Maybe your dog quickly feels uncomfortable, pressured, scared or even poses a threat?
What more can you do than to secure your dog with a leash and if necessary a muzzle?
Unfortunately (almost) every dog owner knows it. You do your best to make the situation as relaxed as possible and see a dog running towards you from afar. These unwanted dog encounters are usually stressful for humans and dogs and can also quickly become dangerous.
Dog runs towards you, what can you do?
1. Talk to the dog owner.
Politely but assertive ask the owner to call the dog. Yes, I know many don't (or can't) do it. In some cases phrases like, "My dog is sick." "My dog is old." "My dog is aggressive." "My dog has fleas." "M dog is in heat." - get the owner to act faster. Under no circumstances should you justify your behavior, you don't have to. In this way you give the unwanted situation even more energy and power on your walk. If someone calls the dog, then I say thank you, in the hope that this will reinforce the behavior of the owner in the future.
2. Send the dog away.
Stand tall, stand confidently and assertive on the ground. Send the dog away. You can add arm movement, as well as noise. Remember, it's more about the scaring moment so you break the other dog's focus. So pay attention to your body language. It is best if your dog is already behind you at this point. You can also have something in your hand that supports you, e.g. a stick, a second leash, a bottle... whatever gives you more power.
3. Block the other dog and protect your dog.
Did the dog come right up to you very quickly? Block the other dog. Put your body in between and prevent him from getting to yours. You may have a walking stick to help you. I still remember a serious situation where a boxer approached my dogs with a lot of tension and not with kind intentions. I quickly found a wall and stood in front of my dogs. The dog was not reacting to the owner, so the situation ended by me holding the dog between the wall and my legs until the owner finally came.
4. Drop the leash.
If your dog is not a threat, you can ease the situation by dropping the leash. So you do not add any further tension to the situation with a tight leash. Sometimes the situation clears up faster and with less stress.
5. Get out of the situation
Go for a walk with foresight. Try not to let the situation arise in the first place. If you have the opportunity, get out of the situation quickly. This usually works well in the city. Cross the street, go on the street. This is usually a situation where the dog owner becomes active in calling their dog.
What tips do you have for unwanted dog encounters?
Do you have an insider tip that works for you?
Of course it is also very individual and you should listen to your gut feeling. I now choose number 4 more often because my two dogs can handle it well. They communicate much faster and are also more relaxed than when I interfere. Of course, I observe the body language of the incoming dog in advance.
Some time ago numbers 1-3 were my normal reaction as Lefi especially needed me. It was incredibly important that the other dog didn't get close and I tried to prevent that as best I can. Sometimes it doesn't work out and it's important that you don't be too hard on yourself. Milo also doesn't want to be hassled while on a leash and he now has trust in me that I will lead the situation as comfortably as possible for him.
I always use number 5 (if possible) because at best we don't need these situations.
Remember you are not alone in such stressful situations and the best we can do is educate other dog owners.