Today I was walking my Corgi's when a German Shepard from down the street attacked us. Luckily no one was hurt and we did inform the police but the problem is this happens a lot in my town because most people just let their dogs run wild and a lot of them are big dogs like Pit Bulls and German Shepards. I was just wondering if there was anyone here who had experiance and knew whether pepper spray or tazzers worked better ( those were what the police suggested). I worry about using pepper spray because I don't want it to get on my dogs. It really scared me today when I realized there was nothing I could do, and Ellie our youngest has been very subdued since it happened, I think it just shocked her since she was the one the German Shepard went after. I really want to be able to defend myself and my dogs the next time something like this occurs. Any suggestions or ideas would be great I don't want to be terrified everytime I try to walk my babies. Thanks everyone. Liz

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Wow that is really scary! I had a similar situation about 2 months ago. I was walking my Corgi & Beagle when a HUGE Rotweiller (Im not kidding when I say huge, I've never seen such a big dog!) came running at us!!!
I freaked!! I just picked up both dogs at the same time, one in each arm...I still don't know to this day how I managed it.
The dog kept jumping up at me trying to get my dogs...I was so scared & so were my babies. Luckily the owner saw this & came running out to grab his dog. I don't know if I could do that next time, I would also like to know what to do the next time something like this happens.
I've also had a couple of similar issues. One time I was out walking Ein and a big black dog came over. They were both getting along well at first (we basically continued walking), and since the family was just on their deck I thought it would be fine. Until the other dog started growling and lunged for Ein. I had to hide Ein behind me. I yelled at the owners to leash and control their dog, but they didn't do anything, so I just moved along with Ein.

I also don't know what to do about it. I don't want to punish the dogs for the owners mishandling, but maybe a little airhorn?
On the Weim forum that I belong to, they had a discussion about dog parks and how some dogs get unruly. One suggested carrying vinegar water in a spray bottle. When the dogs go crazy, spray them in the face and it will disturb them enough for the owner or you to get away.
I've walked in areas, like this, too. My husband's family lives in rural KY, and there are always several loose dogs we meet while out walking. I am a Cesar fan, so I try to take the role of most calm and assertive.

If a dog charges at us, I turn toward it, put my hands on my hips, even take a step or two toward it, and make a loud, firm verbal noise, like "Hey!", or "Ahh!", but I keep it pretty low-pitched. It is very important to stay calm and not get too intimidated, and hold that pose until you see the dog back away (submit). Never back away or turn your back on a charging dog. This works because 90% of the dogs that charge will stop in their tracks at such a direct, assertive address from you. However, this may not be the best tactic in all cases, especially if you aren't that comfortable doing it, and a few dogs will attack anyway (I haven't met one yet), and if you don't have something nearby to block it, it's difficult to keep the dog away from yours. But so far, this has worked very well for me, and also makes my dogs feel safer knowing they have a strong leader.

If a dog approaches less aggressively, I just continue walking at a good pace. Often, the dog will follow and sniff my dogs (which they don't especially love!), but I keep them moving forward. I don't let them even turn around and look because sometimes a face-to-face meeting with unstable dogs will cause a fight. I just give them a light correction if they get too caught up in the commotion (some dogs may need firmer corrections if they haven't learned to ignore). The idea here is that you are just passing through, no threat to the other dogs or their territory. If you calmly keep on moving, you will convey that to the resident dogs. If things start to escalate, you can directly address the dog like I described above. A firm "Go home" will usually get them to at least give you some space. Continue walking, and the dogs may follow for a while, but will eventually stay behind.

At one point in my walking this Christmas, there were at least 7 loose dogs circling around us and following us on the road. Most were not aggressive, though one dog approached more aggressively than I liked (tail up, hackles up, head up), so I turned and walked straight at him, telling him to back off. At that point he fell behind us and followed for a while (if the dog is following you, there is little chance of an attack...they are just back there to check things out). Despite all the dogs we met, we never had a fight or an attack, and each encounter turned into an exercise in being calm and ignoring other dogs' excited behavior.

