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Too scared to walk my puppy
  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 356
    This is the third time a full grown, loose, unmannered dog has come running at us while me and my 5 month old puppy has been out on a walk. The first time it happened, I was walking her inside a neighborhood and the owner had his garage door open with his dogs unleashed. He did nothing to stop his dog except yell at it to come back as it comes charging at us. Then when I managed to get HIS dog to go away by picking up Mochi, he yells at me "he doesn't bite!" No apology. The second time it was my neighbor's terrier/lab mix that managed to squeeze through between its fence. I picked up Mochi because the dog kept jumping and snapping at her. Even if it was play, I don't want a stranger's dog touching mine without my permission and especially if it's making Mochi uncomfortable. The third time was last week Sunday. A brown and white pitbull came out of nowhere behind this car. Then when it saw us, it started barking at us and next thing you know it comes trotting towards us and Mochi starts to tense up and whine. I picked up Mochi and walked away while the dog kept following me all the way to my house. It didn't jump up at me or anything but IT WOULD NOT GO AWAY. Thankfully my dad was outside in our backyard working on making the fence and he helped me scare away the dog.

    I'm lucky that none of the dogs were dangerous or had the chance to be aggressive towards her. However, I developed a small fear of walking her now. I know that if a big dog, like the lab/terrier mix or pitbull were to grab onto her, I would not be able to pull them apart. What sucks most is that we used to go out on walks all the time even after the first incident but because it happened not once, not twice, but three times, I can't help but be a bit paranoid.

    Is there anything I could carry that might be effective in scaring away a loose dog in case it happens again? I carried an umbrella for one week but I look quite odd carrying a bright red umbrella on a really sunny day lol
    I honestly just need some advice and know that I'm not alone having this worry all the time I go out :((

    Sorry for the long post!

    [mod edit: changed category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2017-02-10 13:43:22
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 279
    I just have to ask .. why are you preventing your dog from socializing with other dogs? From your own account, none of these dogs harmed or even tried to harm, your own dog. Your reactions and fear have every likelyhood of teaching your own dog to be afraid and untrusting of other dogs, which leads to reactivity and aggression.

    Just walk your dog. It'd be great if everyone was more responsible with their own dogs and kept them on leash and on leads all the time, but if they aren't aggressive you're just creating unnecessary tension for all of these dogs to react to, which COULD lead to aggression that otherwise wouldn't have happened. I think the best thing you can do here is to just relax and let dogs do non-violent dog things.

    Edit: If you really think you need to be prepared for an aggressive dog just in case - get a small pocket air horn, but don't use it unless something bad actually happens that requires intervention. Your fear of the unexpected or of what MIGHT happen isn't a good enough reason to teach your dog to have the same fears.

    Also can I just say you have very strange expectations of off leash dogs. They aren't going to ask your permission to meet/greet your dog. They are dogs, not people lol.
    Post edited by spacedogs at 2017-02-07 20:49:52
  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 356
    @spacedogs I understand the socialization part because I know how important it is. But just because socialization is important doesn't mean I'm going to let a loose dog come up to mine especially if I don't know if it's had its shots or not or if it's going to become aggressive. I don't prevent my dog from socializing with other dogs. I actually encourage it by taking her everywhere with me and making sure she meets other people and dogs (I.e dog parks and dog bars). I wouldn't mind if the dogs were monitored closely by their owners and they came up to mine but no. They were loose and not monitored.

    A few months ago a dog in my neighborhood attacked a woman and her chihuahua. The dog didn't start out aggressive but I guess something triggered it to snap at the chihuahua. The dog's owner wasn't around so it escalated even further and the chihuahua lost a ton of blood but made it out alive thankfully and the dog got scared away by people helping out. So I know my fear isn't irrational or anything because anything could happen between dogs.

    I was actually fine with the pitbull coming up to Mochi but when Mochi started to tense up and whine that's when it worried me and even more because the dog wouldn't go away and even attempted to come up my driveway. The terrier lab mix was actually snapping at Mochi (I believe it was playing) and she was clearly not comfortable because she kept pulling away from the leash and trying to get away so I picked her up. I'm not sorry I didn't force her to interact with a dog that wasnt appealing to her.

