Off-Leash Neighborhood Dogs

A few weeks ago, I was walking home with my Siberian Husky after a nice neighborhood walk. Suddenly, I hear some heavy barking, and a pit-bull charges out from one of my neighbor’s backyard and starts barking at us crazily.

If he were a truly aggressive pit-bull, we would have been toast.

Instead, I backed away from him slowly and shouted out to my neighbor. Of course, he was doing yard work at the time, and did not hear me over the noise of his lawn mower. He had left his gate open so that he could get easy access to his recycling bin.

Dude! … I mean really?!

Luckily another neighbor heard me, came out, and secured the dog.

Several days later, I was charged by an Akita. She came over, and started bullying my Husky girl. A boy came running after the dog, and then just stood there. He did not know what to do.

I raised my voice and said Stop to the Akita, which surprisingly, she did. Maybe she was just momentarily startled. I asked the boy to please remove his dog, but he just hit his dog on the muzzle. Since the dog did not have a collar on, the boy was unable to effectively remove her.

However, since the Akita was no longer focused on my dog, I was able to move away, and then Akita Inu finally followed the boy home.

Dude! … I mean really?!

And then today, I was charged by a large Labrador. He was being walked off-leash in the neighborhood even though he had 0% recall.

Then one of the owners said, “Don’t worry, he is not aggressive”.

Another one said, “I am doing off-leash training with my dog and I did not see you.”

Dude! … I mean really?!

  • Point – Someone who lets an untrained dog run about off-leash in public neighborhood streets has no understanding of dogs. I very much doubt they know whether their dog is aggressive or not.
  • Point – Leaving a dog with no recall, off-leash, is dangerous to other people, other dogs, and to the dog himself. There are not too many cars in my neighborhood, but all it takes is just one.
  • Point – Perhaps the Labrador is not aggressive, but then my dog could be aggressive. In which case, a fight could have broken out when the Labrador invaded my dog’s space and forced a butt sniff on her.
  • Point – One DOES NOT do off-leash training on public neighborhood streets. Find a private enclosed area to start recall training, and once the dog is more advanced, take him to an off-leash hiking park.

What to Do When Charged by Off-Leash Neighborhood Dogs?

I usually just ignore the owners and walk away as soon as they get control of their dog.

I don’t really want to converse with them, because I would likely lose my temper and that would upset the dogs even more.

I am not sure if that is the best thing to do though. I would like to try and convince them not to leave their untrained dogs running around off-leash.

What do you think?

  • What do you do when charged by off-leash neighborhood dogs?
  • How do we get our neighbors to keep untrained dogs on a leash?

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  1. Anon says

    Just got home from a walk with my husband and two dogs. Our dogs are both on gentle guides. Neighbors dogs are in the front yard unrestrained and come after us. One of their dogs jumps one of mine and tries to bite his ear. I kicked the dog and the owners finally got control of their animal – and then yelled at me for kicking their dog. I’m so furious. I love dogs and would never hurt one except to protect myself or someone in my family (which includes my dogs). I told them they were lucky I didn’t kick the dog hard and I’d start bringing pepper spray. I’m not sure how I can deal with this neighbor in the future.

    • Elizabeth says

      I just aame in from. a walk with my 14 pound 5 month old that I adopted from spca last week. She’s now trained to walk with me on the leash, but as we neared home a very big pitbull came charging at us. I dropped my dogs leash do she could hide and I screamed at the pitbull Stop and Go home, but he was not hearing me. Then ever so slowly the stupid woman who owns the pittie came walking towards me and I kept yelling at her get your dog, get control of your animal. She’s saying oh don’t worry he won’t hurt you. Then her husband showed up to ask me why I was yelling at his wife. I told them both this is your fault for leaving him run loose, and that I will call the police and animal control if I see the dog out again. As soon as they walked away my little dog came up to me shaking. I went in and called the police and they took my name & tel & made an incident report. The officer said if the dog is loose again call them & they will charge that couple with whatever. I’m still shaking, I mean come on, it’s a pitbull.

  2. jj says

    When I go out my front door / or my neighbors garage door opens / or my neighbors drive up, they continually let their 1/2 Chow run and charge me. This dog scared the hell out of me today. I was in my front yard and the dog came around their car and charged within 3 ft. of me. I have asked both neighbors numerous times to control their dog, they say? : Oh yeah, she does that” , “or ” we all just have to get along”..Im practically a prisoner in my own house. How is THAT getting along ? The dog is MEVER on a leash, just free to charge. Scares the hell out of me. Baseball bat !!!??? Pepper spray and my cell phone for a video. I like dogs.. my dogs Always under control or Leadhed. But this Owner is asking for a Lawsuit. And so is the neighbor who owns the house.!!!

  3. says

    It depends?? Really just on how the dog is acting. If they come up slowly and are acting exploritory, I’ll make sure that I stay between them and my dogs and call out to them a few times to remind them that I am there. This has actually lead to a few dogs following us home. The walks were pretty pleasant and, in the case of one of my neighbor’s Pitbulls, I started bringing another leash with me and I would just leash her up when she came out and we’d walk all together and then I would walk her home. She hated going home. Her welcome back was never warm πŸ™

    Anyway, if they come charging then I sorta charge right back. One of my neighbor’s german shepherds has gotten out of his fence and attacked my dogs FOUR TIMES. But all four times I jumped into action. Shouting very loudly, blocking his path, and then walking toward him with angry screams and arm outstretched to grab him, which would cause him to back up until he was back in his own yard. That is all I have found to work on dogs like that.

    The third type of dog is the one that charges while I’m bike riding with my German Shorthair. In which case I shout “hike hike!!” And he takes off and nothing has caught us yet XD. Even at 7 years old and out of shape I’ve never seen a dog that could outrun him.

  4. Rhonda says

    I am so glad I found this website. My dog is very prey driven. We walk her with a gentle leader, which works, but she is still smarter than the leash, and when I walk her I need to be prepared for any sudden movements on her part, as she can start to pull, and jerk the leash from side to side, and make things really difficult. She is strong, and stubborn, and completely immune to prong collars.
    She is very over-protective, of both my husband and I, and she attends a doggy daycare frequently, where she receives excellent care, and is grouped with the mellow males, as she is alpha female, so we’ve been told. Anyway, we have stopped walking her in our neighborhood altogether because, she is damn scary when she starts barking, growling and pulling, when we are walking her, towards other dogs. I rarely, and with great precaution, walk her in our neighborhood, when I see another dog coming, I just walk the other way. I walk her at night, and just avoid other dog walkers altogether. The subject of dogs, not walked on leash, or not controlled to stay in their yard, has me more than a little nervous. First of all, walking without a leash, unless it is in a park or something just seems crazy to me. I often had wondered about what I would do if a dog senses(which has happened,) her alpha protective nature, and just lunge at her, I’ve yelled NO NO NO, sometimes this scares the other dog, but now that I know about the pepper spray, or bear spray, you BET I’m going to consider that. I have wondered, worried about, if I could really hurt the other dog with that?? I don’t know.
    I used to be able to take my dog to the park, before she grew into her personality, first she got along with about 85% of the dogs, then it gradually became a 50/50 deal. Then she really started to act aggressive towards bicyclists, ….no more park. We have a fenced in yard, but she really needs another outlet, something. We plan on moving anyway, needless to say we are looking for a large yard, in a rural area, without houses in close proximity to each other. I love my dog, and I do absolutly everything to protect her, and protect other peoples dogs too.
    A lot of neighbors, do not like me for even having a dog like her, like its my fault, even though I’ve taken above and beyond all precautions to keep everyone safe.

    • Kathleen says

      I think you are a very conscientious dog owner. That you should not be faulted by neighbors when doing the right thing and taking precautions to keep everyone and your dog safe. I recently learned to never let your guard down and now keep my gate closed 24/7. I lost my beloved dog to an attack by my neighbors 2 German Shepherds which were always in a fenced yard, but somehow were roaming free on this day. This tragedy has changed my life forever, as I loved my dog so very much, I cry everyday. I never saw this happening to me. It has been a very painful lesson.

  5. Em says

    My parents were the epitome of ignorant and irresponsible dog owners when I was growing up. One of my childhood dogs wandered the neighborhood aimlessly all of the time. Didn’t know any better when I was younger, but makes my blood boil just thinking about it now. I’m honestly kind of surprised she didn’t end up dead somehow (Though, somebody did find her once, thought she was a stray, and decided they wanted to keep her for a few weeks before searching for the owner. Easily could have never seen her again there if things went differently.)

    Throughout the years, I’ve gained enough experience to know that there is nothing good about off-leash dogs and their friendliness is irrelevant. I own a dog who used to be reactive towards strangers before working with her and can see just how dangerous it would be for a friendly off-leash dog to mosey up to a reactive strange dog and get into some serious trouble. And the unfriendly dogs (ESPECIALLY ones that have a known history), just don’t even get me started…

    A neighbor of mine has two large dogs that are always running loose. One of them has an especially bad rep. when it comes to other dogs. I’ve personally had her run up to my on-leash dog while coming home from a walk, sniff, and start growling immediately. I’ve also heard from another neighbor that when a friend of his came to visit and brought their dog, the other dog ran up to him and started a fight. I will more often than occasionally walk my dog outside and one of the dogs will be on the treeline in my backyard staring down me and my pup. Creepy as all hell.

    They have an electric fence for them. Clearly isn’t doing squat and they’ve got to be aware of that at this point. If your dog cannot be trusted outside (because they wander or for any other reason) and you haven’t got a fence, then you will have to stop being lazy and take them out on-leash to use the restroom. Plain and simple. We have an online neighborhood message board where in the past somebody has called out another dog owner with a similar problem dog warning them that if they saw the dog wandering again, they’ll call Animal Control. Guess who has been seen actually walking their dog ever since? I’ve had enough, though, and am likely to call AC the next time I see them out. Gets ridiculous especially when you start becoming wary about taking your dog out onto YOUR OWN PROPERTY.

    I am understanding about the (very) occasional situation where a dog gets loose, though.

  6. jojo says

    This is a big problem in my neighborhood. I now carry both citronella spray and pepper spray. If I know the dog and know it’s just obnoxious, I spray citronella. If I don’t know the dog or don’t know what it is capable of, I am ready with the pepper spray. I haven’t had to use it yet, but you better believe I will. A neighbor’s little dog was sent to intensive care by a dog whose owners let it run loose every day. Their response when the little dog’s owner confronted them was to threaten that other
    neighbors would be mad at her if she reported them to Animal Control. Some dog owners are just nuts. You have to protect your own dog.

    • Anonymous says

      *Bleep* neighbor allows his hundred pound “puppy” to run free. Once out the door, the animal makes a bee-line for my front yard leaving behind feces & urine. All he says is…not my fault…can’t control where she does her business…she broke away…you animal hater. So tired of cleaning up after this dog. Is there a super-strong repellent I can spray on my porch & in my yard? Thanks.

    • shibashake says

      There is Critter Ridder but the reviews are mixed and it is not something I have tried. In the one-star reviews section, there are more suggestions for alternative techniques.

