Off lead rushing dog
Updated: Feb 15
I quite like dogs. But. The scenario: Two people, three dogs, all on lead, on a street, walking and having a relaxing enjoyable time one lovely weekend.
Next thing, we looked up to see a large black dog running at us full speed with hackles up, half a block away from it's person. To the dogs we were with, this is the last thing they want so here is a picture of them getting ready:
I do like dogs. But when I'm out with a dog on lead, that dog in my care is my priority.
In the scenario above, one of these dogs is injured and selective of friends. One has a bad hip and does not like strange dogs up in their grill. The environment is always as controlled as we can make it as well as them knowing we will take control of the situation.
We could have waited to see what would have happened, it might have been ok. That is not a gamble we were going to take.
An off lead dog rushing, even if it was from friendly excitement, is super rude as far as doggy greetings go.
So we did what we had discussed in the past. Please note this may not work for every single dog/person/situation, but three times it has worked for us.
Increase the distance between the on lead dogs - a tight knit pre existing group would be much less tolerant of this fast paced stranger hurtling in if the dog made it that far.
Put one helluva boss voice on and yell at the rushing dog. Use your body language too, confrontational upright, project your voice.
Make your escape. Sometimes this means changing the route you had planned to walk.
Shake it off and check in with your dog - were they bothered? If not, and they can respond (do some basics e.g. can they make eye contact, a touch or a sit?) then you could continue your walk.
If they cannot respond or seem worried then end the walk early.
When you get home, promote sniffing, licking and chewing exercises to help your dog unwind.
Other tips: Have food that you can throw at or behind the other dog while you walk away. A lolly scramble of cat biscuits for example.
Practice an emergency U turn.
Practice leash games so your dog engages with you regardless of the distractions.
Carry a spare short lead that you can spin in a windmill to act as a barrier.
Mini air horn or whistle.
Pop open an umbrella towards the rushing dog. (please note you'll need to get your own dogs used to this first otherwise everyone will get a fright!)
Multiple dogs, multiple people is best.
If you have had worrying encounters before, ask a friend to walk with you and your dog.
Talk about what you would do so when it happens, you are prepared. (obviously hopefully you will never need it but...)
If your dog is relaxed and friendly and the other dog is as well, you may allow them to meet. Not all meetings are bad.
If you are not sure, you do not need to wait to find out. The dog you have is the one you need to look after.