What protection when you walk your dog?

lily316September 2, 2011

I'm thinking of a small spray bottle filled with some liquid to spray in an attacking dog's eyes. Ammonia, pepper spray? Yesterday while on our three mile walk, a large yellow lab barked from his back yard as we kept walking. My dogs ignored him. All of a sudden he was on us snapping and growling and barking. Mine, of course, were leashed and snarling and barking. I had nothing except plastic poop bags which I rattled at him. Then he turned on me and almost bit me. I was hollering for someone to get him when a neighbor two doors down came out and called him and he left. I was shaking. Dogs were okay, but I was scared thinking what might have happened. And this was a lab. What if it was a pit bull? There are usually no loose dogs in my town, and this is only the second time this happened. The other time the owner was there and ran down and got her dog. I want something to spray in their eyes to stop them dead in their tracks. Any ideas?

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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

A BIG walking stick would be far more effective. You could hurt yourself and your dogs with pepper spray with no guarantee of getting the offender. If you have a big stick, you can first threaten them with it, and then use is to beat or poke the dog that is attacking you.

It's worked for me in the past. What I do now is start screaming at the offending dog and go crazy on them. It has been working for me. But then I don't run into that hardly ever any more.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 3:11PM
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My aunt & uncle are joggers covering several miles a day. They have a device that emits high frequency tones that dogs can't stand. They say it works, that dogs run away yelping when they use it. You might research what that is and where to get one.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 3:58PM
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I would start with the stick/cane and a can of compressed air (or the little squeeze things) or a squirt gun with plain water. If the wind shifts wrong, you'll hurt yourself or your dogs with the pepper spray or ammonia. The air or water will shock the offending dog, who'll stop if it's going to stop, rather than hurt it and make it mad. Besides, if you maced a dog that was rambunctious but just trying to be friendly, and the owner is nearby, you're putting yourself in danger.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 8:52PM
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I'm really sorry you can't even walk your dogs without fear, but ammonia? That's cruel and can cause blindness.

First of all, I'd report the incident to the authorities. There are probably laws against dogs running at large. Sometimes it takes a visit to convince dog owners their pooch is a liability.

Yes, carry a walking stick. It's something to put between you and an aggressive dog. Here's a link below with suggestions on how to use one to defend yourself. There are also security whistles, and hand-held electronic alarms that emit a noise unpleasant to the dog and some have strobe lights to temporarily blind the dog.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dog Breed Info Center

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 1:44AM
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I gave up the idea of spraying ammonia or vinegar because I'd probably end up spraying my own dogs. I don't know which house this dog came from. He barked as we walked by and then I turned around and he was on the sidewalk snarling and barking. I've walked this route for three years, first with one dog and for the last 16 months two dogs and this is only the second time a loose dog attacked. The first was when a woman was getting her dog in the car, and he came racing up to us. He ripped my Dachshund's coat but the woman was very apologetic..offered to pay for a vet visit, but I told her it was an accident ,and no one was hurt and I could fix his coat. No owner this time..maybe he jumped a fence, but I'm walking the other side from now on and carrying a stick.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 2:21AM
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Calliope..Thanks for the link.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 2:25AM
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I don't currently have a problem with off lead dogs on my walks, but I never leave the house without clipping Direct Stop Citronella spray onto my belt. They've changed the name in the last few years (Spray Shield I think), but my cans still have the old name - that's how infrequently I use it now. This will not hurt the dogs, but does keep them away.

When I did have uncontrolled dogs in the neighborhood I never needed to spray them directly in the face. (I had the opportunity and found I just couldn't do that. I thought I could, but I can't. They'rejust dogs.) Just spray a line on the ground and keep moving.

In general, if I'm concerned about dogs that may leave their yards, I change course early. Much better to avoid trouble in the first place. I's really important that you maintain a relaxed body language or you'll just get your own dogs and any stray dogs hyped up. Don't LOOK at the dog who may cause an issue, keep your eyes on your own dogs, stay calm, and keep moving with hand wrapped around the citronella can ready to use.

One of my dogs was attacked by an off lead dog (inadequate fence) many years ago. I had the spray before that happened, but wasn't responsible about having it with me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Direct Stop

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 7:48AM
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I second Direct Stop. Our old neighborhood had a a real problem with random dogs being loose and the DS saved my bacon more than once. Like Cynthia, I never sprayed directly in the face but at the ground in front of the dog and I was successful in getting the loose dog to move on. Boy I am glad I am out of that neighborhood. It was always really difficult to enjoy our walks because I was always scanning the street ahead for trouble. I still carry it now, but have never had a problem in this neighborhood. I like the DS because it deters, but will not hurt the animal.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 8:27AM
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I think Direct Spot might be what I'm looking for. I've never heard of it since this isn't usually a problem, but I like the hands free aspect. I did everything wrong. I was NOT relaxed but hollering EH EH EH loud enough to bring people to the door. Initially when I saw it was a yellow lab, I wasn't very worried, but he was NOT nice and my dogs do not back down. They might only weigh 24 pounds a piece but they're not scared.

