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Discussion Starter #1
Hi members,

I haven't posted in a while...but I really need help with something. I am a single woman, petite, and the proud mommy of an approximately 80 lb. male golden. I had my boy, Peyton, at a dog park once (by myself), and he ended up getting attacked by another dog. Four adults (including myself) were trying to remove the attacking dog to no avail. It felt like forever...and it was an extremely traumatic event. Fortunately, Peyton had his winter coat and what I thought was going to be a life-threatening injury turned out to be a gash between his shoulder blades (which I got him immediate treatment for); I bruised the bone in my hand trying to pry the other dog's jaws off him and my legs were covered in cuts and bruises. Peyton still loves other dogs, but I am still affected by this memory :( (I don't usually admit this because I'm afraid people will think I'm crazy, and/or ridiculous, but I developed PTSD from the whole thing).

This all is relevant because multiple times now (the most recent incident being this morning), I've come across dogs who are off-leash. Even if the owner is close by (and they THINK they have control), the clearly don't, and the dog comes charging at us. A few times it just turned out to be a friendly dog excited to say hello, but some of the other times it was a dog that was clearly aggravated and potentially aggressive (fortunately none of them have actually attacked).

Being a young, petite woman, I was hoping I could get some advice on what to do when a dog comes rushing at you. I've heard so many conflicting things it's hard to know what's best—pepper spray or no? walking stick or no? yell or don't yell? airhorn or will that just hurt my own dog's ears? I've read several recommendations in other forums to "scoop up your dog" and protect them with your arms...well that's all well and fine (and I'd gladly do so!) except if your dog is just about as big as you are!

Please PLEASE help. I am SO frustrated by owners who are not responsibly watching their dogs, but the best thing *I* can do to counteract that is to be prepared myself. I want to do the best I can to fend off "panic mode" and to have an idea of what to do in mind and ready to go should this situation happen again (which I'm sure it will, as we do walks twice a day).

Thank you!!!
 

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Glad that Peyton survived the incident without serious consequences. You don't say where you're located or how you exercise Peyton but it seems to me that you should try to limit the chances that you will encounter off leash dogs . . . don't go to off leash dog parks or other locations where there are off leash dogs. In most places owners are required to have their dogs leashed.

Another thing that might help you is reading or having a dog trainer teach you about how to read dogs' body language and how to respond to it . . . what's the dog saying with it's posture, tail, nose, mouth, coat along it's back and shoulders . . . and how you can communicate to a dog that you're not going to challenge them. Hope that you'll be able to work through this problem.
 
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This is a fear of mine as well. I haven't had an encounter yet with my puppy, but my husband has and had to physically pick up our puppy (not a possibility as he gets bigger) as the other dog (also a puppy but a bit older) wouldn't get off of him.
We have several "off leash" dogs in our neighborhood....very hard to get anything done about it!
 

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TheZ's...I bought a house about 8 months ago, and recently finished fencing off the entire yard, purely for Peyton of course! The problem is, before that we lived in a townhouse and an apartment, so he is used to going potty not in the yard but on his daily walks (and I enjoy walks with him as well). We were at the dog park because at the time we were living in the apartment and I thought it would be good exercise for him...needless to say, I don't take him to dog parks anymore.

I live in a nice neighborhood, the same one I grew up in, and despite the fact that there are laws requiring dogs to be on leash...people unfortunately don't always abide by those laws. For instance, this morning it was a boy (about 8 or 9) with his dog out in the front yard. I didn't notice the dog was there (and that it was unleashed) until we were fairly close, and it didn't react to our presence at all, so I figured it was safe to continue. It wasn't until we were literally right in front of it that it started growling and snapping. I tried to rush Peyton by as fast as possible, but we'd no sooner gotten by when I heard the boy yell at his dog to come back. I turned around (terrified, obviously), to see the dog rushing at us. Fortunately, the dog stopped at the end of its property. But I know one of these times there will be a dog that WON'T stop...and I don't think I should have to deprive Peyton of walks that we both enjoy because other people aren't responsible. :(
 

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Unfortunately there's no way for me to control what other people do with their dogs...so it's hard to limit our interaction with off-leash dogs when they could pop up anywhere at anytime.
 

