This is a topic very near and dear to my heart. Off leash dogs and their owners who knowingly allow them to roam free. I hope these tips for surviving an off leash dog attack can help you.
I myself, as a dog trainer, very seldomly walk my dogs in my own neighborhood. Why? Because 9 times out of 10 one of my neighbor’s dogs is loose. They are always loose despite the leash laws. I even see people “walking” their dogs who are loose and running around like hooligans (let’s not forget pooping in yards without being cleaned up after) and the human holding the leash or wearing it like a necklace. Is your leash a necklace? Perhaps it’s a new fashion statement.
Dog Attack Survival Gear
Recently, in my home state of Rhode Island, there was a tragic dog attack where a small dog was actually ripped out of her owner’s arms and killed. Her dog was killed by two off leash dogs. This is a horrific tragedy which happens far too often, because even once is too much.
Thankfully, the majority of dogs are not aggressive or looking to kill you or your dog. But, what do you do if they are? Build up your “arsenal” and learn how to use it.
There are some tools that you can carry with you that will help prevent or deter off leash dogs from attacking you or your dog.
- Treats. Sometimes, if the dog doesn’t really mean business, you can throw a handful of treats at the approaching dog and make a quick exit.
- A quick release umbrella. Pop that bad boy open as a loose dog approaches. Worst case scenario it can even be used as a weapon if popping it open has no effect.
- Spray Shield. This is a citronella spray can much like a can of Mace. When spraying you will want to aim down at the dog’s feet as it will plume upwards. I highly recommend you take your Spray Shield outdoors and practice with it once or twice so you are comfortable with it long before you ever need it.
- Walking Stick. This can be super helpful to use as a tool to keep a dog back or to even get an aggressive dog to keep biting the stick rather than you or your dog.
- Slip Leash. It could be very helpful to have an extra leash to slip around the attacker, especially if you can tie it to something in the environment.
- Bite Stick. This is hopefully something you would never, ever need because this means your dog has been attacked and you cannot get the other dog off. But, if you do need it, at least you’ll have it.
- Fanny Pack, Vest, or Apron. Now you need somewhere to put all this stuff just so you can walk your own dog with peace of mind. You want to be thinking quick access so a back pack is not an ideal option. There are many options, but hunting, shooting, gardening, or fishing vests work great!
So now that you have made your little attack kit, let’s hope you never actually need to use it. Here are some tips to help you survive an off leash dog attack.
Dog Attack Survival Tips
If you are walking a small dog your first instinct is going to be to pick it up. This is actually not a good idea because you cannot use your hands now! You need your hands to fight off the attacker. The exception to the rule, because we all know there are exceptions to every rule, is if you can pick up your small dog and put him on or inside something. Anything will do. On top of a car. In a truck. In a trash can, gross I know, but Fluffy can get a bath later. So scan your environment and see what you can use.
Get your dog (and/or children) behind you and use the tools from your new “arsenal.” If the attacker has bypassed your tools and has taken hold of you, your child, or dog you will need to minimize the damage.
If the attacking dog is shaking whatever is in it’s mouth you need to try to stop the shaking. Hold the dog on either side of its head and prevent as much shaking as possible. Use your Spray Shield to spray right into the dog’s nose if need be. This is also where a bite stick comes in handy. Pop it into the attacker’s mouth and rotate it to open the dog’s mouth. Again, this is helpful to practice ahead of time, even on a stuffed dog, to practice the motions before you really need it.
Here’s to hoping you never need anything from this blog to survive and off leash dog attack. Maybe someday we will live in a world where people can obey leash laws, put up secure fencing, and take responsibility for their pets. EVEN IF YOUR DOG IS NOT AGGRESSIVE.