What to do if a loose or aggressive dog approaches your dog on a walk

Dogs are unpredictable creatures. If you come across an unfamiliar dog on a walk, it is not always going to be a friendly meeting. If worse still you see a dog approaching which is not on a lead, it can cause a lot of anxiety both for dog and owner. Here are some tips of what you can do to avoid a confrontation:

How to deal with a loose dog approaching you

  • Remember, most dogs are not aggressive. They may behave in a grumpy way towards another dog, especially if they are on a lead. Dogs are more likely to go into fight mode as their only option, if they know they cannot run away from imminent danger.
  • If a loose, but otherwise friendly, looking dog approaches your dog on a walk, it is likely the owner will be somewhere nearby. If your dog is also loose, it is likely that the meeting will be amicable. Make encouraging positive sounds therefore rewarding both parties as they stop to greet each other. Always carry some rewards for your dog to give to after the meeting. This will reward them for behaving in a relaxed and friendly manner towards the strange dog.
  • If a loose dog approaches your dog and is showing signs of aggressive body language towards your dog, then you will need to approach the situation differently. If an owner is nearby, it would be appropriate to call to them in a friendly manner to fetch the dog. Disagreeable owners are rare. Some just have dogs who don’t always behave perfectly! You can call your own dog to you. If you have them on a lead you can walk away from the situation. Remember though, either party being on a lead can sometimes make the situation worse.
  • There are rare incidences of completely random attacks by loose dogs on innocent by standing dogs. This of course is unacceptable. If a fight occurs, you must do what you can to remove your dog from the situation. A useful tool to always carry with you to use in such circumstances is a small aerosol cannister called a pet corrector. You can buy these online or in pet stores. It lets out a loud noise of compressed air which can be startling enough to separate dogs that are quarrelling. Another useful tool is a bucket of water or a hose, but they are more difficult to carry with you!

IMPORTANT: Although your overwhelming instinct is to protect your dog, refrain from attempting something which may mean getting hurt yourself.