    Lol I never said I had any expectations for a loose dog? I was just asking for advice about what to do if a situation like that came up again. I didn't ask how to make the dog approach us calm and politely because I know dogs are dogs..they don't have the same mannerisms as us.
  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 356
    @spacedogs I find it more strange that you encourage random loose dogs to interact with yours lol I couldn't be able to do that :-O but I think the air horn is a good idea. Someone actually suggested pepper spray and I was like what the hell?
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 279
    I live in a small town in a rural area, there are a lot of people here who don't leash their dogs so it's something I'm used to I guess. There's also a high rate of un/under vaccinated dogs here, and to be honest it doesn't matter if someone has their dog on leash or not, you have no way of knowing if their owners have vaccinated. You can never be sure, there is no guarantee of safety for your pup aside from making sure your dog is vaccinated.

    The anecdotal story of a woman and her chihuahua being attacked doesn't necessarily mean the other dog was the one to escalate the situation - anecdotally the only dog I've ever been full out attacked by was a chihuahua and the only thing I did "wrong" was sit on the couch I had been invited to sit on. A poorly socialized and untrained dog of any size will initiate violence, it's just unfortunate side effect that if there's a larger dog involved it will often be seen as the problem.

    I'm not insinuating that you should force your dog to socialize in uncomfortable situations, just don't let your unease of the off-leash dog transfer to your pup. She'll pick up on that and be uneasy, too, even when she doesn't need to be, essentially compounding the perceived problem and making it worse.

    You COULD use pepper spray, it's not dangerous or toxic to dogs, but it does seem a bit drastic and there's potential to get it on your own dog. :/
  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 356
    @spacedogs you're totally true about leashed dogs having the potential of not being vaccinated. I just feel more comfortable with my dog being around other dogs that have the vaccination tag or if I know them rather than a unknown dog lol

    I actually went on three two hour long walks today haha so I'm slowly trying to get over my uneasiness for my puppy :)

    Yeah it is sad that big dogs (especially the "bully" breeds) have such a bad reputation :( the kindest dogs I've ever met were pits and people still swear up and down they're vicious dogs.

    Yeah pepper spray is usable but...it makes the dogs eyes burn and I think that would be kind of mean haha

    By the way I was rereading my previous post and I realized I may have sounded kind of rude(?). I hope no offense was taken :)
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 279
    It's fine, I wasn't offended. I have spent a very long time working with people in settings that require a lot of typed communication, I know there's no fonts for emotion (especially sarcasm) and a lot of intent gets lost that way. I am intensely aware that I can come across as gruff and judgemental for those very same reasons. :))
  • ZenkiZenki
    Posts: 269
    Won't dog whistles kinda get their attention and hopefully distract/diffuse any aggression or at least give you time to get in between the two dogs.

    orrrrrr here's my genius idea... spray your dog with bitter apple so other dogs won't bite him. =))
    Zenki
    Black, Tan and Awesome
    Instagram: @ShibaZenki

    “Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”
    – Ann Landers

  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 356
    @zenki ~X( I'm slightly jealous that you came up with such a bright idea before I did :))

    But on a serious note, there has been an increase in dog attacks lately, not just on walks but also like parks and inside homes, so everyone...Be careful! :)
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 956
    I don't think it's a good plan to expose a pup to unknown dogs and call it socialization. That has the possibility to go badly, and could turn out more like flooding or overexposure. Socialization is very careful and planned, a form of setting your dog up to win by giving them good experiences.. not just jumping into every single interaction possible. Though I know in some cases there's no need for extra worry and random encounters can also go very well. I'd rather be cautious and make sure to avoid a potentially scarring encounter and save socialization for more controlled situations.

    Anyway! I carry pepper spray with me now. More because of creepy people than animals, but if there were ever an aggressive dog or random dangerous wildlife (when I first got Ozzy, we came upon a moose in a schoolyard park and almost walked right past it. Some other people warned us to stay back, thankfully), I would definitely use it whenever necessary to protect myself or Ozzy. I think there's also something called like "dog away spray" that isn't as intense as pepper spray...? I'm not really sure about it, but I've heard of people carrying it.

