Loose dogs - what do you do?

sheltiemomJune 15, 2007

This is a question regarding something that has bothered me for quite some time. When you are out walking your dogs, what do you do when a dog suddenly comes charging out of his/her unfenced yard as you walk by?

I have had this happen numerous times. Sometimes the dogs are acting aggressively and sometimes they are acting like they want to play. In either case, since I don't know the dogs, it frightens me. Sometimes the owners are in the yard with the dogs and will yell out something to the effect that their dogs are harmless. I'm not feeling the harmless part when I'm getting charged!

So, what do you do? Do you confront the owners and ask them to put their dogs on a leash (for their dogs' own safety if for no other reason)? Do you pull your dogs closer, hoping there isn't a fight, and walk by even faster? Do you change your walking times/places to avoid (something I find myself doing)?

I'd really like some suggestions on how to deal with this. Thanks!

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You must be in Georgia also!
This happens to us like 3 times a week. It's such a shame that people don't love their dogs enough to keep in safely confined but instead chained to a tree or out in the yard all day where they can dig under the fence. OR worse in unfenced yards just sitting there with nothing to keep the dog safe or people passing by safe.

I am not well versed in dog behavior but when confronted by a dog that I feel is or can be aggressive, I try to calm down and pretend the dog is not there. We've perfected our walk so that the dogs are focused on me and are more or less accustomed to ignoring other dogs when I say to heel and we just walk on. I heard you're not supposed to turn your back on an aggressive dog and I don't really know what to do in that situation. It's gotten to be such a problem that I'm planning on getting a stun baton. I've given up on talking to the people. It just turns into a shouting match and if they had any sense at all this wouldn't be a problem to begin with. So I just call animal control to let the pro's handle it but it takes them a really long time to respond.
I can't wait to read other peoples replies.
Taking a slip lead (for friendly loose dogs without collars) and a bunch of treats with you on your walks is a good idea but first and foremost, perfect your walk and get your dogs walking beside you and paying attention to you. Not walking 10 feet in front of you and not peeing on every bush or mailbox.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 9:37AM
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You could carry pepper spray like the mailmen do. Maybe if you yell out that you have it when the dog starts to charge their moronic owners will know you mean business and keep their animals under control for their own protection.

If not, don't actually spray the dog. Make sure you run over and spray the owner! :)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 9:56AM
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You cannot anticipate this all the time, but clearly it makes sense to avoid those houses and areas that you know have unleashed dogs.

This is a serious problem and a danger to you and your dog! It is sad when responsible owners (you) get pinched by irresponsible owners (idiots with dogs off leash that charge your dog).

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 10:20AM
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ugh. we had a similar problem in a park a couple weeks ago. We were walking our two dogs through a trail (we have two corgis and they are always on leashes) All of a sudden three full sized labs or lab mixes come running down the trail, followed by a teen aged, not full grown lab. There are now FOUR dogs, no owners in site, that are running towards us. My husband is very good with dealing with this. He usually agressivley yells: "get away, go away!" and many times the dogs (if trained will stop). Well he was with our older dog who is very submissive. Our younger dog (adopted) is NOT comfortable with other dogs yet. One of the labs come up to my dog and my dog starts to growl. The lab is inches away and I am holding back my dog telling my husband "i don't know what to do, what should i do??" I am only five feet tall about. I can not hold back a lab. My husband always carries a pocket knife. At this point he pulls it out. I guess it is better than nothing. The other two labs are not near me yet, but closer to my husband. The younger lab is running towards me.
Luckily at that time two young women come running up the trail. It takes them about five min. to put their dogs on leashes. Their dogs are NOT under control. When they walk away one says "I don't think they like us very much!"
This was a very scary experience. There is no way that my husband and I could protect our two dogs and ourselves from four large dogs.
I wish that people who let their dogs wander around like this would have this experience through our eyes.
I prefer to only go on walks with my husband as he is much better at handling dogs that run up to us. I have heard that people do carry pepper spray. I did also hear about someone carrying citronella spray and thought this was a good idea as it is easy to get. It would sting the dog's eyes.
My one friend was attacked by a stray dog (she was protecting her dog) and a motorist stopped and she hopped into her car. Luckily neither her or her dog were hurt too badly.
If I walk alone I keep my eyes open for dogs on the loose. One neighbor has a dog that runs around. If I see that dog off in the distance I just turn around and walk away. Usually I am about five houses away so the dog does not follow.
This is not fair of course! I do not understand why people believe that when their dog runs up to me that I will believe them when they yell "oh he is fine"
whatever, your dog is running towards me and I don't like it! What is wrong with these people? Just because I have a dog and like dogs doens't mean that I trust you enough to know that you have trained your dog well and that I even LIKE your dog!
ugh! the entire situation just makes me SOOOO mad!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 11:11AM
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People are stupid. Hah! How's that for a nutshell response?

Dogs bite and scuffle with other dogs and people all the time - every day. ALL dogs can bite and will probably bite another dog or a person in its lifetime.

