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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

    • 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.

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