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Dealing with Off Leash Dogs

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I have such an issue with this. I feel like every time we get anywhere with Molly some 'friendly' dog comes up with a wagging tail and bounces all over her and I hear bullcrap about how she shouldn't be in public at all. We're not in dog dense places, dogs should be on leash where we are, and yet.

 

Even worse for me is actually the people. Molly wears a harness with signage on it that says "Stop. No touch, no talk, no eyecontact'. We run into someone about once a month who stares at her, makes a beeline for her and tries to pet her and then gets butt hurt when I dodge n front to prevent them. STOP THAT.

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I feel a bit lucky I live in Portugal. Never had anyone complain when I say Tess doesn't like their dog and doesn't want interaction. On the few ocasions when I didn't see the dog till Tess was explaining with details she didn't like him, most people just said, well, serves him right, he was being a pain, I just hope he learns something from this.

Also never had people complain when I say, no petting, she doesn't particulary like strangers. There's the odd one who seems to not have heard me, but I insist and people quit. If they don't like it, they keep it to themselves.

Most people around here still seem to have a bit of common sense. Dogs too, rare is the off leash dog who doesn't understand and comply when I tell him not to aproach (except some young boisterous dog, who still only have 2 neurons that rarely make contact). I hope it doesn't vanish too quickly. Cause it will vanish.

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Dear Doggers,

 

Roxanne chides me: "Are you really saying that she shouldn't take advantage of her tax supported law enforcement to report leash laws that are being violated to the point that she's not able to walk her leashed dogs in her own neighborhood?"

 

She can do whatever she wants: pray, weep, denounce big government, denounce small government, call the cops or form a Facebook discussion group but next time she wants to deter unwelcome dogs I believe that the"boot" and/or"stick" is most likely to do so.

 

Donald McCaig

 

I find that a deep, loud, growly "Git!" seems to demonstrate clearly what is wanted. The oncoming dog slides to a halt and remembers something he needed to do elsewhere. The owner clutches her feckless retriever or wrapped-too-tight terrier to her bosom and skedaddles from the crazy person.

 

For those dogs that have not been taught not to try to scale the fronts of random pedestrians, a knee to the sternum works well. The dog picks itself up with a newfound understanding of physics, and doesn't try it again.

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"Friendly dog will give a dog the space he needs." Not true. Dogs who have excellent dog manners will give other dogs the space they need. I've seen this happen on a number of occasions, with Gibbs being on the receiving end of both well-mannered and ill mannered dogs. And with Gibbs taking a clear 'No' in doggy body language from another dog seriously.

 

Any dog with good manners is welcome, (by Gibbs) to come up and say a polite hello. Any young puppy or small dog can do pretty much anything they want to, and Gibbs merely moves on. Any adult or dog over about 20 lbs who is not possessed of good dog manners is given a couple warnings. If those don't work, he gets serious and applies his teeth.

 

It hasn't happened a lot and he's never injured a dog, but once he's used his teeth they leave him alone. And he's never had to deal w/a dog aggressive dog in his face, thank goodness. I am vigilant about other dogs in our vicinity when we're walking and have only needed to yell or swing a leash at another dog maybe 2 or 3 times in 5 years.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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(friendly dogs will give a reactive dog the space they need).

 

Tell that to my reactive dog who was having a serious meltdown last summer as an overly friendly but damned stupid Lab was charging up to her while she was freaking out, spitting, snarling and showing mad teeth the entire time, and I was holding her off her feet and yelling at the equally clueless owner of said dog to call it off. (Owner just stood there at first telling me his dog was friendly and didn't seem able to fathom that mine was not. :blink: )

 

ETA: This was in a town with leash laws. My dog was appropriately leashed; his was not and he had no control over it.

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Gosh I wish I hadn't used the word "friendly", I guess I should have said well-mannered, or "respectful of other dogs" or not rude dogs, or dogs who only engage in mutual play or something else.

The only thing I meant to convey with that statement is that I don't have confidence that throwing a treat-party would be helpful to maintain space, and would be interested to know if it works in practice and with which dogs or scenarios.

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Never used that technique. My feeling is that if the dog is agressive, he won't be distracted by treats. If he's just ill mannered and in your face, I can keep Tess from biting him even if she feels like it, and send him away. But she's not exactly reactive, she only reacts if a dog she dislikes really gets in her face, otherwise she ignores.

