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Rant: I am so tired of offleash dogs.

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I can't go a week without meeting one, but this takes the cake.

We ran into 5(!) offleash dogs on our walk. From 3 houses. None of them had collars or any sign of having a recall.

The first was a doodle who trailed us with friendly interest, hoping for any sign of welcome. I was debating turning around and walking it to it's house before we got to a busier street.

As I was thinking that, 2 dogs charged from another house 100 ft away. An adolescent bully mix and an older lab mix. Lab mix was mostly having a good time running with his buddy but looked willing to join in any rumble, the bully mix was in the lead, head down, intent, hard stare, charging us.

I've found that if I get between Annie and an offleash dog, and try to shoo it off, then escalate to yelling at it if needed, she doesn't react and stays behind me unless it gets right in her face.

So I was circling between the dog and Annie as it tried to lunge at her, yelling'Go away! Go home! No!', and making shooing gestures (the lab left), as the dog repeatedly lunged at me/Annie, and then took a step back when I yelled, Annie was behind me, loose leash, helping me stay between her and the dog, and the four owners were yelling and eventually caught their easier, non aggressive dog.

Then the bully mix ran over to my mom, who was holding Trixie, and got poked away with her walking stick, and then ran at and got snarled at and chased off by the doodle, then circled back to me.... I yelled at it as it darted around me, it got into a snarly toothy fight with Annie, who backed it off to the end of her leash, it came back at us, I blocked it, it tried to go for Mom again... until its owners finally arrived/it got bored enough it let its 3 people herd it home. They never did manage to leash it.

It wasn't super aggressive after the first few tense seconds when it discovered it couldn't just charge Annie, but it was territorial, very rude, very adolescent, not yet sure of itself, and looking for trouble. Give it 6 months more maturity, and i am not certain if would have gone as well ...

I am proud of Annie, who was very restrained and did NOT lunge or bark at any of them until the bully mix got in her face, and returned to being quiet behind me afterwards.

And I am thrilled it didn't go worse, as it had the potential to become a 5 dog dogfight.

Annie didn't even lunge and bark at the gangly cane corso(?)puppy who came bounding at us 3 min later, trailed by an old shepherd mix. They got escorted back home by my mom, holding Trixie again, and 'here puppy puppy'ing as the owner yelled ineffectually from the porch and the puppy debated if it should follow the fun lady holding a dog, or the fun looking poodle.

Annie was unusually cuddly when we got home. I don't know if she needed reassurance, or if she thought that I needed reassurance!
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Yup, infruriating.
Trouble is out of control dogs, those that escape are invariably owned by people who probably shouldn't have any kind of dog, or even a hamster or gold fish.
The type of dog too seems to be an attraction to the wrong people.
Our trainer told us in this situation it's a good idea to make yourself as big as possible and yell at the top of your voice at the errant dog approaching you.
His theory is that the dog whilst aggresive, not under control will due to it's most likely home environment be scared of it's owner, so wary of any angry 'aggressive' behaviour from a human.
This struck a chord with us, as my better other half was walking our old dog Kipper once, when an escaped agressive German Shepard guard dog ran towards her and Kipper in the street.
'Mom' reacted by raising her arm and screaming 'F*"@K OFF' !
The dog stopped in it's tracks turned round and went back into the yard it was meant to be guarding.

Recently terrible news from Brighton a town on the south coast.
Two escaped Bullies attacked a Cokapoo, and it's owner - horrific injuries sustained.
And in South London a dog walker - walking six dogs I think - was attacked by the very dogs she was walking, and killed.
There is an increase here of serious dog attacks.
Again, the rise of a certain fashion breed - the Bully, is a factor.
But of course any dog can 'turn'.

I must admit I purchased a walking stick with a pointy end when Pop's was a puppy in order to defend ourselves, and also because the puppy theft thing was rife at the time.
Truth is I have never actually taken it with me though - yet.

