What Do You Do if an Off-Leash Dog Approaches You While You Are Walking Your Dog?

It’s something all dog owners fear. You’re out walking your dog. You see an approaching dog — he looks aggressive, and he’s off his leash. What you do next is essential to prevent a full-scale attack. What do you do if an off-leash dog approaches you while you are walking a dog?

You could encounter an off-leash dog in any number of situations. And, while you think that the dog coming at you is aggressive, it could be the behavior of your dog that dictates how it plays out.

In this post, we’re going to look at what you can do in such a situation. We’ll also go over what to do if the two dogs do start fighting.

Tips to Prevent a Dogfight

The most important thing is to stay calm. If you don’t, your dog will sense your tension. He might adopt more aggressive body language or even start attacking the other dog. By staying calm, you’re de-escalating the situation and telling your dog there’s nothing to worry about.

If he’s calm, the other dog is likely to stay calm as well.

If the dog coming at you seems determined, start moving away with your dog. You may need to distract your dog with treats. Move determinedly, without running or speeding up. If you run, the other dog is likely to give chase.

Try to put an obstacle between you and the other dog. You could cross the road, or move behind a car.

If he follows, it’s time to deal with the aggressor. Make your pet sit or lie down to make him seem more submissive and less of a threat. Keep giving him treats. Now step in front of your dog and assertively tell the other one to go home. Use a firm tone of voice.

Stand up straight and tall and make it clear that this is your space. You can even put your hand up to reinforce the message to stop. If the dog stops, throw a few treats, and move away. If this posture doesn’t work, you’ll need to try the physical deterrents we speak about further along.

How to Safely Break up a Fight Between Two Dogs

Sometimes a fight is inevitable. Again, the key is to remain calm. It’s a bad idea to try to pull them apart by yourself. If possible, find someone to help. Each person will grab one dog’s back legs.

Grabbing their back legs might startle them into letting go. Be prepared to pull them apart if they let go. If they stay clamped onto each other, you’ll need to find another way to separate them.

Conventional wisdom suggests shouting at the dogs. We’ve seen cases where well-meaning people have beaten the attacking dog or tried to stick their finger in its anus

These tactics are seldom a good idea because they feed attacking dogs’ excitement.

Instead, try blowing an air horn or whistle to startle them out of fight mode. An unusual sound could break their focus on killing each other. If that still doesn’t work, you could try spraying citronella spray or cold water on them.

If that doesn’t work, try to find a long stick and use it to help pull the dogs apart. With the tips that we’ve shared above, though, this shouldn’t be necessary.

During the fight, make an effort to remain calm and encourage bystanders to do the same. It’s distressing to see your fur baby in such danger, but getting excited will only fuel their rage.

How to Ensure You Are Prepared

With leash-laws relaxing a little, you may encounter an aggressive dog that these tricks won’t work on. For those times, it’s essential to have physical tools to assist you. An air horn or anything that makes a loud noise could startle the dog. Opening and closing an umbrella might also help.

Keep a citronella spray on hand as a last resort to stun the dog long enough for you to make your escape.

But, most important of all, train your dog to remain calm. You can’t control the actions of the other dog. If your pooch can stay calm and collected, though, the situation is less likely to escalate into a fight.

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