When an angry dog is hot on your heels, your first thought is likely to get away as quickly as possible. However, over at Adventure Journal, Brendan Leonard explains that if you know you’re not getting away, the best way to get a dog to back down is to first stop running, and then, if the dog is still aggressive, flip out on it and bark it down.
Brendan notes that a dog instinctively knows what to do when someone runs from it, and its actual owner has probably already tried to shout or talk calmly to discourage its behavior, so it probably won’t work for you. Some dogs that give chase are more interested in the chase than the catch, and will lose interest when they catch up to you. What the dog hasn’t seen, he says, is a human take the crazy up a notch and give the dog a good, incredibly loud shout:
What the dog has not seen is a human being going FREAKING CRAZY on it. Which is what you’re going to do. For one second. When the dog realizes you have completely lost your shit, it will be shocked. You are unstable, possibly dangerous. And, ideally, the dog will stop chasing you.
Admittedly, this trick could stun the dog into stopping (in which case you now have an aggressive dog just standing there,) or even into running away, but it could also just as easily escalate the situation and make the dog even more aggressive. Brendan does point out that he discovered this method while carrying a water bottle he would use on aggressive dogs that would chase him while biking, and that other people he knew carried pepper spray. If you’d rather not hurt the dog, this is definitely worth a try, but it might also be a good idea to have a backup method on-hand in case it doesn’t work.