In this week’s podcast episode I tell the story of an incident that happened in my town recently where two dogs broke free from the person that was walking them, and wound up attacking two other different dogs being walked, causing injuries to both the canines and the humans that tried to intervene on their dog’s behalf. This is any pet parent or dog owner’s nightmare – that an unleashed dog heading your way may NOT be friendly. I know I have wondered about this at times when I am walking Rosy on a leash but see up ahead a person and their unleashed dog. I’ve worried what if the dog is dog aggressive and comes charging at Rosy. You never know what could happen if they meet.
And if the dog or multiple ones are on the attack, what would I do? My guest on the show, is Michael Shikashio, a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant specializing in dog aggression and in this second part of my conversation with him, he answered my questions about what to do in case an aggressive dog does attack Rosy and what equipment to carry all the time in order to ward off a possible attack or even stop a fight once it’s going.
I promised that I would list the steps that Michael explained, of what to do here on the blog – along with the items to get so that you are always prepared.
Here is the equipment to carry with you whenever you are walking your dog.
1. A training treat pouch.
There are many designs. They often have a clip to attach the pouch to your belt or waist band and/or have a strap to buckle around your waist. I use the strap. Get a pouch large enough to hold a lot of treats and a few more items. Make sure the pouch has a carabiner hook.
2. Stock the pouch with enough treats or kibble to make a couple handfuls.
3. A bottle of a dog repellent called Spray Shield. Depending upon where you live, you may find a different product is available or needed. Here in the United States, and Canada you can buy this and its legal to use. It’s citronella and does not injure the dog.
Put this in the bag or attach it to the pouch.
4. Small collapsible umbrella – hook this on the carabiner.
How to use the equipment to ward away possible attackds.
Now, if you are walking your dog and suddenly see that there is one or more unleashed, unsupervised dogs heading your way, depending upon if the dog is harmless, (but will still get in your dog’s space) which could make your dog react defensively or is full on in attack mode, this will determine what you use to discourage them.
A. If it seems like a friendly dog is rushing up to yours just to play, such as at dog park, but if your dog gets reactive and you suspect that the encounter will not go well, you’ll want to head them off.
1. As the dog gets somewhat close, throw a good sized handful or two of treats right in front of it. While it is eating the food, it will give you time to move away. Make sure you toss enough food on the ground to give you time to put distance between you and the other dog.
B. One or more loose dogs are charging towards your dog that appear to have aggressive intent and you want to stop them and scare them away.
1. Spray the repellant towards the dog’s head.
2. Pop open the umbrella with the canopy pointing towards the approaching dog. The stimulus of the noise and sudden enlargement of an object is what discourages the dog. If it doesn’t immediately leave, you can use it to block the dog like a shield and then spray the dog with your repellant.
My friends and I were talking just last week about what one is supposed to do if another dog is already attacking and biting your dog or even how to stop a dog fight in general. The spray shield and the umbrella will work in these situations as well. It’s such a relief to know that taking action to protect your dog can be fairly straight-forward, and by using the tools to intervene rather than reaching in with your hands to try and break up what is happening, keeps you injury free. Michael offers much more helpful advice so if you haven’t listened to the conversation yet, you’ll want to do so.