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What do you do if an off leash dog approaches your dog?

a german shepherd approaching with the caption What do you do if an off leash dog approaches your dog

Dealing with a strange dog that won’t leave you or your dog alone can be a frightening experience, especially if you’re not familiar with how to handle the situation. If an off leash dog approaches your dog while out on a walk, what should you do? Keep reading for tips on how to protect your pet!

Contents of this article:

  1. What do you do if an off leash dog approaches your dog?
  2. What should you do if a dog approaches you?
  3. What is the best option if an off leash dog approaches you while you are walking a dog?

What do you do if an off leash dog approaches your dog?

  1. If the dog is friendly, and your dog is friendly, remain calm and let them greet each other.
  2. If the dog is not friendly, keep your dog close to you and make loud noises or try to scare the other dog away.
  3. If the owner is not around, try to find them or call animal control.
  4. Never leave your dog alone with an off leash dog.

What should you do if a dog approaches you?

My work involves dogs that for one reason or another can’t be around other dogs, so we tend to avoid anywhere we’re likely to encounter off leash dogs.

There have been occasions where an unsupervised dog has escaped from their owner or back garden, and this is how I’ve handled those situations. Here’s what to do about off-leash dogs.

  1. Check the dog’s body language – loose, wiggly body language suggests the dog doesn’t mean any harm. If a dog’s tail is wagging with stiff movements, this is not a good sign, so don’t assume a waggy tail means a friendly dog. If a dog has stiff body language, is growling or has its hackles up, this could mean the dog is feeling threatened or overstimulated and could become aggressive.
  2. If the dog is friendly, and your dog is friendly, make sure both dogs have plenty of space, so neither feels hemmed in and anxious. Allow them to sniff each other and say hello in their own time. If either dog looks uncomfortable, separate them.
  3. If the dog is not friendly and you can get your dog to safety before the dog reaches you, do it. Put them out of reach of the other dog.
  4. Bodyblock your dog from the approaching dog. Stand facing the incoming dog with your dog behind you. Make yourself as big and as wide as possible.
  5. As the dog approaches, do your best impression of a cop stopping traffic, put your hand up and yell “STOP” and “GO HOME”. This actually works more often than you would imagine!
  6. Keep your dog close to you on a short lead and make loud noises or try to scare the other dog away by waving your arms and shouting. It’s important not to scream or run away. This could trigger a chase response in the other dog.
  7. If you have any treats with you, throw a handful of them at the dog to distract them so you can get your dog to safety.
  8. If you have a ball with you, make sure the dog can see it, then throw it in the opposite direction from the way you wish to escape.
  9. Carrying a pet corrector spray for this situation is also a good idea, as it allows you to quickly spray the dog if they get too close.
  10. Above all else, stay calm and focused in these situations – your own fear will only add to the dog’s stress levels and may make them more likely to attack.
  11. In most cases, the best thing you can do is remain calm and try to diffuse the situation. If you’re ever unsure of what to do, err on the side of caution and contact animal control for help.

What is the best option if an off leash dog approaches you while you are walking a dog?

In an ideal world, owners would recall their dogs when they see an on-leash dog. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If you come across an off leash dog, don’t panic! By following the steps above, you’ll know
what to do about off leash dogs so you can help keep yourself and your dog safe.

In general, if your dog is anxious or reactive, it’s important to avoid situations where an off leash dog could approach your dog and make them feel uncomfortable.

If you’re out on a walk and see an off leash dog in the distance, try to change your route so you can avoid them. If you’re at a park or beach where dogs are allowed off leash, keep your dog on a leash and be prepared to move away if an off leash dog approaches.

And remember, never leave your dog unattended in the presence of an off leash dog, as this can put your dog at risk.

If you’re out walking your dog and an off leash dog approaches, the best thing to do is to keep your dog close to you. If the owner is nearby, politely ask them to leash their dog. If the owner is not around or does not comply, you can try the instructions above to startle it and get it to move away.

If the off leash dog is behaving aggressively, do not hesitate to call animal control or the police for assistance. Remember, your dog’s safety is always paramount – so take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that both you and your pet make it home safely.

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A variety of dog accessories including a bowl of dry dog food, a collar and leash and a ball


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