What To Do If A Dog Is Chasing You

I took a walk one morning with a few of my friends. We were in our neighborhood and I brought my dog, Denver, along because he needed exercise too. About 15 minutes into our walk, one of my friends nervously proclaimed, “There’s a dog off-leash over there.”  And sure enough, I looked up to see a pitbull mix, off-leash, staring at us.

As soon as we noticed him, he began to race towards us.  Immediately, my friends’ nervous anxiety turned to full panic.  They screamed as I told them not to worry.  They grabbed my arm as I told them to relax. The proclaimed they were going to be attacked as I told them the dog was friendly. Within a matter of seconds, the unknown dog had reached us and began a humorus (to me) playful dance with my dog, trying to solicit Denver to play.  When Denver politely declined the invitation to play, the dog ran off again.  I smiled and then noticed the terror in my friends’ faces.

As my friends began to breath again, they hailed me a hero in the face of adversity while being “attacked by a dog.”  And it dawned on me that we had seen the situation from two entirely different perspectives.  Their perspective was we were being attacked by a dangerous dog.  My perspective was that a friendly dog off-leash wanted to play with my dog. And in that instance, there was nothing either of us could do to change the other’s perspective.

My perspective comes from over 20 years of dealing with dogs, with a particular focus on off-leash behaviors.  There was nothing in the dog’s body language that indicated he was aggressive. In fact, his exaggerated motions, loose, wiggly body language, and lateral movement while he approached us were clear indicators of play.  And I knew my dog would not react, so there was nothing to worry about. I just stood calmly and waiting for the dog-to-dog greeting to happen.

But what would I have done if the dog were not friendly?  What would I have done if I knew Denver wouldn’t have tolerated the strange dog?  And what should you do if a dog is chasing you and you aren’t sure if it’s friendly?

These are questions that come up all the time from people who live in neighborhoods where dogs run off-leash.  And let’s face it, not every dog wants to greet a strange dog.  Not every person enjoys the company of an unknown dog.  And not every off-leash dog is friendly. So what do you do if you see a dog off-leash?

Here are my usual suggestions:

  • First – don’t run. This is counterintuitive, but running will only cause a dog to chase and will likely create more arousal and aggression in the dog if he is already in an aroused state. Instead, stand still at first and then walk away slowly.
  • Yell “SIT” or “GO HOME”  – This will often make the average dog nervous enough to leave you alone. But be believable and yell with confidence.

For more persistent dogs, I would try the following:

  • Take massive amounts of smelly, high value treats on a walk with you (chicken, liver, cheese, steak etc). If you see a loose dog throw a big handful of treats at the dog in the hope that he will stop to eat the treats while you move away.
  • Take an umbrella with you on walks – the automatic kind that allows you to push a button to open it. Often, having an umbrella open suddenly into the face of an oncoming dog will scare the dog enough to disorient him and cause him to retreat. (NOTE…if you are going to use this method, make sure your dog is used to being on the other side of the umbrella when it opens, or you are likely to freak your own dog out!)
  • Purchase Spray Shield animal deterrent to take with you on your walks. This is a form of citronella spray you can spray at a dog (think “mace for dogs”). The downside to this product is the dog has to be really close which is why I prefer using treats, but if you wind up trying to break up a dog fight, this might help.

If a dog is running full steam at you, it’s hard to say if any of these methods will work, but they are worth a try. Despite the media hype, the vast majority of dogs off-leash are not trying to attack humans.  For most dogs, yelling at them or throwing treats at them will work fine.

Do you have a story of a loose dog in your neighborhood? How did you handle it? Leave a comment and let me know!

Worried about how to handle loose dogs that you encounter on walks? Be sure to check out my 13-page pdf download How To Handle Loose Dogs and Dog Fights

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

136 thoughts on “What To Do If A Dog Is Chasing You

  1. Great blog. I work with dogs and the use of treat or the “go home” works great for me too. I’m in Portugal for vacation and almost every dog is off leash! Almost every dog has been the wiggliest and friendly. There was only one that was protecting his farm that gave me some serious bark. I look towards him and gave my most commanding, “Go Home!” He wasn’t happy about it but went back to his side of the street 🙂

    • Interesting to hear about the Portugal dogs, Sarah! It’s good that dog language is sort of universal!

  2. Great blog. I enjoyed sharing. My only dislike was the picture you used with it. Pit Bulls and the type get such a bad rap, and putting that picture on this article is the type of thing that helps give them a bad name.

    • Nancy, I’d have to disagree, although it was also my initial gut reaction. After reading the blog, though, it’s clear that the Pittie mix was mis-perceived by writer’s friends, which is poignant considering the bad rap you describe. Plus, the pic is one of a very friendly, playful looking dog!

      I think our own sensitivity to this issue often causes more problems than the public perception. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if the pic was different breed, so who is really treating Pitties as something other than just another dog?

      • Thanks Cindy and Nancy. I did give some thought about that picture before I used it but I felt the way Cindy discussed…that the point of my story was the pitbull was friendly. Plus, that picture just makes me smile because I think that dog is cute. LOL

        • Thanks for the feedback Cindy & Robin. Personally I love the picture. A nice happy dog playing. Maybe I am a little over protective of the breed and the public opinion of the breed. As with so many places there is an overabundance of bully type dogs here, mostly in the shelters. I have owned and operated a boarding & training facility for the 26 years and bully type breeds are one we have had the least amount of problems with. I am always looking for good information to share.
          Thank you

    • It is a pity that more people don’t understand the difference between well-bred, well-socialized bully breeds, and the junk-yard (or too often with a certain segment of the male population, “junk”-extender) kind of loose-cannon dog.

      What changed my mind about them is that I train my German Shepherd Dogs for Schutzhund, the breed sport for GSDs, which includes a “martial arts” phase (called “protection work) where the dog has to deal with a “bad guy” wearing a bite sleeve. It’s a sport, not guard dog training, and is open to all breeds).

      Anyway, I was amazed the first time I saw someone trying to train a big American Bulldog in the sport, since I had bought into the stereotype. Compared to the GSDs and Rottweilers on the field, it was really hard to get the bulldog to bite with confidence. You could tell from his body language that this was really confusing: “But I’m not supposed to bite people.”

      Ever since then, I’ve been much more confident greeting bully-type dogs. They really can be wonderful pets or even working dogs.

      • Dave, your comment reminded me of my first GSD. I wanted to do Schutzund with her but she had no drive. It took her forever to get up any nerve to bite the sleeve and even then she would only do so with her front teeth. Needless to say, we didn’t stay in that sport for long. hahaha On the other hand, she loved therapy work and obedience.

  3. I was walking a miniature schnauzer once for a client when a large shepherd mix came barreling down its driveway, barking. I yelled, “no – go home” in an authoritative voice and it did just that. Whew.

    • Great job, Diane! It can be really scary when it happens so good for being able to keep your cool and get the dog to leave.

  4. Great post. Confirms what I’ve been doing. When I go running I sometimes get “hounded” by an off-leash dog. I typically stop, yell “go home” in my loudest and most commanding voice. The dog always backs off. It’s hard for me to yell at a dog because I love dogs and would rather pet the dog. But when I’m not sure if the dog is being aggressive or playful, I just try to show that I’m not frightened and that I’m not backing down. Perhaps next time, I’ll bring treats. Running with an umbrella is too cumbersome.

    • It’s funny you mention the umbrella being cumbersome, Mark. I tend to agree with you. However, I know several people who run with a cane or a stick…and my feeling is if you’re going to run with some sort of weapon, then an umbrella is probably a much better deterrent to a dog. Although personally, I like using treats the best.

  5. Nice article–thanks. I liked your tips about carrying an automatic-opening umbrella and scrumptious treats, but I disagree about using an animal deterrent spray–if you use that stuff on a breezy day, you and your companion dog are likely to get a snootful.

    • You are correct that you risk getting some of the spray on yourself or your own dog, Donna. However, if you have an actual dog fight happen, the spray may be a much better option than trying to break up the dogs by hand. So depending on the neighborhood and what is likely to happen, it could still be a last resort option.