Thanks for the link.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 11:54AM
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A small air horn.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 8:54AM
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You know Elly, I was thinking the same thing. I would think the shock value on that would be enough to break the attention of any dog, and might also alert loose-dog owners that something is going on outside and they'd better come see.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 11:38AM
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I have a police whistle on a lanyard from my old childhood camping days. It's shrill. Would that work, I wonder? It sure would bring people.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 12:14PM
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The thing about the air horn is it is a horrible blast; a whistle is a constant shrill noise.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 1:09PM
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An air horn or a whistle is also going to upset your own dogs. Not recommended unless you're trying to teach them to be fearful of other dogs.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 1:38PM
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Currently residing in Managua Nicaragua!! When I walk my dog always have 1 of those expanding security batons! Stray dogs are everywhere here! Most leave you alone, but a few do get aggressive! Go Go magic expanding security baton and they leave me alone!! So far all I have had to do is raise it and make some noise and they back off!! I truly hope I do not have to use it. Feel bad enough for these dogs down here, breaks my heart! But my safety and my dogs safety is paramount! Carry a smaller 1 when I run!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 4:52PM
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One blast, in a time of attack, will not harm my dog. If I did it every time we saw another dog, it would.

My concern would be preventing an attack and injury, which would really make my dog fear other dogs. Right?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 5:41PM
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What is the saying an ounce of prevention pound of cure or something like this. Do you need to walk past this area to take a walk? If not go else where, change the time you go for your walk. Can you walk with another person with your dogs? Don't put your self in a position where you may be attacked. You know there is potential for a problem on that street. Also mentioned before look out for the owner of that dog. If you think the dog is the only source of trouble you are very wrong! People are not rational and if you were to spray or hit their dog their property you may find your self in more trouble. People have killed for way less. I have a medium size black lab who is very mellow most of the time, but when another dog goes by he sometime gets so excited he just wants to get to that dog so he can play! But this frenzy of barking and jumping could be taken wrong by someone who doesn't know how dogs or large dogs act. It is on me to keep him on a leash when out I do, to keep him secured behind a fence I do. I also work with him to stay calm with other dogs and he is usually good BUT he is just a dog. There is the potential for accidents where he gets loose and I would hope and pray that no one would mace him or GOD help the person who would spray ammonia on him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As mentioned before things can turn bad fast. Your behaviour can send signals that make an excited dog become defensive and then aggressive. My point again prevention you yes you need to take the responsibility to make sure you and your dogs are safe. You can not count on the public to train or take responsibility for their dogs. SO YOU need to teach your dogs to move away from an aggressive dog not stand there barking and escalating the situation, you need to stay as calm as possible loudly firmly saying no stop and if need shout for help and say what the problem is screaming is not effective most people ignore thinking its just kids. Shouting clearly what you need I NEED HELP DOG ATTACKING I NEED HELP(this is not something you come up with on the fly planing ahead so you know what you want to say if you need to instead of panic reaction)
If you think that you will hit a dog first with a stick who is coming at you is a great way to ensure you get bit and bit hard. Dogs have way better reaction times then we do and when they see you swinging something at them your gonna just make them angry and you will get hurt. Or if it is just a big dumb excited dog you may have just really hurt a nice dog and make it scared of strangers and possibly a problem for the next person who just wants to say hi.
If your in an area with wild dogs or dogs who are left unattended and you feel unsafe educate your self with dog trainers vets police wildlife enforcement how to react what to do how to protect yourself and your dogs DO NOT depend on a stick or a spray. And remember a dog who wants to hurt you WILL.
I have owned both large and small dogs and worked for years with all sorts of dogs and I promise you this people ALWAYS make assumptions about dogs. Small dogs are safe large dogs dangerous. My first lab was the most gentle soul a bit weary of people but always stood for a pet, still people would walk in the street to avoid him. Then there is the spaniel from next door who people thought was so cute until he bit both my current dogs while we were out walking, and a person around the block while he was out running loose. My point please don't lump all large dogs in the same group as your bad lab experience and don't trust a dog cause its small.
Having said all of this there are horrible dog attacks that happen when all the prevention means nothing an example of this is a post made on this forum. But when you can I think people should educate themselves on dog behaviour what to do how to do it WHEN to do it. We need to have a plan avoid problem areas, know the only thing we can control is ourselves and realize that even if its not fair or right we still need to deal with reality of dog owners who don't think the same way you do.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 6:11PM
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I started thinking about this subject one day when I saw an encounter between a teen age boy with three dogs, and a older woman with a small dog. The kid had two dogs on leashes, and was holding a small dog. The woman had her dog on a leash. The boy could not control all three of his dogs, and one dog was checking out the woman's dog. This went on for several minutes while the woman tried to escape from the strange dog, but could not.

