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When you are out walking your dog and you see another dog running loose, it can be a nerve-racking experience but it is important to remain calm. Most loose dogs are only curious and will not attack. Prevention is the best answer so avoid walking your dog in areas that are known to have off leash dogs. If you see a loose dog, call your local animal control immediately. If you do find yourself in this scary situation:

Calmly turn and face the dog. If you turn and run, the dog may follow, if you calmly turn and face the dog it will help you to better judge the situation.

Keep your dog on a loose leash and watch his body language. You should be able to tell from your dog’s body language if the other dog is safe.

After several seconds, the loose dog should stop, sniff the ground and if it continues to approach, should do so in a calm manner. All of theses are signs of a non-aggressive dog and you shouldn’t have any issues.

If your dog starts to show extreme signs of nervousness, fear, or aggression or if the other dog is approaching in an aggressive manner then you must act quickly to keep the other dog from approaching!

Below are some ideas on how to protect yourself if the loose dog is aggressive:

REMAIN CALM! If you start to get nervous, both dogs will sense it and it will escalate the situation. You must remain in control as much as possible.

Use a loud noisemaker such as a whistle or blow horn to scare the dog.

Be Confident! Stand up straight, face the dog and say “NO” in a loud and authoritativevoice. This will stop most dogs in their tracks. As you continue to face the dog, slowly back away. Repeat the “NO” when the dog shows any forward movement. NEVER turn your back to the dog!

Buy (and learn how to properly operate) a repellant spray to use on attacking dogs.

If you have some yummy treats with you, throw them towards the loose dog to distract him.

Pick up something from the ground to throw at the dog-like a rock, stick, or even a trash can lid.

If your dog is on a regular leash you can quickly swing the end of the leash in the air. The strange movement and sound of the leash can slow down the approaching dog.