The idea of an off-leash dog approaching you is enough to scare any dog owner, especially those who are new to dog parenting. If you have never had a dog and are entirely new to it, we are sure that you must be wondering what to do if an off-leash dog approaches you.
Well, you don’t need to be alarmed or frightened, to begin with. Getting approached by an off-leash dog doesn’t necessarily mean that a dog fight is imminent. The majority of such encounters are peaceful and controllable.
Having said that, it is always advisable and necessary to be well-prepared for the worst. So, what do you do if an off-leash dog approaches you while you are walking a dog?
What Do You Do If An Off-Leash Dog Approaches You While You Are Walking a Dog?
Seeing an off-leash dog approaching can spark a sense of fear in almost anyone, it doesn’t matter how experienced you are with dogs. However, it is super important to stay calm and composed.
If you are calm, your dog would also be calm and confident. Also, it is important to be situationally aware of your surroundings and detect any such potential threats quickly. The earlier you detect, the more easily you can prevent it.
Try Reading the Body Language
It is not difficult to interpret a dog’s body language. Carefully try studying a dog’s body stance and his facial expressions.
Is he approaching in a friendly manner? Is he up for a dog fight? Is he aggressive? Is he happy? Is he lost? Is he looking for his owner? Is he visibly tense? You need to guess this! You need to carefully decode the body language before you decide what exactly to do next.
For instance, if the dog has a loose, care-free gait and is either wagging his tail or holding it in a relaxed, downward position, he most probably is in a good mood and just walked up to your dog to say hello. You don’t need to worry much in this case.
Do you see a stiff gait, a tense body, and an intense, aggressive stare? Well, in that case, you need to think about how to protect yourself and your dog.
Move Away or Back
If you sense that the dog is aggressive, you should try avoiding any prolonged contact. Start walking briskly behind a physical barrier, where the off-leash dog probably can’t spot you.
Ensure that you are walking confidently while ignoring the off-leash dog. You should have a sense of its actions though.
If you see the dog calming down after some time or moving away altogether, you may step out from behind the barrier. Meanwhile, you could also see around to find if the owner of the off-leash dog has come following it. If the dog seems to be alone, you may even call animal control and maybe help find the owner.
Try Stopping the Dog Through Treats
Sometimes, you cannot find a physical barrier nearby or can’t even move away. In such cases, what do you do if an off-leash dog approaches you while you are walking a dog? You should act smartly and try to shoo away the approaching dog.
Try commanding your dog to sit and wait behind you, while you command the approaching dog to leave or go away. Try saying this in an authoritative tone. Sometimes, you just get lucky and the other dog may be trained to follow these commands.
If this doesn’t work, you can go for another trick. Throw a handful of treats at the dog. As he chases the treats or gets busy with them, you could move away quickly.
A few people like keeping a loud noise maker with them while walking dogs. This can also come handy while shooing dogs away. You may also use an umbrella. Not only it acts as a physical barrier and hides you and your dog but also scares the approaching dog.
What Not to Do If An Off-Leash Dog Approaches?
Well, a lot of people are habitual to pick up your dog, but this is something you should avoid doing if an off-leash dog approaches you. It is a general instinct to pick up your dog as you see an off-leash dog approaching.
This idea may work sometimes but, the odds of this worsening things are also high. As you pick up your dog into your arms, this may trigger prey instincts in the off-leash dog approaching you.
Thus, if you are walking a small dog and you intend to pick it up, you should consider turning your back to the approaching dog to block his sight.
How to Handle an Aggressive Off-Leash Dog Approaching You?
Getting encountered by an aggressive dog can have you worried within seconds. But, losing your calm is the last thing you are expected to do in such a situation.
It is advisable to always carry a few defense items with yourself while you take your dog out for a walk. Don’t stare at the aggressive dog and move behind a physical barrier, even an umbrella would work fine.
You may even use citronella spray if nothing else works, but remember that this should be the last resort. Because, this would only aggravate the dog further and may even result in a dog fight, or the dog attacking you directly!
Walking your dog can be tricky as well as dangerous at times, especially if you venture out of your comfort area. It’s crucial to stay cautious at all times and keep judging any potential threats around to keep your dog safe. There may be squirrels to run after, or bits of glass to step on along the way. You can’t always protect your dog against all of these but yes, you can stay vigilant and try.
And, finally, you should do your homework well and keep researching these common dog-related questions such as how to retrieve a dog off leash or what to do if an off-leash dog approaches you. We are sure that the insights shared with you through this post would help you the next time you take your dog out for walking. Good luck!