    • Anonymous says

      I carry pepper spray and have used it for off leash dogs running at us. I don’t “wait and see” if they are friendly- an untethered dog running at a tethered dog is stressful. I spray them from 10-20 FT away and make sure they don’t get any closer. I have zero problem being more invasive if the pepper spray doesn’t deter them at a distance. I exercise my right to defend my personal space… period.

  7. Wendy says

    My neighbor’s 3rd dog was hit by a car today for running in the street. Poor Bella. Luckily she survived. RIP Cruncher. RIP Princess. Isn’t this animal abuse? Should I report them? It breaks my heart and it’s traumatic to witness!

  8. Lora H says

    I don’t care if the dog is well trained or not. I do not know these dogs and do not want them off leash near me. I was once approached by a dog off leash, the owner promised me the dog was well trained and non agressive. Next thing I knew I was on my way to thr hospital covered in blood. I found out later the dog bite 3 more people in a park after he bite me. Each one said the owner told them the dog was safe. The dog was unleashed and was hit and killed by a car.

    • Liz says

      All I see on this thread is people protecting their own dogs which is great but I do not have a dog, just me and 2 roaming dogs. I have tried to discuss this with their owners who have been nothing but rude and refuse to keep their dogs on their property. I don’t feel safe walking down my own street any more. Any tips on how to stop this?

    • Audrey says

      I was bitten yesterday by a neighbors dog. They claimed it was not theirs and did nothing to restrain the animal. It was horrible. I am pretty upset.

  9. rich, B. says

    im cool with dogs but im not a dog lover because when I was a kid it seemed like their was always a random stray, or dog that got out that wanted to use me and my friends as a chew toy, so I got a lot of running exercise. the worst part when I was 9 me and my neighborhood friends had enough and knocked on the owners door. The owner proceeded to tell little kids scared to play outside that it was our fault for the two dogs aggression. (really?) This went on for another month, me and my friends finally one more time knocked on the door and informed the owner that if this does not stop the two dogs would be dead in the street next time. we had already planned to remove the threat. but gave a warning first, the owner said nothing and closed the door. never saw the dogs again. I don’t like violence and I like animals but why do I have to live in fear for an animal and bad owner (it sucks)

  10. monica true says

    Just got home from a walk and my Akita 8 months puppy got attacked by a free rooming dog. It is the second time this week. I feel almost like buying a shocker stick and using it next time. I am so tired. she is gentle and making good progresses on training. I dedicate so much time to her, but I literally freaked out tonight. I am so fed up πŸ™

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, we got charged by a little yappy dog today. The owner thought it was funny πŸ™„ They don’t seem to understand that they are putting their own dog in danger and causing grief to everybody else.

      One of my neighbors used to let his little dog out all the time because “it was no big deal”. One day, the little dog charged at the wrong bigger dog and got hurt. Then and only then did they change their behavior. DOH!

  11. jade says

    I am seriously fed up with insensitive women who tell me that their off leash, 90 lb plus dog is okay and friendly. The dog came bounding up to my 15 lb guy who did not like the aggression of the off leash Shepherd, nor did I enjoy being snapped at as we got tangled with my dogs leash. The Shepherd bit my dog and the owner walked off, still not controlling her dog and saying nothing.

    Following week, no one around, went to get some dog bags, my guy leashed, Boxer appears from no where, bounds towards and would not take NO! My dog doesn’t like this, aggression is apparent between both dogs, Boxer bites my dog. Woman about 15 yards ahead on a cell phone….”that’s what dogs do.” she yelled at me, still walking and facing ahead, still on cell.

    Dog Park. Two massive white dogs came and surrounded my husband, me and my dog and one of them became aggressive and my dog, which I then couldn’t see was somewhere between them squealing. Very unpleasant. The owner seemed to be blaming us. My dog was minding his own business, they came up to us, they acted aggressively, they were off leash. The owner said my dog made hers excited. Get hold of you dog woman!!

    Different dog park. Enjoying the sun on a bench, dog sitting by husband when a large black dog, with a very hyper nature, came over and completely stood over my sitting husband practically ending in his lap. Owner on cell, totally not able to control her dog.

    Local park, early morning. Could see large off leash dog in on leash area. I’d had enough dogs jump on us this week and managed to get behind a gate in a fence. Was told that her dog was okay, I said that everyone says that. She made accusations about my fear. I’m not afraid of dogs at all if it’s just me and the dog, it’s the owners I’m afraid of.

    Additionally I discovered that large breeds are being given slops for food and they deposit diarrhea where ever they go and their ownerpretend not to notice. They don’t get their dog to go into the bush area they let them do it right on a public path, a piece of grass where children play etc. They are pigs!

  12. Anonymous says

    I constantly encounter these situations when I walk (always on a leash) my lab/pointer. She is also a magnet for “aggressive dogs” leashed or unleashed. It’s terrible. I have a son with autism and we have to walk the dog for exercise for both her and us. I wish someone would understand that they put us in a high state of anxiety EVERY walk.

  13. NicholasD says

    Okay, I knew I wasn’t the only one bothered by this. So, up the road from my house is this rottweiler. Very big and potentially dangerous dog. This thing is kept on a chain leash on top of the hill across the street from the owner’s actual house. It has broken this chain several times, usually chasing after the owner’s truck as he leaves for work. In this scenario, we have a big,powerful, dog just roaming around the houses. Once, it chased after my sister as she was trying to drop off a neighbor friend’s missed school homework. The worst part is that I’m the only one in my neighborhood and household that sees the potential danger! When it chased her, the neighbor, who’s yard it invaded to do so, simply said “Oh, he’s harmless, he’s only playing. If he wanted to catch her, he would have.” That comment alone sickened me, but then a few years later, it breaks off the chain when my extended family is over for a fourth of July picnic. Thank god I got two aunts who are good with animals so no one got hurt, but that only furthered the image of it being “friendly”. This is an animal that is territorial, very large, strong enough to break chain and is probably roaming around outside my house as I type. I don’t feel safe knowing it isn’t secure at all times. Please, someone tell me how to deal with this effectively and permanently, preferably without having to deal with the owner because he’s obviously not going to listen and no one around will back me up.

  14. Mia says

    Interesting read. I just found this after googling ‘unleashed dogs’, because I just had a horrible experience. I was going for my daily walk. Rounding a corner, I see an unleashed dog that came running toward me as soon as he spotted me. He circled me, baring teeth, barking, and growling. The owner came running toward us yelling at me ” it’s ok he won’t bite’ ( really now). The dog could not be recalled; he continued to circle and growl and bark; while I kept repeating ‘this is NOT ok”. Instead of grabbing her dog, the owner started yelling at me” just keep walking’ . I yelled at her “this is not acceptable”; she then very aggressively yelled at me ” he’s not doing anything wrong. Don’t walk on this road then”. Like what???? She was apparently very pissed at me for being afraid. Or what???? Anyone understand this behavior? I love animals. I’m starting to hate dog owners unless I have evidence to dispute my opinion. ” He won’t bite???” Am I asking you? Do I care what the owner’s opinion of their dog is? Should my right not to be attacked by your dog be respected? Does the leash law say: ‘secure your dog only if you want to; if you don’t think you need to, then feel free to ignore the law”.

    • Sally says

      Mia, I am so much with you in your view of dog owners who tell you that their dog ‘is only being friendly’ or ‘it’s ok it won’t bite’ when it runs at you baring its teeth and snarling. I meet this regularly when I am walking my dog on-leash and meet an off-leash dog. I have met dog-owners who have shouted at me and blamed me when their off-leash dogs have attacked my on-leash dog. What is it about some dog-owners who can’t accept that their dog is not the same with others as it is with them; or that there are people who don’t want to be greeted by a dog one way or the other? Not everybody likes dogs, for one thing, and for another, dogs should never be off-leash, in my view. The reason being that dogs are animals and as such are unpredictable. It is never possible to predict how a dog will react in any situation. I am very fond of my dog but I also know that he must be kept under control and that he will not necessarily behave with others as he does with me. My brain hasn’t turned to mush about him and I hope it never does.
      Totally with you in your comments!

    • jade says

      I am sorry for you horrible experience. I had an incident where we where coming home and at the front door. My dog pulled on his leash and took off. I ran as fast as I could, but he was faster, he was running towards a man jogging who wore heavy duty earphones. I was screaming to the man, but he couldn’t hear. Poor man, my dog made contact with him and must have scared him wit-less, he look utterly shocked. I felt really bad and apologized profusely, he was still angry and he had a right to be, he got a big scare. He had no idea that my little dog loves people and wants attention from everyone. This hasn’t happened before, now i have to be extra vigilant.

  15. Nathan says

    I cannot stand people that visit their problems on other people, and that is what people walking their dogs off-leash are doing. I have a very large dog that is not friendly with other dogs. i keep him secured on a leash and close to me when i walk him, but that wasn’t enough to prevent him from killing an off-leash dog that approached us during one of our walks. It was a devastating thing to experience. The fact that I had told the owner on several occasions to leash his dog made the whole thing even more of a tragedy, because it could of totally been avoided. Now I have to live with that memory forever.

  16. Devin says

    I live in Indonesia where there are no leash laws or anything like the US. However, I believe regardless of that, people should leash their dogs on walks and NOT let them walk off leash.

    Off leash dogs (and those with no superviosion AT ALL) are a commonplace in my neighborhood. There was one time this black off-leash dog attacked my dog and bit him on the neck! Luckily for my Shiba, his “screaming” did the trick and got the dog to back off! Nowadays I carry a stick around so i can smack any dog that tries to come up against me (the black lab doesn’t dare come near me now).

    Today, an unleashed pug left the vicinity of his home and almost attacked my dog! Fortunantely I was able to pick up my dog and started swatting the dog away with my stick (mind you I didn’t actually make contact with the dog with my stick). Anyways, the owner came out and started berating about how his dog was “smaller” and therefore “safer” and not much of a threat in comparison to my dog, and that i shoudl have “hit” him even though I didn’t even touch that short faced mutant. I was just so pissed and told him “I don’t care how big your dog is! You should keep him locked in or leashed up! What if my dog was the one that bit your dog because you didn’t lock him up properly!?”. He then proceded to invite me to fight him and told me that my dog should bite his dog, trying to be all “tough” and shit urgh…. I just ignored him by that time because my dog was starting to get pissed off at this guy yelling at me too.

    URGH. People can be so ignorant and stupid. I swear this neighbor of mine should be sterilized so his genes won’t be passed down a few generations.

    Sorry for the long post. I just feel so frustrated and angry!

  17. cathy carbajal says

    What can be done about this the 2 big brown dogs are running loose in the yard and the owner just stands there. I thought they were going to attack me. They just started barking.

