Loose Dogs – What to do!

Categories: Dog Safety
By Laura Yurchak
I have lost track of how many times I was on awalk with my dogs and a loose dog appeared.Once I had a goofy, fun loving Collie follow me and the girls as we headed home. The owner was in their van trying to catch her but she was having too much fun following us to listen to her owner. Finally the Collie was caught when she was preoccupied with my girls. Other times I was able to hold the approaching dog off with my body language and my stern verbal cue of STAY!!!! GO HOME!!!!! I didn’t shout; I just said it loud enough for the dog and anyone in the immediate area to hear. The dogs that were headed our way were most likely friendly but I wasn’t taking the chance. The loose dogs never got closer than approximately 100 feet from us. As I continued to cue the dogs to STAY and GO HOME, the owners came out and got their dogs. I was very lucky. Walking two dogs at a time in a situation like that can be very scary.
Brewer the Beagle and Jane weren’t as lucky. Many of you may have seen the story in the paper or on TV. They were on a walk when a big white dog, pit type, came charging at them. The big dog did extensive damage to Brewer. It was horrific for both Brewer and Jane.

There are some things you can do if you ever ind yourself facing a loose dog. The things I mention below are not 100% full proof but you can try them if you ever need to.

Most dogs know or have some knowledge of thecue “stay or wait”. If the dog isn’t right by you, you can call out these cues plus use the hand signal. I normally take one step forward as I cue with a hand signal and loudly say “STAY or WAIT”. I don’t feel as though these cues will work if the dog is too close. Never hold your hand out in front of you if a strange dog is close enough to bite it.

Carry Spray Shield, previously known as Direct Stop. Citronella is the active ingredient andpresents a strong odor to the animal causing them to be distracted from the object of their aggression. Independent sampling has shown that Spray Shield is effective in controlling dogs exhibiting low to medium aggression. It should be noted, however, that while the product has matched the effectiveness of 10% pepper spray on dogs, it may not stop trained attack animals or those animals with a strong motivation to attack.

It is legal in Wisconsin to carry pepper spray. As soon as you see the dog approaching, take your pepper spray out of your pocket and spray it toward the dog. They could be across the street but I would still spray a burst in the dog’s direction. If the dog continues to move forward, continue spraying. Most dogs will not approach something that is spraying toward them, especially with a smell like that.

Carry a self-defense personal alarm. These devises emit 120+ decibels. They are loud enough to call the Marines to your rescue and most likely scare most dogs away. These fit in your pocket and only cost about $10.00.

For those dogs like the goofy Collie that followed me, you can toss a handful of treats to the side ofthe dog as it is approaching. Do not throw the treats at the dog; toss them to the side of the dog. This way the dog is not facing you while they eat the treats. You can slowly move away.

If you try all of the things above and you or your dog are attacked:

  • DROP THE LEASH. Give your dog a chance to either get away or defend himself.
  • Spray the attacking dog with Spray Shield or pepper spray. Do not spray these when the attacking dog has a hold of your dog. It will only make them mad and they may hold onto your dog harder.
  • Pour your water bottle over the dogs.
  • Turn on your self-defense personal alarm and toss it at the dogs.
  • Stay calm and try to find something that you can put between the two dogs. This will be hard to do since there is normally nothing big enough to slide in between them. If you have a coat on, take it off and toss it over the attacking dog.

If you are being attacked, keep your hands folded and tight to your body. Don’t make eye contact and stand still.
If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and protect your face. Whatever you do, do not run. This will only increase the dog’s prey drive and encourage him to come after you.

ABOUT PEPPER SPRAY – In Wisconsin, you are allowed to use pepper spray to defend yourself against someone who is attacking or about to attack you. The age limit for carrying concealed pepper spray on your body is 18, and if it’s kept in a car, the driver must be over the age of 18. (Since pepper sprays are usually not to be stored in temperatures over 120 degrees, it’s wise not to carry pepper spray in the glove compartment during the warmer months). Pepper spray is the only self-defense spray you can legally carry in Wisconsin.