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Gosh I wish I hadn't used the word "friendly", I guess I should have said well-mannered, or "respectful of other dogs" or not rude dogs, or dogs who only engage in mutual play or something else.

The only thing I meant to convey with that statement is that I don't have confidence that throwing a treat-party would be helpful to maintain space, and would be interested to know if it works in practice and with which dogs or scenarios.

If you read the Patricia McConnell blog post I suggested in a previous post, she does say that the technique would probably not work on dogs with intent to harm. She includes a video where several dogs are let off leash and run towards the camera. It is not clear if they are running towards a person AND a dog or just a person. The treats are thrown and dogs stop to scarf them up. There are so many variables to consider that I just took it as a 'point of interest'. I can see so many different way it could fail that I probably would never use this technique, but many people like to hear about non-aggressive ways to deflect a dog. I would not initially hurt a dog if friendly, just rude and boisterous, or otherwise not evil-minded, but I would definitely be quite aggressive both verbally and with my actions. It all depends on how serious the situation is.

 

When we were living in Philadelphia many, many years ago, DH was walking our BC X Lab around the block (on leash). Some idiot had left his front door open, and his GSD saw DH and our dog walk by. The GSD came hurtling out of the house and sailed over a 3 foot decorative iron fence and laid into our dog. DH started screaming his head off and managed to land several hard kicks to the dog before the owner came out to collect his dog - who was "friendly and had never done anything like that before" Uh Huh. We had to give our poor dog a bath because she was so frightened by the attack that she soiled (poop) herself. (and normally, she was a very confident dog.) Luckily, the incident had no lasting effect on her.

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After 6 years in Animal Control, 4 of them in a city with a considerable problem with loose DANGEROUS dogs, I will echo the sentiment to call Animal Control and have them come and deal with the problem, and not depend on your boot. Your boot will only solve your problem immediately (if in fact it does that) but Animal Control can solve it in the long term/permanently, as well as making sure it's not a problem for other people too, like the elderly who can't take a boot to the dog, or a child, whose face is closer to the dog than its boot is.

 

The other thing to consider is that a boot to the dog could easily earn you a fist to the face from an irate owner, because oft times the nasty dog is owned by a nastier human.

 

I'm not saying that you shouldn't resort to a boot or a big stick if you or yours are threatened (I myself carry a walking stick, just in case), but if you call Animal Control they can impose restrictions, fines and impound the dog (more fees, more inconvenience) which tends to have an impression on the owner. And even if they don't show up right away and the dog and owner make a quick getaway, if this is happening in a subdivision *somebody* will know the dog/owner and they can be tracked down.

 

I don't know about where you are, but here the police do not enforce city bylaws and can't do anything unless the dog has harmed a person or animal - and then all they can really do is detain the dog and human until Animal Control arrives. So call AC.

 

RDM

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About 4 months after we got him, Gabe was attacked by an unleashed (still not 100% clear if the dog was off-leash or slipped a lead) pit bull, leading to 6 hours in the emergency room and a miserable dog with a number of puncture wounds in his leg for days. The dog had attacked other dogs, and the cat it was living with in its foster home.

 

On the leash-required hiking trails, we regularly run into off-leash, ill-mannered dogs whose owners are offended when I ask them to leash their dogs. 90% of these dogs are not under voice control either. It infuriates me. One woman, whose enormous, boisterous golden retriever doesn't listen to her at all, and doesn't read ANY of Gabe's signals- including lunging and snapping at the end of the leash. The dog still tries to approach, and the owner has taken to chasing us around the neighborhood when she's out without the dog (I think the dog is too big for her to walk on leash) telling us to use an e-collar on our fear reactive dog.

 

I could rant about off-leash dogs for years. The Parks Department, who monitors the trails, Animal Control, and the police all feel they have bigger things to deal with than off-leash dogs. We avoid the trails as much as possible, but it's so incredibly obnoxious that we can't take advantage of the beautiful park we have at the end of our street because some people think they're above following the law.

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Tactical baton.

 

Buy it online. It is steel, telescopes down to about a foot long, and out to about 3 feet.

You swing it out away from your body and it snaps into place and locks with a very satisfying sound.

I used to carry mine when I lived in a bad neighborhood with loose and dangerous dogs. The sound it made snapping into place was enough to deter almost all of them. If that didn't do the trick, swinging it did. Without fail. I never once had to hit a dog with it, and these were serious dogs.

