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Training Tip Tuesdays -- Stray Dog Safety

by Samantha Quackenbush, Good Dog! Lead Trainer

If you have a dog and go for regular walks, I'm almost positive you've run into either a stray dog or an off leash pet dog at least once! Running into unknown off leash dogs can be both scary and dangerous for your dog and yourself. And let's just face it, dogs attract other dogs. I always suggest that you be prepared every time you take your pup out for a walk, because you never know what off leash dog situation you may encounter. It could be sweet little fluffy from across the street, or it could be a pack of angry stray dogs. I've had the unfortunate chance of running into the large pack of angry stray dogs, but the actions I took quite possibly saved myself and my dog from a potentially dangerous situation. I'll tell you what happened: My dog and I were on our normal daily walk down the street I lived on, the street that I had never seen stray dogs on before. Out of nowhere came this pack of about 10 skinny, rough looking stray dogs, and they were headed straight for my dog and I! That would be scary for anyone! The alpha and his two side kicks started growling as they approached us, hackles raised. As a dog trainer, I am almost always wearing a treat pouch. So quickly thinking, I took a large handful of treats and threw them away from me down the street. Luckily the dogs were more hungry than they were interested in starting a fight! The pack of dogs ran after the treats, giving my dog and I a chance to exit the situation! As a handful of treats might not always do the trick, I highly recommend that you carry with you a can of citronella spray to use in a last ditch effort to deter an off leash dog from attacking your pup! Petsafes Spray Shield is the one I normally use. So, if a dangerous looking off leash dog were to approach my dog and I, I would first try the treat tossing. While scanning the area for the dogs owner and exiting the situation. If that doesn't work and the off leash dog aggressively approaches, the safest thing for your dog and yourself would be to drop the leash to allow your dog a chance at defending himself, while aiming your spray at the aggressive dog's face. After you have sprayed, grab your dog and exit the situation, keeping your spray in hand in case you need to use it again. If a fight has already broke out, still focus the spray near the dogs faces. Have no worries, the spray will not harm your dog, but will hopefully give you a chance to get your dog away from the situation. - Sam

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