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I Need Your Help . . . Dealing With Aggressive Dogs on Walks

Nothing turns a walk time from rad to bad quicker than a foul-tempered pooch. I'd hazard a guess that very few, very lucky pet owners have never encountered an aggressive dog while out and about — even an attempted lunge is scary stuff — and what if it continues on way too far? Community member Beaner explains:

We've been going in the woods off-leash ever since we had our dog and, last weekend, the same dog went after him for the third time. I told the owner he should leash his dog since he's aggressive, and his response was, "Well I think dogs should just work it out themselves." When I saw him again, and I yelled to scare the other dog off, then leashed mine and walked the other way home. Is there anything I can do?

Get more of the story and offer your own advice when you


Here's where the story gets more ridiculous as the offending owner asked Beaner if her dog was neutered — he is — but, when she asked back, he said "pretty much" even though she could see evidence to the contrary. Umm, horrible. Now, it's definitely a good idea to remove any dog from a dangerous situation but, unfortunately, there are some people that just won't do the right thing and ruin the fun for everyone else. Other than contacting the local animal care and control facility to see if there are any policies regarding aggressive dogs, I'm at a loss about what she can do — any tips?

(If you have problems of your own, don't forget to submit any questions to the Pet Peeves group — and we'll help work them out!)

Image Source: Getty
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Lauren3185 Lauren3185 7 years
I have a horrible pet peeve with aggressive dogs. I adopted my dog when she was a year and a half and is the sweetest thing - never was aggressive, played perfectly at dog parks and the people loved her at doggy day care where she went at least once a week. Then this lady's two pits attacked my dog as she was running around at a dog park and took off with her dogs before I could rub my dog down and notice 2 HUGE gaping holes in her abdomen. Many stitches and x-rays later, it also forever traumatized my dog who is now timid and sometimes aggressive when new dogs jump on her to play. She growls and barks at them to get off of her. I've taken her to a behaviorist who helped a lot and my doggy day care has tried to help rehabilitate her but it still irks me to think of the big personality change in my pup due to one irresponsible owner. Grrr
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I like the pepper spray and coin can ideas. I thought of pepper spray but I would worry about the guy coming back and trying to sue over it. The coin can idea works. I have a therapy dog and to condition her to get used to sudden loud noises, we used a coffee can filled with coins and other metal objects. You can condition your dog to accept the noise and it will definitely scare away any other dogs. I like that idea.
Rally-RE Rally-RE 7 years
i would walk with a "chuck it" or something else that you can whack the other dog with if needed. when i go on walks i carry mace/pepper spray (just in case) - dogs and or bad humans! if aren't against carrying a water bottle - put some diluted lemon juice or bitter apple into it and spray the dog in the muzzle - just don't get it in the dog's eyes. maybe just plain water is safest. last time i was at the dog park, a pit came after my sheltie and a woman had a bottled water that she opened up and threw on the pit. that other owner needs to get a clue and put his pup on leash - or stay home.
depeche3 depeche3 7 years
I believe all dogs should be on leash... no matter how sweet you think the dog is. If you want your dog to be off leash go to a dog park. Too many times my dogs has been attacked by dog off leash, while my dog was on leash on a hiking trail. By the time the owner gets close its hard for them to pry their dog off.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
This is a tough one. I had an aggressive dog that went through training with a behaviorist to identify the cause of his aggression and fix the problem. Once he was deemed safe by the behaviorist, I started taking him to the dog park because his sister, who was a puppy then, needed to get socialization. Both my dogs were great there; excellently behaved. I always kept them close by so I could watch their behavior. However a lot of other people never paid attention to their dogs or wouldn't correct their dogs when they behaved badly. I used to be torn about saying something to the owners or correcting their dogs myself. Finally I started correcting their dogs if they were behaving badly towards my dogs because I don't want my dogs to have a bad incident. My behaviorist told me all it takes is one bad instant, especially in a younger dog, to make them fearful and/or aggressive. Even so, one day I was there and a new guy was there with a rottweiler and I noticed the rottweiler had a shock collar on. I asked him about it and he said his rottweiler has aggression issues so he thought he would bring him to the dog park and shock him everytime the dog started getting aggressive. This man was obviously an idiot and I told him I did not think he should be at the dog park because the park rules specifically state no aggressive dogs. Well needless to say, I took my dogs to the other side of the park away from this man and his dog. The rottweiler spotted my 7 month old puppy from across the park and made a beeline straight for her. I don't think it noticed that it had a shock collar buzzing wildly. My puppy was busy sniffing something about 5 feet from me and I never saw the rottweiler coming until the last moment when all the sudden the rottweiler grabbed my puppy and started rolling her and biting her. My hubby and I chased the rottweiler but in the meantime my puppy got so scared she started running in a panic and all the other dogs sensed her panic and started chasing her. Nobody called their dogs off my puppy even though I was screaming and running into the dog pack to try and break off the chase! I was so furious, by the time we grabbed her she was forever tramatized from the experience and cannot play chase with any dogs - she gets scared and tries to climb us. She can't ever go to a dog park again - we've tried and it is just too traumatizing for her. This guy is being blatantly irresponsible and lazy when it comes to his dog. If he is not being responsible, you can't be afraid to defend your dog - the damage that can be done to your dog both physically and mentally should his dog get aggressive is not worth the risk. I have heard that most dogs will not risk attacking another dog if it is close to it's human, so I would keep your dog close when you see this guy/dog. If his dog confronts your dog again, don't be afraid to turn him in. Check to see if there are any local ordinances in your municipality about leash laws, aggressive dogs, spay/neutering. The leash law is tricky since you also walk your dog off the leash but it may allow for places where a dog can be off leash. A lot of places have ordinances about aggressive dogs and if your place does, I would let the guy know that if he doesn't start leashing his aggressive dog, you're going to turn him in for owning and failing to controll an aggressive dog. There are a lot of assholes out there who think it's funny or cool that their dog's aggressive and won't do a thing about it until the law is involved. I would hate for a bad incident to happen to your dog because of this guy. Good luck.
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