  6. My dog broke her halti to go sniff at trees(this was on a late night stroll through a station carpark), I didn’t see it as that big a deal as I expected nobody else to be out. A japanese woman who’d just been shopping saw my dog off leash and started screaming, which caused my dog to run towards her to find out what the problem was. The woman kept up the screaming, but did this weird ‘high step’ skipping thing and swung her red bag at my dog. My dog had all 4 feet on the ground when I drove my wheelchair over to help.
    I said “Give me your bag, that could be setting the dog off”, she continued screaming, skipping and waving the bag around. Anita started jumping up the woman’s back, it looked like the dog was trying to get something, she did not bite. I grabbed the woman by the waist to stop the jumping around and bag swinging. I caught the dog’s collar with my other hand and let go of the woman, who quickly got on her phone to the police and her husband, all the while Anita quietly sat by my side.
    I then noticed the shopping bag at my feet. She must’ve thrown it at me at some point before I grabbed her waist, any assist dog would react to their person having something thrown at them. After the police arrived, she inspected her jacket. There were 3 holes on the inside of it that my dog couldn’t have caused, and she had a very fresh scratch on her arm that was bleeding, there was no damage to the jacket arm and any scratch from my dog would’ve stopped bleeding before the police arrived. The woman whined to me “I’m always supporting and donating money to people like you, and you do this to me!” I soo wanted to slap her across the face…
    My dog is being held at the RSPCA until the council decide what to do. I may be called to court, Anita may be declared menacing or dangerous, or she may be put down on the spot, I have no say in the matter.

    • Well that’s distressing for everyone, Caren. I hope everything works out ok for you and your dog!

    • How unfortunate! I actually experienced a similar incident with one of my dogs a few years ago. I was doing a dog bite prevention workshop at a local library with my therapy dog, Maska. Granted, he was a large dog, but imagine my surprise when I was leaving the library and a woman was coming up the steps, saw my dog and started to scream! The woman, oddly enough, was oriental, too. Is there something cultural going on here? If so, you may want to have an oriental person who knows this write a letter to the RSPCA about the fact that this could just be hysteria. In any case, I did all I could to shepherd my dog away from her, and he, of course, being a good therapy dog, just stood quietly as she passed, mumbling all kinds of things (all I caught was “…shouldn’t be allowed…”). You just can’t please everyone, but sadly, because your dog was off lead, and made contact with the person, she’ll be in trouble whereas mine wasn’t. If she is excused this time, please be sure to install a really good recall on her so there’s never a repeat.

      • I lived in Okinawa for a while and had my German Shepherd there. It did seem as if culturally people were much more afraid of her because she was big. However, after living there a while she made lots of friends in town, but I did think we had to work harder to even convince people to come near her. So there may be a cultural component to it.

    • It’s been a few weeks (I’m just reading this post now) and I hope everything turned out okay with your dog. If you still need help saving your dog you can contact The Lexus Project. They are highly experienced in handling these cases.

    • Hey Caren,
      Why dont you leash your dog in public areas to prevent such incidents?
      Instead of insulting that Japanese women, you should understand that not all people are aware of how to onteract with animals and this may happen. Next time, when you are outside of your property, leash your dog. That is the safest way and we dont need to learn how to fight with a dog!
      A lot of times, when I go for a walk, I see a lot of people have leashed dogs but the size of rope was too long that the animal could approach strangers.. I mean that’s rediculous to not obey the law and bother other humans for your own and your dog pleasure!

  7. I have encountered many loose dogs. As somebody who works with dogs on a daily basis I know how to handle these situations and have never had a problem. I generally give some type of command like you suggested normally “go home” or “no” I also slightly angle myself away from the approaching dog to let them know they aren’t welcome while body blocking them. I always stay calm and confident. I have also encountered not so friendly dogs and have been able to effectively use these techniques and prevent a fight. Of course all my dogs are dog friendly and typically won’t engage in a fight, of course luckily this hasn’t been tested to the limits as I am sure they would defend themselves if another dog left them no choice!

    • As someone who has trained for close to twenty years, keep an open mind. I felt as you did until I acquired my first “target” dog. One glance and every dog needs to “prove” something. 6 attacks later, I no longer assume friendly and no longer assume my posture, voice or stance will make the oncoming dog stop. Best defense is good offense…have a last resort available like umbrella.

  8. When I am alone I hardly even think twice about seeing other dogs around that may be off leash, I am always on high alert when I have my 2 dogs with me though. I have a male beagle/ terrier mix who can be defensive when dogs act ‘wildy’ around him (energetic, loud, approaching too fast seemingly unpredictable)
    If a dog approaches too quickly my dog may already be on the defensive whether the other dog is friendly or not .(not leash aggressive or vocal, but he takes notice and becomes stiff). Luckily, he is a beagle and is extremely food motivated and I always carry treats with me. We have also spent time practicing an emergency cue of sorts, “Watch me!”, where he will come sit directly to my left side (almost touching my leg) and watch my face waiting for further instruction. This has been invaluable for us on leash, as I have many times been able to give him the cue and then step in front of him to body block the other dog away or simply put space between him and the oncoming dog. He does not know a lot of fancy tricks but I have been able to proof all of his basic commands in highly distracting environments which is the best investment I think i’ve ever made!

    • Great use of “Watch me” and practicing around distractions. This sounds like what I do with my dogs as well. It works very well and comes in really handy! Great job.

  9. My dogs have gotten attacked twice on walks by other dogs (one off-leash, one on-leash with a stupid owner). So I made a rattle can out of a spent can of corn and some gravel. And it has a dual purpose! — it works as a deterrent for off-leash animals (if I’m concerned about their aggressiveness) and as a disciplinary tool because my dogs hate the loud noise.

    • Great for emergencies, I guess, but why would you want to do something your own dogs hate? At least with the spray, it affects the oncoming dogs, but not your own.

  10. Excellent summary of what to do and not do. A friend and I were working our dogs tracking out at a a natural resource area. Dogs are supposed to be on leash unless they are hunting during hunting season. So my friend is walking across the big gravel parking lot with her pitbull going off to her track when a chocolate lab comes barreling across the gravel at us from where his owner just let him off leash in another field. He’s yelling at his dog and I turned around and in my biggest low voice growl “Hey! You get out a here!” Lab made a quick U-turn and ran back to his owner. The dogs most often are focused on themselves and don’t expect our interference. This lab was focused on my friend’s pit (who ignored the whole thing as she was focused on going to track) and not in a playful attitude but I have also been in the opposite situation where playful dogs have come up when we are working and they get a not quite so emphatic but serious “go Home!” But there was the day when a friend and I were joined by a big pitbull when we were walking my Terv boy and it was quite fun.

  11. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. & Canada during the past 31 years have taken the advice above & have been badly mauled anyway because many dogs don’t follow the rules. Of the 4,304 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occurring in the U.S. & Canada since September 1982, when I began logging the data, 2,703 (63%) were pit bulls; 535 were Rottweilers; 3,478 were of related molosser breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, boxers, and their mixes. Of the 513 human fatalities, 260 were killed by pit bulls; 84 were killed by Rottweilers; 384 (69%) were killed by molosser breeds. Of the 2,428 people who were disfigured, 1,598 (65%) were disfigured by pit bulls; 313 were disfigured by Rottweilers; 2,013 (79%) were disfigured by molosser breeds. Pit bulls–exclusive of their use in dogfighting–also inflict about 10 times as many fatal and disfiguring injuries on other pets and livestock as on humans, a pattern unique to the pit bull class. Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls and pit mixes are less than 6% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%

    • Similarly the vast majority of earthquakes cause little damage and casualties, while the rare massive ones cause lots of both. The dog’s ability due to it’s physionomy and genetics is separate from it’s behavioural traits. Your information is used for a wrong cause. Educate and train people, and hold them accountable for the upbringing of the dog instead. Yes it’s hard, and costly. But it’s right.

    • Your information is wrong. The AKC and many other reputable sites don’t out those dogs even on the top 10 list of breeds that have high bits. The top three are as listed in order: dachshunds, Chihuahua, jack Russell terrier. Your info sounds like it came from an anti pitbull website. Learn more about the breed from reputable sites. I have worked at a dog daycare, boarding, training facility and the dogs we had issues with where not pitbulls. Also most people can’t even tell what is a pit. One of my dogs is a boxer, pointer, lab mix and people, even some vets think he is pit. I wish he was, they are great dogs.

      All I’m trying to say is don’t be so quick to judge. It’s racism in dog terms to blame the breed. The real blame is on the owners no matter the breed.

    • Do you have any sources to back up your ridiculous claims? I didn’t think so, I can make up a bunch of numbers too, it’s easy. Over the past 42 years 73% of the population will try to lick their own elbows upon hearing it is not possible to do so. Easy.

