Walking dog in unsafe neighborhood with unleashed dogs

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Member Since
Barked: Tue Apr 2, '13 7:52am PST 
First time post. Sorry if I posted on the wrong thread/topic.

I’m new to this forum and am looking for some advice. I live in a small-ish city (under 100,000 people). It’s a fairly non-pedestrian friendly, Northern city, where winter is long and summer is short. In any event, I’ve lived out here for 1 year. I’ve always run into trouble walking my small dog through the neighborhood, through a dog friendly park, and the off leash dog park (there’s a section for small dogs). I’ve lived in several different cities but where I live now seems to have the biggest problem with unleashed large dogs roaming on streets. I also enjoy running outside and have since stopped this after being approached numerous times by large unattended dogs. My solution? I go to the gym or run on the indoor running track. I also try my best to exercise my dog in the fenced backyard (pretty lame I know). About 6 months ago I took on a second medium sized dog (he was a rescue situation – whole other post). In any event I feel terrible about being too uncomfortable to walk them in our neighborhood. I setup a big playroom in the basement for them to compensate somewhat. I’m now expecting our first child and my anxiety towards general street safety or walking around in our city seems to be getting worse. I’ve started carrying pepper spray although I’m not sure how effective it would be or if I would end up spraying myself, my dogs, and the big dog.

Please note: I’m a tough lady, I’ve lived on my own, travelled Africa solo, and generally am pretty cool. I also really love small dogs and certain big ones (labs and retrievers).

I would greatly appreciate if someone could recommend any solutions.

Rocky *CGC*- With the- angels.

Gone but never,- ever forgotten- xxx
Barked: Tue Apr 2, '13 11:40am PST 
Hi puppy

Welcome to Dogster! And congratulations on the imminent arrival of a baby puppy

It doesn't sound like a very nice situation you're in... Are there any leash laws in your area? Are the dogs strays or do they have homes? Are they aggressive or inquisitive?

Is there anywhere close by you can drive your dogs to? Just to run around in peace?

I would personally be wary of pepper spray, like you said, you might spray yourself or your dogs in the firing line and that is NOT fun! Trust me, I've been sprayed by accident and I cried for hours lol (whole other story)... You could also try a large stick (if that's possible), I know walking two dogs can be difficult at the best of times but if your dogs are calm, a stick might be a good idea...

How do your dogs behave when they see another dog? Do they get amped up or do they ignore the other dog?

I personally, if I had an ounce of a feeling my dogs or myself could get hurt, would not walk them in the neighbourhood... But it's all dependant on the attitude of the neighbourhood dogs...

Get back to me with a bit more info about the dogs involved and I'll try to help you out a bit more puppy

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
Barked: Tue Apr 2, '13 7:07pm PST 
This is probably a dump question, but could you work on moving to a nicer area or a different city? 100,000 seems pretty big to me, how about trying a small town or moving out west.....

Anyway, good luck.


14- Years- Young!
Barked: Tue Apr 2, '13 9:00pm PST 
I feel for you, I lived in a very small rural town for 2 years where irresponsible people frequently let their dogs roam. I had a few hairy situations when out walking my dogs and there was a pretty serious dog attack on a young woman in my neighborhood.

Here are some things that helped me walk safely-

Do carry a deterrent spray. I never actually had to use it, but it’s good to have it should you really need it. Look for one that shoots a stream, rather than a mist, so you have less of a chance of spraying yourself/your dogs.

Consider carrying an umbrella. Sounds stupid, but if a dog charges you, just push the button and pop it open in their face. Usually startles them pretty good, and you can further use it to block them from getting too close to you.

Look up leash laws for your area, if you are in city limits you should have one (where I live there are both city and county-wide leash laws.) Find out which agencies are responsible for enforcing them, and keep their number/s in your cell phone contacts.

Also look at your own behavior/demeanor when you are out walking, and that of your dogs. I have trained my dogs to ignore other dogs in public, no matter what they are doing (ie. barking, lunging.) If we come across an unleashed dog we give it as wide a berth as possible, ignore it and avoid making eye contact, and keep moving confidently and briskly. I have found loose dogs much less likely to try and approach me and my dogs by doing this.

Hope that helps a little, and sorry you are dealing with this, it’s one of my biggest pet peeves. Nobody should have to feel afraid or uncomfortable to go for a simple walk because others are too irresponsible to keep their dogs contained and under control. It is unsafe for the dogs, and beyond inconsiderate of your fellow citizens.

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Wed Apr 3, '13 7:18am PST 
That is a scary feeling, especially since you have a small dog. Are these unleashed dogs only in a certain block or neighborhood? We have learned exactly which blocks to avoid for the same reason.
Are these dogs strays or just neighborhood dogs allowed to roam? A stray might be more apt to give you a hard time. I've had a bit of success with facing down some dogs and in a low deep voice saying "GO HOME!!!". It's about trying to appear calm.
A dog ran up to Callie one night and I stopped breathing literally wondering what he was going to do. He wasn't waggy but he didn't attack either. The shepard's owner ran down the driveway and happy talked both dogs and we walked away but gah...a German Shepard and Callie getting into it...I don't even want to imagine...shock
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Wed Apr 3, '13 12:04pm PST 
I know this probably won't help based on where your frustration and mindset are, but I do echo those who have posted reflecting the concept of controlling these loose dogs on your own during your walks. I have a different problem from you....big dogs, but also studdy, intact and territorial. I can't really afford a nose-to-nose with a loose dog, and they do get drawn in. But it never is anything I can't control, and the more you do it, the more confident you feel.

Most dogs will respond to a remote warning from you that you see them and are unhappy. Even to use words they may (by odds) know.... such as "no!," or "bad dog!" or "go!" Minimally, they will at least slow down or get more cautious. Particularly when you come to a stop, stand tall, use sure arm gestures, and stare like you mean it.

One thing to keep in mind with loose dogs is laws of averages....odds are they do not go around attacking other dogs, or they'd have gotten in trouble by now. Odds are they know how to work the streets and keep out of trouble. So if you act like you mean it, you likely are ok. Where this may not be true is the far rarer instance of a dog busted out of his yard and is sort of aroused, inept, keyed up, but most loose dogs you see aren't that.

I also liked the idea of the umbrella Gizmo gave applause Not only for the shock value, but anything to make yourself look bigger....hold high in the air, or bang on the ground. Really strong advice there, IMO. If you can look bigger, louder or more imposing, another thing to make them think twice about an approach. They are STILL dogs, don't forget, and at the day do respond to people.

I am sure because you are nervous already, all this may not even sound like a strategy, but trust me....it is. I have been walking dogs forever, and have yet to have an incident. Perhaps, taking test walks without your pooch and practicing these skills on loose dogs without that worry will build your confidence, and from there you can move forward.

Edited by author Wed Apr 3, '13 12:06pm PST


Barked: Wed Apr 3, '13 3:46pm PST 
You can always get a 1 million volt stun gun, most of the time just the zapping sound alone is enough to stop a dog on it's tracks.

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Wed Apr 3, '13 5:30pm PST 
I was thinking a loud whistle, but that would scare the pants off your dog too