"Most of us know our dogs as fuzzy love bandits who consider our feet bony pillows instead of chew toys. But for runners, mailmen and hikers, dogs can be dangerous - especially since canines are generally faster and stronger than us, and they have bigger teeth than we do. It's not enough to have an embarrassed owner declare, "Pookie would never do that!" especially if Pookie happens to be gnawing on your leg at the time. If you have a tendency to come across aggressive dogs, keep these helpful tips in mind.
Avoid the pooch. If you see an unleashed dog ahead of you, walk across the street. If it's not paying attention to you, whistle, sing or speak to it in order to make your presence known as you approach. As irritable as a dog might be to find you on his territory, he will be doubly more irritable if you've surprised him.
Go on the offensive. A military man in an Eric Ambler spy novel once said something like, "all you need is to be physically fit and have a good pair of shoes." The very nature of a dog attack exposes it to a boot in the throat or jaw, followed by repeated kicks until it stops struggling. Alternately, if the dog has your arm in its mouth the eyes are vulnerable target. To stop a dog attack on other dogs, an owner will usually grab the back legs and flip the dog like they're shaking out a blanket, which loosens the dog's jaws and can also have the unfortunate effect of snapping its neck. This could work for you as well, but be careful to not let the dog get you on the ground. I have heard that grabbing the dog's bottom jaw with your hand gets control of the head, and will not allow him to bite. Alternatively, if you can grab the dogs front legs and pull them apart, it collapses the rib cage, and the dog cannot breathe.
Minimize the damage. If it's at all possible, try to identify the animal - after you've gotten away, of course. Determining whether a dog is a pet or is wild could also determine whether or not you need rabies shots, a pretty painful process that needs to take place within 48 hours of the bite. Visiting a doctor immediately afterwards will also help determine if you need antibiotics or a tetanus shot, as dog bites can become infected pretty easily.