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Today we were having a short afternoon walk and stopped at the neighborhood park to say hi to a lady and her dog that we have gotten to know. We were barely beginning our conversation when this dog runs out of nowhere off leash. The lady knew of this dog and immediately grabbed her dog and put him on top of a picnic table for his safety because he is old. She then tried to shoe the off leash dog away. This dog then saw me and my dog and charged over. Bad idea. I froze. The dogs sniffed and then started growling at each other. My dog backed away behind me and then circled my legs trying to get away from the off leash dog. I used all the commands I knew on this off leash dog and even tried to prong it in the neck with my fingers but it was too difficult with my dog circling my legs. At this point the dogs were trying to bite each other and so I picked up my dog. The off leash dog then started jumping to get at my dog, including her tail. I absolutely could not take one step without this dog following me to get to my dog. I used my body to block him and then I used my foot to block him....and then I ended up kicking him in the chest a few times as I was becoming desperate and my dog was terrified at that point.

Apparently this off leash dog is not socialized as I later learned.....spends all day in the house or the backyard and escapes on a regular basis. The owner is an older man that has limited mobility.

Another dog owner was walking up so this off leash dog finally diverted its attention for a minute while I called the police. Then another dog owner walked up and the off leash dog charged him...but the owner managed to scare off the dog.

My dog is small, smaller than the off leash dog.

This has never happened to me before and I felt so helpless that I couldn't do much with my hands being full trying to protect my own dog.

What can I do in the future to protect myself? Is there something I can carry with me?

Turns out the police couldn't catch the dog either...only the owner can.....I know where the owner lives but have never met him.

I feel awful for this poor dog that has to live its life in this tortured isolation without any behavioral training or interaction with other dogs. I feel bad that I had to kick the dog in the chest for the safety of my own dog, too.
 

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I have a few friends who carry a stun gun when they're walking for this very situation.

I've also heard pepper spray/mace suggested but that stuff can also hit you and the dog depending on wind and such.
 

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I'm not sure if stun guns work well on dogs (fur and all that), but I know cattle prods are pretty effective. Probably easier to control, too (and are generally legal).
 

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You can use your leash in a helicopter fashion, may not work for all dogs. You can carry an umbrella, many dogs will get freaked out if you open it in their face. Your best bet is to walk softly and carry a big stick.
 

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Carry a trekking pole with you on your walks or get a cattle prod. I wouldn't use pepper spray even though it is the cheapest option because you might end up having the wind blow it back in your face.
 

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I saw this product the other day in the pet store, and it was a 'dog repellent' - there was a picture of a woman on a bike spraying a dog with it - I think it's supposed to deter them or something??? Maybe it smells really bad? interesting to see it though...
 

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My neighbors have a German Shepherd that on two occassions has attempted to seriously hurt Bello (luckily the GSD likes Brittany so he hasn't ever gone after her, he could kill her easily). The first time I couldn't seperate them and neither could the owner. The second time (which was about three weeks ago) he came running over and I kicked him hard in the chest three times. He ran off on his own accord. I might feel bad about kicking him, and (similar to the dog who attacked you) he wasn't socialized properly so it isn't fair to him, but my dogs come first before any other dogs. Plus, I always have my feet with me. I rarely carry anything with me when walking besides poop bags and a leash. I can't see me carrying a cattle prod or pepper spray.
 

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I do have Pepper Spray, but have never had to use it. I carry plastic grocery bags for my poop bags, and "snapping" them usually scares dogs away. If the bag is loaded (ha) I use that as a block too. There's nothing worse than having a bag of really smelly Greyhound Poo shoved in your face. :)

Most of the time, a firm voice and snapping bag work for me.

I'm glad your dogs escaped without injury!!!!

Jen
 

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Pepper spray has too much risk of blowback and a really amped up dog won't even notice it. I carry a breakstick on every walk and to the dog park. A friend of mine who runs the local pit bull owner's club gave it to me. It's a nice, fairly small piece of wood, easy to conceal in your pants or up a sleeve. You can use it to break a bite, which I've never had to do, or to bonk a dog across the face, which I have had to do.

Also, prevention goes a long way. I'm not blaming anyone, but after Muggsy, I am constantly scanning for dogs- dogs behind fences, in windows, being walked, off leash. It's a habit I developed to keep Muggsy from attacking (he was really DA) by avoiding dogs as much as possible. Now, with Kabota, I use this habit to avoid any dogs off leash or behind a fence that doesn't look like it will contain them.
 

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A nice solid walking stick about as stout as an axe handle works fine for me if I think I need one. A shovel handle from Home depot cut off for length would be fine. Dogs aren't stupid, and it's a very rare dog that will challenge a person with a big long stick, most will stay outside swinging range.
 

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Has anyone had any luck with those air horns? I would think they would drive a dog back and no one could get too freaked out about about your method.

For me, I always charge the offending dog, hollering. I haven't had one stand its ground. My behavior has pissed a few people off though. I walk multiple dogs. I can't wait and see what the loose dog intends.
 

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I'm glad your dog wasn't hurt and don't feel bad about kicking that dog because that's what you had to do from keeping it away from you and your dog. I would carry some sort of weapon and not walk near that man's place anymore. That is a shame that that dog has no training and is isolated; I see some dogs like that in the complex where I live.

There's this one woman who carries a nightstick, I believe it's called, cause she walks Ebony (her dog) alone. I don't carry a weapon, wish I did, but I don't have anywhere to put it and I don't like carrying a lot on our walks. But if I had to (as a PB rushed Luke--my dad held him and I got the dog away back to her owner--who neglected to thank me, but oh well) I would use the end of the leash, my feet/hands, and the poop bags.
 

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Not sure if it would work or not, but have you heard of a "bear banger"? (here is a blog about bear bangers) They should be available at most camping/outdoors stores.
The mentions of pepper spray made me think of the easier to get version up here....Bear Spray. I had to take a bear safety course for my previous career since we spent a great deal of time in the woods in areas where there were both grizzlies and black bears. I personally never trusted bear bangers or spray, both have big drawbacks (wind, overshooting, undershooting, failure, or expiry in the case of bear spray). For my job I carried a shovel and I considered that the best weapon I had....that and my feet. Luckily never had a close enough call to use either. I know bears and dogs are different, but when it comes down to it, in both cases you're dealing with a potentially dangerous animal. I would vote for a good walking stick, though there is the risk that a dog (or any animal) would get even more reactive if you didn't injure it bad enough to incapacitate it or scare it. Scary thoughts!
 

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Here're a variety of things to consider:

1. A small, inexpensive water pistol (do they still make these?) filled with vinegar, lemon juice, or ammonia. Contract distracts the dog.
2. A metal police whistle - blow it and it makes a piercing noise, surprising most dogs.
3. Sometimes a clicker will distract a dog.
4. I like the idea of popping or snapping poop bags. A water balloon or popping a normal balloon may have impact.
5. A cap gun with caps.
6. A few pieces of hotdog thrown in different directions.
 

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I have a few friends who carry a stun gun when they're walking for this very situation.

I've also heard pepper spray/mace suggested but that stuff can also hit you and the dog depending on wind and such.
Get the "cop stream" pepper spray, not the fogger. It takes more skill as it is a stream not a spray / or fog. The fog/spray has a wider cover at close range. The cop stream has better range but also needs operator with better aim! However, less likely to blow back in your face.

I also walk/hike with a handsome blackthorn staff. Nice walking stick. It is 50" long and helps hiking up those steep hills!
 
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