluffing. If the owners heard, they came out and called in their dogs and they were more effective in that than the average dog owner. (Usually, I find that I can deal with dogs more effectively if the owners are not present.) Later, the wife told me that they'd had to put down the aggressive rottweiler. I felt bad initially, but they assured me that I wasn't the only reason. They still keep dogs and they still have one dog who is often outside off leash. That dog never comes to the road, but despite that they usually call the dog inside as soon as they hear it barking at me. I wish all dog owners were like that.