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I do not walk my dogs at home for that very reason. When we are out somewhere and a strange dog approaches, I will put my dog in a sit and body block the approaching dog. If they behaving aggressively I have no problem kicking the dog away. (I once had to kick a Scottie off of Flip's butt)
 
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This is my usual reaction as well. I am not a large person, neither is Loisiana.

Put your dog on a sit (or down) and step between your dog and the approaching one. If you do not feel you can do this, stay away from places where dogs off leash may be.



When we are out somewhere and a strange dog approaches, I will put my dog in a sit and body block the approaching dog. If they behaving aggressively I have no problem kicking the dog away.
 

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I carry dog repellent, called HALT-you can get it through amazon. I've used it once in the 12 years I've carried it, and it worked.
I used to live in an area that I was nervous about walking my dogs because of dogs being able to get out of their yards. In that case, I drove them 5 minutes away to a local high school running track to walk them or there was another school with a big soccer field with a walking track around it.
Now, I live in an area with a lot of open space that people will let their dogs have off leash time. I don't walk my dogs there, I only walk them on the streets/sidewalks where I'm pretty sure that there won't be any loose dogs, or at least the loose dogs are accidental!
 

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I would say you developing PTSD from the incident is, for lack of a better word, acceptable. It's a very traumatic event when we see a loved one (in this case pet) and our efforts to get them out of danger are futile. So for you to be this way after the attack is acceptable.

Maverick was bit at the dog park and he was crying and blood was drawn. It wasn't a big deal but the point is the offending dog is an aggressive dog and the lady knew this. Maverick turned out to be fine, but from that day on I bring a small water gun (from when I was a kid). I've learned that a shot of water to the face of a dog really irritates them and works better than trying to physically remove the other dog by force. I also learned that trying to put an object between the two dogs is a more effective and safer way than putting your hands (we have trash can lids at our park and I've heard some owners used that).

As for when dogs approach off leash, most responsible owners will never let their dog off leash at a park that doesn't allow it. I admit at the dog park is basically a free for all and with certain dogs, an incident waiting to happen (I remove Maverick from this situation if I feel another dog is a threat).

Just for your own sake, I would highly recommend seeking some help with training your dog. Maverick is 61lbs now and even myself (6'1", 160lb male) it gets a bit tiring trying to drag him if I ever need to. Training would make your dog listen to you better and you will feel more in control of him. As for facing your personal fear and dealing with your PTSD, one could seek professional help or deal with it however you feel comfortable.
 

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Depending on the situation I will assume a defensive position between my dog and the other dog. I try to read the other dog's body language - loose dogs are not always aggressive. Some are dominant. Some are friendly and looking to say hi and play.

I have kicked dogs before - generally situations where they were snarling and trying to get at my dog's neck and face.

There are some dogs - OMG. I don't know how I'd handle the situation if the dog was loose. Good example is I was at class last night with a St. Bernard who is bigger and heavier than I am. I simply know that I would protect my dog in whatever way is necessary.

One thing I wanted to share is this picture...

I saw this on facebook and recognized a posture that I see a majority if the time with dominant/pushy dogs.

I saw a dominant posture and a certain threat from that lab putting his jaw on the young golden retriever.

The owner of the lab said it was just play. Other people even went as far as calling it a hug. o_O It's that mentality of dog owners in general which is why I do not take my dog to any place where he would be loose with these people's dogs. :uhoh:
 

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I saw this on facebook and recognized a posture that I see a majority if the time with dominant/pushy dogs.
That image looks the the start of something very bad...

Try throwing/tossing a handful of kibble at the approaching dog.
I saw this on Patricia McConnell's blog.
How to Stop an Approaching Dog in an Emergency - YouTube
I keep it in the back of my mind when walking our two Goldens.

We also have a small can of pepper spray. I've never had to use it, but would in a heartbeat if I needed to.
 

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I've read about throwing kibble or some other treat to distract the dog and then getting out of there. My concern is that the dog would keep following for more food! Both friendly and unfriendly dogs are a concern to me since Guinness is most decidedly UNfriendly if he is on the leash. I've seen even friendly dogs get hackles up by his reaction to them approaching.
 
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