I started out going through the game without attempting to fight until one of the dog/wolf things spotted me and I narrowly escaped by jumping on a box. Only then did I proceed to swing on it, but it was very hard to land any hits on it, and it took almost ten minutes to kill one. I'd rather not kill them via melee unless I have to as it's too time consuming. Now afterwards, I did try to get into a ground war with one...that did not go so well. With a much higher rate of attack than me, and being a more mobile target, it is almost impossible to hit while you are under attack. I couldn't land a single blow on it before being killed (though I do find the swinging function in this game kinda screwy anyway...>:/). My second dog/wolf though I killed by sneaking up on it with dynamite.
However, I had to negate this by reloading so I could save my dynamite for those damned spiders...
A few times now I have also tried lighting the propane tanks and chucking them at dogs. I haven't quite perfected the timing yet. I've failed to kill any with this method but I have injured a couple and bought time to run.
Also, whoever said something about you sprinting faster than the dogs is just wrong...the only reason you might be able to get away is because for one it probably spots you from a good distance away, in which time you've turned down another corridor and maneuvered around the map, effectively losing it. I tried running from one once that spotted me about fifteen feet away. We both started running about the same time. I even knew where I was headed, and that was an exit to a different room. It caught up to me and took me down. My point is, while it is possible to actually lose the dogs through twists and turns, it's not possible to actually out sprint them if say you were fleeing down an endless straightaway.