It’s a beautiful day with huge puffy white clouds showing off their grandiose selves amongst the perfectly blue sky. You enjoy the breeze as it dusts your face and you hear the panting combined with the jingle of the dog tags of your favorite fur kid at the end of the leash. It’s the moment that you’ve waited for all day; the moment that you can lose yourself while you walk your dog.
Interrupting your day dream about something you don’t even remember now, is the site of two large dogs charging toward you. Panic strikes. Your dog is now freaking out and you are about to lose the last snack you had before leaving the house.
My best friend text me a few nights ago with a similar situation. I was proud of her for handling two dogs charging her and her own two dogs. My best friend is a petite girl and she held her ground. She has been training with me for a year now and knew what to do. Here are some tips I shared with her:
- If you have treats with you throw them towards the dog so you can get out
- If you are in a situation like a trial, show, or training class make sure that you have a solid go to your crate cue and send your dog to his crate until the loose dog is under control by guardian.
- Sue Sternberg had the great idea of teaching your dog to stick his head between your legs on cue to get treats from behind your back. This is to avoid your dog from seeing the loose dog face to face while you deal with the situation.
- If your dog is small, pick him up and turn your back to the loose dog.
- If you are very worried about loose dogs then you can carry an emergency tool (like citronella spray) to stop a dog fight without risking an injury.
- Never look at the dog directly in the eyes as this is a threatening behavior; turn your head, and possibly your body to the side. Sometimes, depending on the situation it can help when you walk you to move in a zig zag motion versus our normal human behavior of a vertical line.
Please always listen to your instincts. You and train and plan ahead all you want, but truly I believe God has gifted us with instincts that we too often times dismiss. Listen to this when in a situation and do what you feel is best for you and your dog.
Note: If your dog is reactive to other dogs there are additional exercises and training that needs to be be done. A great resource is my online group class THE ZEN DOG and many others available.
Stay safe, be aware of your surroundings, and plan ahead.
Blog written by Michelle Huntting