Aggressive dog on walk

Yesterday when DH and I were out walking our little dog,Foofoo, we encountered a very aggressive black lab. He ran up to us from a culdesac growling with hackles raised. I picked up Foofie and DH told me not to move. He kept telling the dog to go away and he took out his pocket knife because it was obvious from the way the dog was looking at me and Foofie and he made an attempt to go around DH to get us. He had on a collar with long, yellow nylon rope tied onto it that had the end frayed as if he’d chewed through it. The woman who owns him came running and got the dog finally, but it was pretty tense for a few minutes there. We didn’t say anything and now I wish I had.

So my question… is there something we can take with us on a walk to protect ourselves…or at least give us time to get away should something like this happen again? Bear spray comes to mind, but there may be something for dogs…? I’m afraid to go out for a walk with Foo now by myself. :hair:

My Dad always carried a big walking stick when out and about in the neighborhood. OF course, you would have to be willing to whack the aggressive dog with it to be effective. (I don’t think I could)

Wouldn’t regular Mace work on dogs? (i.e. pepper spray?) Sorry to hear you have such a negligient owner on your walk. hope she learned her lesson and will buy a proper tie-out for that dog.

luckily, the people who used to live next door with a very aggressive dog moved. I wouldn’t let DD play in the yard when it was out. I’d never walk my dogs up “their” part of the street. it was extremely frustrating.

my best advice to you would be to carry something that makes a very loud nose - air horn or something of the like. mace doesn’t work on dogs the way it works on people. sometimes you can distract a dog with cookies - drop one or two, then throw them a short distance away so you can get out of there.

irresponsible dog owners are one of my biggest pet peeves. i have the people who walk their dogs, leashless, in areas where leashes are required. i used to have a rescued, dog-agressive boxer who i liked to walk - i always kept him on a leash, and i hated it when other peoples’ dogs would come bounding up to us - i had to keep my dog pulled up right against me with his head in my hands, and the dumb owners would always say something like, "oh, don’t worry, he/she’s friendly!’ - then i’d have to tell them mine wasn’t, and to get their dog the hell away from us before someone got hurt. i would get dirty looks, like i had been doing something wrong!

Oh Jan you must have been scared out of your wits! And your poor doggie. I think you should have said something, it sounds like (not wishing to scare you in any way) that if your hubby wasn’t there things could have turned out a bit differently. Imagine if that had been a small child. I think I’d report it. But regarding going out again, is there another way you could walk? Maybe spraying the animal could provoke a reaction.

I hope you feel better after your shock.

Yes there is! It is called Direct Stop and it is a pepper spray like repellent that is made with citronella, so it tastes bad and stings the dogs eyes, it won’t cause irreparable harm to the dog. We have 2 small dogs and take it everywhere with us when we walk them or go to dog parks, bcs they are bite sized appetizers to even medium dogs, and we need to protect them from truly aggressive dogs. HTH! :slight_smile:

My old street was popular with both people walking and people walking their dogs and most of them had a large stick of some sorts. There was a house 3 houses away that did have a couple of large somewhat aggressive dogs that when they got out, they went into the “pack” mentality and would be more aggressive. One of them started to chase me from their yard when I went out to get my mail!:shock: I was always nervous walking our dog even though he is 75 lbs but when we were out and there were other dogs (those dogs) that would bark at him, he would ignore them. He was more interested in making friends with the people he saw then other dogs!

I would say get some mace style spray for dogs and a large solid walking stick. The spray would be to get them from a distance and then the stick of course for if they get too close. Good luck!

Just check on your district and state laws if you carry spray. Your laws tend to be more liberal than ours but here it’s actually illegal for someone who is not a police officer or similar to carry and use sprays. I agree a horn sound is excellent. You could look at a taser also and consider the legalities of that too. Your local police station should be able to offer good advice.