  18. says

    I came across this post after our neighbor’s German Shepard came running at us AGAIN unleashed with no owner in sight. It was nice to come across this article and also read comments with people sharing the same frustrations. I am sure the owner will claim their dog is friendly and is trained etc. but my dogs are not so good with larger dogs and one of them has been bitten by another neighborhood dog who got out of his collar by accident– which makes me even more wary and nervous. I also live in the neighborhood and believe my dogs and I have the right to walk in it! Thank goodness most times I am able to distract my dogs and either cross the street and turn back around. One time I was yelling for the owners to come get their dog and nobody ever came but the front door was wide open as was the garage door. I am planning on researching whether it is illegal in our city to leave your dog unleashed even in your own yard (in surrounding cities it is) and leave an note for this neighbor telling him the dangers of having his dog unleashed and unsupervised. I think I will just take a different route or go to the park from now on. I may be moving soon anyway so I hope I won’t have to deal with them any longer!

  19. Eva says

    I agree with the previous poster. Although this article is older it is so relevant! After getting charged once again with snarling dogs on walkies today I hit the internet to see what other people did in the same situation. I love this site so I came here first! The problem in my area is dogs behind those invisible electric fences. They get out and the owners claim the electricity failed. Funny how it’s always just the fence and never their house, eh? All their other electrical devices seem to functioning just fine. Through previous escapes I think many of these dogs have figured out that if they put up with a little discomfort there is a way out. These are unsocialized, dog-agressive dogs who I never see out on walks with their owners EVER and usually come in pairs. To date (in a year and a half) we have been charged by two German Shepherds together (twice), two Rottweilers together (twice), a Pitbull and mixed breed dog together (today), one lone Boxer mix and one completely unidentifiable mix (three times). The only non dog aggressive one out of the bunch was the Pitbull, thankfully.

    I have two Border Collies, one 12 year old ex-super mum who no aggressive dog ever dares to mess with and her grandson, one fearful and reactive 1.5 year old male. My gut reaction is always to take my cue from my super old lady and her doggy tone of voice (she utters one vocal correction to dogs going for her and they just stop) in these situations. She is off leash and can deal with these dogs perfectly herself but I am with my very reactive fearful young dog on leash who is still learning that calmness is his friend. I draw myself up, remain calm, think in my head “this is MY walk, you will absolutely NOT mess with my day” and say in my best commanding, ‘do not mess with me’ voice, BACK OFF while indicating away from me with my hand. The words are irrelevant as the dogs don’t speak English but the tone and body language seem to work. To date this has been successful for me and the startled dogs vacate our vicinity fairly sharpish (perhaps it is me and my old lady in a combo counter assault. They try her first and get rebuked and then head for my frightened pup and get rebuked again by me) but it is so frustrating dealing with these lackadaisical owners.

    I live in a small village and these encounters always happen on the various small country paths where I am completely alone with no back up and the owners houses are far away. I am trying to train with my reactive dog who is always on a leash, be it short or long, to deal with his fear issues and the carelessness of these people keep setting our progress back. I consider myself lucky to date that my voice has stopped a fight before it starts (and miraculously lucky to have a dog like my old lady to back me up) but what would I do if this failed and I found myself alone with my two dogs and two aggressors? The mind boggles at the behavior of some owners. I am struggling to find the right channel to report these things as I am a foreigner who is still learning the language where I am, as I have only relocated a little while ago, but talking to the owners never seems to work. The article says it best:

    Dude! … I mean really?!

  20. Kathleen says

    Although this article has aged a little, the issue has not. I disagree with one minor thing: Even if the dog is well-trained, they need to be on leash except in off-leash parks or unpopulated areas. First, it’s the law; second, how hard is it to hold a leash? If your dog is that well-trained, being on-leash should be extremely easy.

    My biggest problem with off-leash dogs has come in our own territory. There has always been someone in the neighborhood who lets their dogs roam loose, and those dogs expand their territory. I’ve lived in three different places where dogs allowed to roam freely harass my dog. I once lived in an apartment complex with an aggressive Boxer who was continuously allowed off-leash despite my warnings to the owner of an impending dog fight. (I also have a Boxer.) One morning, we were outside for our potty break, and the Boxer was let outside off-leash, barreled across the parking lot, and tore into my dog. I later found out that she had attacked the other dog in the building on several occasions. Thanks to people like this (not dogs, PEOPLE), my Boxer now hates off-leash dogs and goes immediately on the defensive when she sees one. At present, I have to limit her walks because there’s a property behind us where yet another owner lets the dog roam loose, and his Lab started off after her the other morning, coming into our parking area. I did the “stop” command with my hand up, but my experience is that after a few encounters, the dogs stop listening to that.

    The other comment I have about uncontained dogs is that you don’t need to be out walking a dog to have problems with an unleashed dog. Pedestrians generally do not relish encountering dogs that are not leashed or contained.

  21. says

    Out of all the wandering dogs I have dealt with only one of them should have ever been allowed to be loose. She was an older chow chow that was a very serious guard of her property (untrained). She never approached, never lunged, never came within yards of anyone unless they invited her over to pet her. Really sweet dog, pretty much ignored whatever dog you were walking, and followed a little behind to make sure that you weren’t staying.

    The only real way you could get trouble from that dog was if you walked onto the property. Then the dog was replaced by a lion and you were in some serious trouble.

    That’s, until you stepped back off of the property XD. No fear or running required. You got off her land and she immediately had no problems with you anymore.

    But as to the issue, the only thing I can think is to have your local animal control on speed dial. If they get enough calls about a neighbor letting their dogs wander they will hopefully get the message and fine the owner. Nothing says “deal with your dogs” like a big hole in the pocketbook πŸ˜€

    • jade says

      My dog too. After numerous attacks from much larger dogs, being charged and bitten, he doesn’t want any dog near him, barrs his teeth and gives warning growls and snaps at them when they get close. And the owner still lets her off-leash dog keep on coming while she tells me that it’s my fear on my dog causing the problem. Lady there wouldn’t be a problem if your dog was leashed and could have a proper introduction to my dog in a controlled and safe environment.

  22. Melissa says

    Hate hate HATE out-of-control off leash dogs in on leash areas and the owner attitude that usually goes with it.

    If the dog is minding his own business, I don’t say anything — just go the long way around. But that is usually not the case. Usually the dog comes running at my dog, who, after a number of bad experiences like this, doesn’t take well to be charged by a strange dog while he is on leash. Go figure. Nor do I take well to being put in the middle of a dog fight by an owner who is 50 yards away either doing nothing or yelling, “Don’t worry! He’s friendly!”

    I tell the owner to get control of their dog. I tell the owner that this is not an off-leash area. And if it happens more than once, I tell the owner more than that. But the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. It’s not that the owners are UNAWARE that their dog is off leash and out of control in an on-leash area. It’s that they don’t care. They don’t care about you. They don’t care about your dog. And they don’t care that much about their own dog.

    • Pam says

      Good for you! I also carry pepper spray because when I walk my dig, we are almost always charged by an off leash dog.

    • Karen Amoroso says

      Way to go Suzanne. Just tonight I was charged by three different dogs while walking my two dogs. One of my dogs is a young puppy that I am training to walk on a leash. I was told by each one of the Owners that their dogs were harmless. I told them I couldn’t guarantee how my older dog was going to react because she is very protective of the puppy. First and foremost our dogs are animals. No matter how well trained you think they are, you cannot predict their behavior.

  23. Dee says

    This happens to us in our own yard. We just moved into a 3 family house in “the country” where one of the occupants thinks she is the animal psychic and expert rolled into one. Her GSD has rushed my dog 2 times and it’s turned into a dominance thing with her. She feels she should have the right to keep her untrained dog off leash. Our dog is ALWAYS on leash, even in the (unfenced) yard.

    I’m so sick of all the problems I have had since we got our dog. It’s NEVER my dog (always on a leash). It’s these other jerks.

  24. Melrose says

    I did make the mistake once of thinking my Shiba, Kioko, would come back during a beach walk. There was no one but my two friends and their dog with me on this beach for miles so it wasn’t much of a problem. I figured, Kioko has a really good recall at dog parks, in the house, in our yard, at our friend’s ranch, etc. He should be fine here? Not so much with seagulls around. >.<
    He went chasing down the beach after each colony of seagulls while I fretted away, wondering if I should pick up the pace the whole time. I concluded I didn't want him to think we would match his pace under any circumstance, so we continued walking. He got about a mile ahead of us and turned around and saw we weren't following so quickly. We watched him turn around and slowly saunter back, smelling all the seaweed and taking his dear sweet time He came back with the biggest stupidest smile on his face ever.
    I can't decide if he was ignoring me because of the colonies of seagulls, or because he couldn't hear me when I first called when he was quarter mile out due to the waves (yes, I let him get a decent distance before worrying and calling him back in vast, empty places like this).
    At least now I know what distance to expect him to stop and check on me when he's hunting. And I need to work on deciding when best to recall in different locations.

    • Melrose says

      By the way, this dog is 8 and one of the best dogs I’ve had as far as recall and staying close. We go on walks leashed in my neighborhood and he is allowed off leash only in specific places. For example, we go out to visit a friend of mine who has acres of land on a regular basis. He’ll run with me through the trails or behind the golf cart / atv if we’re doing heavy work. If he does wander I don’t mind much because he’d come when called. Squirrels have never been a big problem as he’d stop the pursuit and come right back. It was just this one time with seagulls. Hence me questioning his recall due to the waves drowning out my voice.

  25. says

    i have two passive females, an irish setter and a smaller mixbreed. both adopted, yet well behaved, and always on leashes.

    i have this problem with one of the family’s down the road. not only do they not put their aggressive large dog on a leash, but they themselves(father and pre-teen son) ride around oblivious on bicycles.. letting the dog run amuk. And occasionally the dog charges at mine. at first i changed my schedule, to avoid running into them, but now i’vve realised that they don’t follow one.. so finally today i told the guy to either put his dog on a leash or stay away from my dogs. he said: “Why? he’s not doing anything.. its a public road..”

    Dude! … I mean really?!

    i have anger management issues when dealing with stupid people like this. Also his son was watching, and i didn’t want to have a child watch his dad get messed up.. so i took a deep breath and walked away.
    now I just visualize the guy getting mauled by someone else’s off leash dog.
    maybe i’m sick in the head πŸ˜›

    it really is frustrating. i get what your going through. thanks for the excellent post πŸ™‚

    • says

      oh forgot to mention:

      i am a reformed off-leash dog walker. i used to let my last dog, a large labrador, run amuk.

      And one day he got stolen.. i somehow managed to recover(long story) him, and then he hurt his leg during another leashless walk.

      After that i grew a brain. kept him on a leash for the rest of his long happy life(14years). He became so well behaved that i could even take him to my office with me. and because of him they officially turned it into a dog-allowed workspace!

  26. jkp says

    I have a right to be left alone on a public sidewalk or street when I go for a walk or a bicycle ride. You have a right to own a dog. However as of 2013 millions of people in the US are bitten by dogs each year. As you can see people’s rights are being violated on a mass scale. You could be next. There’s only one solution – dogs and their owners by law must attend and pass stringent dog training and dog ownership classes.