And the more stable and sociable your dogs are, the less likely an attack will occur, as well. If your dogs are too nervous, excited, or dominant, they can become targets for others dogs. Don't let badly behaved dogs keep you from your normal route. If possible, take it each day and look at each meeting as an opportunity to learn and grow (unless the dogs you meet are too dangerous for you or your dogs).

I really liked the suggestion about the umbrella...that's a lightweight object you could easily carry that could give you a little sense of empowerment if you get charged again, and will give you confidence for future encounters. Good idea!
I've had this issue twice. Unfortunately Henry was injured once and was post op knee surgery once. I now carry pepper spray! I'd rather get some on both of us, than have a dog attempt to tear Henry's throat out. The dog that did attack Henry came through 5 people to get to him. The dogs owner had tossed his ball in our general direction and everything just went to hell quickly. I wished, to this day I'd had something to spray both the dog and the stupid owner! The injury took a year to resolve.

Over that, I like the umbrella idea. get one of those quick open jobies... In Oregon that may come in handier in other ways...
Thanks for all the ideas, I think I'm going to try carrying an umbrella and pepper spray just in case the umbrella doesn't work. Hopefully I won't need to use them too often. Thanks everyone!
I was just reading an article that our trainer gave me in our consultation. The article was in the Cornell University Vet Med Dog Watch. They mentioned a product called Direct Stop, a concentrated citronella spray.(I looked on Amazon and it is now called Spray Shield). It is less non-harmful and you don't have to worry about getting pepper spray in your eyes. I had to use that on a person once when I lived in DC and I got a bit of it because of the wind so be careful. Hope that helps. I am going to get some as well because we have the same problem in our neighborhood.
That's sad and very scary. What I would do is propose a law saying that animals cannot run wild. FINALLY in the city where I live the leash laws have tightened and now you have to have your dog on a leash if you are not on your property and your dog is not fenced in anywhere. There are too many chances of a dog running out onto a street and getting hit by a car. The worst part is it's not even the dogs fault, it's the owners for being irresponsible. People steal dogs to use in labs or for dog fighting. I would definitely talk to the owner of the German Shepard though if you haven't already. And definitely see if you can get a petition going to buckle down on the containment of all dogs.

One thing that dogs do to intimidate is stare one another in the eyes. So if you see a large dog coming at you, don't stare him straight in the eyes because they might see this as intimidation and lunge at you. I see this in my dog and my boyfriends dog. They get along fine, but if one has a rawhide the other will stare at him until a nasty little fight follows (no one is ever harmed, they just growl and let out some nasty barks, but I still try to stop it from happening anyways, bleh). I would try maybe walking a different path as best as you can to avoid dogs that are running around. But I am glad that you guys were safe, that could've been bad! :(
I have used the citronella spray before and it works wonders if things start to get out of hand. Its safe to use in ways that it wont hurt the dogs and you wont get hurt trying to break up a dog fight.
It has now been two years since Kai, my cardigan corgi, was attacked by a 200lb Great Dane - read our blog about the incident- both dogs were on leashes, there was no forewarning, and the Dane's owner could not get her dog off Kai. Kai's leash broke when I tried to pull him out of the Dane's mouth - the Dane had such a hold on him. Ms. Campbell's response of the airhorn is right on - the only thing that stopped the attack on Kai and saved his life was a car that drove by and beeped it's horn, stopping the Dane momentarily, so that I could get Kai away, and the owner of the Dane could get control of the Dane. That Dane was so out of control I do not think a spray would have had any effect - nor after witnessing his teeth and jaws ripping Kai's rear legs apart, would I know for sure that I would have been able to come near it close enough to spray it effectively. I carry a horn now, because it works at stopping the dogs and alerting neighbors! Kai is still alive, tho he is lame and has life long issues from that attack - but his girlfriend Luna and he still play and share great tugs of war while he lays down to play - he is one of the finest dogs I have ever owned. Please do your research, please take care of and protect your dogs.


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