Mind you one of the most worrying events was when Poppy was in her very first season.
An absolutely huge Doberman, who we knew, who Poppy had attempted to play with as a tiny puppy, soon learning that was a bit risky - not because he was a 'dangerous' dog. in fact he is actually ok - just too big - but he was a youngster too, and very interested in Poppy when she went into heat.
One day we were in the park, poppy on the lead because of her condition, when this dog turned up.
Firstly no owner in sight, secondly he had no collar on.
He wanted Poppy.
I had no choice but to lift her by the lead, in effect 'hanging ' her for a second, hold her to my chest and turn round.
'Mum' trying to grab him by the scruff of the neck as there was no collar !!
Next thing I had muddy paws on my shoulders as he decided I was the next best option to Poppy ....:(
Nightmare.
The owner came running, collar in hand, got hold of his dog.
Aplogising like mad, and said they were 'miles' away other side of the park, when obviously the dog got whiff of Poppy, slipped his collar and raced off.

Poppy isn't scared of this dog now, but if he comes over to say hello after a bit she gives him a little 'snap' bares her teeth and he listens and leaves her alone.
 

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I'm so glad you all made it out of the situation safely. Virtual hugs to all of you. Off-leash aggressive dogs are why I have to drive someplace to take Wally for a walk and have him use potty pads. Can't drive someplace every time he needs to relieve himself. It's infuriating. There have been numerous attacks in the three years we've been living here, two of which I unfortunately saw. It's sad too because it's a huge complex with pretty courtyards and walking paths that we both used to really enjoy.
 

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We have neighbors with a boxer that they leave unattended with only an electric fence to keep her in the front yard. I can't walk in front of their house because she barks and charges the fence. If we are across the road, she barks continuously as long as she can see us. I don't know what will happen when they forget to change the batteries one of these days. The dog has been out several times when the adults aren't home. My dogs are good about ignoring her when we across the street, but I don't think they would be as calm as Annie.
I am just glad the pit bull that tried to get my cockapoo and the pony dog that was always loose are gone.
 

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And all happening at incredible speed! o_O

IMO, your mother, and others in here, have the right idea... a walking stick. For the simple fact that dogs respect a stick. They know what it is before they even approach. And prefer to stay away from it.

Try to actually hit them with it??? Hahaha... fat chance. Dogs are way too quick!

Oh! And as a rant? I'd give a solid 9/10!
 

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I'm glad the situation did not escalate further! Off leash dogs are a huge pet peeve of mine. I witnessed a dog attack on one of my childhood Toy Poodles. It was terrifying. A few years ago, a Greyhound owner in my state lost both of her leashed Greys to two dogs who were let out off leash by their pet sitter, even though the owner told the sitter NOT to let them out off leash or even at the same time. My guys are only allowed off leash on my own fenced property. We used to be more avid hikers and would constantly encounter "friendly" off leash dogs that were jumping on us or in the faces of our dogs. We started carrying pepper spray.
 

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So frustrating! I'm fortunate that we rarely encounter off leash dogs out on our neighborhood walks. In the countryside where my in-laws live, though there are a lot more dogs that just hang around loose outdoors. Is where you live more like that?

My friend and I got scolded the other day for having our poodles playing off leash on a public trail. It was silly because our dogs were under our control and we were literally being the ideal trail-sharing citizens - moving to the side of the trail and either leashing up or doing an off leash down stay while the (many) other trail walkers passed us, including those with other dogs, both leashed and unleashed. Other trail users regularly compliment our dogs' behavior. This guy coming up from more than 200 meters behind us, yelled at us to leash our dogs, which we promptly did (and would have anyway when we or the dogs had seen him coming -- as it was, him yelling spooked them and Oona gave a bark) and then as he passed us said snarkily to me "You know you can get a 500$ fine - some people just don't get it". I just said "Okay!" but I wanted to say "Was my dog bothering you?". I kept my mouth shut because it was clear he had a bug in his butt about off leash dogs and about the fact that we were technically breaking leash laws (which we are always doing if we are off leash, pretty much anywhere except a dangerous, busy, chaotic fenced dog park). It was just frustrating to see that, likely because of unpleasant off leash encounters with out of control dogs, this guy was grumpy about seeing any off leash fun even from a distance, and even if the dogs were well behaved, and handlers were responsive and responsible about leashing them for him to pass.

I'll avoid taking Oona off leash there when it's likely to be busy like it was that day. When we previously went early one morning, it was deserted.
 

