Loose dog on walk- deterrents?

The short- After having the unfortunate experience of running into neighbor’s loose dog while on a walk for 2 days in a row, I’m considering maybe carrying some kind of deterrent with me. What would be best- pepper/bear spray? I’m not a firearms person, so that’s out.

The long (and a little venty)- The dog is friendly with people but the first day came charging up to me and my leashed dog, my dog got defensive and they got into a fight. I was able to pull my dog back, knee the other dog away and fortunately another neighbor (not the owner) was able to call the other dog off and hold it while I walked away.

The second day, it was out again, no one else was around and I saw him start to stalk towards us, heckles up. I very firmly yelled at him to stay with my hand out while we stood still. After a couple minutes of this, he seemed to get the idea, went to another neighbors porch and we were able to pass without incident. I texted the owner when I got home (as I have no cell service as soon as I leave my house) to tell him the dog was out again and after yesterday’s scuffle I didn’t try to catch him and his response was along the lines of “oh darn, thought the fence was fixed. Kids will go get him. Thanks”. No apology for his dog causing a fight with mine.

These are literally my next door neighbors and I don’t want to cause issues but their animals (they also have goats)get out on a regular basis. I’m a pretty reasonable person and consider loose animals our rural-ish area to be not unexpected occasionally (I mean, sh!t happens to everyone at some point, right?) and have caught their loose animals a handful of times but I don’t want to be scared to take a walk on my own street. What if the dog is loose, gets in a fight with my dog again and there’s no one there to help me? I take my Bernese for walks and the dog in question is a pit bull type dog so it’s not like I’m dealing with a small, easily kickable dog. If it happens a third time, I’m tempted to report it to the police (which in my town is one, part time officer) because I don’t know how else to get them to fix their fence with something other than scrap wire :expressionless: Any suggestions of something I could carry that might stop him if he’s loose and charges us again?

That is what animal control is for. A couple of bailouts/fines may change your neighbour’s attitude on compliance.


Perusing my towns website, I don’t think we actually have an ACO. I think loose animals are handled by our small PD which, I was mistaken in my OP, is 3 officers.

I don’t like to make waves and generally avoid confrontation but I guess I’ll have to pull up my big girl pants and report it. I don’t know why I’m so predisposed to avoid it; other than the occasional waves or hellos at the local store we don’t have interactions with them. It’s just such a small town- everybody knows everybody- I don’t want everybody else on the street to think I’m high maintenance I guess

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Report it to the police, that starts a file, even if nothing can be done at the time. The second thing that springs to mind…how adept are you with a longe whip? I’ve found that a longe whip with a shortened but weighted lash is an excellent training tool for rude, loose dogs. I actually use a driving whip since that is what I have. You do want a short lash so that it is easier to ‘reach out and touch’. And you want to do so as soon as the dog is entering your space with intent. The time to back them off is before they got close to you, hence the long whip and good aim. However, use with caution, you are essentially starting the fight at that point. Most dogs will back off, but some might decide to escalate. So, it is iffy in that sense.


Keep in mind that either you or your dogs may also fall victim to pepper/bear spray if you use it, particularly if it is windy.

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How aggressive is the dog? Would a squirt bottle with lemon water be enough of a deterrent? For a dog that’s just being a pest and not truly aggressive, a shot of that to the face would be pretty discouraging.


I would suggest water and lemon or a whip first before pepper spray. Pepper spray is actually pretty aggressive and might need a vet trip to flush his eyes, who knows. Plus it drifts, is why riot police wear face shields.

Anyhow right now you have lazy slacker but not hostile neighbors. You don’t want to change that for the worse. I would have no problem pepper spraying a strange dog on the trails but I would not want to get caught spraying the dog of the person I need to live beside for the next 20 years.

Figure out a spray that leaves no trace.


Walking stick. Shepherd’s Crook. Golf club. Baseball bat.

IME a solid item is more useful than a spray.

If you are in a leash law area definitely report to the authorities.


Yes, a stick is a good idea. In another thread on a dog attacking a carriage horse, someone recommended carrying a super squirter filled with ammonia. I would not want that to leak in my pocket though.

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I am sympathetic to you as I have a very friendly dog who gets quite defensive if he’s on leash and another dog’s not. If these are your neighbours, would it be possible to introduce the dogs in an off-leash setting so they can get to know each other? I would prefer a solution along those lines rather than calling the authorities. Otherwise, a water gun would likely be effective as well. Many dogs back off when they are sprayed. I agree that pepper spray may be excessive if there’s no serious threat.

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This is where I’m at- I don’t want to cause a big issue and then be stuck living next to hostile people indefinitely. For the most part, I don’t have issues with them. Do I think they should have as many animals as they do on the amount of land they have? Probably not but the goats are pretty cute to watch and the occasional stray rooster is probably helping there to be less bugs in my yard.

Thanks everybody! I’m liking the water/lemon water spray idea as I think that might be enough as he’s generally a pretty friendly dog. My berner can be a bit rude with new introductions (even when she’s excited to see dogs she knows she’ll get play growly which makes other dogs upset) so an unfamiliar loose dog full blast running up to her whether she’s leashed or not (though she is always leashed when not in the fenced yard) is generally not a recipe for success. I was super proud of her on the second day- she was awesome about listening to me and not paying attention to the loose dog :grin:

Thanks again everybody!

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