  12. Here in Mexico we just stoop down and pick up a large rock, and that usually scares off the dog. Rarely have I had to actually throw it.

  13. I have a dog-aggressive dog. I was out walking him and a big puppy started bounding up to play with him. The puppy ignored my “Go away”s and ignored by dog’s body language to go away. Since I didn’t have anything else with me, I grabbed my leash midway and slapped the handle of it on the ground making a sound like a whip. It snapped him out of his play drive enough for him to look at us and actually listen to what we were saying. He decided to leave us alone.

    • Great thinking to use the leash to hit the ground and make a loud sound! I have used noises to startle dogs in other situations but hadn’t considered it while on a walk. Good idea.

  14. Several years ago I was sitting on my front porch watching the children play across the street. Suddenly a Big Rottie mix appeared and started running towards the group of children playing. I got up and ran across the street to get between him and the kids. I got him by his collar and he was calm and friendly. I ended up keeping him(couldn’t find the owner) and he was one of the best kid friendly dogs ever. I am a dog groomer so I wasn’t afraid to get between the kids and the dog.

  15. We live in an area where backyard dogs often escape. My dog will react to a strange dog running up to us. My reaction is to put him in a sit, put mt hands on my hips and “puff” myself up while giving eye contact. If that doesn’t work, a quick and loud verbal correction usually does. These poor dogs just don’t get exercise and are usually starved for attention. If my dog wasn’t so upset about it I wouldn’t mind so much as they usually are friendly.

  16. Throwing treats is a pretty bad idea in my opinion. Yes the dog may become distracted and start sniffing them out. Also it may decide that you are more interesting since you have treats and pay more attention to you. Definitely though it will make a connection that when it runs at strangers, treats will appear. If it is excited and makes this connection, the adrenaline will actually cement this memory for future reference by the dog. Distraction or confusion is key. Strange noise, strange movement, umbrella, charging the dog. If contact is imminent, I am sad to say – you have to kick and kick and kick. Competing motivators – the dog needs more of an incentive to do something else in order to stop it’s original desire to cause you to go away.

    • A quick note on above: The kicking remark was for aggressive dogs chasing you. Vast majority of dogs are curious, positively excited, looking to socialize, looking for pats or treats and will run towards you as a result. No need to make contact with them. A dog snarling at you and snapping its jaw is looking to chase you away and may bite. Please don’t kick dogs unless they’re literally about to pounce on you.

  17. I think the most interesting part of this post- and the part I wished you had expounded on more- was the fact that your friend was utterly convinced that a friendly dog approaching them was going to kill them, even calling the encounter being “attacked.” Are they profoundly inexperienced with dogs or profoundly prejudiced against dogs who look a certain way?

    • Hi Ellen, I think my friends are like most of the populations in terms of being profoundly inexperienced with dogs. The vast majority of people get their opinions about dogs from tv and books (most of which has bad information or are full of myths). As with any profession, those in the industry should help educate. I think that’s true of most things related to dogs.

  18. Thank you very much for this article. I have a 100+ lb Bernese Mountain Dog and him and other males his size tend to not get along. We have had dogs run up on us so many times I can’t even count. I walk him every day at surrounding trails and it amazes me how many people have their dogs off leash and claim the dog is friendly only to start barking growling and sometimes on a few occasions biting my dog. I have managed to deter most of the dogs my telling them to stay back, but a few times this did not work. I have used the citronella spray once and it really helped long enough for the guy to come get his dog. Of course he was angry with me for spraying at his dog lol. It was a last resort as a large fight was about to erupt between his Husky and my dog (Is it just me or do Berners and Huskies never seem to get along 🙂 ) I try to stay away from areas that are more prone to off leash dogs when I am walking my dog by myself. It is next to impossible to separate two large powerful male dogs by oneself. I never thought of throwing treats so that would be good to try if I have to to try to buy some time till the owner can get to their dog and before things escalate between their dog and my dog. I just get a little nervous feeding other people’s dogs not knowing if their dog has food allergies or stomach sensitivities. But if it is the only option I think it is worth a try.

    • Great points and sounds like you are doing a great job with off-leash encounters, Jennifer. I love that you are considering the other dog’s allergies too! Shows that you truly love dogs. But I guess an owner is allowing their off-leash dog the possibly of getting into all sorts of things (including treats) if they allow them off-leash.

  19. Excellent advice that I’m going to link to. I especially like the contrast you showed between people here. As was shown in a few of the comments, handling panicked people can offen be the harder issue.

  20. I feel the Most dangerous place to walk is in your own neighborhood. In summer, suburban dog owners get careless and leave gates open. Dogs who have been confined suddenly can confront “intruders”. I find most dogs there DO want to fight. A lab mix came at us ( my two old dogs and a puppy) and despite tells to go home, had it’s teeth in my older dogs’ fur as we slowly backed away 6″ at a time….for 4 houses!The owner was useless. The dog snapped at him when he reached for the collar and it took 4 men to herd the dog away long enough for us to leave. He was upset because I yelled at the dog, then him in front of his kids. Another time a large shepherd mix got off its backyard tie line, ran across the street and grabbed/ shook my older husky, leaving 9 deep punctures and a crush injury to her ear. This is an affluent suburban neighborhood, yet no one seemed concerned over these behaviours. Not sure what to do. I avoid walking there now, but carry an umbrella when I do. And my dogs are chows. (Had one husky)Which dog would take the blame, chow or lab should a true fight start?

    • Good point, Cynthia. If your dog has repeated bad experiences with dogs in your neighborhood, it will become much harder to walk the dog there. I sometimes go to new places to walk my dogs anyway, just to provide him with different sights, sounds and smells. I actually think he gets better exercise that way too.

  21. I have had several encounters with loose dogs in and around my neighborhood when I walk him on the leash. My lab is a Ch.Show dog and a Canine good citizen. He is over 8 years old. I use the big voice “go home” and they usually just sniff or stay away. This one dog an intact male is aggressive towards him. There have been several encounters(dog fights) in my yard and neighborhood where the other dog is running at large. We have been a block away and he chases us down. This last time he attacked him from behind and I starting kicking the dog. This did not even stop him. Now the owners say my dog is the aggressor and I should be ticketed for animal abuse.

    • Very frustrating, Liz! Hopefully your animal control office can help. Sometimes it’s a matter of a dog being reported for repeatedly running loose that can make the difference. I hope it works out.

  22. We live on Vancouver Island. My sheltie was in her first heat; I was walking her on leash when a large dog (don’t want to overreact but I think it may have been a wolf or wolf-like) ran to us. I chased it away, it came lunging back several times, more threatening each time. Recycling boxes were out so I grabbed an open can, filled it with small rocks and started shaking it. I shouted ‘go’ . I kept the pup (she was 9 months 0ld) behind me – no argument from her – and was able to convince it to leave us. She’s seven years old now, haven’t had that experience again. (She’s still intact – and always on lead when she’s in heat.)

  23. I, unfortunately, had the bad luck to encounter my neighbor’s 2 small breed mixes in my front yard one morning. I was locking the front door to our home, when the neighbor across the street opened their front door and their dogs came flying out their door and across the street barking and very aggressive. I had my 2 yr old son with me so aside from picking him up, I stood very still, and still got bit on the leg twice. The dogs did run back across the street when the owner called to them. I assume from the behavior of these dogs that they felt they were protecting their territory and I blame the owners for that. They failed to socialize them properly and also failed to keep them contained as I don’t think that was the first time they bit someone either.

    • Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry for your experience, Sarah. How scary. I hope your bite wasn’t too bad. Dogs that are let our or escape from being behind a fence, barking at a door or being tethered are often in such a higher state of arousal that it’s not uncommon for them to bite from all that excitement. That’s what makes those times of experience so scary to me.

  24. My dog a Maremma ,Border collie cross and I have been accosted by off leash dogs twice, the first time a large dog ran up looking very stiff and rigid hair all standing up on end and my dog calmly got behind me and the stray dog tried to grab him and I just kept yelling NO very loudly and stamped my foot and punched the air with a closed fist, I eventually had to give the stray a nudge with my foot before it made eye contact with me and finally heard the “NO” and then it ran off same thing the second time but that dog actually grabbed my dog as it was circling us and I had to pull my dog away and kept yelling no it also finally left obviously thinking I was too much trouble, luckily my dog was not injured he was protected by his hair and loose skin but had lots of drool on him, lol , other dogs have come up but they have just wanted to play, it’s easy to tell the difference.

