Keeping safe around other dogs
You may encounter dogs who are unfriendly and threatening, even if you’re not with your dog. This has happened more often during the pandemic. It’s not surprising that stress, anxiety, and the changes in daily life are affecting our dogs.
It can be frightening and dangerous when a situation such as this occurs, but you can also do a few things to keep everyone safe.
When walking your dog
It is always best to keep your dog on a leash. If your dog is not used to walking on a lead, it can take time to get them to do so. Dogs are more adventurous than humans and like to explore their world faster. Our Knowledgebase has some useful advice. The shorter the leash, the less likely you are to get tangled. It also helps to avoid being too close to another dog and to keep a social distance.
It’s important to get your dog used to masks as the pandemic continues. This is especially true if they are not familiar or you live in an area that has seen a rise in mask usage. Our Knowledgebase has some tips for how to do it.
You should train your dog so that he will come to you when called. It is crucial to train your dog to come when called if it gets away from you or if the leash falls off.
You can prepare yourself by looking ahead to see if there are other people or dogs on the road. You can cross the street or move to an area that is away from people, cars, or cyclists. Use your voice to calm your dog and ask him to sit until you pass. You can reward your dog for staying calm and sitting by distracting them with treats.
How can you tell whether a dog feels uncomfortable or is aggressive?
If a dog is showing signs of anxiety or discomfort, they may be licking or biting their lips or ears, yawning or showing the whites in their eyes, or having a tucked or low tail. Watch out for other body language, such as turning their faces away, walking low or standing crouching, avoiding eye contact, or lunging toward you. This is not a playful bouncing forward but rather a lunging forward with a stiff, forward-facing tail and tense, flat eye contact.
Growling, snarling, or snapping teeth are all signs of a dog that is likely to be aggressive, not only because they’re anxious or uncomfortable.
What to do in the event of a conflict
It is best to avoid an unfriendly dog or one that is aggressive. If possible, place a barrier between yourself and the dog, such as a fence, car, gate, or hedge.
Stay calm if conflict is inevitable. Try not to panic. It would be best if you did not try to separate fighting dogs physically. This could result in you getting injured or causing further injuries to both dogs. If the owner of the other dog is there, they might be able to do the same.
You can distract the dog by making a loud noise, such as a clap. It is a good idea to carry something that can be used as a distraction. For example, a can of coins that you rattle. You could use a large jacket or water to cover the dogs if you are prepared.
Our Knowledgebase has a lot more information on how to manage and avoid these situations. For example, we have tips on how to react if an unfriendly dog approaches you while walking alone and what to say if your dog attacks another dog.