Every night I've been walking through my back yard and going out to the fence to lock my dogs up in their kennel. One of them is prone to getting out and I don't want them to get run over in the road. Recently I was walking through the pitch black back yard and was thinking about how stray animals used to hang out around my trash can and have jumped out and startled me in the past. As I was thinking this I heard someone running up behind me very quickly. I turned around, pulled one leg up toward myself to block who was running at me and screamed a slurred NO! Once I did all of this I realized it was my large 80lb dog that is prone to getting out and he was just excited to see me. I thought he was in the fence and wasn't expecting it at all. He had also come up on me so quickly that I didn't have a chance to prep myself at all and it really caught me off guard. My heart was pounding and it had scared me pretty bad. Later I thought about how stupid I must have looked almost pulling up into a fetal position and not even being able to scream a word correctly. I thought about how if I had been Jack Bauer I would have turned and thrown the threat over my shoulder and then had my gun drawn before he hit the ground. First off I don't carry yet, but should probably start carrying around home just to get used to it. Second, how do I make my body react in a proper self defense manner and not shutdown? Is it as simple as repetitious practice so that it becomes second nature and I can react properly without thinking about it? I'm aware that I should have prepared better and turned on my outside lights and been more aware of my environment. Any pointers on how to always be aware of my environment? Any thoughts on how to convert this cowardly lion into Jack Bauer would be greatly appreciated.