  25. I was running with my boyfriend and our pit mix around our neighborhood. We ran by a fence with a dog on the other side (he was fence aggressive and barking.) We ran by and my pit ignored. When we were a block down I heard someone yell behind us, I turned to see the dog was out and heading full speed toward us. I had us slow to a stop. My dog was on leash and lied down next to me. (It’s part of her routine when meeting other dogs for the first time when on the leash.) The other dog came to a stop infront of us. I think us running stimulated the dog but then he didn’t know what to do when we stopped and face him. The owner came running to grab his dog. Everything was okay, but I think stopping and standing our ground helped.

    • Hi Jackie, I love that your dog’s routine for greeting is something calm. That’s great. And good for you being able to stand still when the dog came over! That’s never easy when a dog is charging you. Glad you were ok.

  26. Our dog’s had a bad experience with an aggressive German Shepherd (he had her by the throat and my husband had to literally pick up the German Shepherd and toss him to save her), so anytime we’re on a walk and approached by a new dog, she’s likely to freak out, so we have lot of experience with this.

    I love the firm “Go home” command- works on most dogs. With our nervous dog, it helps if I physically step between her and the approaching dog.

    On one of our favorite walk routes, there’s a big dog who aggressively barks and growls when you pass his fence. We’d walked by for years with no problem (to the point that our dog hardly noticed anymore), but one afternoon his owners had forgotten to latch the fence and out he charged teeth bared, straight for our little dog.

    I also have a horse, and the week before, there was an accident on the ranch where a Belgian (huge draft horse) got his halter stuck on a fence post and in his panic, pulled it out of the ground. He would have taken off straight toward a busy street causing certain serious injury if not worse to himself and other horses on the property, but my friend was able to calm him down simply by standing by him and pretending everything was fine, talking to him soothingly while I ran for a knife to cut the halter off him. It was a wonder to behold.

    So when that big dog came toward us, I tried that instead. I stepped in front of our dog and started sweet talking the aggressive dog as if I’d called him to come over and say hi (taking care not to bend down and get in his line of fire, of course). It was AMAZING. His ears perked up, tongue lolled out and he sat down in front of me and asked for pets. By then his owners heard what was going on and got him, but I was shocked at how well that worked.

    Probably wouldn’t work on any aggressive dog, but I always love to have a ton of tools in my toolbox in situations like this. Hope it’s helpful.

    • Wow…what a great story about your horse and how you could use that for dogs too. I’m glad it all worked out.

  27. While out walking recently with my Aussie/ACD mix, we both noted a black pit bull sitting on the side stoop of a house as we walked past. I assumed he was tethered somehow and didn’t pay much notice, as he watched us closely, but didn’t bark or react. Once we had passed the house, my dog suddenly started pulling ahead and looking over her shoulder. I turned to see the dog moving in a stalking posture in the front yard of the house next to the one we noticed him at. I attribute my reaction to years of dealing with horses, actually, animals that one can absolutely not outrun and that you don’t want to turn your back on if they’re charging you, but that startle pretty easily.

    Just as the stalking dog broke into a charge, I spun to place myself between him and my dog and let out a deep, booming, “HEY!” in the manliest way I could muster, being a girl and all. I may have even taken a step TOWARD him.

    That seemed to be a challenge he wasn’t interested in meeting and he pinned his ears and hastily trotted off back to his perch.

    I hate that this story has to be about a pit, as they get such a bad rap, so I’ll note, in closing, that the only time my dog has been actually attacked and bitten by an aggressive off-leash dog, it was a Pekingese.

    • Great story, Becky! The pit that I met was very friendly! They are so often wonderful with people and do tend to get a bad rap.

  28. I had a situation a few yrs ago with a neighbors aggresive dog that got loose – it thought it was the owner of the entire side of the block, including the sidewalk. I saw the dog and tried to just slowly walk away from it. When it got to me; it’s body was tense, its tail was straight and it was barking . I did yell at it to go home but that seemed to only upset the dog more and then it started growling . I tried to move away and it would come closer and growl. I was so afraid… I called 911 b/c there was nobody around.. not even any cars. While I was on the phone the dog started to walk off so the dispatcher ended the call. But as soon as I got a few feet away; the dog came back at me again. I ended up calling my husband at home and he walked to where I was – but he was carrying a large walking stick/staph . He yelled at the dog to go home and made himself very large with the stick. My husband was indimidating enough the dog walked away and left us alone and together we finished my walk. The dog was loose a second time and chased after my son when he got off the school bus. The third time it got loose it was staring down a group of young girls out of a walk. Animal contol came out and treid to catch it but could not. They finally got the police out there to help because the dog tried to attack the animal control officer. The owners of the dog were cited; the dog was in quarentine and they eventually got thier dog back but then they moved out of the neighborhood. Now when my husband and I go for walks- especially in the late evening- we always carry that same large walking stick/ staph and its indimitating to not only dogs but to humans as well.


        • I think you are off your rocker. Your dogs should not determine who can walk in your neighborhood. I think you will find them out of your custody if you continue to allow the aggressive behavior you encourage. Be very glad I am not your neighbor.

  29. One day I was in the park with my two small dogs taking pictures and hanging out and this big dog comes running over so my bichon jumped into my lap and of course the big dog follows, jumping all over me, scratching my legs and further injuring my hip. I was in my wheelchair with a hairline fracture in my hip and three dogs jumping all over me I was not impressed and my poor dog was terrified, I really wish people would leash their dogs.

  30. I was walking with out my dog one day and the neighbors off leash chow came at me full streangthen barking and coming at me . I stoped dead in my tracks and yelled go home he did not go home he continued to come at me so I calmly walked backward talking to him all the way to the road were he finally turned around and went back to his house . He was guarding his yard ( he included the road next to his house in this ) . I am pretty sure he would have bitten my anckles if I had turned my back on him !

  31. Thank you for this article. It gives me more confidence in dealing with strange dogs.
    As a young child I adored dogs and would walk up to and pat every dog I saw. All went well until I was about 10 or 11, and was walking home at dusk & noticed these 2 dogs sort of following me but on either side of the road . One seemed to be trying to get ahead of me. I just got an unpleasant feeeling that they were trying to surround me. After that I became very nervous of dogs – very fearful really, especially of barking dogs or any dogs that approached quickly.

    I stayed like that until my mid thirties when I was watching a tv program where this vicious dog was meant to be attacking a person …but the view included the sight of the dog’s tail wagging madly. I knew the dog had beeen trained & realised that the tail was a better cue for it’s intentions than what was happening at the front end! I gradually gained a little confidence from learning more about dogs.

    Just recently I encountered a dog in the park (at dusk) with no owners in sight. The fact that it was carrying a stick & just begging to play fetch helped me interact with him but when it came to going close and checking his collar for details I realised that I still retained some of that nervousness. I had to call a friend who came over & could read his body language so easily.
    I’ll be paying much more attention to a dog’s body language in the future, now that I know what to look for. BTW, my brother used to deliver parcels and had big dogs barrelling towards him as he entered people’s yards; he just bellowed “SIT” & it always worked. 🙂

  32. I was accosted by a rottweiler and really frightened as it charged down the road after me and my leashed docile golden retriever. I turned and screamed at the dog with the deepest voice I could muster; it kept coming, but slowed down. I kept hollering and finally it stopped and I kept walking away at the same deliberate pace I had been using. My heart was in my mouth, but I gained some respect for myself. I don’t know that I would have been as brave for just me, but my dog was my priority and I wanted to keep her safe. I have to say that my racket brought out folks from their houses and they commented that the dog is an issue and the owner does not respect the leash law. I called the local police when I got home. Leash laws are not just for some people; they are for everyone.

