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Protection against out of control dogs

Protection against out of control dogs


Postby JeanJean » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:21 am

Does anyone have advice on effective measures/gadgets to repel out of control dogs while out walking?

I have been walking in the hills and countryside of Scotland and England for over 40 years and have had little concern about out of control dogs.....until now. This year my husband has been knocked over twice by dogs running up to him and jumping up. On many occasions we have been approached by out of control dogs, running around with no owner in sight. When remonstrating with the owner, when they eventually show up, they are either abusive or just apologise and carry on.

I know it's only a small minority of dog owners and that most dog owners are responsible and keep their dogs under control. However some dog owners don't seem to realise that a dog is considered dangerously out of control if it "injures someone" or "makes someone worried that it might injure them". I don't dislike dogs but it is pretty scary when a large dog comes bounding up, barking, with no owner in sight. And the law isn't much good if you're in the middle of the Scottish Highlands, miles away from the nearest police station. For my own safety I feel it's time to invest in something to deter out of control dogs.
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby SummitStupid » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:30 pm

There are handheld ultrasonic devices designed to deter dogs, like this one

https://www.amazon.com/Zomma-Handheld-Repellent-Ultrasonic-Deterrent/dp/B07T2JMPVX/ref=zg_bs_3024229011_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=7JGHNAMKSTZTXQZX322V

I don't know how effective they are - the one I linked to is a training aid - but do some Googling or Amazoning and you might be able to find something for you.
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby KatTai » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:29 pm

I usually find a sharp, firm AH-AH! or ENOUGH! (or whatever verbal sound/word you want to use) stops or slows most dogs and it is quicker to use your own voice than get a deterrent ready to use, you can also try shouting commands such as sit or lie down afterwards. Usually gets a dirty look from the owner (if they are even close enough to hear) but I don't give a toss, they are in the wrong their dog is not under control. One of mine is reactive, another has very bad arthritis and Moss just doesn't like dogs charging over from previous bad experiences where she has been hurt, so I've had to stop a lot of dogs and do a lot of body-blocking to prevent "friendly" dogs getting too close. It's only the busy hills - Ben Lomond and Ben Lawers, and the way up to Ben Ime via the Cobbler but surprisingly no issues on the busiest of them all, Ben Nevis! - where we've really had an issue with other dogs, the others we either haven't seen any other dogs or they have been under control. You are also more than entitled to use a walking pole to block a dog approaching if you use walking poles. Sometimes I think it could be worth using walking poles just so there is something else handy to put between me and the offending dog!
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:48 pm

As a previous dog owner I am very sorry to read that your hill walking is being spoilt by badly behaved dog. Whilst an ultrasonic deterrent may work to stop a dog approaching you I would be wary of using one or any other alarm if a dog is very close as it may make the dog panic and snap!
I would agree with the approach of using your own voice and have often found a sharp no with as much authority as you can muster deters unwanted attention from other peoples dogs. Barring their approach with a treking pole is also a good idea.
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby WhitstableDave » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:39 pm

I'm extremely glad that the issue of out-of-control (or barely-under-control) dogs has been raised. I do a great deal of solo walking, mostly in Kent, and for me dogs are far-and-away the biggest problem I encounter. I've experienced snarling dogs, dogs jumping up at me, dogs running at me aggressively, and I've felt teeth twice (although without injury thank goodness!). I've 'had words' with owners who've been apologetic ("Sorry, he/she doesn't usually do that"), unapologetic ("Why don't you walk somewhere else?"), but most often they lovingly tell their pet to behave - and totally ignore me!

Of course, the overwhelming majority of dogs I meet are perfectly fine and have perfectly good owners, but I meet a great many dogs and so the problem is real and makes me treat them all with suspicion. The reason I encounter a lot of dogs is because I enjoy walking in forests and woods, and people tend to walk their dogs in woodland that's within about half-a-mile of a village or a woodland car park. In this situation, even poorly-behaved dogs are usually off-lead and I can encounter them with little or no warning. I hardly ever come across dogs on farmland or on hills, mountains or moors, although, having said that, one of my most worrying incidents was on a remote track on Harris when two (possibly feral) dogs followed me for about a mile trying to get to food in my rucksack (which I'd eaten, but presumably the smell remained).

But sadly, I have absolutely no answers. For a while I used to take a walking pole with me and hold it when in wooded areas or if dogs ahead looked dodgy, but I prefer to travel light... and in any case, I had a dog (on a lead) go for me as I passed ("Sorry, he's scared of anyone carrying a stick..."). I'm not going to avoid woods, but I do try to avoid areas where I'm likely to encounter dogs and if I see potential problems ahead I'm always ready to take an alternative route.

Just one more thing (if any dog-walkers are reading this, please take note!)... I walk briskly, so if there's a dog-walker ahead going the same way as me I'll inevitably catch them up and overtake. But it's rare for people to bother to look behind them and, as I approach, the dog knows I'm there well before the owner does. More than once, I've had dogs make threatening moves and the owner only belatedly realising they need to get their animal under control.

