Read more here. The news, particulary here in New Zealand, is rife with stories of feral dogs (called pig dogs) that have mauled people recently. Over in the States, you can find heaps of stories about packs of feral canines. Heres a good article about what to when encountering feral dogs (or any threatening animals).
It's going to be one of the biggest hazards and most people have never really thought about it much. They only think of dogs as man's best friend. The alternative doesn't really occur to them. Without socialization, people and dogs turn into ravenous beasts.
1. Stand your ground! It is important when encountering any wild animal, and this includes dogs that you never take a step back. Even one step backward will be perceived as submission, and may kick the dog's prey instinct to take over. Instead, you must stand tall, and hold your ground, but above all else, never, and I mean never turn and run. If you do, you can almost guarantee that the dog, or dogs will chase you down.2. Exhibit calm dominance/confidence. This behavior will go a long way to showing that you are an alpha to be taken seriously. Most dogs will be unsure of how to proceed. Their instinct will be to see you as an equal and not prey. Body language is everything on this one. Stand tall, head erect, shoulders relaxed. Act as if the dog or dogs' presence is of no concern to you. This will help you to maintain your calm. It is alright to be nervous on the inside, you would not be human if you weren't, but under no circumstance can you allow the animals confronting you to see your nervousness.3. Make yourself appear bigger. If you have hiking poles raise them into the air, it will make your body appear larger, but even if you do not, raise your arms up and out. Don't shake them about, but hold them in position. Size of prey is always a factor for any canine thinking about making an attack.4. Begin yelling at the dog(s) in a firm, deep voice. Do not yell frantically, it will make you seem hysterical to the dog(s). Instead, yell as if you were reprimanding a family pet. Be firm, commanding, and try to use a deeper, gruffer voice. "Go on, get out of here! Bad dog! Go on!" Or you can use something similar, but the point is to display that you are in control. The dog will pick up on your posture and it may be enough to get it to leave.5. Take a step forward, or continue to hold your ground. If there is more than one dog the above steps may not work, and even if there is only one they still may not work, which leaves you with a decision. You can take a confident step forward again repeating your command. As in my situation it was enough to get the dog to flee, but the move could be taken as a challenge, especially if there are multiple dogs. The choice will be up to you, but if you choose not to, then you must continue to hold your ground. Never turn your back, or sink your posture. You may be able to hold the animals at a standstill until they either leave, or more people show up to scare the animals away.