What do you do if you have your dog off leash and a dog runs up to you and your dog? How do you handle this situation?
First off…is YOUR dog 100% off leash reliable. No? put the leash on. If so, call your dog to you and put a leash on when a strange dog is seen. Gauge their body language. Learn dog body language!
When a dog is running towards you and your dog, 99.9% of the time the dog is only going after your dog. So what do you do? The only thing to do is to take control. If you don’t, then things can go sideways. I have had many off leash dogs run up to me and my dogs. Some friendly, some not so much. But it’s my job to protect my pack so I do not let my relationship to them falter. If they lose faith in you then the respect lessons, the listening to your lessons, bratty behaviors fester and then you have a brat.
How do you take control? You step in front of your dog, you get a set of balls, stand tall and tell the dog to buggar off. Or you use compressed air or noise maker, that you can carry with you to scare the dog off. It startles them and interrupts their thought process so they can be redirected.
When dogs are adrenalized and focused treats won’t work. Hitting a dog won’t work. Throwing water won’t work. If they are locked on your dog you need to stand your ground. Good luck getting their focus to shift until you find something to interrupt their behaviour. You need to exude confidence and not panic.
Unfortunately, there are times when you have to act fast and be mean. Sometimes it can be dramatic, stressful and very serious. I had a huge shepherd come after my Doberman on a walk in the city and there is no way in hell he’s getting hurt because I’m not willing to take a stand. That shepherd got a swift, hard kick to their cranium, was told very loudly No! and ran off. The owner came running apologizing and I turned and walked off, not interested in having a conversation about her dog or lack of training/responsibility the owner showed.
You can carry a walking stick too ( as a farm kid I used to always carry a stick to hike with my dogs on 100 acres with cows, a bull and coyotes, and random neighbors dogs) but for city folks doing on leash walks it’s not so easy to do. I personally carry compressed air (pet corrector). Readily available in pet stores or online.
Be loud, stand tall, plant your feet, shorten the lead, put your dog behind you and stand firm, make noise.
Friendly dogs can cause issues too if they are too excitable. But usually, they aren’t an issue. its the aggressive, unregulated types of dogs that are an issue. They don’t listen to their owners and cause a lot of stress. Never lower your face, great way to get nipped or bitten. Never turn your back on an aggressive dog. Always stand your ground and stand tall, with purpose. Wait for the other dog to retreat and deescalate before moving off or turning your back, a dog can return and if you’re back is turned you can become a target.
Great people can own aggressive dogs. Just like the article I wrote yesterday, many need help. However, not doing anything about the dogs aggressive tendencies is wrong. The dogs need to be trained, rehabbed or corrected for this negative behaviour and should not be given opportunities to embrace freedom until they have earned it and proved they are safe and obedient.
Be proactive, be safe, do not let your dog off leash unless they have a reliable recall. STAY OFF YOUR FRIGGIN PHONE. Enjoy the walk and pay attention to your dog and surroundings. That means the dog comes when called each and every time. Not 75%. If so, the dog remains on a lead until you do more training.