I get this question a lot from my clients. Coming across a loose dog you can be a nerve racking experience. If you do find yourself in this scary situation:
Have Faith. Most loose dogs are only curious and will not attack.
STAY CALM!! If you get nervous, your dog will get nervous, and then the other dog will get nervous. Instead turn and face the dog. If you run, the dog will normally start to chase you.
Keep your dog on a loose leash and watch his body language. You should be able to tell from your dog if the other dog is safe.
Non aggressive dogs will normally stop when they see you and maybe sniff the ground. They will then approach with a relaxed body and in a calm manner-sometimes even making a half circle.
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 it you must act quickly to prevent further trouble.
Be Confident! Stand up straight, face the dog and say “NO” in a loud and confident voice. 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.
Use a loud noisemaker such as a whistle or blow horn to scare the dog. Many pet stores now carry Pet Correctors which give off a loud sound when used.
Buy (and learn how to properly operate) a repellent 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 or a stick, or 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 can slow down the approaching dog.
Once you are safely out of the situation, make sure to report the lose dog to Animal Control.