    • tiny hat says

      The public sidewalk in front of my apts (DTLA) is often occupied by my next door neighbors new (young, untrained and gigantic) Great Dane off leash. After several attempts to solve the issue peacefully and calmly with my neighbor, who was once a friend, through emails and meeting in person-it is clear she is still not willing to use the leash, and not able to control her very large dog. She likes to sit on her porch and let the dog roam around freely to use the grass in front of my apts next door. There is zero visibility from her door, to around the corner of my building where many cars could be backing out of the driveway or anyone could be working out of the several garages in the building. The last time I got out of my vehicle in my own driveway, the dog ran right up to me, and my neighbor was no-where in site. I had to get on the hood of my car to escape and shout around the corner “Hey! Leash your dog!” several times before she finally stopped chatting on her porch to offer me a half-hearted “sorry”, from around the corner. The dog ran back on it’s own, she didn’t even try to call it or retrieve it. So I am finally done with being nice. I told her that from now on I will be documenting with notes and photos or videos each instance I see her dog off leash and getting a dog protection device for myself. She told me that she thinks I am being abusive and hostile because her animal is only sweet and nice. I absolutely HATE it when off leash dog owners use “my dog is so friendly and you are just so mean” as an excuse for their own irresponsible behavior. There is a leash law for a reason. I don’t care if an off leash dog only wants to lick and play. I don’t want any off leash dog invading my (public or private) space without my permission, and I don’t want them running up to jump on me or only sniff my feet. I don’t even care if the dog is big or small, (though the large dogs are scarier) it just makes me extremely angry every time. In my neighborhood there is a leash law that is constantly abused, by soooooo many dog owners, which is probably why my neighbor thinks she has a right to unleash her dog whenever she pleases. I sent her the copy of the official ordinance, so now she will not be able to say she didn’t know. My next step will be to contact my landlord, then the HOA and then report it to Animal Control if I can’t get results. I have decided to also start documenting all the off leash dogs in the neighborhood, even though I do not know where they live, so that I will have a case to make a nuisance complaint large enough so that a regular patrol will visit and moniter the dog action for awhile. Hopefully a few expensive tickets/fines will encourage some leashing. But for now, every time I go in and out of my apt and car, I have to be on high alert for a huge dog running at me off leash. Also, sadly this Dane has copious amounts of urine that has now almost completely killed the small amount of green grass strip near the sidewalk in front of the apts. It’s disgusting that people can get away with this. Pretty much every public park in my area has a leash law and no-one pays attention, so I cannot ever walk and enjoy the awesome trails near my apts, because someone’s off leash dog in always bounding at me around the corner, far ahead of the owner. If enough people were willing to take action though, it could change-so don’t just ignore it PLEASE!!! Just one official and legal complaint can start the ball rolling. Make your complaint public and where you will have some support. Report them to your HOA or Animal Control.

    • says

      I disagree. The money it would take to attend such classes in order to be certified is enormous (at least around here it is). There is no way I could afford them. But as one of the poorest people in my neighborhood, I probably do more to train and restrain my dogs than anyone else.

  27. V. Albert Miet says

    I faced an owner whose much larger off-leash dog always came after my leashed Shiba inu at a nearby park. After putting up with this for over 4 months, I finally asked this owner why he did not leash his dog as required by law and why he thought it was okay to drive his golf cart in the park when that too was prohibited. I was very calm at this time. The owner got off the golf cart, removed his jacket, and in a rage, came after me and my dog. He threatened to kill my dog and then shove him down my throat. At this point before he got any closer, I had to warn him that I had a licensed concealed handgun, showed him my 9mm Glock in my holster, and said “take one more step towards me and
    you will force me to draw my gun.” Of course, he backed off, claiming that I should fight like a man. I left the park and called the police. He claimed that I threatened to shoot him beacause

    • shibashake says

      Wow, that sounds like a pretty horrible experience. What happened at the end? Did the police at least get him to stop breaking park laws?

    • says

      I have neighbors like that. They let their Pitt (as in APBT, not how many use the name loosely which is wrong and terrible for the reputation of each breed) wander into my yard and I chased it out several times. One time it came in and flat out attacked my GSP Poker. Poker is fine (and way stronger than he looks apparently o.0), but then the dog continued to come into my yard after it attacked my dog and its owner had to come and fetch it. So I told them I was going to call animal control and have them put a dog trap in my yard.

      They said they were going to come over and shoot my dogs
      So I told them I had evidence of their dog in my yard and that I was going to sue.
      I never saw the dog again.

      Still, I have had two of their other dogs come into my yard frequently, but they are very fearful of Poker and Bailey so thankfully they are the ones running for safety then

  28. LP says

    Get doggie mace and spray any dog that charges you. It may learn never to charge again. I am really tired of people with little dogs that are too lazy too hold onto a leash. If a dog charges my large leashed dog he is going to fight.

    Best way to break up a dog fight is to grab the dogs back legs, lift them off the ground and turn or pull the dog back. Keeps hands away from the mouth and makes the dog off balance.

  29. Tammy says

    I have a leash reactive dog too – like level 10 .. mostly reactive at other dogs (on or off-leash) but also sometimes people. (I have not figured out the people trigger yet)
    There are only so many streets where I am so there are not that many alternate routes.
    Most people here have dogs and many are not trained or stable so it makes it difficult.
    What makes it difficult more than anything is the comments from PEOPLE when my dog starts barking, I try turning the other way and they are telling me I am getting rough with my dog. How else am I supposed to get him outa there unless I turn around and guide him where I want to go?
    He is a tiny dog — 10 pound shih-tzu/pom mix. Not nutered yet until he is finished his shots. He is about 1 year old dog I adopted from a super busy house (several other dogs/kids constantly in a level 10 excitement) to a quiet house where only me there & some visitors (who are also usually calm etc)
    He is fine at the door (now) & instantly responds when I say ‘down’ if he jumps a visitor – however this is usually prevented if I sit him down a few feet back from me when I answer the door. (before this it was about lvl 8 excitement – PET ME!!!)

    I don’t think the other owners took him out much & basically learned he is always supposed to be screaming/barking & going nuts around other dogs because that is what he did at his old home. He was also treated human like (always carried around, spoiled, no boundries, disiplane or anything like that)Owners coddled/paid complete attention to him just for simply moving..

    I asked the old owner what key words they used for getting their dog to listen or do things… the only thing they could make the dog do is dance (for treats)
    OK – so start with very basic training then huh…lol.
    He does not guard resources, is awesome with grooming – I can do anything to him & he’s OK with it. (this is kewl since shih-tzu needs lots of grooming)
    He’s good with potty outside.
    He’s getting much better with the separation anxiety stuff. MAJOR improvement here.

    The people comments tick me off, I am sure the dog can feel my frustration & therefore reacts more.
    He’s a tiny little dog & his reaction – I can’t tell if it is GET AWAY FROM ME!!!!!! or I WANNA PLAY NOOOOWWWWWW” LOL!
    I am trying to get him to just ignore other dogs.
    No dog parks here, any parks here mostly are around water which is also bad because of the constant invasion of hundreds of geese … which means every 6 inch space on the ground is goose poo which he wants to gobble up like M & Ms….(I don’t think this is at all healthy)
    The other thing I have trouble with – because he is small & cute – EVERYONE wants to get in his face & let him jump all over them because they think its cute…
    I am trying to train him not to pester people & it seems as soon as he starts getting better at not doing this … someone comes along & more or less forces them on him purposely triggering his pestering actions.

    Because it is a small town everyone knows everyone so if I try walking away or getting my dog off them (since he is not going to learn – that person its ok to maul & this person it is not) they get ticked, tell everyone how unfriendly I am including my parents who feel the need to question me about it. (BTW – I am 45 – not 12)
    Their dog is about 45 pounds & its OK with them for their dog to jump/pester everyone so they get ticked when I call my dog off people thinking I am mean…
    People here can’t mind their own business, think they hafta check out everyone elses doorstop rather than cleaning up their own & then feel the need to blow things totally out of proportion.
    (eg: I walk down the street with my dog, he hears dog a few doors down the street barking like mad, he joins in (taz style – not just hi!), person grumbles about my dog, I turn the other way guiding the dog my way & they go off telling others that I am yanking/dragging my dog … bla bla bla)

    It’s not the DOG I don’t know how to handle – its the PEOPLE! LOL!

    I’ve only had the lil guy about a month & 1/2, we have made very good progress in some areas but not so well in others.

    Obviously I am not using a choker chain – he’s a 10 pound tiny lil dog with a neck not much bigger around than my forearm.
    Prong collar — ummm forget it! Same as above (I hate those things but do have an open enough mind that it may be useful on some dogs)
    Halti – forget it — hes too small & his spaz time from calm time is about 1/2 a second or less so he would end up breaking his neck or something plus he has a really short face so it would not fit well anyways. (again – useful on some dogs – just not applicable in mine because his reaction time is too fast & he would get seriously hurt especially since it would not fit right)

    Harness == PULL like MAD!! I use a harness in the car to keep him safe and when we are on the treadmill. (yes my dog is OK on the treadmill LOL)

    Front leader — forget it – I’ll end up with him flipping over @$$ over teakettle & getting hurt.

    REgular collar seems to work the best with gentle redirection but still it sounds like he is literally strangling himself with barking/over excitement.
    The excitement is so high it is no longer barking – it sounds like I am standing on his throat!! (this obviously does not trigger a calming affect on me)

    Trying to find some-place where there are no other dogs, NOSY people or other WILD animals is near impossible.
    He & I both need the exercise. I can’t keep him pent up indoors always because he will take his frustration out on something inside.

    I feel he will eventually get over it or at least tolerate other stimuli if I stay calm and just ignore whatever/whoever & continue on.
    I don’t know what to say to other people though that obviously have no clue and can’t help but make some snide rude comment or are obsessed with practically diving on top of my dog because he is cute.
    Yes – he is cute – but he is easily excitable so PLEASE don’t trigger him!

    HAHA! I’d love to see em do that with an adolescent 100 pound not yet trained pitbull! LOLOLOL!

    No – nothing at all against any large breed animal — just getting this oh-so-funny picture of someone saying cute doggie, trying to approach it then watching scent II where the big doggie bounds toward them in a playful manner & knocks em flat out! (SLURP!) (while the poor owner is working on also picking themselves off the ground (hopefully laughing!))

  30. ali griffin says

    I have a miniature schnauzer who is four years old. I got him as a young pup and I lived in a rural area and trained him entirely off leash. I always have a leash on hand incase of any emergency, but walk him without it. I have spent years working on our bond and his recall to the point where he stays within a few yards of me and checks in frequently. He is very well socialized, has a few dozen “dog friends” of different breeds and never had altercations of any kind. When he sees another dog he runs to me and only investigates if I tell him it is ok, after I ask the owner. He is also trained to not go into the road. When we come to a corner he will stop and sit until I let him know it is ok to cross at which point he sprints full speed to the other side. He has a very high chase drive so training him to the point he is at was not any easy venture, but we are to the point where we trust each other and I have learned to watch his body language and talk him through situations. I have never had any situations where I’ve regretted having him off leash.