 

Once two pit bulls had Jester on the ground and were going for his throat. SNAP went the baton and they let go and ran.

 

This would qualify as Mr. McCaig's stick, but is perhaps more effective. And if you ever actually did have to hit with it, it would make whatever it connected with take notice, and would not break.

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I had no idea this would be such a hot topic, so it's nice to know I'm in good company with this issue. I appreciate the advice given by everyone and am going to try walking again tomorrow and let you guys know how it goes.

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I could rant about this for pages and pages. My old dog was reactive, and my new girl is 20 pounds and fearful of large dogs charging us. Either way, it's simply NOT my job to manage anyone else's dog, and I am dumbfounded at how many people with large and boisterous dogs - or worse, mini-packs of 2 or 3 or 4 - let them charge at everyone they meet. I've had to stop visiting the lovely wooded park near me, because people won't follow the rules about having their dogs under control and not letting them approach strangers.

 

I wish there were a place to get this message across to the people who are clueless - but I suspect they're not the types who frequent Internet dog training discussions. ::Sigh::

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It's amazing, too, that owners who tell me to let my dogs off-lead, they'll 'sort it out'*, or laugh and say it's fine that their dog is bullying mine because mine will 'teach them a lesson', were so much more reluctant to do so when I had a young labrador with me. It used to happen way more often when I had the small dog out for a walk by herself, and now it happens much more often since the labrador is visibly elderly.

 

Funnily enough, because the bigger dog would be much more physically capable of 'sorting them out' and potentially less likely to just get attacked by their dog, so therefore it would presumaby work better. Complete mystery, that.

 

Owners are much happier to let them 'sort it out' when their dogs are bigger than yours. I must ask the guy who walks the cane corso if he gets this. I suspect not. A pit bull may be in my future.

 

 

*Or, you know, the fearful dog will run away into traffic. This has happened/been suggested while walking beside a busy road. Or the snappish dog will start a fight she cannot run away from because all the dogs are off-leash. Or your four dogs will pile into my three dogs because you evidently have no control over them anyway.

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Owners are much happier to let them 'sort it out' when their dogs are bigger than yours. I must ask the guy who walks the cane corso if he gets this. I suspect not. A pit bull may be in my future.

 

Yep. My neighbor's jerky little Pom ran into my yard one day and ran at Tex, latching onto his neck. The owner was not so happy when Tex pinned him to the ground after flinging him off. (I have nothing against little dogs. Another neighbor has a Chi and all of my dogs love him to bits. He's a sweetie.)

 

And as for the "friendly dogs".. The yellow labs in my neighborhood that run loose are very friendly. But they annoy the crap out of my dogs. The problem with those friendly dogs is that they have no concept of personal space. Or the signals that my dogs are giving off that are screaming GO AWAY!

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Re: Tactical baton

 

I looked into this and was told by the seller that there could be concealed weapon issues

Well, of course, you don't carry it concealed. It is on your belt, in full view.

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I will probably invest in a heavy riding crop.

I wouldn´t.

A. It is a crappy weapon.

B, It is obvious you carry it with the sole purpose to hurt someone.

C. Strongly associated with the bdsm scene (I know;the looks on the customs officer when he found one in my suitcase was rather, ehm, funny...Hey I really own horses, but somehow you don´t say that, would make it even more embarrassing... :rolleyes: )

 

I would go for a sturdy walking stick, preferably with a nice hefty knob/handle.

 

NB. Tactical batons are illegal in my neck of the woods, but even if they weren´t, I would prefer the walking stick; You have it ready in your hand , all the time, and you have better reach.

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I will probably invest in a heavy riding crop.

 

Nope, that's a little too obvious and questionable. I'd recommend getting a walking stick. :)

 

A friend of mine got a walking stick that's actually a stun gun, after she had one of her dogs attacked and injured by TWO large dogs. It looks like an ordinary walking/hiking stick and yet it gives off a helluva ZAP if needed. The sound alone deters all but the most psycho dogs. May be of questionable use in wet weather, though.

 

But in most cases, I'd think nice, ordinary hiking stick would do, probably find one at a sporting goods store, or else get a wooden cane. The nicest thing about a walking cane or hiking stick is that you have an everyday reason to carry it, plus a riding crop requires getting in closer to an intrusive dog than may be safe.

