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I have something like this happen fairly regularly. Sometimes with Annie on leash, sometimes offleash. Approached by a dog that is off leash, possibly unfriendly, and not under vocal control from the owner.

I took Annie to a local soccer field today. It's snowed a lot lately, so our normal offleash areas are full of snowmobiles and I am tired of dealing with the dog park. Let her off leash, played ball a bit. We had been there maybe a minute when here comes a dog... I hear the owner yelling, dog ignores him.

I called Annie back, held her collar. Should have put on her leash maybe, but dog was a few hundred feet away at that point; I was hoping the dog would leave and the owner would successfully recall it. Nope. It circled us sniffing Annie rather rudely, tail rigid but rather low. Annie growls. Keeps sniffing and circling, Annie growls again. It's one of those slinking, low head, hackles up kinda dogs. To be honest, based on the interaction between dog and owner, it's probably a dog trained with a lot of physical force and not much skill. Not a happy, confident dog at all. I say, after Annie's second growl. "ok dog, shoo! Go on home" and try and get between them.

Owner approaches, dog ignores him but backs off from us, Annie ends up breaking free while I offer the owner our leash which he declines . The dog chases after her, looking not playful, and falls on his butt in the snow a few times. Owner yells at dog, dog eventually goes with him home, Annie is at a sit stay as they leave and then we played "find the treats in the snow" and a bit of ball (before I lose the ball)

If a fight looked likely, I would have dropped the collar so Annie could escape/fight it out/defuse it but I always figure the owner has a better chance of catching the dog if Annie isn't running with it! I also will drop the collar/leash if the dog is approaching at a flat out run and looks likely to try and connect. But then again, Annie does not enjoy being held while approached by a strange dog, and am not sure that holding her is any safer. My leash was in a zipped up pocket so hard to access, and a challenge if I need to let her go.

What do you do when approached by offleash dogs?
 

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I am the only advocate for my dog. I either do a full body block turning in circles so the dogs dont get face to face, or I pick my dog up. Once on a walk, an ACD that got out of its house came towards us. I kicked the dog away and i have no shame in that.
 

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Off leash dogs!!!! My pet peeve!!! So many in my neighborhood. Now everyone’s situation is different and it’s not a pet peeve for me if it’s a designated off leash area. I get SO frustrated with folks who let their dogs off leash where they shouldn’t be and then the dog comes bounding over to us while I’m working so hard to teach my dog good leash manners. We’ve had some almost terrible things happen because of this. My approach now, as Ava said, I only advocate for my dog. I avoid the off leash dog if I can. I have gotten way better at reading the situation from afar so if I spy an off leash dog a block away I turn around and go a different direction. But sometimes they just come out of the blue. I read the situation as best as I can. I had a puppy who got loose come up to us a few weeks ago. I just let Bobby greet the pup and all was good. I had a seriously vicious chihuahua try and attack Bobby once. We just walked really fast as I told it to go away. There was a pit bull who walked toward us once when we were walking on the sidewalk. The owner let the dog outside with no leash. I was a bit nervous as I did not get friendly vibes from this dog. I threw treats toward the dog and that gave us time to walk away. Each off leash situation is different. Because we have had a few almost serious mishaps I always carry extra treats and a can of citronella. I almost sprayed that with the vicious Chihuahua but thankfully we got away. I would prefer to not have to use that but I would if needed. I have many times thrown treats out to off leash dogs if they are ready to get in our space and that has definitely worked. It gives us time to quickly walk on. This works especially great for the happy go lucky food motivated sort of dogs that just want to play. I used to worry about giving treats to other peoples’ dogs but really, if the dog is off leash where they shouldn’t be then it really does have to be about my dog first. It’s been quite awhile since we’ve had any serious problems but I always, always am alert for those off leash dogs and never forget my citronella and extra treats.
 

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Fortunately I live in an area where leash laws are enforced. Most of our off leash encounters happen in rural areas. Normally I unclip my dog's leash. My dog will feel less anxious without the restraint, so he will be giving fewer weird vibes to the other dog. If a fight does break out, I want my dog to be able to run away. Most of my recent encounters have been with nervous or territorial dogs. After a bit of posturing everyone settles down and we go on our way.

I don't like the idea of lifting a small dog, because then the other dog is lunging and jumping at me. I'm not tall enough to hold a small dog out of reach of an aggressively jumping dog. Getting myself knocked down and bitten helps no one. I would probably carry a hiking staff if I still had a small dog and if loose dogs were a problem.
 

