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Discussion Starter #1
Help, I'm developing a complex. I have three dogs - two chihuahuas and a small terrier (less than 20 pounds). I have been walking them together for over three years, no problems.

About six weeks ago, a boxer came bounding out of an open gate, and attacked one of my chichuahuas and the terrier. Terrifying. I grabbed the boxer by back legs (stupid?) and got him behind the fence. However, now I am hypervigilant and frankly worry every time I take my dogs for a walk.

Last week I was walking them in a "dog safe" neighborhood, woman was sitting on her front porch, holding her very large dog - the dog got away from her and made a beeline for my dogs. I freaked out more than they did.

Twice in six weeks - help, should I let go of my dogs leashes when they are approached by an aggressive dog, get pepper spray, what? I try to avoid any large dogs but I'm a nervous wreck. Thanks much for your advice.
 

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I certainly understand your fear. It's terrifying to see a dog attack and to think of losing your loved ones. Grabbing a dog by the back legs is highly recommended. It removes the support from under the dog and you're as far away from its teeth as you can get.

I don't recommend pepper spray. For one thing, some dogs will totally ignore the pain if they're focused on fighting. For another, if the wind shifts, you could end up spraying your dogs or yourself.

Things to try: When you see a strange dog approaching, get out in front of your dogs, make yourself big (stand up straight, arms wide, legs apart), stamp your feet and yell "NO! GO HOME!" Most dog aggressive dogs are not human aggressive and when confronted with a human being scary will leave.

If they don't leave, an automatic umbrella is good. Point it at the dog and press the button. The sound and movement may scare the dog off, if it doesn't, you've got a temporary barrier up. The whole time, keep shouting. You may get through to the dog or attract another person to help.

Back away slowly from the other dog. Do not turn tail and run. Dogs are predators, turning around and running for it makes you prey. Try to put as much distance between you as you can.

Above all, stay calm. Dogs can sense fear. Being afraid will attract the attention of strange dogs and make your dogs act inappropriately in order to protect you, which could start a fight.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you. The umbrella idea is great. I appreciate your point on pepper spray. The staying calm part is difficult at the moment but perhaps it will pass.
 

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Actually grabbing the back legs is the BEST way to pull and dog off another one. Would it be possible to carry a large 'walking stick' as protection?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I thought of a stick but...wouldn't an aggressive dog just get more dangerous? I don't know whether a raised arm is threatening?? I must say I like the idea of having something in my hand to chase them off.
 

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Don't raise the stick to hit the dog, you use the stick to create distance between the attacking dog and you. Do what another poster said and stomp your foot on the ground and yell in a STRONG POWERFUL voice while pointing the stick at the aggressive dog. And then you slowly back away. If you back up and the dog comes towards you, take a step forward towards the dog and yell at it again and back up again.
The only time you'd ever use the stick to hit would be if it's actually gotten to you or your dogs. But in that situation, you'd be better off using your hands and lifting the back legs up to pull it away.
You can't freak out, freaking out doesn't help diffuse the situation or anything. It just makes the aggressive dog more powerful, and you can't protect your dogs if you're so scared.
 

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spray shield is a dog deterrent spray made of citronella. It comes out in a forced stream. Not as light an air born as pepper spray (I've been accidentally pepper sprayed so I know how that feels) and not as harmful on the airways (unless you aimed it at your nose/mouth) I have it, never used it though. I like the little bottles that come with a belt clip. Much easier to carry that an umbrella. But the umbrella idea is perfect if you know that you are going to run into the aggressive dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for your help, posters. I tried the walking stick thing last night, going to try the umbrella - I realize that by taking these actions I should feel better prepared and able to protect my pups. R
 
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