    There are so many irresponsible people an owners... haha, there's always a chance something could go wrong, whether it be a strange dog or a leash malfunction. And we can try to be as prepared as possible; I think we should be... but don't let that stop you from going on walks! It can be scary, you just gotta try to be prepared and ready to react so you're not caught off guard.
  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 356
    @lilikoi yes, anything can happen which is why I'm always so iffy about random encounters haha I have to formally meet and greet the owners at least!
    I heard about the dog away spray. They have a lawn formula of it too! Too bad it sucked lol we used it on our lawn because we caught a person letting their dog poop in our backyard (didn't even pick it up) and twice I caught the same dog poop while loose without the owner! :-w in the end Mochi got giardia. We used it thinking it will repel the dog but no....it came back twice as more determined lol
    Yes it's still a little scary but I am slowly getting back to being comfortable with walking her a lot again :)
  • ZenkiZenki
    Posts: 269
    I read somewhere that dogs are pack animals... whether your dog has accepted you as pack leader or not... your disposition affects your dog. If you're scared or nervous, your dog might be scared or defensive. He also might become aggressive if he thinks he needs to protect his pack. That's why they suggest that you should always be in control of the situation so your dog will follow your lead.

    I have not decided whether to believe this pack theory or not. I just know I won't lose anything by being confident and always reassuring my pup when things out of the ordinary happen during our walks. Puppy love conquers all. :x
    Zenki
    Black, Tan and Awesome
    Instagram: @ShibaZenki

    “Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”
    – Ann Landers

  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 356
    @zenki whenever my dog sees something new (like a fire hydrant) on a walk, she starts barking at it but will not go too near it and will just keep looking back and forth at me and whatever it is...until I go near it first LOL it's like she's saying "I'll let you take the fall if it attacks you first! You can handle it!" Once she sees me near it she'll start to sniff it and then act all tough by tapping it and barking and growling :))
    But yes, puppy love conquers all :')
  • FluffsFluffs
    Posts: 16
    Honestly, with my professional dog training and working with dogs at a vet hospital... I would never let an off leash dog and an on leash dog interact even if they were very comfortable with eachother to begin with.
    Even if nothing bad happens with the off-leash dog, your dog does see being on leash as being restricted so they are automatically more reactive just from being on the leash; add an unleashed dog who's a stranger, with no handler around to control them and you've got a formula for a really stressful situation for your dog!
    Even if the other dog wont hurt yours, you never know what yours could do because they're uncomfortable and it could turn bad very quickly. It's not that hard to avoid it entirely and just not risk it to keep everyone involved safe. :)

    I wouldn't say you want to pick her up immediately when she gets uncomfortable since it may start to reinforce her fear of being approached by them. For my neighborhood, I typically either walk Katsu on the opposite side of the stranger/other dog and quickly bypass them... or I'll pick her up as soon as i see the unleashed dog and put her down when they're out of sight again.
    When I pick her up, i try to get her attention first so she doesn't automatically associate seeing strange dog with getting picked up. If the dog is far enough away that I think we can avoid their attention as long as we mind our own business and walk quickly, I always opt for that.

    But I think with this, the most important thing is to not get frustrated or stressed in these moments. I try to act like nothing is going on and just continue walking like normal even when I have to hold her. Just trust that nothing bad can happen as long as you're there for Mochi and try not to worry about walking her as much :)>- Most off-leash dogs actually are nice and will lose interest in you if you ignore them anyway. It sucks that there's irresponsible owners causing these situations, but you can totally handle it!

    Edit: @Zenki Pack/alpha theory has been debunked for years. Dogs see you more as their parent/guardian than "pack leader" or Ruler or anything of that sort lol. But you're absolutely right that your dog can definitely tell when you're stressed or worried since they rely very heavily on body language :D
    Post edited by Fluffs at 2017-02-08 18:08:53
  • ZenkiZenki
    Posts: 269
    There are so many things out in the world that can harm us and our precious fur babies. It's up to us to live in fear or just live. Not saying throw caution at the wind but, by God, would I hate to live my life like I do when I walk my dog on grass where I am watching every step to make sure not to step on poop. It's exhausting, annoying and saps the joy out of the walk. :(