Phew - thanks for letting me get all that off my chest! :wink:
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby KatTai » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:13 pm

WhitstableDave wrote:and in any case, I had a dog (on a lead) go for me as I passed ("Sorry, he's scared of anyone carrying a stick...").


I hate this from dog owners, one of my dogs was attacked by an off-lead dog while they were on a lead and their excuse was my dog was attacked because she was on a lead :? If their dog doesn't like other dogs on a lead/people carrying sticks/people wearing hats (another common one!) etc it is their responsibility to get their dog under control to avoid an incident not to "blame" the other party for having the audacity to have a dog on a lead, use a stick or wear a hat!
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby SummitStupid » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:41 pm

I'm nonplussed by people's accounts of dog owners being indignant over this. "Why don't you walk somewhere else?" is breathtaking in its stupidity. I've never had issues with a dog but if a dog owner blamed me for their dog showing aggression to me I don't know if I'd be able to control my temper.

As a quick aside - dogs are, through their intimate association with humans over the last ten thousand years, and intensive selective breeding, astonishingly well-attuned to human body language. I know it's easy to say this, but I'd suggest trying to adopt a confident, unbothered manner if a dog approaches you. Ideally, you'd act as if you were supremely unconcerned about it. Not exactly easy when a German shepherd is bearing down on you though...
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby JeanJean » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:22 pm

Thanks for all your advice. And sad to read that WhitstableDave is having an even worse time with out of control dogs!
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby brpro26 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:06 am

An outstretched size 11 is far better than a stick or walking pole. I don't mean throwing it but if the dog runs into it that's not my problem. As for the irate owner....well they might get one thrown in their direction.
The number of times I see a dog off the lead and clearly signs posted to keep them on the lead for livestock etc.
If you can't control your dog or obey signage then don't take it out on the hills simple as.
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby bootsandpaddles » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:56 am

I have great sympathy for WhitstableDave. His experience is exactly the same as mine. I encounter dogs every time I go out. As Dave says, it may only be a few dogs who behave in this way but it makes one wary of all dogs. And one dog attack is more than enough. Following an incident I have never had a satisfactory response from a dog owner. It is invariably my fault or I am informed that the dog was "only being friendly" or "just saying hello", thus putting me in the wrong because I didn't respond positively to the dog's advances. I don't think dog owners will ever realise that their animals are not human beings to be reasoned with along the lines of "that was naughty".
I don't know what the answer is. But it is not for us to avoid going to places where there are lots of dogs although I must admit I have started doing this now. It is also not for us to avoid engaging in behaviour that is likely to attract the attention of dogs: eating our lunch, wearing a hat, carrying a trekking pole, running etc. Personally, I believe that it should be a legal requirement for all dogs to be on leads when out in public. Having said that, I was walking recently with someone who was bitten by a dog on a lead.
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby Sgurr » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:43 am

The only dog I had a problem with was when (in my former life as 2nd hand book seller) I cleared the dead mother-in-law books from a stately home and was left with the dog while its owner drove her help home. Husband was home, but miles away down stately corridors. Spaniel caught hold of my sleeve and wouldn't let go. I tried all the words I had seen in dog training programmes like "Drop it!" Without success. On her return, the owner was most apologetic....it had only be guarding its territory, and she immediately filled a jug of water, and poured it over said dog, which she said was the only thing that worked. I probably wouldn't be able to get at my water bottle, and don't think I would want to sacrifice it. Maybe dogs have never gone for me because, though not a dog owner, I really like dogs, and usually say something like "Hello dog," in a friendly tone if one approaches.

Of course, next walk I will probably be mauled.
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby nigheandonn » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:44 am

a dog is considered dangerously out of control if it... "makes someone worried that it might injure them"

Without denying that a dog can be dangerously out of control, that definition seems rather... wide ranging.

My sister, for example, very often worries that a dog might injure her, even if it's walking peacefully on a lead - she was bitten as a child, and it just makes her very nervous to be around them. (Although she says if she's out with a class - she's a P1 teacher - she's very brave and all 'now children, it's only a dog'. But if she's out with me she jumps behind me!)

On the other hand, I'm more like Sgurr - meeting dogs is one of the things I enjoy when out walking, and our interactions are generally pleasant. (Just don't speak to me about cows.)

So although a dog did take a snap at me last summer (but missed), I didn't feel worried at all at the time (or at least not about injury) - only rather harassed by the fact that it had got into an argument with a dog that was following me about. I didn't really blame it, although I was essentially innocent!

It seems like judging a dog's behaviour based on human reaction would be quite difficult.
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby bootsandpaddles » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:11 pm

Owners should ensure that their dogs are in crates or atleast set up a fence for security purposes and the safety of civilian.[/quote]

Possibly a bit extreme but it would solve the problem.
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby Ben Nachie » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:33 pm

:wink:
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Re: Protection against out of control dogs

Postby brpro26 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:39 pm

Owning a dog seems to have become a fashion accessory. Maybe you should have to pass a dog control test before you can be let off the lead with one. :lol:

Any easy Munros for my cat...???
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