While no harm came, I should have given the two people my frank opinion. Neither of them was prepared for trouble, such as a aggressive big dog, or a coyote.

I now carry a number of items for last resort. A air horn (not the $12 pet store one, a cheape at dollar store), a good $27 adjustable beam flashlite with STROBE, dog treats, and a doggy spray someone lost. These items are carried most often in a backpack, or a small belt pack.

You cannot count on folks using good common sense during times of stress. The boy tried repeatedly to catch the third dog while holding the first two. He should have tied both dogs to a tree, then pursued the third.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:23PM
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I doubt very seriously you would get any of these things out of the backpack if you were being attacked by a loose nasty dog.The article posted by Calliope "Dog Breed Info Center" taught me a couple of things and Iv'e been a dog owner for many years. I e-mailed Animal Control just the other day because some thoughtless neighbor thinks it's o.k. to just let their nasty dog run anywhere he wants.2 days later I noticed they now have him confined.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:49AM
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When I have a jacket on, the flashlight and air horn are in a pocket. When it is dark of course, the flashlight is in my hand.

The belt pack is quite handy. Has two enclosed pouches, and two spaces for water bottles. In the warmer months I carry one water bottle (and a tuna can for the dog to drink out of), and put the air horn in the other space. Not enough spare room for my raincoat and rainpants.

Some hostile dogs do give warning before problems develop. Having a air horn or pet spray in a backpack is much better than having them at home.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:57PM
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I would reccommend nothing smaller than a 38 Special!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 3:52PM
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I think an air horn would be preferable to a pistol for most people. Someone waving a firearm around when one dog is attacking another makes me shiver.

For those few who find a firearm necessary, pre-frag ammo would be an excellent idea. Pre-fragmented ammo is expensive ammo designed to expend its energy in a shallow wound and not ricochet. My uncle was said to have been attacked by a pack of wild dogs once in the country, but he had a shotgun.

My state has minimal requirements for a pistol carry licence. Might be a good idea for a training seminar where the person wanting a licence tries to hit a 3D attacking dog with a laser gun. Probably much harder than one can realize.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 5:10PM
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I have been thinking on the subject for a week and have revised my suggestions.

Think the #1 concern is to have sure walker and dog(s) / cats(s) are marked clearly. One guy in the neighborhood, dresses in dark clothing, has no lights or safety vest, runs in the street. Has not got struck by a car yet, for whatever reason.

Many dog walkers do not carry a flashlight or stroke, or wear safety type clothing such as a neon vest. At night I carry a good flashlight and use a light or strobe on the dogs collar. Finding a good flashlight is much easier than a GOOD light for the dog. After buying numerous cheap Chinese flashlights, I was directed to a Redline 3AAA model for $27. Found it at Batteries Plus and it is Chinese also. Waterproof, bright, has strobe mode, and the beam is adjustable a very important feature. Also got a Sears $25 flashlight, not adjustable but good. If this is too much money for you, look up 'most expensive flashlight' and you'll find models for $4,200 and $7000.00.

Finding something for the dog was very hard, and I've still not found a great one. Started out with a glow in the dark/reflective yellow collar. This used rather expensive batteries, and after a year only part of the glow element worked. The second time the dog wore it saved his life. No street lights, and a car schreeched to a stop two feet in front of him. The only thing the driver could have noticed in the dark was this growing collar. One disadvantage of solid black dogs.

I tried the Inova small flashlight; a great $6-10 light, more than one model. Very tiny, four modes. Full, reduced light, and fast strobe. Nice feature is that you can switch to a hold-to-light mode, where the tiny light won't accidentally be turned on. Great for backpacks, glove boxes, etc. BUT fine for people but not for dogs. Dogs seems to shake and scratch enough to turn this light on/off. Darn - cheap and nifty. But I have four -- one in backpack, 1 by bed, 1 in glove box, and a $15 model with feet. Kinda of a gimmick, but works too. Remember the snakelight? -- good idea you could stretch it around your neck. But the snakelight was a piece of junk, poorly made. The button batteries for the Inova are rather expensive, $4 to $8 depending where you shop.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:30PM
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The lighted collar my dog wears is really an arm/leg band worn by cyclists. It was much cheaper than the first pendant collar light I bought at a pet shop (which doggie promptly scratched off and lost), and so are its replacement batteries. The pendant style lights can be really hard to see on dogs with thick or longish fur around their necks.

