Dog Attacks - When your Dog is on Leash and the Attacker is Off
Today a dog off leash rushed up to me and my on leash dog as
we walked down the street. The dog was staring and not aggressing but it was
unsettling to not know how this was going to play out. The dog ran off his/her property to go
after us. Many of my clients as about this scary
situation so here is some help for you.
One of the scariest situations to be in where dogs are concerned is having a large
breed dog barreling down the street aiming right for your dog who is innocently
walking along side you on leash. Yikes!
Now what do you do? You have to act
quick but what should one do first to protect your dog and yourself.
Here is a guide to get you through this awful
situation. There is not one way - fixes
it all answer so use this information and apply it to your situation as best
you can. If you are not clear on what to
try - call my office. We have guided
many clients through this and as a service to public health and safety I extend
this offer to you. I myself have been in
this situation and it is really scary.
your neighborhood. If you have a dog nearby
who is constantly running the fence barking, lunging, jumping up or on the
fence that dog is really out to get yours. The gate may be open one day, or the dog may get enough gumption to jump
or scale the fence. Too many backyard
fences are too short to hold a dog in. I
have seen many dogs scale a 6 foot privacy fence. Avoid at all costs walking past this
yard. Go different routes. Don't tempt fate. If that is not possible - tell the neighbor
that you need them to keep their dog up at the times you are walking your
dog. Speak up for what you and your dog
need to be safe. This dog is also not
having fun - it is aggressing because it
does not want this dog around. Happy dogs don't do this!!!
loose dogs - get a bush, parked car, garbage can or some way to be out
sight of the off leash dog. Move quickly
without running! Running will entice the
loose dog to chase. If the dog starts
heading to you stomp your foot harshly, yell in a deep gruff voice "Go"
and holler "Get your dog inside!!!!!!!!!" Make a ruckus to get others
out to help and
call the dog away. After you have your
dog home call the animal control and make a formal complaint if this dog
chronically off leash. All communities
have leash laws. They are for public
safety. Follow up and be something has
been done. It may be the one time this
has happened and a remorseful, apologetic owner will be more watchful of
dog. If the owner does not seem to care,
make them be responsible to their pet and to the laws.
3. Use a protective tool. This is something that will protect you from
a dog lunging and biting at your or your dog if you know the owner of the
problem dog is not going to do anything and the law cannot extend enforcement
completely. Spray Shield by Premier
is a compressed water /citronella spray that will shoot out and confuse an
attacking dog giving you time to get away and be safe. You can order this
online. Baseball bats or big sticks
are not safe or as effective. When you
hit the attacking dog, they will likely redirect the aggression on you due to
the pain. Or if you drop the stick or
hit your own dog, the other dog will be more confident and attack more. An umbrella that you can quickly snap open
and use a shield is also very effective. You don't want to hit the dog - use it as a shield.
4. Do not turn your back on this
dog. Walk backwards to get away. If you turn away from the dog, many use this
as an opportunity to attack.
wear solid shoes when walking your dog!!!!
I have seen many more injuries to people and their dogs in these
situations because they were wearing flip flops that slipped off, or were
tripped over. Sneakers, boots, or other
solid shoes only when walking dogs.
If you do have a caring neighbor with a dog that is
aggressing - seek help for this situation from a veterinarian or certified
trainer who has experience working with these dogs. Some attacker dogs can learn to be better,
and safety can be set up. The
"cure" depends on the owners, dogs and environment involved. Please see my website, blog and YouTube
videos for behavior help or schedule a consult.
Preventing Dog Bites - What to Tell the Kids
Children under the age of 6 are the highest number of dog
bite victims reported in the United States.
Many of these bites can be avoided if children and parents are taught
how to approach and behave themselves around dogs. Here are a few facts about dog bites that may
The majority of dog bites are from your own dog or a friend
or neighbors dog.
Most dog bites happen around the dog's food, toys, or bed
when the dog is not looking at, barking or moving around these items. In other words the dog is eating or playing
and the human reaches in and touches or takes the item away.