    Upon moving to Salt Lake City, I continued letting him off leash at times, but due to city laws he is on leash about half the time. One early morning I was out for a jog with my off-leash dog at my side. I didn’t even see the pitbull approach from behind until I heard my dog yelp. I turned to see a pitbull with it’s teeth bared and snarling, latching onto my dog. I’ve never struck or hurt an animal in my life, but the adrenaline and protective instinct must have kicked in and I kicked it as hard as I could square in the face. I am a girl, but I also played college soccer so I can kick pretty hard. The surprise of the kick gave my dog just enough time to run full speed under a car out of reach of the big pit bull. At this point the owner ran out and started threatening to sue me for kicking his dog despite the fact it was unphased and still lunging towards my bleeding dog. I was flabbergasted. My dog is the one that needed a trip to the vet. If my dog hadn’t been off leash, he probably wouldn’t have been able to get away because he would have been attached to me.

    Due to this experience I wish that cities or states would allow owners to get something similar to a Canine Good Citizen, where the off leash demeanor is tested and only dogs who pass are allowed off leash. This would teach owners how to train their dogs and dogs how to behave off leash. I feel like it is a lot safer for my dog to be able to escape if needs be. Also I wish that cities would have stiffer fines for owners who allow aggressive/untrained dogs to be off leash. In my city each offense is only $50 and you have to actually get caught by an animal service person. They wouldn’t do anything about my attack because it was my word against the other owner’s word. I also have started carrying high grade pepper spray, but the kind that comes out in a stream, not a mist. Apparently (according to several police officers) it is much more effective with animals. I think that coupled with a swift kick to the face would deter most dogs.

    Lastly, not all off leash walkers are “irresponsible pieces of crap”. I’ve spent a lot of time, energy and effort ensuring that my dog is very well behaved. He is not even a slightly agressive dog, and doesn’t charge, knows how to interact with other dogs and doesn’t run in the road. A lot of that is due to his personality, as a young puppy he was very eager to please and started life well socialized so I probably had it easier than most owners. I understand that not all humans and dogs like dogs, so I’ve trained him to let me decide which ones he interacts with, keeping him safer and more confident. He is better behaved than most dogs I see on leashes. Even after being bitten he still loves interactions with other dogs. Hope that some insight from the other side helps πŸ™‚

    • HWright says

      While your dog may be exceptional, the law is the law. Having a leash does not mean it is permanently attached to you. You could let the leash go to allow your dog to escape. Unfortunately most people DO NOT take the time to train their dog as you have so it is the law for the greater good.

      I have some people who have a really nice lab they walk off leash but they do not watch him…in that I have found the dog defecating in my front lawn and they follow a few minutes behind him. They cannot see what he is doing. So they do not see their dog as a problem. I told them what their dog does, and they got annoyed with me. sigh.

      I also witnessed him eating some garbage left at a park across the street. I cannot imagine letting my dog eating stuff off the floor, getting bit by a snake etc. If on leash you are in a closer proximity to your dog and can monitor what they are doing.

      You keep your dog right by your side so you can see what is going on…but most off leash owners think its cool to let them run ahead. Not so cool.

      I agree,, dogs that sneak up quietly from behind scare me the most. One did that to my two dogs and I raised my stick to the dog shouting NO….now the neighborhood gossip is that I hit him on the head and like to hit dogs with sticks. Good grief.

      Some people are too stupid to won a dog.

  31. TH says

    Dog owners whose dogs run unleased into public spaces are irresponsible pieces of crap. These craps includes the “nice looking people with the nice expensive house”. If you can afford a dog you need to afford proper dog education and training. This should be law. I’ve been assaulted by a number of dogs over the years while walking down public streets and the dog owners never apologize. In one case the owner blamed me for walking by his house! What a piece of human crap. Most dogs are potentially dangerous weapons. When a dog gets loose in public the owner should be charged with a serious crime.

  32. jan says

    SHIBASHAKE, thank you for the article link, which I enjoyed and is helpful and interesting, looking at getting a copy of the book too. Rude dogs are nothing compared to their rude owners who create rude dogs in the first place. I am definitely working up to writing a poster with some well chosen comments from this site, no names of course, and nailing them to posts in our area.

    Although I seem to be the only one with a little guy, who btw is not yappy :)I find the articles and comments here to be the most helpful of all the sites I’ve checked out. I empathize with those of you who have large breeds that are well trained, but you feel the need to be cautious around small, dancing yappy things, it’s like being baited by a toy and risky. I tried hard to socialize my 15lb happy Havanese who was adopted from a family with small children who couldn’t cope with a puppy. I found it next to impossible to socialize my dog outside of a class where the instructor commands the attention of dog owners to produce well behaved dog owners and their dogs:) Off leash dogs outside of training class meant that puppies the size of ponies would come lumbering up to my guy and flatten him or throw him in the air. After a few of these incidents, my on-leash dog definitely became snarly and didn’t want anything to do with a large dog, regardless of temperament and calm persona. If the dog insists pursuing him and get too close he tells them very clearly to back off. This resulted in nasty incidents with a particular off leash shepherd, a pair of large white dogs, and several large mixed breeds and, of course, the boxer. The odd things is, at first I used to apologize even though I was minding my own business, had an on leash dog at my side and was not interfering with them or their dog, not anymore!

    I really appreciate everyone’s contribution here, it’s helping me understand how to deal with situations and how I can make things better from my end.

  33. jan says

    The park near our home has an on-leash trail with an off-leash fenced area. My dog is a 15lb male who doesn’t like being charged. He is frequently charged by off-leash dogs in the 45-60lb range. I read that I am the problem because I haven’t trained my dogs to stay calm and submissive when another dog approaches. My guy waits until the other dog gets along side him, aiming for his butt and then responds with snapping and barred teeth aggression, or maybe it’s dog speak, telling the other dog to get lost. However, the off-leash dog doesn’t respond well to rejection and responds, not just by growling or snarling, by trying to take a chunk out of my guy. One day I am going to get bitten because things go crazy quickly and all attempts to calm the situation fail when you have a reactive dog on leash and a loose, out of control dog.

    My dog was leashed by my side while I collected poop πŸ™‚ I saw an off-leash, muscular boxer looming towards us, it’s owner yapping on her cell about 6 yards back. I used a firm voice and told the dog NO! The dog kept coming and I ended up in the middle of two dogs snapping and trying to bite each other. My dog was on leash and is 15lb, the other dog was off-leash and at least 45lbs. It is very difficult to control your dog when another dog does not back off and keeps coming closer and getting in our space and refuses to retreat. I shouted to the owner to leash her dog, she ignored me and carried on with her conversation. The owner eventually leashed her dog, walked in the opposite direction without checking to see if we were ok and was verbally abusive. Her response was that “this is what dogs do.” That might be the case, but the dogs were unequally matched in size and ability to protect themselves.

    I am tired of irresponsible, inconsiderate owners. A neighbour rescues large, unwanted dogs and always walks them separately on leash, she receives verbal abuse from owners she asks to take control of their dogs. Yes, dogs are social animals and I want to provide mine with opportunities to socialize, but it is very difficult with uncaring people.

  34. Elmos Mommy says

    I live in a neighborhood where people own agressive breeds of dogs, and then don’t train them. Nor do they bother making sure their property is securely fenced with a gate, or sometimes they leave their gates wide open, and that is why my 5 year old sweet as pie Yorkie boy, Elmo, is dead. We were on our nightly walk as I had just gotten in from work LATE on a Friday evening (traffic jam). My apartment does not have a fenced in yard, and the landlord refuses to install one (despite my offering to help pay.) Neighbors pit bull (who has attacked and killed a german shepard before) charged through the wide open gate, attacking me, attacing elmo, and ultimately killing him. I sit here with 6,000 dollars in credit card debt from trying to save my babys life, and all the woman could do was scream at her children for leaving the gate open. She was obviously drunk and had no clue. She’s one of those 40 something divorcoed five times women who try to act like they’re 20… she accepts no responsibilit for any of this and it angers me. Husband and I decided no more small dogs, so we bought our husky boy Crosby (named after Sidney Crosby) who is now 4 months old and pretty smart. I read your website for training advice, and read this story (among others) and wanted to add I understand how everybody feels, and it sucks that there really is nothing anybody can do about stricter enforcement of leash las. Nor can we expect everyone to be responsible pet owners who exercise common sense. We can only protect ourselves, and when I walk crosby I carry a loaded mag lite flashlight. 6 d cell batteries bashing a dogs skull will make it think twice, although my heart will break in half if I ever had to.

  35. Laura says

    10 months ago, I started fostering a wonderful 2yr old Pit Bull named Daisy. Her family fell on hard times and could not keep her anymore and were dropping her off at the animal shelter just as I was walking out. I offered to care for her until they got back on their feet. I have owned dogs before, but had no experience with Pit Bulls. I immediately contacted my friend, a licensed dog trainer, who did a full behavioral assessment on Daisy. I also began implementing training methods under my friends supervision. Because I was fostering her temporarily, I wanted the owner to take her through formal training, not me.
    Daisy is very smart, loves to play with other dogs, and knows sit, stay, come, and does very well off leash. She is great everywhere we go, never a problem. EXCEPT when she is in the front yard!!! I garden, and when I am in the front yard, she will lay on the lawn or stand by my side, not distracted by people walking by or cars. But, if one of my neighbors is walking their dog…..zoom! Off she goes! Now, Daisy is not aggressive (I know some of you hate it when the charging dog’s owner says that) she just wants to play. But, I would be freaked out if an 80 pound Pit Bull came charging at me and my dog! How do I know it “just wants to play!” Of course, I look like an idiot running after her yelling ” She won’t hurt you!” while my horrified neighbors are shaking like a leaf!
    I truly apologize for not responsibly restraining my dog. My actions put others in situations that could have had negative results. I now have a retractable cable leash that is staked in the front yard allowing Daisy to be with me, but keeping her safely within the lawn area.
    Just yesterday, Daisy’s owners transferred ownership to me permanently. I love Daisy so much, and want her to live a long, happy, and SAFE life. That starts with me being a responsible owner. Even more so because Daisy is a Pit Bull, and there are special laws in place for her.
    I’m so glad I found this site and was able to read all the comments. My neighbors see that I have taken responsibility for Daisy, and she has lots of new dog friends that stop by to play now, and some that just walk by on the other side of the street with a nod or a wave by their owner which I interpret as a “Thank You” for respecting them and their dog. πŸ™‚

    • lp says

      Glad you wised up and decided to leash your dog. I wonder though, what would your friendly dog do if he ran up to a dog and that dog acted aggressive. Would he back off or also become aggressive?

      There are always strays in my neighborhood and with my non aggressive dog I never really feared walking her. It’s my leash aggressive boy that I dread walking. Afraid he will bite off the head of the little dogs running loose that are stupid enough to approach him when he is acting like Cujo. Now I am armed and dangerous when I walk both my dogs. Probably a good thing as I heard the cops had to shoot a pit bull that attacked another dog.

    • Barbara says

      Thank you for making a change and leashing her. Unfortunately the retractable leashes often break, and they can cause injury – would you please consider a standard leash instead.