  33. I read your story on “how to” if a dog comes running at you. Thank the powers that be, I did the right thing. I was out walking my chihuahua and all of a sudden heard loud barking, saw a young woman with a big pit bull lose control, and the dog got out of its leash. She came running at us, and my dog started to bark, but I picked her up, and stood firm waiting for the girl to come get her dog. The dog dashed up to us, my dog was shaking, but it was still a puppy, and not listening to its owner at all, wanted to play. She smelled my dog, never showed teeth, and just stood until the girl got to her, put her leash on and told me how sorry she was it all happened. It was over in three minutes, but funny thing, although at the time I did not lose my cool, afterwards a silent terror took over, and my insides were ice and fire. So really I was afraid, but at the time I knew to be calm and not run somehow, and that worked.
    I do think if it happened again, I would carry treats, or dog mace, just in case, as my dog and I were attacked by a big American Husky, that I knew, but he was a biter and mean, and the owner did not know how to treat the dog, or make him behave. He had bitten even his grandchildren, and we all wondered why he kept the dog. But the dog went after me and bit my dog, and I did not run, but standing there was a nightmare, and finally the guy came over and told me don’t move, don’t breathe, don’t turn around, by then I was ready to sue him and have his dog picked up. He grabbed his dog and told me it was my fault for waking past his place, and his dog had no leash. We settled out of court. His dog tried biting me too, but I had on a heavy jacket and it did not go through. So, you never know, and I knew this dog, but I also knew he could not be trusted. So, lots to learn when out just walking your dog…

  34. Usually the dogs in our neighborhood are on leash, or off leash but harmless. There are one or two that are not nice, but not terribly dangerous either.
    But there are two full-force spike-collared attack dogs… I don’t know where they live, but they showed up attacking my front [storm] door one day! I closed the [inside] door and went to tell my husband, and when we looked again they were leaving… but they rushed back down the driveway when they saw us. Then when we looked again they were gone.
    I was so surprised that I didn’t do anything. I hope it never happens again, but if it does I hope I am home (and not out gardening or walking), and I will take photos and call the police. Then again, if they get loose much they are likely to be shot, because a lot of people have guns and don’t take kindly to attack dogs showing up on their property.

  35. I know this thread is old, but here is my comment anyway 🙂 I was just out shoveling snow in the dark to make sure I can leave in the morning without a hitch. I have a long drive and was working my way out towards the street and I saw two black dogs making a strait shot toward me, one was a boxer judging by the face and pricked ears and the other looked like maybe a lab mix or something. I instinctively turned toward them and yelled “Hey” while trying to look big and holding my steel bladed shovel in baseball swinging position. They got the hint and turned and ran away. Just thought I’d share. I also would like to mention that I didn’t finish the drive because they looked like they were on the hunt and wanted to hurt me. Call me scared because I was.

  36. I have an 11 month old yorkiepoo. In my apartment bldg. we have at least 6 dog/dog owners. Some of which, get along with my dog and one in particular that lunges at her violently. I always assure my dog in “happy” voice, “It’s ok.” Even as we walk by this evil barking dog, btw both my dog and this dog are on leashes. This Saturday I noticed someone else walked this dog and did not have any control of the mean dog on leash and he thrust his way out of her grip/hold and charged me and my dog. I had to quickly lift my dog by her harness out of harms way (quick reflex, thank GOD!) and the lady ran over and punched the dog three times, and apologized. I called animal control, but they were not opened the weekend so I called that following Monday. They asked me to call when I am at home to answer questions in person. What can be done? Can I request that this dog wear a muzzle?

    • Hi Phoebe, That is a very scary situation. I’m glad you and your dog are ok. I would ask the animal control folks what is recommended in your area. Many locations have laws that dictate when a dog is required to wear a muzzle. Unfortunately, most of the locations I’ve dealt with don’t stipulate that sort of requirement until the dog has bitten and there has been some type of hearing to declare the dog dangerous. So if that’s the case the animal control may not require it of the other owner. Perhaps having a conversation with the owner (without the dogs present) on ways you can both keep the dogs safe might help. If that does not work, then I’d say you should stay clear of that larger dog just to be safe. Hope that helps a bit.

  37. hey this also works it always works for me if u know how to whistle whistle the way some one would call there dog the dog or dogs will either turn around and look at their house and then they will run home or sometimes they just stop barking and go back home

  38. This just happened to me and two friends yesterday. We were walking our Goldens around a small pond in our neighborhood when we noticed a loose pitbull on the other side of the pond. We never saw that dog before and no one was with him. He spied us and was trying his hardest to get over to us. He tried to cross in several areas of the pond, wading through the water and finally further down saw the bridge that connected both sides. We were all frightened and took off running before the dog could cross over. Luckily there was a friend’s house down the street and we all ran into her garage and into her house. The dog followed us and was hanging around outside the house until another neighbor came with a leash and brought him back to his owner, who, by the way, never knew he was out. I know we are not supposed to run, however, that dog was hellbent on getting to us and we were not taking any chances of our dogs getting harmed. It was a frightening situation and I am angry about the irresponsibility of this particular dog owner. When you have a breed that doesn’t have a good reputation I think you need to be more aware and more careful that your dog does not get out and frighten people, no matter how sweet he may be.

  39. I was walking my Rat Terrier Eddie and my Puggle Max yesterday when Max stopped to relieve him self i noticed that while i was cleaning up behind Max that both dogs were barking.When I realized that there was a man with 2 dogs across the stret eith a large pit mix and a smaller dog.As I was about to turn and go back the man said it ws ok he had his dogs under control.I wish I would have turned back.With in seconds after continuing on The large dog was on us.he was very focused on Eddie.The fight was on and seemed as if it would never stop this dog was Pit and American Bulldog mix the owner almost bragged that his dog weighed 100 + lbs Eddie weighed 24 lbs at the vet yesterday.Once the fight was over this large dog pursued my dog for several blocks as my other dog max ran home.It took over an hour to locate Eddie.It was the most gut wrenching hour of my life.I did not know if he had been caught and killed by the other dog or if he was in an alley seriously hurt bleeding out dead alive hit by a car i was a wreck.A lot of people were looking I contacted the police and they contacted AC.we finally found Eddie.He was with a man that was getting out of his car and witnessed Eddie being chased Eddie had ran under his car to get away.The man made it around to the passengers side where he was able to get back in his car in an attempt to avoid being caught up in the chase and Eddie jumped right in the car behind him.I do not know what would have happened to eddie if he was not able to out run and take refuge in the car.It seems to me that there was a lot more going on here then dog on dog aggression.It was like Eddie became prey and this dog was out to kill him.Eddie is still traumatized by the attack and i am hoping that soon I will look at him and see my happy care free dog again for now he is walking with his tail between hi legs and dis interested in all the things he once enjoyed even food.I am glad that the other dog was not taken but People Pl\ease if you must have a large dog of ant breed that is capable of inflicting serious injury to a pet or human please do not walk them off leash Please be able to control your dog.please behave in a responsible way.BTW this man was upset that I called the police I have no regrets It is now a matter of record and that is all I wanted i hope this never happens again but if it does then they will know it is not the first time

    • That’s so scary, Colleen. I’m glad Eddie was not injured and hope he will recover from all the stress!

  40. I was walking down a gravel road with no one around, and passing by a acreage, what appeared to be a Australian Cattle Dog was running full tilt at me with all of it’s body hair standing up (I had known the owners a bit and had met the dog previously to this episode) but to my unfortunate lack of memory I could not recall the name of the dog. I swear to god I stood there going threw a list of names lol “Wiggly? no..Barky? no..” for the life of me I couldn’t remember the dogs name, the dog was about 10 -15 feet away from me (still going in a full blast run) I panicked and called it “Here puppy, puppy! YOUR SUCH A GOOD BOY!” and the dog pressed it’s front legs in the ground, you could see the dirt flying up from the energy of the dog coming to a complete stop. The dog immediately put it’s ears back and went into a low crouch, (like as if it was ready to be petted)I stood there (heart beating fast) telling the dog how good it was. (The dog seemed quite confused by this point, but still wanted pets ..lol) so I decided to slowly walk away at that point, (I wasn’t about to pet the dog since I was concerned that it may realize that my heart was beating so fast that it was about to explode) I was lucky it never followed me. nor did I get bite. Phew! Needless to say I never took that road again.

  41. what can I say… this is the worst day of my life…. after being exhausted from classes I thought of taking a nap so I decided to go home early. Everything went on quiet well till I noticed these two fellows the short, fat one and the fleshy one. I was actually looking at them as they were sooo cute.. but then this short one started following me… actually he barked at me first so I was like kinda nervous and finally to get rid of it I said ‘ shhhoooo’..it’s our native expression of chasing away the dogs… there it goes … that short one started barking at me and it was like literally gonna bite me… it’s a CRAP!!!! It never even allowed me to go in to the street where my house is… Am not a kind of person who hates dog… actually I love them… but this crap made me to feel like am gonna hate you… after freezing in cold for half past an hour I finally got home… with each move done carefully without being noticed by them… I felt like a fool….. haaaaa….. STUPIDEST DAY…. I don’t know tomorrow if these fellows gonna chase me or bark at me…. Don’t be so rude to me okay… GAWD….