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Drop your leash or let go of the collar. Your dog will stand a better chance if it can use its full skill set to try to manage the situation. Also never pick your dog up because now you are part of the target and either your dog will be hurt when the stranger grabs at it or you will be hurt in the process of whatever happens. If it is legal to carry such things take either citronella, pepper spray or some other repellent. I carry a big walking stick and have never needed to do anything other than wave it around.

ETA: cowpony you posted while I was still writing. Great minds think alike.
 

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Normie and I had a large dog come at us a few weeks ago as we walked past his yard. I acted w/o thinking and gave the dog a stern 'no' that at least made him stop and think. We hurried on, but I knew at the time that if he'd wanted to eat either of us, he could have.

I need a better plan.
 

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My dogs are small and wouldn’t stand a chance against a big dog running full speed. So I would pick them up and face the dog myself. I don’t see any other way with a small dog, unless you have pepper spray which I don’t.

Fortunately around here there aren’t many off leash dogs (touch wood). I know there is one on a street near by and I make sure to avoid going this way.
 

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Apparently this is the wrong thing to do, but I pick up my small dog and get ready to ninja kick. I also shout "NO!" in my sternest voice.

Once, and I was a teen at the time, I had picked up my dog that I had been walking on leash in a neighborhood when approached by a threatening large dog. This dog did indeed continue the approach and then attack even though Toby was in my arms. I turned and kicked and yelled and ran alternately. It was very scary. No one came to help. The more I moved away from the area of the initial attack, the less committed the dog was about attacking us, which allowed me to devote more time to running away. No injuries to Toby, and just some soreness on my part- very lucky. It was winter in Alaska, so I did have on a fair amount of clothing.

When my cavalier was attacked I was again walking in a neighborhood with her on leash. That dog was so fast that I didn't have time to pick her up. The leash was dropped or yanked out of my hand, and Mia was rolled. The owner was right there and trying to get his dog under control, and I stood by and let the owner sort his dog. I WAS FURIOUS. I was scared. I was enraged. And I was pretty darn near helpless against that dog. Mia lived. And I lectured that young man and called the police. I am forever biased against pit bulls, and I won't make any apologies about it. I stay away from them. I see them walking on leash with their owner, and I pick up my dog and go the other way.

I have read carefully about wheelbarrowing the attacker, and thumb-in-anus techniques. I just don't know how effective I would be at this. I do recommend walking with another person as perhaps the best method for fending off a dog attack. Two human brains and brawn against one dog is good odds when dealing with a lightening fast attack and varying resources.
 

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Ugh. I’m so sorry. This is something that often happens at trail heads around here, and since there’s usually a parking lot nearby, releasing Peggy is not a great option. Just today, my husband was preparing for a hike and a dog rushed up to Peggy without any warning. Of course, my husband then hears a faint call: “She’s friendly!!”

Arrrrrgh.

1. I don’t care if your dog is friendly. My dog is restrained by a leash right now. This is stressful. Get your dog under control!

2. Why am I going to trust a stranger’s claim that their dog is “friendly” when they can’t even keep them under control in an area where cars are coming and going??

Our response is usually to just get the heck out of there, if we can, with a brisk “Let’s go!” ideally positioning ourselves between the dog and Peggy.

This is assuming, of course, that the dog is not actually showing signs of aggression. If they were, I’d probably weigh the risks and drop Peggy’s leash so we could both focus on the dog, unencumbered.

I think you handled today perfectly.
 

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(I pick up my dog because he is the type of dog to start a fight bc he can, I wouldn't suggest this if a dog was coming after your dog)
 
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Breaking up a dog fight by sticking a thumb up the dog's anus seems like a country joke, rather like catching a bird by putting salt on its tail. I can't imagine having the coordination to do it in the heat of a fight.

The wheelbarrow technique is how I break up dog fights. However, I think before I dive in. The last time I was involved in breaking up a dog fight the aggressor was an 85 pound solidly muscled cur dog. A dog that powerful and that big is capable of killing a human. I knew I did not have the weight and strength to keep hold of his hind end if he chose to spin round and go after me. I waited until I had help and let someone stronger than me deal with the cur. I grabbed the hind legs of the 60 pound dog.

Other times we have broken up dog fights by using garbage cans. Cover a small dog with the entire can or drop the can between two bigger dogs as a barrier.

Remember, a strong aggressive dog is capable of maiming or killing you. It's hard when you want to protect your own dog. However, you can't take care of the ones you love from the hospital or the morgue.
 