 

And you can bend a stick over a truly dangerous dog's head as well. ;)

 

~ Gloria

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I'm not sure of the treat thing, as if the dogs are anything less then friendly they won't be interested' and if they are that friendly, they're not a problem anyway. (friendly dogs will give a reactive dog the space they need).

 

Sadly, that has not been my experience. :mellow: I've had too many "friendly," clueless, in-your-face dogs freak even my non-reactive dogs completely out. Sure, it may be totally harmless and looking only for a playmate to romp with. But when some boisterous, exuberant lab or boxer or golden retriever comes bounding up chock full of fun, it has no idea why my border collie is backing into my legs growling, and when it tries even harder to convince my dog to "play," then the teeth start showing. Annnd then come the dirty looks when the owner has to gather up his/her "friendly" dog, because it lacked the ability to understand that not all dogs want to play the way that they do. :huh:

 

 

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Sadly, that has not been my experience. :mellow: I've had too many "friendly," clueless, in-your-face dogs freak even my non-reactive dogs completely out. Sure, it may be totally harmless and looking only for a playmate to romp with. But when some boisterous, exuberant lab or boxer or golden retriever comes bounding up chock full of fun, it has no idea why my border collie is backing into my legs growling, and when it tries even harder to convince my dog to "play," then the teeth start showing. Annnd then come the dirty looks when the owner has to gather up his/her "friendly" dog, because it lacked the ability to understand that not all dogs want to play the way that they do. :huh:

 

Sheesh, we're back to the 'friendly' dog thing?

Firstly, anyone who lets a offleash dog (regardless of temperament) run up to an on-leash dog without expressed well-considered permission, is an idiot. There are plenty of idiots in the world.

Second: here's what I meant by 'not a problem'--a friendly dog isn't going to try to rip, maim, kill my dog. A dog that is off-leash that does not back off from an unhappy leashed dog does not match my definition of friendly.

 

My 1st shepherd, Misha, had serious fear reactivity when I owned her at 8 yrs old (an inheritance). With her, I had many dogs run up and jump her and they definitely were not trying to make friends, nor were they intending to harm, they were being typical yard dogs probably defending their turf (which extends to the street).

 

Sticks, big sticks are helpful both for maintaining space and reclaiming it. I'm buying one today, as I had a chat with a dog-owner in my neighbourhood and found out that one of those barking yard dogs occassionally escapes it's fence and that there are also some 'friendly' labs roaming one of the sidestreets.

 

 

So, I couldn't care less if a dog is 'friendly' or not, owners should be willing and able to call their off-leash dog away from a leashed dog. But that's not the real world; roaming dogs, rude dogs, etc., will always be with us, turning up when least expected.

 

One other idea I saw, maybe helpful (for ordinary encounters) is a dog-shield which looked like a large rigid frisbee with handle in the middle. Can be used to get in the way, interrupt sight-line of the advancing dog, would look like (or actually is) an ordinary frisbee. Not sure if I should try that or just a stick.

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And back to the treat party thing. I have actually tried on two occassions (I watched that video awhile back). It didn't work, but I wasn't lobbing steaks. I think lobbing steaks or something big and smelly might work, but that's not something I consider affordable or practical.

First scenario: I have no dog, I'm outdoor painting and the last time I did it, dogs ran up to me and all over my stuff. Owners acted annoyed that I'd interrupted their carefree off-lead dog fun by being there and let the same thing happen on the return trip. So the next time, I lobbed treats (Old Roy nuggets, cheap stuff but dogs usually love it). They didn't notice, mobbed me anyway.

Second scenario: with Sonic on a long-line in the woods. These were 'friendly' dogs by my definition (Sonic was not displaying 'keep away' signals). Sonic was very new to me, I wanted to avoid the encounter by walking off the trail into long grass. The dogs didn't notice the treat shower, and said 'hi' anyway. Sonic tried to engage play for a half minute but that's hard to do on a long-line. This was not an unpleasant encounter, but no one noticed the treats and they were lost in the long grass.

The video looks like the dogs that are running up are already expecting treats. Nice in theory, but has anyone tried this and had success?

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Why on earth should you want to give treats to strange dogs running up on you?

You want to encourage such behavior...?

First question: http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/it-works-how-to-stop-an-approaching-dog-in-an-emergency

Think of it as a desperate "I'll try anything" attempt to find a solution to being pestered or worse by uncontrolled dogs.

Second question: no, I really wish people would not let their dogs do this, I hate the idea of having to carry a stick again. May try the frisbee shield.

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