  36. Rebecca Simmers says

    I am having this same problem! It is ridiculous. I have an American Bulldog, and this week, for like the 4th time, some dog came running off it’s lawn and charged at her. I have never received a decent apology from any of the owners, they act like I was crazy for screaming. They all say “oh, she’s/he’s friendly” yeah, sure, everyone thinks their dog is friendly, and they probably are, but they are also unpredictable animals, nobody can know they won’t bite. My Lily is very friendly but I’m scared to death of these other dogs. I think I’m just going to have to start taking her to a trail where leash laws are enforced. It’s a damn shame that nobody can walk their dog in their own neighborhood anymore.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, leaving a dog free to run loose is very dangerous for the dog as well, because he can get hit by a car. There are also seniors in my neighborhood who go out on walks, and it is dangerous to have a dog charge them, even if he is friendly. But some people …

      Now, I try to take note of the houses with loose dogs, and I avoid them or cross the street, especially when their garage door is open. That is usually when the dog is out loose in the front yard. It is sometimes a pain, but better that than getting charged.

    • Karen says

      I have the same problem. I have a decker rat terrier who is a rescue with a past. I have chosen that since I cannot control the outside environment to primarily focus my training on teaching him to ignore other dogs. We have had some terrible run ins that led me to this decision. If dogs are merely across the street my dog does not respond unless they are in our direct path. I carry a fish whomper bat for emergencies and have had to use it only once on an actual dog in 5 years. A VERY large dog chained to a tree and jumping on top of the hood of the car next to it broke off the chain and came after us – nothing else I could do – not normal circumstance of course. I also truly felt sorry for that animal because if I were chained up all day I would be ready to get any and every spoiled animal around me too. Usually I use the small bat to hit the ground or a nearby tree and make myself seem bigger and more intimidating, no animals get harmed and I am safe as well if you know what I mean. I don’t recommend that anyone harm an animal but if it comes down to being between my life and my dogs life and a unsupervised pet then I am not going to end up at the doctor for them. I also wear a whistle that can draw attention to me and once I know an area is not dog friendly for whatever reason I try not to choose that route again and stick to the areas that I know are safer options.

    • Jo says

      Try walking three little dogs, a 6 lb, 8 lb, and 11 lb dog on one single leash, and have a loose pitbull in a campground aggressively approach you, with bent legs, tail pointing, and hair raised. The owners laughing as you yell out three times, RESTRAIN YOUR DOG, PLEASE RESTRAIN YOUR DOG! YOU ARE BREAKING THE BYLAWS OF THE CAMPGROUND ALLOWING YOUR DOG TO BE LOOSE! You calm down and 3 hours later opt to venture our of your camper again but go in the opposite direction. You get 5 lots away from your site and 2 more LOOSE dogs aggressively charge at you. By now you totally lose it. Your family is upset, and camping ends for the year because of IGNORANT PEOPLE! I’m sure that’s where the saying goes “RULES WERE MEANT TO BE BROKEN”. If my husband walks with me and a baseball bat in his arms, it’s amazing how people with LOOSE dogs suddenly grab their dogs and hold onto them. A WOMAN WALKING A LITTLE DOG ALONE IS MERELY A TEST FOR THEIR AGGRESSIVE DOGS TRAINING!

  37. DogsRGreat says

    I’m wondering if you could help me out.
    Three months ago we moved into a town from a secluded acreage with my 100% unsocilized runt female rotti/lab. She is also a very dominant dog. (Not to humans, just to dogs)
    Where I live you are required to have complete control over your dog when in pubic but, many people let their dogs go loose. Dozens of dogs have approached my leashed dog.
    Three times now I have thought that a fight would break out between the dogs. ( A GSD, Bulldog, And a dog that looked like a Rottweiler)
    The most recent was this morning. My brother, dog and I were walking and my dog stopped and barked. A rotti cross started coming towards us, he seemed like a really nice dog but my dog was getting him riled. She was barking with her hackles up and just generally acting crazed. She even jumped up and put her paws on his face. As you might imagine he was NOT pleased about that and put his hackles up and growled. My brother (Who was trying to keep him away) Backed off so they had a clear space in front of each other. I was just going to let go of the leash and let them fight it out when my brother saw my predicament and told the dog to “get home”. Thankfully he listened.
    My dog was on a leash but the other dog was not.

    So my question is: What can I do about this? I’m afraid that one-day her aggression mixed with free dogs will end up with a fight.

    • Rob says

      Your brother has it right. It’s really the next-to-last thing to do. I find it very difficult to control two dogs when I’m on my own though.

      Unfortunately, the last step is a physical intervention on the advancing dog. You can use an air horn or something. I’ve heard spray bottles with water work, but I bet spray bottles with vinegar work better.

    • shibashake says

      With off-leash dogs I try to avoid them whenever possible. If I see them at a distance, I will take an alternate route.

      If their owner is nearby, I ask them nicely if they could please leash up their dog because my dog is not friendly. If the dog is by himself and already approaching, I try to discourage him from coming nearer by shouting stop or stay-back in a commanding voice (Like your brother did with “Get Home”). Most of the dogs I see usually back-off when I shout “Stop”. Shouting will hopefully also alert nearby people.

      I also did a lot of dog-to-dog desensitization exercises with my own dog so that he is less reactive toward other dogs. Most of the time, we just ignore the off-leash dogs we see, and they are happy to ignore us as well. I carry a cell-phone with me in case of emergencies.

      Other possibilities –
      1. Take our dog to an on-leash park for his walks. This may be the best option if there are a lot of stray dogs in the neighborhood. It would be a lot safer and also a lot more enjoyable.
      2. Walk our dog at odd times, when we are less likely to meet off-leash dogs.
      3. Air horn – only problem with this is that it could scare my own dog as well.
      4. Walking stick – my neighbor tells me that if she just holds out a walking stick, off-leash dogs will usually back-off. I haven’t tried this so I am not sure how effective it is.
      5. Dog pepper spray. Reviews seem mixed on this. Also, it could result in an argument/fight with neighbors.

      I would also try calling up Animal Care and Control and see what they say. Personally, I would not physically engage any unknown dogs.

  38. Rob says

    We have been struggling for a few months now with an owner who was walking their dog off leash in a public park (it’s against a city bylaw here). The dog approached ours and our warnings to the owner were not heeded. In the end, there was an altercation with the dogs. A month later we got a vet bill from them for $150 saying that it required antibiotics.

    We’ve been telling them at each encounter that we won’t pay because their dog was not under control. Now they’ve hired a lawyer and are going to sue us for the vet bill, pain and suffering plus legal costs.

    It’s not hurt dogs or dog altercations that I worry most about now when I see other off leash walkers. It’s the entitled ignoramus with the leash dangling around his shoulders that puts fear in me. If you’re not infuriated by off leash dogs, you should be.

    • shibashake says

      I don’t see how they have a leg to stand on given that they are the ones who broke the law. Ignoramus is indeed appropriate.

      Still, lame that you have to deal with this especially at this time of the year.

    • Tom says

      I thought I was the only one who was infuriated by off the leash dogs in public areas. I don’t own a dog. I like to walk. I don’t even like someones friendly dog coming up to me for a pet. It’s the dog owners at fault (obviously). I don’t know what to do about it. I guess carrying a walking stick is the only thing you can do. The owner will see your stick and realize you are “armed”. They should call the dog away from you then. That is, if they are in view of their dog. Dogs like to walk ahead of their owners. Protecting them from strangers. Dogs off leash ruins the walk for everyone. It usually ends up in some verbal altercation that accomplishes nothing other than ruining your day. I honestly figure many dog owners are just plain stupid, not to mention rude. Caring only for themselves, like it’s their own private world.

  39. Jack's Mom says

    Finding this site and reading the post and responses has been incredibly helpful. I have been caught up since adopting my first dog 6 months ago with irresponsible dog owners, and I thought I was the only one facing this. I had NO IDEA that there were so many dog owners who are thoughtless and inconsiderate. We’ve been chased nearly every week by an off leash dog while out on walks in my neighborhood. Yesterday my dog was attacked by a dog who is always sitting on his lawn off leash with his owner nearby. I always stop or cross the street and yell out to her to please hold on to her dog, but yesterday was the day I did not see them. Her dog came charging toward us. I screamed STOP! GO HOME! To no avail. Now, the 2 dogs are nose to nose and I try to relax and keep the leash loose hoping there wouldn’t be a fight. Within a split second, the other dog attacked my dog, biting his neck, which freaked me out! I was terrified that he would kill my dog. I screamed and pulled my dog away (which may not have been wise because now he couldn’t defend himself against this raging off leash beast.) I kicked and flailed my arms while screaming, NO, NO. His owner came over and got her dog then began hitting him. I asked her why she would hit her dog when it was her fault that any of this happened and I told her that there is a leash law. She said that she was sorry and that she didn’t know he was out, which was nonsense, since he was sitting directly next to her on her lawn. I told her that I knew this would eventually happen since her dog is never on leash. She said, “Well, you know, they are dogs.” OK, so what does that mean??? Anyway, my guy fortunately only had a small puncture wound on his rear leg, but it was bleeding and it broke my heart that it happened. I reported the incident to the Animal Control. It seems that all I do is call Animal Control reporting off leash dogs. I am so disheartened. I rescued my dog who had been beaten, strangled, starved and had his snout tied shut – he has the scars to prove it. I’d like to be able to walk with him and continue the work we’ve done in helping train him, but my neighborhood is like a mine field! I’m grateful to have a place to post this.

    • shibashake says

      It is very good that Jack has now found a good home and a family who truly cares for him.

      His owner came over and got her dog then began hitting him. I asked her why she would hit her dog when it was her fault that any of this happened and I told her that there is a leash law. …She said, β€œWell, you know, they are dogs.”

      πŸ™„ People like that just do not want to accept responsibility for their own actions. All they do is blame everybody else, including their dog.

      Did Animal Control take any action? Please give us an update when you get the chance.

    • JACK'S MOM says

      Just checking back…thanks for your reply.
      The ACO quarantined the other dog for 10 days and issued a citation since the dog attacked my dog in the street.
      I’ve just found out more on how the leash law works in my city.
      It’s OK for a dog to be off leash on one’s own property, but if it is on the sidewalk or street or elsewhere, the leash law kicks in.
      But I think it doesn’t make sense.
      So, the dog can sit on its front lawn off leash and when another dog or person walks by and the owner is unable to grab onto the dog and it leaves the property, it is then against the law? Doesn’t seem rational. I think it would make more sense that the dog must be on leash even on one’s own property if there isn’t a fence to prevent the dog from leaving the property. This way the dog and everyone else is safe. I forgot to mention in my original post…this is a busy street where cars often speed by. I worry about dogs on the front lawns not on a leash. Another dog a few months ago, on the same street, came after me and Jack. It was a friendly little dog, so nothing happened. I didn’t grab on to it and in a second, it was charging back to its house and came within inches of being run over by a car that was speeding by.
      Jack and I don’t walk down that street anymore and I’m trying to get a handle on my fear of coming across other loose dogs. I carry a walking stick now. My husband says that all I have to do it extend it toward an approaching off leash dog and it will prevent it from coming too close. I sure hope it works, because I could never strike a dog with it.
      So far, I haven’t come across any other off leash dogs, but I admit that I am not taking many walks alone with Jack and wait for my husband to come home to walk with us. I’ve also taken to driving Jack to the park and walking around the park with him since I’ve never seen any off leash dogs there but it’s not the same as walking leisurely through the neighborhood where there are lots of great things for Jack to sniff : )
      It’s 8 months now since we brought Jack home. He is so sweet and improving so much in training and listening. It warms my heart to know that he is happy and safe here with us. And he gets along famously with our 3 cats! Who would have thought?