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Breaking up a dog fight by sticking a thumb up the dog's anus seems like a country joke, rather like catching a bird by putting salt on its tail. I can't imagine having the coordination to do it in the heat of a fight.

The wheelbarrow technique is how I break up dog fights. However, I think before I dive in. The last time I was involved in breaking up a dog fight the aggressor was an 85 pound solidly muscled cur dog. A dog that powerful and that big is capable of killing a human. I knew I did not have the weight and strength to keep hold of his hind end if he chose to spin round and go after me. I waited until I had help and let someone stronger than me deal with the cur. I grabbed the hind legs of the 60 pound dog.

Other times we have broken up dog fights by using garbage cans. Cover a small dog with the entire can or drop the can between two bigger dogs as a barrier.

Remember, a strong aggressive dog is capable of maiming or killing you. It's hard when you want to protect your own dog. However, you can't take care of the ones you love from the hospital or the morgue.

I've also grabbed a hose and sprayed down dogs. It catches them off guard, especially if the water is super cold. I've heard of people throwing a blanket over dogs too, but Im not so sure about that one.
 

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Bobby has never had an actual fight encounter. If he was in that sort of situation I would totally drop the leash. The scariest situations for us have been the “friendly” off leash dogs who jump into Bobby’s face or run circles around him then he gets excited and pulls loose. He actually backed out of his harness once due to this situation and almost got hit by a car. I’ve learned a lot since that incident. I am now much more prepared for those off leash encounters.
 

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I don't have any advice, but I feel your frustration. I have a neighbor here who has little control of their dog and let's her off leash all the time in our neighborhood. The first time I met them it was dark and the owner pointed at Ziggy (who was on leash) and shouted "go play!" at their dog. I shouted back "Please don't let your dog approach my dog!" As she sprinted toward us. They spent the next few minutes getting her back under control. While complaining that "I guess the other dog doesn't want to play".
I wanted to yell "This is a neighborhood and not an off leash area, my dog is trapped on leash, the dogs have never met before, and it is night time! What were you thinking!?" But I didn't want to make an enemy with a new neighbor.

I am just relieved this happened before Ziggy had his surgery, otherwise it may have ended badly.
 

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Good advice above. I generally unleash Mia, though in practice it depends quite a bit on the circumstances.

I have also yelled to the other owner that Mia is aggressive. She is not. But I find this galvanizes the other owner to get their dog under control faster than arguing the merits of keeping their dog on leash.
 

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Liz I have sometimes yelled that who ever I have with me is either very shy or in a training session. I try not to say the dog isn't friendly. There is an elderly woman who has all sorts of poorly handled rescues who thinks people with unfriendly dogs shouldn't be allowed to walk them and I don't want to add to her way of thinking about my dogs with anyone in my neighborhood.
 
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Liz I have sometimes yelled that who ever I have with me is either very shy or in a training session. I try not to say the dog isn't friendly. There is an elderly woman who has all sorts of poorly handled rescues who thinks people with unfriendly dogs shouldn't be allowed to walk them and I don't want to add to her way of thinking about my dogs with anyone in my neighborhood.
Those are good points. I have never used this tactic in my neighborhood or with people I expect to have repeated contact with, but I think I'll try out "you're interrupting our training session" to see if it has a similar impact.
 

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My sisters dog got brutally attacked by an off leash dog on Sunday. My sister’s boyfriend started yelling at the dog and blocking him with his body when he saw the dog across the street but that didn’t seem to deter the dog. The pit bull immediately had my sister’s dog on the ground and wouldn’t let go. Two people passing by stopped to help and everyone was kicking and punching the dog but the only thing that worked was the boyfriend putting him in a headlock (I don’t recommend this he could have gotten his face bit). My sisters dog had to have surgery and my Mom got her hands bit up but everyone is ok.
We have obviously looked up what we should do in a situation like that. They are now carrying pet citronella as well as mace. I have also read that you can carry an umbrella and pop it open in the dog’s face to startle it as well as block the dog.
In her neighborhood there are a ton of people who let their dogs run up to other dogs and shout that they are friendly, but I think now my sister is going to yell that if they don’t get their dog she will spray them.
 

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Pit bulls are genetically agressive.. just like how border collies are hardwired to herd, APBTS are hard wired to have extreme prey drive, which directs onto dogs, mostly small ones. I'd stay clear of any Pit bulls on walks, especially off leash ones. They are sweet with humans, but can't say the same for other dogs.

From a" Pit bull" l owner, who's dog doesn't like your dog.. lol.
 
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