I was mauled by a dog as a child. Not fun. I love dogs but once or twice in my life I’ve been confronted by a dog who I knew was poised to attack. I slowly walked backwards with eyes lowered because meeting the eyes can be taken as a challenge (like in dog packs).

I believe bad dog owners are becoming a major menace in our society. No-one should be scared to walk down their street. In my current area there are a number of heroin users and for some reason most have dogs. They wander with owners with no leash, most are ill fed and a few have had way too many litters for their own good. I’ve got back into my car on one occasion rather than risking walking past a pit bull walking up the sidewalk.

Thanks for the help and support!

You know we often take a heavy walking stick, but our dog is afraid of it so he hasn’t been bringing it. I think Foofie better get used to it from now on. I’ll look in to the sprays, etc, too. Thanks!

perhaps you should contact animal control and make a report. if they have the dog tied out, and it can chew through a rope, they really aren’t protecting the dog or the public.

if your poochie is afraid of the stick, try leaving it around the house where he/she can sniff it and become used to it. is doggy clicker trained? that can help. you can also try to get doggy to associate the stick with high value treats like bologna/turkey/biscuit treat of choice.

best wishes.


I’m so sorry that happened to you. It must have been frightening!

Do you know where the dog lives so you can talk to the owner? That’s the first thing I would do – I wouldn’t be so quick to call animal control.

I have a friend who lives down the road from me. She called me once and asked if I knew a woman who had dog who lived across the street from me. She said the woman walks past her house with the dog off leash and the dog runs onto her property and scares her cat. She has young children and was concerned that the dog might try and hurt her kids.

I tried to think of who she might be talking about and it didn’t occur to me right away that she was talking about my neighbor who has 2 young children and I dog that I would never consider a threat to anyone. I have gone over to her house many times to feed and let her dog out if she and her family were gone for the day. Our pups have even had playdates. My neighbor is a lovely lady and would have responded considerately if my friend had approached her reasonably.

I told her who I thought she was referring to and she said, thanks, now I can call Animal Control and make a complaint.

I tried to get her to talk to my neighbor face to face or even just call her but she was convinced that Animal Control needed to be involved. I felt bad – if both women had met under other circumstances, they might have even liked each other.

I’m not saying you might not have to call Animal Control to intervene at some point, but if you can speak to the dog’s owner, you may find a reasonable solution first.


I carry a stick. I absolutely cannot understand why anyone would have a dog, profess to love the dog and let it run loose. This has happened to to me and Cyrus several times too and it makes me crazy.

For us, however, the situation is a little different. My Cyrus is a Rottweiler. He is very dog and people friendly but I assume if he was threatened and the dog didn’t take heed of his warning, Cyrus would fight. And in most cases Cyrus would win.

And the saddest part is even if the other dog attacked, MY Cyrus would be blamed and both of US would suffer.

I don’t let my dogs off leash except at the dog park. My Rat Terrier is very socialized and loves the dog park. (I’m always on guard there cause many people can’t read their dogs’ signs and can’t tell the difference between aggression and play.)

I’m sure my pup would come when he’s called – he is very responsive and I trust him but even though he’s not the size of a Rottie, he’s a Rat Terrier and his nature is to go after small animals. So, as obedient as he is in controlled situations like my yard and the dog park and on leash, I’d be foolish to assume that he wouldn’t go after someone else’s cat or small pet or, God forbid, a small child. He’s had much obedience training but how many animals would stop on a dime if there was “prey” involved. The bad things happen faster than we expect them to.

Anyway, I don’t think my neighbor should keep walking her dog off leash no matter how much the dog likes it, I just think that the authorities should be a worst case scenario.

BTW, the spray idea sounds good to me. Like I said, even at the dog park many people can’t tell aggression from play.

I am wondering how a water squirter might go. Dogs often hate having water squirted in their faces. What do people think of this?

Also, how about one of those cans of pressurised air. I use them on my computer keyboard and they have a long, thin nozzle. I know a few times I’ve almost jumped out of my skin when my son has directed a quick shot of spray at me when I wasn’t expecting it. The problem with this of course would be that the other animal would need to be close, but a horn or a water pistol you can use at reasonable distance.