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for posting this follow-up.

      It’s OK for a dog to be off leash on one’s own property, but if it is on the sidewalk or street or elsewhere, the leash law kicks in.

      That is very interesting. I guess having the city say what we can do on our own property, can quickly become a slippery slope.

      I think there should be stricter dog negligence laws though. From watching the Animal Cops show, currently such cases are extremely difficult to win. Even if the owner is found to be negligent, they just have to pay a small fine. One episode, there were these two women who threw a litter of puppies in the trash. After that, they just had to attend some sessions to teach them that doing something like that is not responsible. DOH!

      Nobody wants to take responsibility for anything anymore.

      On the good side, glad to hear that Jack is doing well! πŸ˜€

      Hugs to Jack and have a Happy Holidays!

  40. Eva says

    Hi there,

    I live in Norway and the problem is the same here too! Everyone thinks they are experts on dog behaviour and it is kind of embarassing listening to their ‘my dog is friendly’ and ‘I can control my dog off leash’ while their ‘friendly’ dog is snarling at mine, rnning around and ignoring frequent recalls…. Additionally, 95% of Norwegian dogs are not neutered (it is illegal, for some silly reason), so as you can imagine, the fight is always in the air…

    I own a rescued dog with a lot of behavioural issues. I must say that those off leash dogs and their cocky and ignorant owners have seriously jeopardised the rehabilitation process to the point where I doubt I will ever be able to ‘straighten’ the dog completely. If my dog wasn’t neutered, it would be much more serious as he used to be very aggressive towards other, especially smaller dogs.

    Nice to know I am not alone in my struggle to make those selfish people understand that it is not okay when their dog decides what to do with my dog!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Eva,

      Thanks for your very interesting post!

      Additionally, 95% of Norwegian dogs are not neutered (it is illegal, for some silly reason), so as you can imagine, the fight is always in the air…

      Wow I did not know that. Can female dogs be spayed or is that illegal as well? Are there a lot of accidental pregnancies or are people good about keeping in-heat females separated?

      Are the dog shelters in Norway well funded? The ones here are usually over-full and poorly funded. Many dogs get euthanized as a result.

  41. Laura says

    Well… I had a similar experience. I took my puppy out for a walk on her leash when all of a sudden I saw an old lady with a broom yelling “out of here”. At first I thought that she was yelling at us, but a few seconds after a mix-breed dog (the height of a retriever) came running from the patio of that lady. I am 5′ sharp and this dog really intimidated me. He stopped where we were and started to sniff my puppy. Then I noticed that he wanted to hump my puppy and I firmly said “STOP!”. It did not work. He was still trying so I just said “SIT” and he sat down. Very quickly I picked up my puppy and tried to protect her with my arms.

    I started walking and the dog again started with his behavior. I got to the point where I had to stayed immobilized with my puppy in my arms and repeating “SIT!” every time that the off-leash dog tried to get closer to us. After 10 minutes the owner came out and tried to get his dog but the dog ran away. When he finally got his dog he told me “Why did you keep him out in here?”. I exploded and got so mad that I told him that I had been there waiting during 10 minutes yelling “STOP and SIT” and nobody came out. I told him that his dog tried to hump my dog and he interrupted me saying “She will survive”.

    I came home feeling so mad. I do not think that the dog was aggressive. Indeed, the fact of having the dog bullying my puppy does not make feel as angry as the attitude of his owner. I decided to research what to do in a case like that and that is the way that I found this page.

    But still my question is: Is there something that would “legally” stop neighbors from leaving their dogs off-leashed?

    • shibashake says

      But still my question is: Is there something that would β€œlegally” stop neighbors from leaving their dogs off-leashed?

      It is difficult to stop people from being irresponsible about their dogs. The ones who actually care about others or about their dog will usually do something after the first incident. The ones who don’t care will be extremely difficult to convince and will also be extremely defensive.

      Some possibilities I have come up with so far –
      1. I carry an air-horn with me during walks. Blowing it at a charging dog may startle him and stop him from coming nearer. At the very least it will get the attention of the owner, or people nearby who can help secure the dog.
      2. Another possibility is to carry dog mace or dog pepper spray. Based on the reviews though, it seems unclear how effective this is.
      3. Some people suggest using a riding crop to discourage a charging dog, but again, this could possibly enrage the dog and make the situation even worse.
      4. I have also considered reporting repeat offenders to Animal Care and Control. At the very least, they will have a record of the irresponsible owners and if enough people complain, they may take action.
      5. I also try to avoid such people whenever possible. I cross the road while passing their house just in case and I try to identify when they walk their dog so that I am not out at the same time.

      Another possible course of action is to print out flyers of their dangerous off-leash dog and paste them all over the neighborhood. This could embarrass them enough to prompt some kind of action. However, this will also greatly piss-off a neighbor and it could trigger retaliatory action that leads to even more unpleasantness. I personally would not go down this route.

    • Naomi says

      I feel so much better after reading all these comments. I thought my preoccupation of off leash dogs and their idiot owners was just me πŸ™‚
      I have always been a dog owner and just recently moved to a property behind a leash free park with a onleash park next door.
      I will not use the leash free park because daily I hear dogs being attacked. I prefer to walk my german short haired pointer x around the leashed park.

      Problem is people use this park as well ‘off leash’. Its like having to negotiate a minefield on a daily basis. Dodging, changing direction, stopping and waiting ….. all to keep away from untrained, aggressive dogs.

      It is very stressful and I know my boy feels my stress which makes the whole walk not very pleasant for either one of us.

      I have told the local council twice of this and they have not taken any action. I don’t know why I have to feel like this when I am obeying the law.

      I have started to act dumb and ask the owners ‘Is this a leash free area also ? ‘ (I have also asked this question in the street ! ) I am hoping it will embarras them enough to put their dogs on a leash.

    • shibashake says

      I have started to act dumb and ask the owners β€˜Is this a leash free area also ? β€˜ (I have also asked this question in the street ! ) I am hoping it will embarrass them enough to put their dogs on a leash.

      LOL, I like that idea! πŸ˜€ What kind of responses are you getting when you do this?

  42. Mandy says

    Hi, i stumbled onto your site looking for tips on bonding with your dog and i have just been hooked on reading your posts πŸ™‚ I live in a small semi-rural community. When i walk my dog, Beary(chow chow/pit bull mix) through our neighborhood i always have him on leash. There is a large piece of undeveloped land next to out house and i do let him off leash out there. His recall is not 100%, but he will sit and wait on command, so when he starts heading somewhere he shouldn’t, i’ll have him sit and wait.

    Anyway, i would not ever let him run through our neighborhood streets off leash, and i really can’t understand why all the people who live withing 2 houses of me let their dogs roam free. Seriously, every morning and evening when i want to take Beary out i check to make sure none of them are hanging around. They are all small breed dogs, and they always bark and growl at Beary incessantly. He is a friendly dog, and very intelligent. When faced with an aggressive animal(dogs and on one occasion when he startled my cat Ember) he turns and runs the other direction. If he can’t do this, he is tolerant to a point, but once you pass that line i can see him start to get aggressive back at the offender. He is a powerful and strong dog, and even though he has never been the aggressor, if something would happen he would be the one getting put down because a tiny dog would not survive a bite from him.

    I think that is what makes me the most angry about small dogs(and even larger dogs) being left to wander where they please. If you are so unconcerned with your dogs well being, i guess the well being of your neighbors isn’t even on your priorities.

    • shibashake says

      If you are so unconcerned with your dogs well being, i guess the well being of your neighbors isn’t even on your priorities.

      Very well said. I have noticed this as well. Sometimes the owners come out but they always have some kind of lame excuse.

      There is a partially blind woman who lives in the neighborhood and she goes on frequent walks with her service dog. She tells me that dealing with loose dogs is a frequent issue for her and is one of the most common topics discussed in the service dog workshops she attends.

      One time, she asked one of the owners to please put his dog on leash because it is against the law to disrupt a working service dog. This individual replied – “Rules are meant to be broken.”. When she tried to say more, this man said, “I have had enough of this!” and walked away. Wow!

      Nowadays I just try to avoid such people and such houses. Just let them stew under their constant dark cloud. Much better to spend my time with the good and positive people in the neighborhood. πŸ˜€

  43. Mark says

    Love the air horn idea. Really one of my biggest pet peeves. I have a large pit-lab mix that’s been attacked twice and has some on-leash dog aggression issues. We go to an on-leash class almost every weekend to work with him on it and I feel like my neighbors are ruining the training. In my neighborhood it’s almost always little yappy things that are not trained at all and their owners put them off-leash because they’re so small and no real threat. Well, my guy could swallow some of these dogs whole. I feel like he could greet them and be fine 99% of the time given his on-leash training but if anything goes wrong it will still be our fault. I go back and forth between letting him greet and putting him on lockdown while I shoo the dog away. Still looking for an answer. This happens every couple of weeks.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Mark,
      Yeah, I think the little yappy things are in all neighborhoods. πŸ˜€

      Usually though, the little dogs are all bark. Most of the ones in my neighborhood will not approach, especially after I put out my arm and say Stop!.

      I am not a fan of letting my dogs meet little yappy dogs. Many of these dogs are over-excited, not very well socialized, and often fearful. This is a very bad combination, and can make the little yappy dogs seem a lot like prey to many larger dogs. Also, as you say, if anything goes wrong, the bigger dog will pay the price.

    • Meghan says

      Mark, my situation is just like yours. Thanks so much for this post! My American Bulldog mix has on-leash aggression issues as well, and when off-leash dogs charge us, there is nothing I can do if they get in his face. In fact I’m starring at his beautiful white face covered in puncture wounds and blood right now, through my tears. He just came across a young pit bull who ran at us across a large park. My boy seems fine, but I’m completely sick of the conflicts. Dogs who get out of their yards, yappy little things that no one bothers training, young dogs that aren’t kept on leash at parks. After reading through all of these posts I have now ordered an air horn and a retractable walking stick, but wanted to thank you especially because your dog sounds so much like mine.

  44. says

    This has happened so many times to me!
    More than once a large dog that lives near me has gotten lose and made a beeline for Buffy, my shiba. I think he just wants to play, but I always have to grab her up, because she really doesn’t like other dogs and is quite leash-reactive.
    The dog must weigh well over 100lbs, bumps into me trying to get to Buffy, and the owners see this and just get their two small children to run after it and yell commands (which the dog of course ignores).
    When I spoke to them they said “oh, well he’s very friendly,” but my dog is not!

