Jogging is one of the most common ways to stay in shape in the United States, and it may be part of your daily routine. You love getting out there and seeing what your body is capable of. You know the risks — ankle sprains, overuse injuries, dehydration — but you take them in stride.

There may be another risk that is a bit harder to overcome, however. What if a dog attacks? It’s a serious concern and many joggers suffer significant injuries every year.

One big reason is that dogs have an instinctive prey drive. They want to chase something that moves quickly. Even if you’re not a world-class runner, you’re moving far faster than normal, so that instinct kicks in.

The dog could also see you as a threat. Dogs don’t run for casual exercise. They run for a reason. If you’re quickly approaching the dog, it may feel like you’re the aggressor and that’s why you’re running. It will lash out at you, thinking that it is just protecting itself — even though you never had any ill intentions.

This is somewhat related to the third reason why dogs bite, which is that they think they have to protect their territory. The dog may bark at you first, but if you keep coming, it may think the barking didn’t work and try to physically attack you to protect the house, the yard or the pack.

Understanding how dogs think can help you avoid an unfortunate incident, but there are no guarantees. Make sure you know how to seek compensation after a bite.