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This brings up the point: What to do with an attack or possible fight? Spray with water, or water mixed with some chemical? Ultasonics? Loud horn or alarm? Walking stick with sharp metal point?--in some jurisdictions that is a weapon. Weighted walking stick--again that may be a weapon in some jurisdictions. Citronella based dog deterrent? Pepper spray, (may be illegal in some jurisdictions) or any of the Mace type of sprays? How about "Bear spray"? At what point--fear or your dog's life vs your life as an uncontrolled aggressive dog attacks? Even, heaven forbid, having to use lethal force on the attacking dog to save your or your dog's life? Let's say that the person attacked was a legal concealed weapon permit holder, and was in fear of his life and / or the dogs life? This has happened more than once.

What is your legal position? What is the aggressive dog's owner obligation: by courtesy and by law. The animal control folks may be hours away, or even never. Police rarely want to deal with unruly dogs. If there is a lethal outcome, then they are involved and you may have a very bad day! (Probably a year or more)

I am fortunate that it is rare to have an unleashed dog on our small and isolated neighborhood. However sometimes tempers have flared with dogs which get out and are aggressive. There are at least a dozen people who walk their dogs twice a day and it is a great social function as well as good for the dogs and their people. When we meet our friends with dogs, Gigi is stopped at a heel and sit/stay. She does not get up to interact with the other dogs. Frankly she is the only dog in the "hood" so trained.

I did use the search function, and the most recent thread on an attack was April '22, but did not consider all options or the legal positions. Most in depth discussions were many years older such as: this one, Many discussions were more of support for the victim (as they should be). This discussion leads to: a technique to stop a dog fight.

These questions may have all been answered before, and if so I apologize for asking again--but many of us "newbies" were not part of any prior discussion. I do not mean for any one to be critical of other posters or their answers. But this is a thought I have had many times in my life. I was charged once by a pack of dogs in the Society Islands. I was in a bathing suit and had no dog with me--walking in the water below high tide line. My escape was to head for deeper water and back off facing the dogs. It worked and the dogs were not as ferocious when swimming....

Thanks for comments--if the moderators feel this is too controversial, please let me know.
 

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If yelling doesn’t work, force is justified to defend yourself and your dog from physical harm.
you can sort out the legal stuff when you’re safe. IMHO
 

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We live in a small but rapidly growing town, where fences are rare (and expensive) and leash laws are not enforced. The culture is to just let dogs out in the unfenced yard to do their business. Almost all the dogs who are walked or behind a fence are understandably very dog reactive. Bylaw isn't really an option unless the dog actually bites. With a lot of work, Annie usually doesn't LOOK dog reactive when we pass lunging barking dogs, which is as much as I can ask.

I am not totally innocent- I walk Annie off leash in a few local parks at off peak times, but I recall and leash her the moment I see anyone at all and check there is no one there before unleashing her, and always leash her in more popular areas.

I obviously forgot yesterday, but I try not to walk in the daytime on weekends. Or from 5-6pm on weekdays.

I often carry a lightweight aluminum hiking pole. I got out of the habit during the day because I've been going somewhere to play ball, and balancing a leash, a ball, and a stick is more hands than I have. I definitely carry one on hikes and at night.

And yes, I have hit a dog with one.

I am now wondering if a can of pet corrector might be helpful for days when I don't want a stick. I don't know that I could fish it out and aim it fast enough.

For some reason a house with a large, safe, fenced yard is one of my biggest dreams!
 

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I am not totally innocent- I walk Annie off leash in a few local parks at off peak times, but I recall and leash her the moment I see anyone at all and check there is no one there before unleashing her, and always leash her in more popular areas.
That's the thing. None of us is perfect, but people who don't bother to do anything to train or manage their pet's behavior ruin things for those of us who are doing the work. Things like being aware of our surroundings and trying our best to help our dogs succeed in being good citizens - this should tip the scales toward more legal leash-free spaces, shared and not -- if more/most people were thoughtful about it. But people like your neighbors seem to be the majority in many places. It's too bad, because I firmly believe that off leash activity is beneficial, if not necessary, for most dogs.
 
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