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Readers Respond: How Do You Stop an Attacking Dog?

Responses: 11


Updated July 15, 2012

From the article: How To Avoid a Dog Attack
An aggressive, barking, snarling dog is scary enough behind a secure fence. But what do you do when a loose dog threatens you? What has worked -- or not worked -- when you are faced with an attacking dog when you are out on a walk?

Never Let em Smell Your Fear

It comes out of your pores in your fear sweat & triggers their attack senses, signaling to them your weakness allowing them the advantage. Carry sharp weapons if you want or ammonia spray. Stand tall raise your arms as if wielding a big stick to attack. Roar loudly & angrily back no matter if its a rott or shepherd or mastiff breed. Strong vocals, stomp &and lunge back. They will most always retreat. You are bigger and stronger than a dog, you have the intelligence to have more of a will to survive compared to a dog who is just out to flex its bark strength more than test its will to live.

rocks in can

I have a very small can with a lid. I put small rocks in the can. Shake it really hard. It will scare the dog. Also works if you have a dog that growls at other dogs being fed.
—Guest terri

Ammonia Squirt Gun

Dollar store squirt gun filled with ammonia will certainly work just as well as pepper spray.
—Guest joe blow

Power wisdom

I have been threatened by quite a few dogs over many years of walking. I am a Christian & I call upon the name of Jesus with authority & power from above. Christ is the power & wisdom of God (1Cor. 1:24), & all power & wisdom is at our command, we have only to ask. Each & every dog has stopped in its tracts immediatedly upon calling upon His name. It has even stopped me from being attacked by a man who weighs 100lbs. more than me! I serve a mighty God, who has all power.
—Guest Judy

Whistle while you walk (or bike)

I learned from a fellow cyclist that a sharp whistle will stop a dog in its tracks and it has worked like a charm. I wear one around my neck cycling or walking. I blow the whistle as soon as I see a free-ranging dog. Usually they stop on the first whistle. Sometimes it takes more. I also have had very good luck with a stern (very) "You go home!!!" I like the bright orange coast guard approved whistles, the small flat ones, because they are less "stuff" around my neck and I know they will be loud, but anything works. My first whistle was from a souvenir shop, made from an elk horn on a rawhide strap. Big and cumbersome but it worked!

Pack leader mindset

I stand tall and proud and with a loud assertive "NO!" have stop a number of dogs charges; both walking and biking. I also have carried a cane/walking stick; had to almost use it one day. Dog chased me a half block and made the attempt to bite. Owner runnning behind us yelling for the dog to return. Dog made attempt at a bite and I, without trying kicked the dog in the chin and flet it slide off my leg. Thinking the dog would make a second attempt I turned to fase the challenge; cane at the ready. Owner got all pissed off that I would think about hitting her dog and tells me "He won't bite!" I told her he already tried and I kicked him in the chin! She went off enough I offered to call PD and told her the first two things I would say were "leash law and vicious dog." At which point she felt it better to get home with her dog!
—Guest Logon

Milkbone Decoys

Back in the early nineties, I took my exercise by road biking the local Farm-to-Market roads. Country dogs were more nuisance than menace, except for one particularly nasty mongrel whose porch was close to the road between Krum and Bolivar. Squirting him with my water bottle only enraged him. Whacking him with my bicycle pump nearly got me pulled off the bike. Pleas to his owner didn't even help. What did work was learning to carry 'milkbones' with me. When he'd come running out I'd toss one onto the ground in front of him. The time it took him to stop and investigate was more than enough for me to crest the hill and be gone. After a half dozen or so trips by with the milkbone decoy he ceased chasing me altogether.
—Guest Darwin

Charge Back

I've had good luck warding off marauding dogs by simply turning the tables on them. They come charging out at me barking with a look of death in their eyes, I charge back at them yelling (actually it's more like roaring, like *I'm* the one doing the attacking), arms flailing, and (so far) they all turn tail and run away. I'm sure I've just been lucky and have met up with wussy dogs. I've also used a squirt gun filled with an ammonia/water combo. The times I've used it and blasted them in the face with it, the dog stops, and starts sneezing, then goes away. They don't appear to be in pain or anything. I've also got pepper spray, but that is meant for people, or for a dog that seems like it truly might go for the throat. When I've been out cycling, I've also had good luck simply squirting water from my water bottle in their faces. It usually startles them enough that they back off.
—Guest Deb

LOTS of Pepper Spray

If you use pepper spray, don't give a little spritz like it was perfume. Empty half the can straight in their eyes, and then run like hell.
—Guest John Z. Wetmore

Pepper Spray

We had a volksmarch club meeting and the guest speaker was Sheriff Lott (Richland Co, SC). He spoke to us about safety and how to avoid becoming a crime victim while out walking. One of our members asked him which was better to carry, mace or pepper spray. He said pepper spray because it is also effective against dogs. He recommends replacing it every two years. He also recommended carrying a walking stick, holding your head up high, looking at people you pass and making eye contact, walking with a partner, carrying whatever you carry in front of your body (like a fanny pack), not wearing jewelry while hiking, etc. From my own experience, it seems that mean dogs are owned by mean people. If they approach you for upsetting their dog by walking down a public street, throwing a few dog bones at them probably won't work. Hit them with the pepper spray too then run, run, run.
—Guest PalmettoWanderer

Tossing Pebbles

At one time I ran a dog boarding kennel and to stop the barking and get a dog's attention I used to toss a handful of small pebbles against the chain link fence and they would stop to listen and usually calm down--A couple of times on walks I have picked up a few small pebbles and thrown them, at the same time yelling and that turned them around to figure out what that was----

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