Many bites happen when the dog is sleeping and a person pets
or hugs the sleeping dog startling it awake.
Reaching to a dog that is hiding, crouched or cowering avoiding being
grabbed by the collar or body.
Almost all dog bites to children happen where there is not
an adult in the room or area with the child.
Stray dogs do cause injury but at a far less rate ( less
than 25% of all bites) than known dogs.
Dogs on leash or behind a fence account for the lowest amount of bites - 5% or
So, what does all this mean?
It means we humans do not understand when the dog is telling us that
they are stressed, threatened, or unsure of what to do. When we do not listen to the warning of
cowering, growling, snarling, snapping the dog is left to use the highest form
of aggressing - a bite to make us understand STAY AWAY!!!!! We think it came out of the blue but there
was warning. We just did not understand
it. And we think what we were doing was
not a problem but the dog does. What
matters is what the dog understands. If
the dog feels it is a threat or is stressed the dog is going to act aggressively.
What we miss is that
there may be other factors going on at that moment making the situation
difficult for the dog - is there a lot of noise, people, other dogs, is this
dog in pain from arthritis, sick, or did you just harshly scold the dog and now
you want to give a big hug? All of that
makes a dog scared and scared dogs need to have some time to evaluate if things
are good or bad. If they don't get that
time, they will use their tools - growling, snarling, or snapping to say
Recognizing signs of fear before the dog starts to aggress
is important to prevent bites. When you
see a dog's tail go down, cower, ears back, start barking in a bossy tone, or
growl stop whatever you are doing. Take
note what is going on. Are you reaching
for the dog, are you pulling on a collar,
are you staring at your dog? I
cannot cover all the solutions but the best thing is to first avoid these
triggers or circumstances. If you have
to get your dog to move, teach the dog come. If you are having a bunch of people over, put the dog in another
area. Use a drag line on the collar to
move your dog safely.
Now, about those
stray dogs. At a recent school
presentation about 90% of the kids had seen dogs roaming off leash and all of
those kids were scared of those dogs.
Even when it was a dog they knew the kids were leery as they should
be. A dog acts very differently off
leash than on. So, if you just let your
dog out the door please stop. It is very
frightening to the children as well as other walkers and people in your area.
What to do when you see a dog off leash? Be a tree - stop - stand straight with your
arms at your sides and look down at your feet (your roots). Wait until the dog is at least 40 feet away
before you move. Then call the police or
animal control and report the loose dog. We have leash laws that protect our pets from getting hit by a car and
protect us from being chased or lunged at by a dog.
Have a Safety Plan for Tornadoes
Dog emerges from the rubble of Oklahoma
Did you see the video?
The one of the black schnauzer that was reached his little head out from
the rubble as the owner was being interviewed about surviving the tornado. Her little schnauzer dog Bowsie was shaken
but walking and okay as he struggled to get out of the rubble with the help of
the television crew. Both dog and owner
we reunited and the look of relief and gratitude was all over the woman's face.
After seeing this
video I realized how this demonstrated the benefits of having a plan.
Despite the destruction, the woman and her
dog were safe because they had some protection in the best place in the
house. As she said "I went into
the bathroom with my little dog. This
was the game plan all through the years - go in the bathroom." So, do
you have a plan? Do you practice this plan with your pets and
yourself? I noticed the dog was wearing
his collar. This is so
important!!!!! Many pets that have
survived tornadoes and hurricanes did not have collars or microchips
the anxiety and pain of owners searching.
I have a hunch this was also part of "the plan" as she said. Be sure
Bowsie has his collar on. I want him back.
So what is a good disaster plan? One that is simple, easy to do and everyone
in the home knows what to do. We live in
the tornado belt - so what is the best place in your home for tornadoes? Be sure there is space for you and your
pets. Then practice in a fun way
calling your dog or cat to the bath room.
