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Three Ways to Deal with an Off-Leash Dog

Whether you are a dog walker in San Francisco or a jogger in Atlanta, there are few things more frightening than an off-leash dog rushing you and the dog you are walking. As scary and dangerous as this situation is, there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your dog.

1. Liquid courage
All but the most aggressive dogs can be halted by a quick shot of citronella spray. Unlike pepper spray, citronella spray repels dogs without physically harming them. Best of all, citronella sprays are highly portable and come in containers that are easy to clip on belts and leashes.

2. Keep calm
One of the most important things to remember is to stay calm. Dogs are masters at reading body language and an unruffled human can do as much good as a weapon in preventing a dog attack. If approached by an unfriendly dog, the worst course of action is to run away. Dogs are predators and a fleeing target activates their prey drive. When walking away from a dog, make sure to be as relaxed as possible.

3. Know your environment
Familiarizing yourself with your environment can go a long way in protecting you from unwelcome interlopers. If you are new to an area, ask around. Dog walkers in San Francisco might know about fenced-in yards that you can take shelter in. A suburban New Yorker may already have realized that your neighbor’s Jack Russell terrier is all bark and no bite. Knowing both your surroundings and your neighbors could save you from a marauding canine. It can also help when animal control receives multiple complaints about the same aggressive neighborhood dog.

Keeping calm, being prepared and making sure you have the right tools can go a long way in protecting both you and the dog you love from trauma or injury from off-leash dogs.