What part of this do people not understand?

Yes, you have a nice dog - we all have nice dogs. No, your dog has never bitten anyone or another dog - YET.

Please get a clue. If you are in any area where there are other dogs - whether its in your front yard or a public trail - keep your dogs under your control at all times.

I've seen bites, scuffles and I've been at the vet when dogs came in bitten. And I've been at the "human" emergency room and seen a child come in screaming with dog bites.

It happens every day and it's not just pit bulls and yadda-yadda. It's Fluffy and Rex down the street who felt threatened and bit.

I have a tiny dachshund. He's very mellow and submissive. But if your bigger dog runs up to us off-leash and starts to sniff my tiny dog - he will bare his teeth and snap the air. "Keep away from me and my mom" is what he's saying. I've gotten control of those situations up to now. And the bigger dog owners always come up and say "oh, he won't bite."

Lady, I'm worried about my little dog biting your dog as much as your dog biting mine. Don't you get it? Being a big dog doesn't prevent him from being bit by a smaller dog. DUH.

I've had occasion on local trails where my husband had to hold a strange dog by the leash away from our dog, until the clueless owners came. "Oh, he's harmless."

No, lady. Dogs are not harmless. They can and do harm - each other and people as well. It's the circumstance that may not have happened yet. But letting your dog run loose - you are asking for that circumstance to happen.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 11:40AM
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I forgot to add - some people - adults and children, are deathly afraid of dogs. They don't need dogs running up and jumping on them in public places either.

And what if your dog jumps up and knocks over an elderly person or a child?

If you want Fluffy to run free, keep her in your fenced yard or go to an off-leash area and have fun.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 11:44AM
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We walk (or used to before I caused a big scene :-) ) by this house with unfenced yard that has a golden retreiver that is very nasty and shows teeth and growls like I've never seen my dogs do. I have a right to be on the public right of way and the dog needs to be retrained. If it's an aggressive dog, it's required the owners post signs. It's also required to get a special permit if its a guard dog. And required to have a sign posted if there is an invisible fence. So plenty of violations there.
But any unloved, unsocialized, unexercised and unvaccinated dog can be a serious threat even golden retrievers.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 12:14PM
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Gina, that is exactly the way I feel and treat my dogs!
My SIL and brother have a one year old and I am always concerned when he is on the floor and would move our dogs elsewhere. My SIL asked "well has your dog ever bitten anyone?" Well no, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't ever do that. he is a dog. My mom understands we feel this way. It isn't that we don't trust our dogs, it is because they are DOGS. Things happen and that is a chance we are not taking. My husband's nephews are 12 and 15. We still wouldn't leave the 12 yr old with the dog unsupervised. Of course that is because we don't trust the 12 yr old ;)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 1:29PM
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Quirky - loved, socialized, exercised, nice doggies that never growl or misbehave can get into situations where they bite too. That's what I wish people would understand. ANY dog has the potential for this if put into the right situation. We need to respect dogs and everything about dogs, and stop trying to think of them as small furry humans with human notions of right and wrong.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 1:35PM
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This is why I probably won't be walking my new pup anywhere but on my own street.

I mean my new pup, when I get him. Still 5 weeks to go. :)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 3:26PM
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This happened to me at least three times. The full grown Lab doing the full throttle attack, just couldn't resist me and my three large dogs. All three time left me trembling, I actually felt someones teeth on my leg when all of this was going on.

After the first attack, I politely told the ditz that I was dealing with that she needed to do something to correct the problem. Nothing happened.

After the second attack, I was a little more forceful but still polite, still nothing.

After the third attack, I was really *&^%ed and told her in no uncertain terms that she was responsible for the dog PLUS any injury that would occur to me or my dogs. I could tell by the blank look in her face that this just wasn't registering.

This was the last straw, I dispatched an officer from the HS. That was the end of the problem.

Ditz is *&^^ed at me,,,but who cares.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 4:34PM
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We have a golf cart we run around the neighborhood in and have had a few instances of a loose dog chasing us. I now keep pepper spray in the compartment just in case a dog is too aggressive.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 4:46PM
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Got to agree with Quirky. I am on a public road and my dog is leashed. We have neighbors that let their dogs run loose and come charging up to my Shepherd puppy. They stopped doing it to my Dobe after she managed to grab one of the little $^&@'s but now we're going thru it all over again. I will not change the routes we take, and I don't go by their house every day, but I will protect my dog and if that means pepper spray or drop kicking the dog back into their yard then so be it.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 8:14PM
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If the owner is anywhere in sight yell 'CALL YOUR DOG NOW' Repeat once. And make sure you are holding up your can of citronella spray. Do NOT have a conversation with the owner about whether you are going to spray the dog or whether the little freaked out hyper out of control loose dog 'loves big dogs.'

If the owner is not in sight, act calm, spray the dog or the street in front of the dog, and get out of there. When you get home or calm down (whichever comes first) report the incident to animal control. And if it continues call animal control again and again. You can change your route, but it will just happen somewhere else.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 4:54PM
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