Toss treats in there and praise
them. Call them in there when you brush
your teeth. If it is the basement, toss
a toy down the stairs so they go down and come up and make a game of it. This way when you need to move fast they will
Keep the collar or harness on your dog or cat. Put your cell phone number on an id tag. Train your dog or cat to go into
a carrier easily. Keep the carrier out
and toss food kibble in there for them to go in as you point. Make it fun - like a game. A carrier can be very protective in a
storm. If your dog hates the carrier see
my video which shows how to train an adult dog to
like the crate.
I know this takes
time, but what if you are like that woman in the video looking for your
pet. If that little dog was loose in the
house, it is very likely he would have been blown away (literally in a
mile per hour wind) and have died. What
would be the difference in this woman's life? I think she would have
been heartbroken for a long time. Her plan made her life better,
better and saved those first responders from trying to locate the her
finding shelter that is not there for the dog.
Have a plan, practice it and hopefully you will never need
to use it.
Fleas and Ticks are Back
How did my pet get fleas? Fleas hop onto your pet as the pet passes by. The fleas can jump from other dogs or cats. Fleas can also jump onto your pet when he or she is in a home with fleas or walking in the grass, where the flea jumped off a stray animal or wildlife.
My indoor pet never goes outside. My pet can't get fleas, right? Wrong. Pets who never go outside can get fleas. How can they get fleas? Fleas can hitch a ride on your pant legs. Once inside the flea can jump onto your pet.
How do I get rid of fleas? You must treat your pet and your house for fleas. Frontline, Revolution, Comfortis and Advantage are some of the products that will kill fleas on your pet. You can use a house treatment spray to treat the house. Use a spray that has an IGR in it. We carry Siphotrol at our clinic. It is very safe for pets.
How do I prevent fleas? Use a flea prevention product such as Frontline, Revolution, Advantage or Comfortis on your pet every month. Use flea prevention all year long. During the winter, fleas can still live in basements and crawl spaces under houses. Some flea products work better than others. Only use flea medications on the type of animal listed on the label. Don't use dog medication on a cat or cat medication on a dog. This can cause them to get very sick and possibly die. Please call us if you are using a flea prevention medication and are still having problems with fleas.
Can fleas get my pet sick? Yes. Fleas drink your pet's blood which can cause anemia. Fleas also carry baby Tapeworms which your pet can get when he or she eats the flea. Fleas also cause several other illnesses.
Want more info about fleas? Check out our Fleas!!! article.
How did my pet get ticks? Ticks climb onto your pet's fur. Ticks are often found in bushes and grasses. Ticks can also crawl from one animal to another.
My indoor pet never goes outside. My pet can't get ticks, right? Wrong. Ticks can come into the house on your clothing and shoes.
How do I get a tick off my pet? Get a bottle of alcohol, a cotton ball and a
pair of tweezers, some of your pet's treats, and someone to help.
Pour some alcohol onto the cotton ball. Have the friend hold your pet
and give him or her some treats. Put the cotton ball onto the tick for
at least 10 seconds, then remove the cotton ball. (This helps stun the
tick and loosen it's grip). With the tweezers, gently grasp the tick as
close to your pet's skin as you can and GENTLY pull. Do NOT twist or
jerk. (Removing it slowly helps reduce the chance of the mouth parts
being left behind in the skin). If the tick gets squished and starts to
bleed, try not to get any of the blood on you or your pet. Wash
your hands and any place the blood got on your pet.
How do I prevent ticks? Use a tick prevention product such as Frontline or Advantix on your pet every month. Some tick products work better than others. Only use tick medications on the type of animal listed on the label. Don't use dog medication on a cat or cat medication on a dog. This can cause them to get very sick and possibly die. Please call us if you are using a tick prevention medication and are still having problems with ticks. Keep ticks out of your yard by making it unfriendly to ticks. See our Terrible Ticks article for more information.
Can ticks get my pet sick? Yes. Ticks can give your pet several diseases including Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tick