I was remembering something a friend of mine had done a few years back. She was my younger daughter's basketball coach in middle school and one afternoon my daughter and her teammates were pursued by a dog as we walked back to the car after a game. The dog was pretty small, but I was really afraid it would bite us. "You come here," my friend said to the dog and the dog came right up and sat down on the sidewalk in front of her. "Listen to me," she said. "That's enough of that. Now go home." The dog turned and left.
I find that I'm a lot less likely to spring into the panic mode than I used to be. I think it helps to conjure up these scenes involving the calmer people in my life--like my friend, Doris. It worked well in this case. The dog barked a few more times and as I kept walking, it crossed to my side of the road, but it didn't follow me.