When Your Dog Needs a Bodyguard

2 May

What a rejuvenating weekend!

It was such a nice departure from drama we experienced last week. Nothing beats a morning at the park and an afternoon shopping. Oscar was, admittedly, the chubbiest pup at the park (even after two weeks of dieting)!

I usually let my guard down while we’re in the park, but after our run-in with a neighborhood pit bull, I’ve been keeping an eye out for unfriendly, loose dogs. I felt helpless while Oscar was bobbing and weaving, so I promised myself I would be prepared to take action if it happened again.

I did a quick Google search on how to prevent and break up dog attacks, which lead me to blog entries and forums filled with people with the same concerns. Thank you PawFun, Canidae Pet Food and The Straight Dope (LOL!) for the following tips.

Items for your utility belt:

  • Walking stick. Use a sturdy walking stick as an extension of your arm to put some distance between you and the loose dog. If the dog bites the other end of the stick, DO NOT pull. If you lose your balance during the tug-o-war, you’ll just be an easier (and weaker) target.
  • Dog repellent, pepper spray and/or mace. Spray directly into the dog’s nose and eyes. Don’t be afraid to use the entire bottle if need be (repellent sprays seem to have zero affect on some canines).
  • Flashlight. Shine the light directly into the dog’s eyes to temporarily blind him.
  • Airhorn. The sound could scare the dog off. If not, it can at least alert other people in the area.
  • Tin can filled with rocks. A great suggestion from our friends at Live, Bark, Love. The sharp sound of the rocks clanking around in a can startles the dog and gives you enough time to take action.

If you have a sidekick or backup:

  • The wheelbarrow technique. Grab and lift the dog by his hind legs, guiding him to a spot where he can’t initiate another attack (I’m petite, so I don’t think I’ll be trying this method anytime soon).

Things bodyguards shouldn’t do:

  • Don’t panic. If you see a loose dog roaming around, stay calm. If the dog approaches you, stand your ground (don’t take steps backward)  and exude confidence, keeping eye contact with the dog. If you have a walking stick, use it to put some distance between you and the dog. Your energy alone might just convince him to leave you alone.
  • Don’t attempt to pull the dogs apart by their collars. This puts you in danger of being bitten.
  • Don’t hit or kick a dog in the midst of an attack/fight. This only fuels the dog. Not to mention the dog could redirect his attention and attack you!
  • Don’t scream. This, too, fuels the fire.

But how could any dog dream of attacking this face?


14 Responses to “When Your Dog Needs a Bodyguard”

  1. Kas May 2, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    Thanks for mentioning us in your informative, helpful post! One thing that you mentioned – “Don’t attempt to pull the dogs apart by their collars. This puts you in danger of being bitten.” This is something that I can fully attest to. When my OH and I used to work at a doggie daycare, this was one of the last resorts for breaking up a dog fight. I was bit several times by pulling dogs apart by their collars (many dogs are collar-reactive) and my OH was actually attacked by one of the dogs when he pulled that dog off of the other dog – he was attacked so badly that he had to be rushed to the ER and the injuries could have proved to be fatal (thank goodness they weren’t!!!). Anyway, great tips. It’s especially important to be on the lookout when you have a small, helpless dog such as Oscar or Evee!

    • Kas May 2, 2011 at 9:22 am #

      And P.S. Evee asked me if she could make a life-size version of that picture of Oscar 😉

    • According to Gus May 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

      OMG – I’m so glad to hear you and your OH were both okay after those incidents!

      • Oscar & Pauline May 2, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

        Ditto! Talk about traumatic! You must have a really cool, calm head on your shoulders.

        Evee can select any picture of Oscar off his blog only if he has permission to make a life-sized cardboard cutout of Evee in glasses. 😉

      • Kas May 3, 2011 at 11:13 am #

        Thanks – we were/are both fine, although the major attack definitely unnerved us a bit. We’re both pretty calm and collected for the most part.

        And it’s a deal 😉

  2. Snoopy@snoopysdogblog May 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm #


    This is great, my mum wonders what she’d do if I or her were attacked. One day a loose Dog came up to us but luckily Dad was there and made lots of noise and scared the Dog away and then the owner came. I’m so not a fighter, I just love everyone and want to play, I don’t get the whole fighting thing….?

    Hope you’re having a great day

    Snoopy 🙂

    • Oscar & Pauline May 2, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

      I can imagine Snoopy being anything BUT aggressive based solely on his pictures! What a sweetheart.

      Thanks for dropping by. Oscar and I hope to continue seeing you around. 🙂

  3. According to Gus May 2, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing these tips! As I mentioned on your last post, loose dogs always make me so nervous. Glad to hear you guys had such a great weekend. It sounds like you were busy bees!

    • Oscar & Pauline May 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

      I’m hoping these tips will come in handy for my blogging buddies like they did for me! I already had the opportunity to use one of them this morning with a cat on the prowl. The eye contact and energy really works! On cats anyway… Oscar really is a helpless dog if I have to protect him from cats, too. -_-;

  4. Happy.Bark.Days May 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    Thanks for such an informative post! I am going to read and re-read the tips you’ve provided until they are securely stored in my memory bank—that way, I won’t panic and blank out in the heat of the moment.

    P.s. I agree, why would any dog want to pick a fight against a cute and innocent-looking face like Oscar’s? It just doesn’t make any sense!

    • Oscar & Pauline May 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

      My pleasure! I fully believe in sharing the wealth/knowledge so our furry friends can be safe. 🙂

  5. 2browndawgs May 3, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    Thanks for stopping by our blog. Nice to meet you!

    So glad you survived the charging pit bull. Loose dogs even make those of us with big dawgs nervous. Mine never go looking for trouble, but there is a line and if a charging dog crosses it, well there could be trouble. You would be surprised how many times dogs have run up to the 2 brown dawgs. It is frustrating!

  6. raisingdaisy May 3, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    Oscar is such a cutie, and what a sweet face! These are some great tips, I’m definitely going to prepare before my next outing with Daisy. I’m always worried about being confronted by off-leash dogs. Thanks so much for this post!

    And thanks for visiting my blog too! 🙂

  7. Novroz May 4, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    When I was attacked, I grabbed a handful of rock and threw it at the dog one by one. It worked. I have been scared with big dogs ever since 😦

    I don’t think I would be scare at that pretty face of yours, sweet oscar-chan 🙂

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