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5 Things To Do When Encountering Loose Dog

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loose dog

A couple of weeks ago I was walking one of my clients, a Yorkie. A man was walking his dog on the other side of the street, and the Yorkie started barking.  Suddenly, the other dog was across the street and started going after the Yorkie.  It happened so quickly there was hardly time to react.

Whole Dog Journal offers these tips:

Tip 1: Avoidance

The easiest way to prevent interaction with a loose dog is to avoid problem areas.  Do you have a neighbor dog constantly escaping and running the neighborhood?  Try talking to the neighbor to let them know of the problem.

If that doesn’t correct the problem, it may be necessary to take your dog to a different area for walks.  Yes, it may be inconvenient, but definitely better than worrying about your safety and that of your dog

Tip 2:  Pay Attention To Surroundings

Often, I see people talking or texting on their phone while walking their dog.  It’s important to focus your attention on the environment to notice potential problems and avoid or prepare for them.

If you do see a loose dog heading your direction, calmly change direction to avoid it.  Don’t tighten your grip on your dog’s leash, since this will signal stress and tend to upset and/or excite your dog.

For dogs that tend to be resistant to changing directions, have a favorite toy or treat available to regain their attention and get them focused on the new route

Tip 3: Block With Your Body

When you encounter a loose dog while walking your dog, it’s important to prevent contact between them.

Ask your dog to sit and position yourself to separate him from the loose dog.  Speak in a stern tone, and tell the dog to go home or get back.

Throw a handful of treats in the incoming dog’s face to distract him.  This will give you a chance to put distance between you and the loose dog.

Tip 4:  Go Up A Driveway

If you’re near a driveway, even if it isn’t yours, heading up the driveway as if you lived in the house will often deter a loose dog.

Loose dogs are often leery of smaller spaces, believing they will be trapped with no means of escape so they’ll avoid them.

Tip 5:  Other Options To Consider

There are options such as airhorns and deterrent spray, but these can be risky since they may scare or injure your dog.

If you do prefer to carry a deterrent spray, choose one that is not mace or pepper based.  Even a trace of these sprays blowing back in your direction may injure you or your dog.

Opt instead for a spray that’s citronella based, such as Spray Shield.


It can be a stressful situation when a loose dog starts to approach, and attacks can happen very quickly.

Always be aware of your surroundings and change direction to avoid encounters with loose dogs.

Remaining calm and thinking fast will go a long way toward protecting you and your dog.



Categories: dogs