I carry a small flashlight in my pocket, but rarely use it. It is only during the winter when I walk my dog in the dark, and her "deposits" show up well enough against the snow that I seldom have to search for them.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:43PM
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Lights continued

My time ran out and I didn't finish.

Yesterday I ran into an interesting (person) light. Note I said yesterday. Found it at Office Depot for 6.75 and then Sears Tool dept for $5. Very light weight, about seven inches long. Doubt if it will last a year, but what else combines a whistle, glow stick light (steady or blinking), flashlight in one? Unfortunately by far the WORST packaging and instructions I've ever seen.

I had to study the item and packaging several minutes. The plastic in the packaging is much stronger than the plastic in the item! Tried cutting a 1/8" of plastic with a scissors, but could not tear it open it. Tried something unconventional, and it worked. Reading the text on the package was wasted time. Adjusted a strong light at a good angle, and used a magnifing glass -- still can't read the tiny print. Also there is tiny print INSIDE the tool that one might be asked to read. Chuck Yeager couldn't read it (famous pilot with better than 20/20 vision).

Makes one long for old days of 1950's instruction, bad instructions, but at least you could read the type.

The product comes in different colors (mild red color will produce a red glow stick color). Name is Lifegear Glow Red, since mine is a translucent red exterior. The three batteries appear to be AG13, a small button cheape. I say appear because one can't be sure without taking it apart. Packaging one CAN read offers 'free' battery replacement. Somehow I can guess that 'shipping and handling extra' will be more than the dollar store which offers 8 AG13 batteries for $1.00.

Well, I bought one and it won't be the worst expenditure I ever made. Throw it in a backpack or a small belt pack.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 4:25PM
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I'd like to know the name of the light you use. Especially if the dog's head shaking does not turn it off and on.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 4:08PM
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I have a concealed carry license and would only use my handgun as a means of extreme last resort to protect me from a dog.

Think about it---you are walking a dog---leash in one hand and a dog attacks---your first instinct will be to either grab the leash with both hands, turn and run/protect your dog---when do you have time to draw the weapon?

And, since it is well known even trained personnel---police/military/etc. hit a moving target the size of a human only 30% of the time----the realistic chance of a dog owner actually hitting an attacking dog with a handgun round is virtually nil.

Maybe a shotgun might up the odds to 50%.

Then there is the legality of shooting a dog. Without witnesses/video evidence, the chances the shooter will be charged with a crime is much higher than not.

Not a fan of lights/air horns/etc. as those can cause as much trauma to your pet as the aggressive one.

Something sturdy that can be carried in the free hand---cane/short staff/tennis racket/baseball bat/etc. that can be used with one hand and does not interfere with handling the leash/dog with the other hand.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 6:49PM
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Robert, the original packaging for my lighted collars is long gone, and all I can see on the buckle is "Planet Bike", which I presume is a brand name. I purchased these in a bicycle shop. By means of an elastic strap and slip buckle, they can adjust from 10" to 16", which would fit a range of dog sizes. Perhaps two could be clipped together to fit a very large dog. The light is activated with a button, and I think it would be difficult for any dog to trigger it by scratching, for sure not by shaking.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 9:28PM
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I think a good flashlight with a very bright and rapid 'strobe' feature might might offer some discouragement to aggressive dogs and other animals (coyotes and bobcats in my area, the suburbs!).

After complaining to the nearby Batteries Plus that about 12 of the 14 cheap Chinese flashlights I bought flickered on and off for no reason, they sold me a Rebo? Redline for $27 plus tax. After a year, it seems a great walking flashlight. Runs on three AA batteries and it about five inches long. Has a adjustable beam, unusual in this size, so you can cover a wide area. And the strobe mode, which requires five clicks to get to, is so rapid as to be very annoying.

This flashlight, plus a cheapee horn for backup, I feel gives decent protection at night. It may scare your animal, sure, but it should only be used in a emergency. Small spray cans of irritant might end up on you. How many people ever practice using a spray can so they become familiar with which end is which?

I would say at least half the walkers or dog walkers in my area carry no flashlight, and have no vest. At night.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:12PM
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