  42. I was once walking my 5 month old golden retriever puppy in the neighborhood, and a loose lab came up suddenly and mounted her from behind. I tried yelling at him and stepped forward, but he was too intent. So I put my foot on his chest and shoved him off. I then had to give a deep exorcist kindof growly voice that convinced him to leave. I was really shaky from the encounter. Was that the right thing to do?

    • Hi Amy, If yelling at him doesn’t work it can be scary to try to touch the dog. However, using your foot might be better than your hand. I’m glad you weren’t bitten and that your dog was ok.

  43. Great blog, am enjoying the read! I’ve been training dogs for longer than I’d like to admit and over the decades I can only recall 3 times I have ever encountered an off leash dog in which I sensed imminent danger.

    One incident occurred 20 years ago as I walked my own dog, who was a 5 month old puppy at the time, in the suburban neighborhood I lived in then. A block away from my house a large mixed breed dog suddenly exploded out of the shrubbery which surrounded a quiet home.

    This dog was displaying a high level of reactivity and aggression. It was a split second from reaching us when I instinctively yelled “STOP!!” while throwing my hand out like a traffic cop.

    Stiff arm, stiff body, and direct eye contact. The dog put on the brakes and seemed unsure as what to do next as I stood frozen on the sidewalk.

    I began to calmly continue walking at which point the dog engaged once more but looking very cautious it skirted around us and as it continued to circle I repeatedly body blocked him from my now terrified puppy.

    Finally I heard the owner yell to the dog and I took that opportunity to stomp the ground and say “Get out of here! Go home!” Reluctantly the dog decided to retreat and the owner did not apologize but simply slammed the front door shut.

    I reported the incident to the local animal control and assume they followed up on the matter.

  44. people think big dogs are aggressive,the big ones will go home when I tell them to. The little one are the most aggressive in my neighborhood . I know three of the same breed. Each of them show the same behavior .I am little so I will attack you first and ask questions later. One neighbor saw me stand my ground in my own yard. Then accused me of being the aggressor. This same dog chased some kids and they screemed and ran,he of course chased. I had to run in front of him and told all of the kids to stop. We then stood there and told him to go home. His mom finally came and got him.

  45. I have been in this situation. I was walking my American Bulldog when she was about a year old. Someone left their front door open and the dog charged right at us. I strattled my dog by putting one leg on each side her her body and i held her leach tight. I said in a very stern voice “NO” and “GET BACK” . The dog did not get any closer. After a few seconds the dogs owner came outside and got the dog. This method worked very well.

  46. I have to say I have had my fair share of off lease dogs either chasing me or attacking me. I will say your method worked sometimes, but it doesn’t seem to do so well when there are multiple dogs in a group coming after you. Once I was on a neighborhood run running a usual route that I had completed many times past the same dogs with no problem. However, this time as I ran by on the road the dogs began barking and running towards me. So I stopped and began yelling at them. They stopped when they got about 3 feet away from me and continued barking. I continued yelling “back, go home” and then one of the dogs suddenly lashed out at me but I was wearing two layers of shorts/pants. When he came at me I actually dodged him but he caught hold of my shorts and ripped them. I then starting running at him and he finally retreated. (4 dogs were present by the way) After that I continued to walk backwards as they barked at me and as I put some distance between us walking I finally turned back around and continued running. Any tips on how I could have done better? BTW I’m terrible with dogs, but want to improve hence why I’m asking.

  47. My husband & I have a real problem with a neighbor that allows his 2 pit bulls to chase our vehicles every time we leave home. The dogs have bitten two of our family members, therefore we cannot walk to our mailbox anymore ( like we have done for 25 years until they moved here) We asked them to please do something about the dogs and they refused. We live in WV and outside city limits, there are NO leash laws. Therefore, these people know our hands are tied!
    They even told us they will not contain them. Therefore, we would just have to continue driving to our mailbox. It’s a dirty shame those dogs are allowed to cause such fear and take from us the freedom of leaving our yard!

  48. Once before, I was at my friends house sleeping over, and we decided to go on a walk around the trailer park. As we were walking we saw a stray german shepherd who everybody there thought was aggressive. My friend started screaming and turned to run, but I told her not to because if she would have, te dog would have given chase, so I told her to stand still as it approached us and to let it sniff us. When it was done, it waged its tail at us and I let it lick my hand. That stray dog, now known as Campbell, is there beloved pet and protector.

  49. So, one day I was doing my speed walk after work and saw this rather large dobbie behind a fenced in back yard. Someone was out in their yard and said be careful, he can clear that fence and he’s been known to be aggressive. So, sure enough, as I continued zip over the fence he went and was heading directly for me. Now I’m in the middle of the street, (no dog with me), and no where to go. So, I just stood there with my hands at my side, flat. He came up and was rather taken by surprise about this and started to sniff me all over. I did not look him in the eye and I did not let him go behind me-I turned slowly with him every time he circled around back of me. Eventually his owner opened the front door and yelled “Grasshopper! NO! Get over here”. He did and in the house he went. Thanks for letting me share. I have done this several times and it’s worked every time.

    • Thanks for sharing, Jennifer! Great advice and I’m glad you were ok. That is a scary situation.

  50. My Golden Retriever has been attacked numerous times while I have had out on a leash for walks.. All the dogs that have attacked her were off leash and attacked so quickly ,it was very difficult to get off a good kick at them or get between them and my dog. Over the years this has occurred 5 times. In each case, when the owner showed up, they had no control over the dog. In the last episode there was a puncture wound requiring antibiotics for my dog.
    I have become disgusted with irresponsible owners ,as none of the dogs were responsive to their owners as the dogs were coming after my dog.. After speaking with some mail carriers who have had encounters with loose aggressive dogs, I have started to carry pepper spray ,as yelling at these dogs did not work either.Any other suggestions for loose ,aggressive dogs?

    • Hi David, That is very frustrating. I’m sorry you and your dog ended up in those situations and I hope your dog is ok now. There is a citronella based spray called Spray Shield that is similar to pepper spray but made for dogs that you could try too

  51. yesterday night i was riding a bike and walkinh with my friend all of a sudden i hear a little dog chase me so i didnt worry then i hear a big deep bark i didnt expect it to come at me but it did i peddaled so hard and i put my feet on the top bar so it wouldnt bite my leg off i was so scared

  52. I am in Laredo Texas on business. Running in the local area I have encounter dogs that pursued me. Age has slowed my running so I opted on three seperate occasions to stop and in a commanding voice yell go home. The pack of three dogs twice stopped immediately. On repeated command to go home they left. I walked a safe distance before resuming my run. On the same route I encountered a “junkyard” and used the same technique and it worked again. You advise has proved good for me.

  53. Even I took umbrella while going home. Still 2 street dogs followed me. But no sounds and nothing was wrong. Not even I noticed them. It was raining too. I was really afraid. I just entered into shop(those dogs stood out till I come out) then again followed me. I was too scary and just made someone to help me till I reached home 🙁 It was too akward and fishy one..

    This is my second situation. Previously I had a same experience like this. That makes something fishy between me and dogs

  54. 2pit bull came rushing at me from no where 1 was viscous the other not
    He trap me in a neighborhood yard I pick up a fire wood waited 5 minutes only to come out good enough he was waiting for me rushing again omg I had no heart
    I thought my life ended I call the police only how I ran away he found another person walking the street with another dog. I want Justis the law did nothing this is in my mind all the time I want nothing but the law to steps in imagine if there was children around. How can people keep these dog un attended
    What should I do to stop these people

    • Hi mary, That sounds very scary and I think contacting your local animal control department would be the best bet. Most places do have leash laws and will try to encourage people to enforce them. I’m glad you are ok.

  55. I recently came in contact with an off-leash dog when I was walking home. I don’t own a dog and I don’t know much about them. This dog was barking at me and slowly coming at me, I looked at her and walked slowly backwards. I think she was just protecting her house but I’m glad I didn’t do anything that would agitate her

  56. I have tried this Go Home on the loose Sharpei/mix in my neighborhood it will work if I am alone. When I have my two Cavaliers with me it runs up snarling with a ridge of fur up trying to grab my dogs. I have reported the dog to the animal control several times and they do nothing. Yesterday I through my dogs in the back of a strangers truck to save them as this aggressive monster tried attacking them.
    The owner laughs and thinks its a good thing when his dog attacks. Their used to be a bunch of folks walking their dogs in my neighborhood but no one goes out any more. This is my first off leash dog problem all the others were nice wiggly dogs. But this is because the owner is a creep and LA County Animal control has yet to do anything.

