|Barked: Thu Aug 23, '12 5:36pm PST |
|First, take a deep breath, and relax. Stay calm.
There's a risk of a big dog attacking, yes, but really, it's a very low risk. Working on Frankie's socialization so that he's familiar with "big dogs" and is calm and appropriate around them is the biggest contribution you can make to keeping him safe. When I first got Addy, because of her prior experiences (or lack thereof), she was terrified of everything and had no idea how to react to bigger dogs except to try to scare them off. The only truly dangerous situations we encountered were because she thought her only alternative was to attack first, and the other dog was off-leash, making it very hard for me to put distance between us.
My neighbor has two Rotties, and they want nothing more than to be friends (and they are now.) At the beginning, though, Addy was terrified, and responded with fear-aggression. Ivy (the one he already had; Diesel came later), would bounce over wanting to be friends, and I'd be desperately trying to keep Addy far enough out of reach so that she (Addy) couldn't bite and start something that Ivy, if forced to defend herself, would have finished. [Let me also add that her owner worked very hard on both perfecting her recall, and teaching her boundary limits. He was also very helpful with controlled meetings etc., as Addy reached the point where that was helpful.]
If Frankie is already good with bigger dogs, you're ahead of the game.
There's a pepper spray you can carry, but you need to remember that breezes can affect the direction in which it actually disperses.
You can also carry, and I strongly recommend, a walking stick. It will give you more confidence, be a visible means of defense (and yes, most dogs do understand), and you can use it as a barrier without actually whacking a person or dog with it.
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