    It is annoying that there are people out there that shouldn't have dogs at all. but I won't let those turds ruin the short time I have with my dog. i always have this secret evil wish where i actually know where these poop leavers live so i can pick up their dogs poop and smear it on their doorstep. >:)

    Zenki
    Black, Tan and Awesome
    Instagram: @ShibaZenki

    “Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”
    – Ann Landers

    Post edited by Zenki at 2017-02-08 18:41:24
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 880
    When I first rescued Quakey I knew that he was dog reactive because he had been viciously attacked and hurt by a Bull Mastiff that was off leash. I used to be nervous walking Quakey whenever we would see an off leash dog or even leashed dogs. I am sure my nervousness did not help his reactivity. I consulted with a vet behaviorist who taught me how to train him so that he would look at me whenever we would see another dog (off leash or not). The next step was for Quakey to sit in front of me and I would give him a treat. The vet behaviorist also suggested that I carry dog deterrent spray with me at all times. Training Quakey to allow me to distract his attention from the approaching dog and to focus on me has calmed him down. Having the dog deterrent spray has also helped me to feel confident as I walk with Quakey.
  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 356
    @fluffs I always make sure that during socialization, BOTH dogs are either leashed or unleashed and not just one because you are right...it only causes tension and strsss on the leashed dog.
    Yes, you're right! I have to be confident in myself for her to be confident as well! :)

    @zenki haha maybe you can leave them a package of zenki's poop on their doorstep, nicely wrapped with a bow on top :))

    @antoinette we are currently training her to look at me with distractions so hopefully it will help when an unwanted dog or person comes near.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 956
    I think dogs are also very responsive to their owner's feelings... Or can be. Like they can recognize when you're fearful, or when you're feeling defensive vs when you're confident. The "pack mentality" as far as training goes is something completely different lol. Talking about anything unrelated and using the buzzword "pack" or "dominance" can just be misunderstanding since people will assume you serve the Dog Whisperer and mean the words in the way he uses them. :))

    I also think if you're concerned, it's better to pick up the dog and go. No waiting to see if it's okay or not. That's a risk I'm not willing to take. If an encounter can be avoided all together, even better. But the theory about dog's fears being reinforced is another topic people explain as debunked... Like if you were eating an ice cream cone at home and someone robbed your house, that wouldn't make you enjoy having your house robbed. At most it might give you a distaste for ice cream or associate ice cream with something bad. But comforting a dog when they're fearful won't cause them to feel more fearful; at worst it might make them associate being picked up with something bad happening, so they might learn to dislike being picked up... which also isn't good, but if you're picking them up to avoid something bad happening, you're preventing them from a bad experience that could otherwise make going out on a walk or seeing another dog a trigger after a bad association.

    But yeah, there are a lot of bad owners that just don't clean up after their dogs or watch them... Our neighbor's dog always poops in our yard too hahah... I would just rather be cautious about uncontrolled interactions! So I think it's a good idea to have a plan about what to do. Some guy literally tried to take Ozzy from my while we were on winter vacation... I never thought that would happen! Or that someone would be so persistent. It's always better to be safe and prepared.
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2017-02-08 22:57:10
  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 356
    @lilikoi I hate it when people ask me how much I want for Mochi, like get outta here! It's so disgusting how people put prices on dogs just like that >:P
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 956
    @Mochi920 - it is super...strange... like they think any dog they see can be theirs for the right price?? :/ the guy who tried to take Ozzy took me totally off guard. Was asking questions about him, then told me he wanted to show me something and started trying to grab the leash. I told him no way and tried to back off, but he kept grabbing the leash and stepped in front to block our path.. my sister kind of swatted him out of the way and stepped in between us and told him we were leaving, and we ran across the street and never walked near there again haha. People ask questions about Ozzy all the time, I never expected it to turn into a sketchy situation haha. But definitely made me more aware and now I've always got my little pepper spray just in case. Usually I walk Ozzy by myself, so I'm so thankful that my sister was there and stepped in. She's a very confrontational person haha, and she stopped the encounter before anything worse could happen. I wouldn't have been able to stay as composed. xP
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2017-02-09 21:02:47
  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 356
    @lilikoi that's so creepy...the things that go through people's minds :-S

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