  57. Why should someone takes treats, an umbrella or spray with them? It’s not their responsibility; it’s the dog owners responsibility, and the law in most places, to have control over their dog on public property. There needs to be a law in the US that all dogs must attend and pass obedience school and their owners must pass a responsible ownership test before they can own a dog.

  58. A dog chased me down the street last evening and because I was quite scared i ran my way through and outran it after a few seconds. I did not cause it any harm but it ferociously started barking at me as soon as it saw me as if it was waiting eagerly to attack me. I really don’t know what I could have done better other than sprinting my way out.

    • Netsy, although i agree with you that dog ownership means taking responsibility for your animal, it is also a persons responsibility to take care of themselves. Animals are not always just a problem in public areas. On more than one of my encounters, I was walking by the dogs owners property and had the dog escape under the fence of their yard and come toward me. This is not animal controls problem at that point. The dog is off leash, in his own yard and the owners may or may not know about the weakness in their fence. having dog spray, an umbrella, or treats( i don’t agree with this one, because you’re rewarding the animal for bad behaviour) will allow you to possibly avoid a situation where you are hurt or the animal is in danger of being destroyed. A little knowledge and training can go a long way, and if you have the carry a few extra things with you to make life safe for everyone, well then i believe that to be worth it, don’t you?

  59. A few days ago, my friend and I were on a walk we went up a block further then we usually did . Then out of mid air 2 dogs started chasing us. My friend stood there like a statue . The dog almost bit off her arm. I told her to run. We out ran after running about 2 more blocks then they ran home.

  60. Twice I faced an helpless situation with dogs.
    The first one,when I was putting rangoli in front of our home,a dog 10 feet distance from me came and watching me.
    I looked in to its eyes,it started coming towards me.I was scared and ran in to my house,shouting.
    The dog followed me into my home.Listening to my screams,my mother came outside,picked up a stick and made it go after
    running behind it and yelling at it.
    And the second one happened,when it was early dawn.I was going in to bus stop.when I saw the dog at entrance all of a sudden,I was shaken,
    even the dog seemed to be shaken as it might be thinking I was going to hurt it.I started going in to bus stop,it was coming behind me.
    I thought it is coming to bite me.So,I stood there and acted as If I was throwing my bag towards it,by yelling at it “yeyy”.It stood there.
    But,after that,when I started going in to the bus stop,agian it was following me.
    I was totally nervous and increased my walking speed.After seeing a crowd,I calmly sat along with them.
    The dog followed me,but by seeing me with people,It went off.
    I don’t understand,why it followed me,though I don’t have any intention of hurting it?I showed my bag to it,so that it will walk away.
    Instead,it started following me.

  61. Today at 21/7/16, I came back from the shops walking with my mother and then suddenly saw a man with his dog unleashed, It jogged towards me and my mom and then the owner said “OI” to the dog. I knew that the dog was aiming to get to me and my mom so i ran with my mother panicing and luckily the dog was not full of energy enough to catch me.

  62. great blog, I walk with a stick in hand and use it to create my space when a dog attack, and it makes them loose interest in attacking me. I’ve work with dogs for 3 years and this technique have save me for more than 7 times when a dog attack.

  63. theres this one evening, i was biking around my neighborhood and theres a block where i usually dont go near except for this time i decided to take that route. i was peddling on normal speed and i looked ahead on the curved pavement and saw nothing so i slowed down for the curve. i heard a faint strotting coming from behind with a heavy breathing sound so i turned my head to look back and saw a big as? bulldog running towards me and it barked repeatedly like i have done something wrong to it. i think i wouldve gotten bit by that dog if i didnt peddle hard enough but luckily my bike was very fast so i lost the dog after 30seconds after the wild chase. should i call animal control on the dog next time it come after me again?

    • Hi Wandee, if the dog is bothering people you can try to talk to the owners and/or call animal control

  64. Thank you for the helpful tips. My dog is nervous around strange dogs and will air snap a new dog that does not heed his signs to back off after 2 seconds of but sniffing.

    My first question is about yelling: Is there a risk that yelling clearly and confidently (no panic in voice) ‘NO’ or ‘SIT’ will actually cause my own dog to become more alert/reactive around strange dogs?

    Second, what are your thoughts about stepping in front of my dog, trying to body block the other dog from approaching? I tried it once and the other dog was persistent at trying to go around which, at which stage, my dog lunged from behind me and attacked the strange dog (air snapping). I have a feeling that I aggravated the situation. Is there an effective and calming way to use body blocks?

    • Hi Shlomit, Those are great questions! I think anything you do has the potential to get your own dog agitated as well. That being said, your dog will most likely already realize you are nervous. But if you can practice having him hear you yell while he is near you (while rewarding him so he doesn’t think he in trouble) that would be ideal. I also do often recommend body blocking as you described, but if the other dog gets close that won’t necessarily work (as you discovered). I don’t think you make it worse, I just think the other dog got too close for your dog’s comfort. Body blocking will only work if the other dog sees that as a disengaging signal. I hope you dog is doing ok.

  65. Good advice 🙂
    For the last five years I’ve lived in a town of 600 ish people and for every house, there are at least two dogs. I have been charged a number of times and had my own dog attacked by the same animal twice. In most of these encounters, i used the “GO HOME!” command, while standing tall and pointing in the direction in which the charging dog/s were coming from. The dog that actually attacked my Lab x, was a tricky situation and had i got involved, i would have made the situation worse. I had nothing to put between me, my lab and the attacking dog and was very lucky, because all the attacking dog did was slobber on the neck of my lab. I believe this was the outcome partly because my lab is such a push over. He doesn’t have a dominant bone in his body, so when faced with aggression, all he does is role over. The owner of the attacking dog quickly came over to reclaim his animal, and i heard him scolding the dog for his actions, but the simple fact that that same dog attacked us again less than a month later, shows me that this dog was untrained and had a very skewed view of his role in the house. A little training can go a long way, and always keeping in mind that owning a dog, means so much more then just having a dog.

  66. Jogging the usual route, passing a house that sits on the inside of a curve, two pitbulls come charging from the unfenced backyard. I was unfamiliar with these dogs. Immediately, I stopped as they ran up to me growling, barking, and using their noses to nudge my legs. I froze, staring straight ahead (wearing black sunglasses), and at this point, I’m imagining missing chunks from my thighs. Unbelievably, two small Yorkies came running out a yard on my opposite, and they are now barking at me. WTH?! The pitbulls had no interest in the new guests. I continued to stare straight ahead, never talking, never moving, even when the pitbulls are pushing against my legs. Now I have four dogs barking, growling, circling me in the middle of the street. It wasn’t long after the Yorkies arrival, I hear a gruff female voice calling from the direction that the Yorkies came, it was their owner. They went to her, she picked them up, gave me an ugly look, turned and calmly walked away. WTH?! No help, just a smug look and gone, leaving me with the barking, growling, nudging, pitbulls. Suddenly, a car comes around the curve and slows down when it sees me and the dogs. The dogs were scared by the vehicle and ran off in the direction they originally came from. I’m still frozen in the middle of the road, the car makes its way around me and continues on. I look around and do not see the pitbulls anywhere, so I take off running in the direction of my normal jogging course, problem is, my only way home is to go back by the yard where the pitbulls came from. So, I stopped in front of the house that I believed owned the dogs, took small pebbles from the roadside and tossed them at the metal front door to get the owner’s attention, eventually, an older woman opened the door yelling “stop throwing rocks at my door or I’m calling the police!” I apologized and explained that I was afraid to step in her yard and knock since her dogs are loose and had just cornered me, assuming she’s the owner. I asked her to please secure the dogs because I needed to run back by the backyard. The woman never acknowledged the dogs one way or another, and she yelled once again about the rocks then slammed the door shut. WTH?! Long story short, I managed to get home, never saw the dogs again, BUT, I found out that people where letting their dogs out in purpose to harass me. See, I had other dogs coming out from yards where gates were left open, even caught owners looking out windows laughing as their ankle-bitter would chase me, thankfully, Ibwore loose jogging pants. Eventually, a friend in the neighborhood warned me that some women hated me for jogging, that some where going as far as to pay for curses/spells to be placed on me. WTH?! That was in the 1980’s. I was a young, single parent with zero family in the entire state. Eventually, due to stress fractures of the feet, I had to quit running. I did eventually move from that neighborhood. Oh, when I contacted Animal Control about the pitbull incident, they said it would be difficult to prove. I don’t think mace was around at that time, never occurred to me to carry treats to distract and possibly make friends, but I was given a small handgun and started carrying it in a fannypack when I’d do my jogging. Strange thing, once I started carrying the weapon, never witnessed a loose dog after that.

