What to do if a dog runs up off leash

We’ve all been there…walking our dog, minding our own business….and all of off_leash_doga sudden there is an off leash dog bee-lining it straight towards us. The owner is somewhere, only to be heard yelling “don’t worry, he’s friendly”!

What do you do?

A) Allow the rude dog to rush up to your dog, and hope for the best?

B) If you have a small enough dog, pick him up?

C) Run the other way and hope the dog loses interest?

D) Advocate for your dog and do whatever it takes to make sure that dog does not end up face to face with yours?

95% of the time option A is happening. 99% of the time option D is what needs to happen. So how do we do this?

First, know the other person will likely be offended. I live in Stoney Creek, and we have a lot of old school European families in our area. Many of them don’t walk their dogs but allow them off leash on the front lawn. One time a Boston Terrier ran across the street barking and growling at us…I got in front of my dog and yelled “GET” while swinging my legs (NEVER made contact, the dog was a good 5-10 ft from me the whole time…but even if I did make contact, would be better than the dog fight that could have happened had I not). The dog’s owner was PISSED, and told me not to kick his dog. Well I was even more pissed that he allowed his dog who clearly had no manners as well as zero listening skills, off leash on a busy road and running up barking at us. After giving him a piece of my mind we went on our way. I haven’t seen the dog out off leash since!

As your dog’s person, you need to advocate for him. If you don’t know the dog approaching assume he is NOT friendly (even if the person claims he is). Get a walking stick, Pet Corrector, umbrella or just swing your legs and yell like I do! I promise you, it is not worth the risk allowing strange dogs to run up barking at your dog. If you want to socialize your dog, do it off leash with dogs you know. While you are walking, on leash is not the place to socialize! Even so called friendly dogs can end up in a bad situation if on leash.

And to those who allow their dogs to run up to other dogs…stop, just STOP. It’s rude and you are putting the person and other dog in a very stressful situation. Too many people are scared to walk their dogs due to the number of off leash dogs running up to theirs. Be a good neighbour and leash your dog!