I just came back from a hike in our local hills where off leash dogwalking is popular. As I was hiking along a couple with their dog ahead of them came trotting up towards me at a quick pace and I stopped, allowing for the dog to come up and sniff me, thinking that would be the best, least threatening behavior. The dog still growled at me and I did not feel safe. I did not bend down to offer the back of my hand but did maintain eye contact, not being sure what the dog would do next.
My question is is this: What is the best way to deal with an agressive dog in a public area? (not "their" territory) Should I have kept walking along towards the dog? maintained eye contact or not? What if it had started to nip at me? Growled back, kicked, or lunged towards it to "show who is boss"
Secondarily, any advice as to how to deal with a rude owner? He didn't make any attempt to call back the dog and when he approached and i said that I did not appreciate being growled at by his unleashed dog he said "I hear you" and made a prefunctory sorry.
I like dogs (and people, if they are well behaved) and was just trying to go about my business. Researching for advice, I learned that the most common injury in the local park district is dog bites. Not wanting to join that statistic, advice is appreciated