    I don’t really know what to do. I don’t want to kick or use dog spray on a dog that really means to harm, but the owners are just so incompetent and I’m really afraid that if Buffy doesn’t back down then there will eventually be a fight. πŸ™

    Ugh, to make matters worse, whenever he gets out and the kids run after him, they scream his name, which is “Shiba.”

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, in my neighborhood many people seem to think that if their dog pulls, especially if he is a big dog, then the best solution is to let him go off-leash. After all he is happy off-leash and the owners don’t have to deal with their dog pulling. Of course the dog also has no recall.

      There is no consideration for the safety of their own dog, the safety of other dogs, and also the safety of pedestrians, especially seniors and young children.

  45. Brett B says

    In our city it seems to be the same people with the same unrestrained dogs that never get the message. I can be nice, or I can be angry, or I can try to educate them and it really never gets through to them. The same giant goofball lab mix was roaming loose again yesterday morning. Thankfully, I saw her at a distance before she saw us and made Ziva change direction (which she is completely against on her morning walks). The tragedy is going to be when someone creams that poor dog with a car at 45 mph trying to get to work. I don’t know how to stop it. I absolutely cannot conceive of letting Ziva loose on her own downtown.

  46. Carol says

    So funny… I stumbled across your site after just now doing a google search “dogs should be kept on leash”. I just came back from a walk in my neighborhood and my cocker spaniel was attacked by an enormous “marmaduke” (have no idea what kind of dog that but it’s at least 5 feet tall) who was off-leash, no owner in sight. I heard this beast charging at us and starting screaming in his face. In hindsight, I am laughing at the whole thing, but it was terrifying. My little guy hates being on-leash while being sniffed by off-leash dogs, even when they are on-leash he hates having his space invaded. Anyway, the two started to get aggressive and at that point I got right into the dogs face and started screaming at him some more. An off-duty fireman comes out of nowhere (gotta love firemen!) with a large shovel ready to fend off marmaduke, who afterwards left the scene sans any sight of an owner. I thought the off-duty fireman was his owner and told him he really needs to get control of his beast of a dog. He laughed and told me he was a fireman who heard me screaming. LOL. I am home now laughing at the whole thing, but given it’s happened so many times before this incident, I’ve really just had it and needed to see if this sort of thing happens in other places as much as I’m seeing it where I live. It’s just infuriating!!!

    • shibashake says

      Always good to have a fireman live nearby! πŸ˜‰

      given it’s happened so many times before this incident, I’ve really just had it and needed to see if this sort of thing happens in other places as much as I’m seeing it where I live. It’s just infuriating!!!

      I agree. It is absolutely infuriating. It wouldn’t be so bad if the owners made an effort to fix things once they got the information, but sometimes, they just ignore everyone and do what is convenient for themselves.

      The only way to fix it then is to make it inconvenient for them to ignore everyone else and shirk their responsibility to their dog.

  47. Brett B says

    also, I wish these people would get a clue that “he’s friendly”! doesn’t much matter when your dog is leashed and their digog not. No dog is comfortable being restrained in the presence of a strange, unrestrained dog. I’ve started explaining this to people by saying, “if you were tied up, how comfortable would you be with some unrestrained big guy rushing toward you at top speed and making loud noises”?

    • shibashake says

      No dog is comfortable being restrained in the presence of a strange, unrestrained dog.

      Agree with you 100%. I get really pissed because the more we get charged, the more uncomfortable my Sibe becomes with other dogs. It is very bad conditioning.

      Do you usually get repeat charging from the same people? Or do they stop once they realize that it is not fair to have off-leash dogs invade the space of an on-leash dog?

  48. Brett B says

    Same here–I live in a small town smack in the middle of downtown. It’s a pretty place–very historic, but also with surprisingly busy traffic, staring early in the morning. Lately, especially since it’s gotten cold here, I’ve noticed more and more people just letting there dogs out of the front door by themselves and closing the doors behind them. My Shiba girl is only 19 pounds and petite, but like all Shibas thinks she’s a very large dog. She didn’t much like being reminded that she’s short by a huge lab mix yesterday morning. The dog, goofy and non-agressive, just wanted to play, but her looming over Ziva brought on some serious growling on Ziva’s part. The dog just wouldn’t quit–kept circling us and looming, sniffing. No sign of the owner ANYWHERE (turns out she was inside, just across the street). Finally, I just had to give up. I picked up my dog and walked with her like that for 6 – 7 blocks until we were well clear of the goofball. Thank God the dog wasn’t agressive–it could have been really ugly.

  49. Marije says

    It’s nice to read I’m not the only one extremely annoyed by people walking their untrained dogs off leash. Having 2 huskies and one shiba, and walking them all at the same time, it gets very hard for me to keep things under control when we get charged by off leash dogs. My huskies are friendly, but extremely strong and enthusiastic when a dog comes into their ‘space’ so I have repeatedly almost gotten my arm jerked off πŸ™ My shiba is not very tolerant of having other dogs invading his private space and unfortunately he will attack if the dog persists. So picture the following scenario:
    We (1 human female, with 2 huskies and 1 shiba on leash) leave our backyard and are almost immediately charged by 2 dogs, large but not agressive, just way too high energy. Husky #1 (extremely tall male for a husky) immediately jumps on the first dog to show dominance, husky #2 (sweet female) starts rolling over for the newly arrived male and the newly arrived male starts sniffing the shiba. So here I am, trying to hold on to the leashes of the huskies while trying to block new male dog from getting to close to my shiba and at the same time trying to block my shiba from going anywhere. I start looking around for the owner of the dogs, who only just realized what’s going on. First thing she says is that her dogs are friendly. I respond by saying mine are not. Even though that just applies to shiba, she doesn’t know that and I figure it may make her move faster. She starts calling her dogs, who completely ignore her. At least new male dog has lost interest in shiba and starts running back and forth driving female husky crazy. Male husky is still busy establishing dominance with the other dog, and has it pinned down now. Owner starts walking slowly towards us, while I urge her again to get her dogs away from mine. In the mean time shiba and new male are facing off again. You can imagine my blood pressure rising, especially because the owner is absolutely not impressed and shows no signs of responsibility for the situation. It seriously takes her a good 3 minutes to get to her dogs and at least get them out of my dogs’ space.
    Since this was about the fourth time this happened with this lady and her dogs I once again told her that I would really appreciate it if she could keep her dogs on leash in the area behind our house because, although my dogs are perfectly well behaved on walks, if their space gets invaded and they get excited, they just are too strong for me, especially if they catch me off guard.
    I had no success in convincing her and she still walks them off leash, but now I make sure I scope out the area just before I exit the yard and if she’s there I wait until she sees me and leaves or leashes her dogs. Ugh…
    Love reading your stories by the way πŸ˜€

    • shibashake says

      Yeah I did not realize this was such a widespread issue.

      Seems like we should be able to do something about it.

      Plan A – Shame them into shaping up. Make a short 1 page pamphlet, hopefully with a lot of stuff from the Humane Society. My neighbors may not listen to me, but maybe they will listen to the Humane Society. Then I can hand them out when I get charged by a dog.

      Plan B – Embarrassment is a strong motivator. Use an air horn. This will call attention to their irresponsible behavior, and they will likely get embarrassed by it. This will hopefully encourage them to leash up to avoid future embarrassment.

      Plan C – Avoid them when possible. I also really like Marije’s suggestion.

      I make sure I scope out the area just before I exit the yard and if she’s there I wait until she sees me and leaves or leashes her dogs.

  50. Cynthia Yarnton says

    My pet peeve too. My shiba Maddy has been attacked 4 times by off leash dogs. 2 different german shepherds and a golden Lab and a retriever . Twice involving vet visits and antibiotics and maddy always hiding under the bed for a day. Needless to say she is scared when she sees a big dog approaching and I get ready to kick. The owners are always very contrite but it burns me up. These incidents were not when hiking where off leash dogs seem to be okay but just walking in the neighborhood where I suspect they feel territorial.

  51. Mindy says

    Ooh! This just burns me up, too! People should have to have some kind of minimal training before getting a dog.

    Okay, I really don’t think that, because I’m a Libertarian.

    But, seriously, dogs are potentially killing machines! You have to get a license for a CAR, you have to get a license for a GUN. If you don’t train it right ithe dog will get mixed signals or become hostile or possibly untrainable. Nobody wins in that scenario.

    I love dogs. The stupid things I see people do with them and how they either mistreat or mis-train them just gets me all uppity. Thanks for this site! People need to know these things!

  52. says

    This is absolutely one of my hugest PET PEEVES. For the majority of Snick’s life, we lived in midtown Manhattan and this was not a problem. However, we lived in Indiana for 7 months and could not walk outside. We were literally chased into the house by two huge dogs while walking towards the street in our own driveway. Now we’re in Mississippi and, again, we cannot walk outside. My daughter can walk her dog outside because, luckily the multiple off leash dogs in the neighborhood really ARE friendly. I, however, cannot. Snickers is fine off leash in dog parks, but if he’s leashed and another dog approaches him, all bets are off. I’m afraid will encounter a large, off leash dog one day and Snick will end up mortally injured. All we can do is play in the yard. Snick is bored and gaining weight and it sucks beyond measure.

  53. says

    “Don’t worry, s/he’s friendly!”

    I hate that phrase. If I’m feeling snappish, I usually shoot back, “You have no idea if my dog is friendly or not!”

    I usually walk away too. There’s just too much potential for me to start saying and doing things I may officially regret later.

    • shibashake says

      β€œYou have no idea if my dog is friendly or not!”

      LOL, I like that.

      Snickers is fine off leash in dog parks, but if he’s leashed and another dog approaches him, all bets are off.

      Yeah, Sephy is very similar. He is very particular about certain things like no butt sniffing without permission. I am not sure what would have happened if I was walking Sephy instead of Shania yesterday. I think I would back up close to the fence and try to block the other dog from going around Sephy. It would not be a good situation.

      I was thinking that maybe it would help if I collected some information about local neighborhood leash laws, as well as some articles from the Humane Society about leaving dogs off-leash in the neighborhood. Then I can make copies and stuff it in the mailbox of some of my neighbors.

      Not sure if they would care to read it … but maybe some of them will.

      Another possibility is to drop by their house and have a chat about it. Not sure which is better, or to just leave it alone.

      On the positive side, I haven’t had further issues with the pit bull or Akita, so maybe the silent treatment works best.

    • shibashake says

      At our Cabin there are a lot of roaming dogs but hopefully for us they are all nice but we have no idea xho they belong to!

      That is very interesting. A few weeks ago, I actually met two coyotes while hiking. That was majorly SCARY! πŸ˜€

      I was walking, walking, and then suddenly I saw several bright eyes looking out at me from a dark part of the valley. Yikes!

      But the thing is, wild animals do not usually approach humans. The coyotes were likely protecting their kill or maybe their young, so I just quietly backed out of there. And today I saw a fox in someone’s front lawn. He didn’t approach us either.

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