You’re walking your dog nicely, trying to teach him/her good manners on the leash. You’re practising your own nice, calm body language so that your dog will relax and respond to you in public. THEN …… a random, unknown dog approaches off-leash and disrupts everything. This can be particularly unnerving if your own leashed dog is reactive or highly excitable.
Here is a number of strategies to use alone or in combination:
- STAY CALM and help your dog to remain calm, no matter which of the following strategies you use.
- “Growl” at the other dog in a throaty rumble, saying “uh-uh”, deeply and confidently.
- Say “Let’s go” and walk your dog confidently and calmly away from the other dog. These off-leash dogs will often go just 2-3 house-lengths away from their property until they have chased away the “intruders”.
- Always carry high value treats on your walk. Throw a handful back at the loose dog as you walk away confidently and calmly.
- Carry a set of dummy keys with anything else metal attached that will make an invasive sound when shaken. Throw these on the ground in front of the invading dog. Most dogs don’t like harsh metallic sounds.
- Carry a pop-up umbrella and pop up between you and the approaching dog. The sudden movement will startle the dog, making it retreat. The umbrella will also form a barrier between you and your dog, against the unknown dog. Do a bit of desensitisation with the umbrella and your dog at home. Pop the umbrella a number of times while giving food, so that your dog gets used to the sudden pop of the umbrella and isn’t scared when you do it to anothern dog out in public.
- Carry a small spray bottle with a mixture of lemon juice or citronella, mixed with water. Spray at the unwanted dog. Most dogs don’t like citrus and will retreat.
Read more on how to prepare for a new puppy!