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 Post subject: Smart way for responding to aggressive dogs?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:04 am 
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Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan
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Location: fjordfjord
Background: The Dutch have signs up everywhere which say dogs should be leashed, but in practice, almost no one does it because most dogs are awesome at being friendly/social/curious critters, and people mostly (...mostly...) know when their dogs aren't, and behave accordingly. However, since moving here, I've encountered 3 aggressive dogs and don't know how to respond. The first happened when I moved here 3 years ago; the other 2 happened this week. This is how it goes: I'm walking somewhere nature-y, and the dog runs at me from 50-100 feet away, very aggressively barking me into a corner against bushes and/or trees. I stand still, stare at the dog, and yell at the owners to forking do something about their dog because this isn't safe. The owners have a clear line of sight to me each time, and can see that (1) I didn't do anything to provoke the dogs and (2) their dogs are being scary aggressive. Twice I had to call out 3 times before the owner responded, meanwhile I'm being backed up into trees with the dogs trying to bite me (think: Disney's Beauty and the Beast attack with wolves). Today, the owner responded on the first yell for help and leashed their dog. We had to walk past each other, and the dog cut across 3 people to try to bite me. The male owner said "It's ok" and while my hands were up and I almost stepped back into a canal to avoid the dog. I said "That is most definitely NOT ok" and he laughed at me like, "haha stupid kid". So, help? Calling out for the owners to help works, but only kind of, and they tend to have a very late response. I am terrified of the aggressive dogs, and don't want to be bit (or worse). How can I respond better when this happens?

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 Post subject: Re: Smart way for responding to aggressive dogs?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:33 am 
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Semen Strong
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That sounds really scary and upsetting! I am so sorry that that happened to you.

People should definitely be leashing a dog that behaves in the way you describe, and not making you feel bad about their dog's behavior, so you are definitely not in the wrong here. That said, you might want to look at the way you are responding physically to the threat and see if you can soften your body language a bit. I don't think its a good idea to stare at a dog, for example, it can be interpreted as aggression.

I hope others can give more useful advice! Big hugs, lutin <3

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 Post subject: Re: Smart way for responding to aggressive dogs?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:43 am 
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WELFARIST!
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Awww...lutin. I had an unleashed and (playfully) aggressive dog approach me some years ago. Luckily, the dog who came up to me wasn't fighting aggressive but I didn't figure that out right away. She was nipping and leaping. But yeah, scary! Her owner couldn't get control of her right away, either, so it took a bit for him to gain control. I told him he needed to have total control over his dog at all times before thinking of unleashing her in the park in the future. Lots of elderly folks and toddlers and families are on that stretch of the walking path.

I hope others have suggestions, too and like Tofulish says, I've heard to keep to keep the body language sort of neutral, or soften any responses if possible, and not to stare. <3

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 Post subject: Re: Smart way for responding to aggressive dogs?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:51 am 
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Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan
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Yeah, I should clarify. I don't stare at the dog's eyes (that much I know). I stare at a point 3-5ish feet above them, since that's put me more in direct eye contact with their owner. Dogs were bred to discern human gaze, so I'm not sure that's enough to aggravate them? Dunno. My posture goes super neutral and still. Maybe that makes me look more like prey to them? Again, dunno.

Good job saying that to the owner, seitanicverses. My Dutch is not awesome, I don't think I could manage that. And anyway, I'm so scared by the encounter that I'm surprised I can even call out (and with such volume!).

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 Post subject: Re: Smart way for responding to aggressive dogs?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:05 am 
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Semen Strong
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ETA: Never mind :)

Good luck lutin!

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Last edited by Tofulish on Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:13 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Smart way for responding to aggressive dogs?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:07 am 
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Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan
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Yeah. I realized in hindsight that I got that bit wrong, because I stare towards the dog but not _at_ the dog, if that makes sense.

The comment about gaze is something that I picked up in animal cognition classes (offered by 2 different psych depts)...? I could try to re-google the arguments if you are interested? but it's not something I could reproduce right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Smart way for responding to aggressive dogs?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:01 am 
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The best way to show a dog that you are not threatening and do not want to engage with them is to completely look away from them! 100% turning your face to the side or even putting your back to them. It seems backwards but is surprisingly affective. Whatever you do, don't lift your hands over your head -this is very threatening.

Second, if you walk in an area where there tends to be a lot of off leash dogs, it's not a terrible idea to carry a Baggie of kibble with you. A pile of delicious nuggets hurling at their faces can be very distracting. I know it isn't always possible but if you gave particular parks or paths where this is a problem, it doesn't hurt. Pet supply stores often give sample bags out for free so you might be able to make use of that.

This is a resource I share a lot. It's more geared towards teachers and the like teaching in schools, but they started the "be a tree" program: http://www.doggonesafe.com
http://www.be-a-tree.com/kid%20main.htm

The rule applies to adults too: stop, fold your branches, watch your roots grow and count in your head. Removing yourself as a threat is the best way to deal.

I'm sorry these irresponsible owners are putting you through this!

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 Post subject: Re: Smart way for responding to aggressive dogs?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:14 pm 
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Sorry Lutin! Unleashed dogs are one of my biggest peeves!

Of course every situation is different, but I have to respectfully disagree with the advice to turn your back. It depends on the nature of the aggression. If it is a fearful-aggressive dog it may take this opportunity to bite you in the bum. I speak from experience heeding that advice. I used to have to walk past a house each day where the dog roamed freely, and someone told me to turn my back to him. First time I did it I was rewarded with a big chomp on my butt!

So I would say it really depends on that specific dog. They have their own minds and we really don't know what each one is thinking. What worked with the dog that bit me was to actually stare AT him and puff myself up....the opposite of the usual advice. It took a lot of trial and error with him to find this out.

Not much help, I guess. But so sorry. Irresponsible owners!


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 Post subject: Re: Smart way for responding to aggressive dogs?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:45 pm 
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Tofu Pup
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I encounter loose (and sometimes aggressive) dogs where I walk and run. Usually, if a dog is coming toward me and appears to be aggressive, I'll stop, face the dog, stand tall, and use my best Bad Dog voice to tell the dog to "Go Home!" I've yet to encounter a dog that didn't at least stop coming toward me; most of them back off and head away from me.

My husband and I were actually set upon just this evening while we were out walking. Two dogs came racing out of an open garage toward us. My husband, feeling protective, grabbed my wrist and put himself in front of me, between me and the dogs. Oddly, I felt way more vulnerable behind him (the weak target?), so I stepped out beside him, stood up as big as I could, and started in with my "Go Home!" Both dogs stopped at respectable distance away from us, and the dogs' owner finally made her way into the street and grabbed the collar of the more aggressive dog. (I think I scared my husband as much as I scared the dogs :-).

Sometimes when I'm walking alone, I carry a big stick. I've never used it to hit a dog; it's just another thing to make myself look bigger.

Good luck, Lutin! I'm sorry to hear that irresponsible dog owners are a worldwide problem!


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 Post subject: Re: Smart way for responding to aggressive dogs?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:58 pm 
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Tofu Pup
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A friend of mine has been bitten a handful of times, and now carries a "dog daser." Its a little, battery operated device which emits a high pitched frequency that deters dogs, but is not damaging to their ears. He says it works pretty well. I'm not sure if this is the same device, but it is similar...

http://www.dazer.com/dog-deterrent.jsp

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