And of course, everyone knows that if dogs DO start a serious fight not to try and step in between them. Hosing is about the best but obviously on a walk that’s hard to do. Sometimes dogs will have a skirmish that is scary but they’ll release. If owners get in a tizz (understandable) then this can make it worse. One of the occasions when a spray WOULD be very useful but then you’re likely to get your own dog as well of course.

I honestly wish people had to apply to have dogs these days. Really committed pet owners would mind I believe.

Since we’re on the topic…anyone ever had to broach a neighbour about a barking dog in an apartment building? There is one down the hall from me and it seems its owners are now leaving it once a week for a whole day - and it’s not used to it. It barks and barks and of course other residents wind up coming out into the hall and yelling for it to shut up. The dog IS getting better…the second week was way better than the first for example…however…6 hours of on/off barking is difficult. I’ve spoken to the group that runs the place and they said they have spoken to the owners before and the owners voiced a wish that people would just come and speak to them directly. I guess I can only be honest with them about the situation…however…if I am able to suggest any tips I would like to do so at the time same…in the sense of showing my understanding and willingness to be patient a while longer.

Advice? Tips?

I don’t think it would be a good idea to use just water on an aggressive, unknown dog. I’ve had dogs bark and growl on our walks occasionally, but nothing like this. As to talking to the owner I’m not even 100% sure where the dog lives other than in the culdesac. At this point I don’t think I’ll say anything as it’s never happened before, but I will protect myself and my dog as much as possible. IF it happens again you can be sure I’ll notify animal control.

Oh and the dog lives around the corner and down a side street in our neighborhood. I could probably walk my dog just around my own short block and be okay, but I don’t want to be limited.

The most terrified I have ever been was one day going for a VERY short walk and then attempting to walk towards the house. Two neighbouring dogs, on full attack presentation mode bailed me up. I was terrified and it was all I could do to back away. I had nothing in my hands and there were no other homes I could retreat to. Eventually I found a way to literally slide against the external wall around the house and got in …the dogs had backed off my then anyway when their interest was taken elsewhere.

I called our local animal ranger (as we call it here) and told him about it. Apparently the owners had been hauled in 3!! times before over these dogs, had received fines and so on. I asked him HOW LONG it would be before the animals were impounded and that I would take action again the Council if placed in the same situation again and if I ever saw the dogs on the street again. That did it and I admit, I never say the dogs again. But how many chances are people given!

That’s ridiculous! It happens everywhere though. It’s like they are waiting for the animal to kill or maim someone before they do anything??!

ETA: I just found this
Anyone know anything about it?

I used to manage a dog friendly condo and there was a bull mastiff who barked aaaallllll day when his master went to work. Of course the residents came to me.

I spoke with the dog’s owner who had no idea his boy was doing this. So, he crated him. the dog felt safe and secure and the problem stopped immediately.

Definitely suggest a crate. Dogs who are crate trained really do like their crates. My dog is crate trained but I give him the run of the house anyway because he is a good boy but most of the time he hangs out in his crate out of his own choice.

Good luck!

What does the crate to? Just give it a sense of a cave like space that’s secure? I admit I’ve never heard of that. I suspect these ladies will not do it mind you…just from my observation…they are more likely to perhaps buy it a big doll :slight_smile: But thanks for the response… I will suggest it.

Jan…that sprays looks good… I guess the only comment again is to ensure its USE is legal where you are…shipping of course is different than using it… oh…and… make sure the wind is not blowing in your direction if possible…you would not want it in your own eyes. Tho, we hope you never have to use it. I admit, I’m doing all the right things re warning about legalities, but if I could buy one of those here I would…just for personal safety. If I am attacked or believe I am about to be… I’ll face the consequences later and would prefer that than being harmed.

Sorry Denise, you DID say safe and secure. :slight_smile: Thanks again.