  67. While I was walking to school this morning, a german shepherd and this brown dog was just sitting at the edge of the street looking at me,I was preparing to run to school as I was a bit late but they were staring at me so I looked at them too.And then they started running towards me, and I was super scared so I ran off.After reading your blog,I feel honestly pretty bad if the dog was trying to play with me, so I’ll see what happens the next time I encounter them.Its honestly terrifying if two big dogs try to chase after you.

  68. When I walk my dog, other dogs will invariably bark at him while we pass by. Thankfully, my dog doesn’t really care; he doesn’t even pay much attention to them. I watched Dog Whisperer years ago and learned some things, one of which was to never display fear in front of a dog, especially when the dog’s also fearful. Well, the knowledge is pretty useful; I don’t project fear, my dog doesn’t project fear. The other dogs bark and sometimes follow us for a bit, but we’ve never been attacked so far *fingers crossed*. I do wish dog owners would be more responsible, though. Not all people can remain calm in the face of an angry dog.

  69. I’m in Thailand and there are a lot of dogs here that chase and bite. One close to my home has decided to chase me. Other people can command the dog to leave me alone, in Thai, but if no-one is around then I’ll be stuck. The second time, a second dog joined in. I have not had any problems before with the second dog. She only responded because of the first dog. I have twice used an umbrella but the dog has not backed off on its own. If no-one is around to get the dog away, what should I do? Should I just stand there with the umbrella between it and me until it gets fed up and wanders off?

    • That sound nerve-wracking. I would maybe try some of the other ideas in the article if the umbrella doesn’t work although I would still take the umbrella just in case it helps. I think standing still is probably a better option than running though. Hopefully the owners will keep their dogs under control in the future!

  70. The problem is when you are cycling and you are going 25-30 mph, you don’t have a chance to determine if the dog is the type that will attack, or just dumb enough to want to play and run into your spokes of your bike. What would you suggest you do in that situation? If you are wrong you lose, if the dog is dumb you lose. As a dog-lover myself, I love dogs, but it is irresponsible to let dogs just roam free.

    • Hi Thomas, That is a good question. I think it would depend on how fast the dog is running compared to how fast you are cycling. 🙂 If you think the dog is going to catch up to you then it may be helpful to slow down rather than increasing your speed. However, tossing treats would still likely work for those dogs if they are just mildly interested in you

  71. my dog and I were attacked a few years ago while walking. She was on leash and we were attacked from behind by a dog that snuck under the fence at the used car shop it was “protecting”….it was a horrible experience that resulted in me being afraid for months. Fortunately, my dog and I both recovered from our injuries. A few days ago one of my family members was walking her dogs and a pit bull attacked one of her dogs. Out of nowhere this dog bounded through a field; both dogs died in the incident. We live in different cities – me in a city, she in a more rural area. Within the last year my current neighbor’s Great Dane broke through the door in its house to attack my 3 medium sized dogs (all on leash) and me as we exited our house to take a walk. One was injured, but not severely; he had a seizure a few hours later from trauma but is okay. I have learned that it is very hard to trust both my environment, as well as the dogs around me. I have become afraid and learned that owners seem all over the place with securing their pets properly to avoid situations that can be deadly. Unfortunately for my family member, she has to live with the trauma of watching her pet get mangled and the other dog lose its life as well. I love animals….and it breaks my heart that any of this has happened.

  72. I have been chased by dogs three different times in my life. The first time was a pit who started running toward me while I was on my bike, i outran him but he chased me for about three blocks. The second time it was late out and we were walking past a house and a sicko tells his dog to get us, I hid behind a car for about ten minutes until he called his dog back in. The third time I was walking then a pit came up to me. He was friendly but didnt like to be petted. He followed me about half a mile all the way to my house and I let him in so I can call the number on his collar. Those are my experiences and I’m 17!

  73. Oh God! I just had today a bad situation.
    I was walking in a prak and a lady was walking her dog . When the dog saw me he just run towards me , I knew he wants to play but I am sorry I hate dogs! I didnt know what to do I just kept screaming and tried to avoid the dog to touch me by putting my scarf on his face to distract him. It was so empress I know I have act wrong but couldnt think about any other thing to avoid it. I just kept apologising to the lady and she told me he thought u r playing with him :/ What is the right act to do if I had this situation again?

    • Hi Jody, That is very scary! The best thing to do is stand still and calmly ask the owner to put her dog on leash. Moving around might make the dog get overly excited and jump up on you. I’m sorry you had that scary encounter.

  74. I know this blog was posted a few years ago but I’ll just leave a comment regarding my everyday experience with loose dogs barking/chasing and hoping to get some advice.
    Honestly, i have phobia with dogs (big and small), i was once bitten by a dog when i was a kid and since then the phobia developed, i was even scared with our own dog at home.
    A few months ago, we just moved in to our new home with my husband and 6 year old son, the school is 10 mins walk away from the house, but he takes the school bus and gets off 3 houses away from house since that’s where the bus stop is (even if the bus passes by my house first before the bus stop). One day i was about to walk up to the bus stop to wait for my son, and my neighbor’s dog was outside with another dog from the other neighbor ( they’re small dogs like shit-sui breed size) and they’re very aggressive towards people, then they saw me walking and they ran towards me while barking, i was not sure if they will bite me, they were literally a few inches away from my feet. i was so scared i didn’t know what to do, my sweat was cold, i was shaking but i kept on walking while “shooing” them away and they were following me and still barking. When my son got off the bus he got scared too because those dogs started barking at him at his feet, until we reached my house the dogs were still barking at us in my property at my doorstep. Now, even my son is scared with dogs too. At first i thought maybe it’s just that one day they got loose from their owner’s home. To my surprise, after 2 days they’re outside again, doing the same thing to people who are walking pass by them and chasing them while barking. Up until this day, i have to deal with them everytime i pick my son up at the bus stop, i once brought an umbrella with me just incase, it helped a little but they were barking louder and became more agressive while i’m shooing them with the umbrella. For a person with dog phobia, this almost everyday occurance is too much to handle, there are times I couldn’t sleep because i was thinking about the dogs, the “what ifs”, the “i hope”, etc. It’s really bothering me, I’m hesitant to talk to the owner coz it seems that she couldn’t control her dog either ( when i saw her unsuccessfully trying to stop her dog barking at an elderly man walking with his dog that passed by their house). I also thought of having pepper spray with me, but i was afraid that what if i had to use it to those dogs and then on the next day they saw me again and they will be more aggressive towards me. The funny thing is, those dogs are getting outside everytime it’s almost time for school dismissal. Sometimes i have to borrow my husband’s car just incase those dogs were outside again by the time i have to pick up my son, and i feel stupid because the bus stop is juts 3 houses away and yet ihave to bring the car to avoid those dogs. Even if I’m just standing outside my doorstep, once they saw me they will run towards me and barks at me for no reason, and the sound of their bark were as if i did something bad to them. And last thing, the corner house at the bus stop? where i used to stand and wait for the bus to come, they put a dog outside their deck with only 8mm nylon rope for his leash, knowing that there are a lot of kids getting off on that side and it’s not a fenced yard,seriously? it’s just as thin as a wedding band. What do I do with this kind of situation when it comes to those dogs that won’t leave me alone.I was thinking to ask the schoolbus driver to just drop him off my driveway, i hope she’ll allow it.

    • Hi Niq, I’m sorry for the stress you are experiencing in your own neighborhood. I think it you can talk with the families that would be a good starting point and hopefully they would be willing to come up with salutations to keep their dogs from running loose. if that doesn’t work you will probably need to contact your local animal shelter or humane society for assistance since in most cities this type of behavior would be viewed as nuisance behavior from the dogs. Good luck!

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