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post #1 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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DEFENSIVE OPTIONS - OPINIONS GOOD OR BAD

As a result of my DD's dog being attacked by a Pit Bull, I am considering purchasing a defensive device. This is the second time in 4 years her dog has been attacked. The other time it was a Bull Mastiff and her dog suffered wounds that required two visits to the Vet to patch him up. Last month I was walking Ricky to a mini-park in our development and we encountered a man who had his 50 pound mixed breed dog off leash, his dog bolted toward us, and I picked up Ricky. I yelled at him to get his dog and put him on leash. He came over to me and slugged me in the upper arm. He said, "Mind your own business! Do you want me to hurt you? I can really hurt you!" I backed away, he collected his dog, and I called the police. The police said they could do nothing about it since there were no witnesses. Six months ago, Momi had Ricky at the front of our house on a leash. The new neighbors across the street have an aggressive German Shepherd. The owner was working in his garage with the door open and his dog off leash with him. The dog saw Ricky and bolted across the street. Momi picked Ricky up but the G.S. was jumping up trying to bite Ricky. Momi ran to our front door with Ricky in her arms and the dog pursued her. She opened the front door and the G.S. tried to follow her inside our house! The owner ran across the street and got his dog under control. Momi was in tears and I went to the neighbor. I was upset. He said it wasn't his fault, the dog accidentally got away. I called the HOA administration. They said they couldn't do anything about it since there were no witnesses (even I didn't see it). The neighbor and I no longer speak to each other and I am always wary of his dog who is now causing problems with other people/dogs in our neighborhood. I chose not to bring the last two incidents up with Ricky on HF, just because.

I am getting really tired of this. I have been researching defensive mechanisms for dogs for both me and my daughter. There are several options:
- Spikey harnesses that look like clown suits on a dog
- Spike neck collars
- Pepper spray
- Stun guns and tasers

The first two options are of very limited utility in my opinion and by reviews on the Internet.

Pepper spray is easy to use. easy to carry, and effective. You can use it at a distance of a few feet. The problem is that it is not a 100% assured deterrent. There is a chance you can enrage the target, whether human or animal, even after being sprayed.

The difference between a taser and stun gun, is that a taser shoots probes about 10 feet into the target and they do look like guns. A stun gun is either an 18 inch baton or a small box about 6 inches by two inches. It doesn't look like a gun. You must come in contact with the target in order for it to be effective. Although outlawed in some States, both are legal in California and in our city (I checked with the local P.D.) I eliminated the taser because I don't want to carry what looks like a gun with me every time I go out. The stun baton is about 18 inches long. You must touch the target with it and press the "on" switch. One resident pedestrian in our community (doesn't own a dog) carries one with him at all times. He was attacked by a dog in our community a couple of years ago. It is a hassle to carry. The stun box fits easily in a pocket, but you must touch the target so you have to be within 6 inches. Both baton and box are effective BUT the amount of disability can vary depending on the physiology of the target both human and animal. Again you risk the chance that you can increase the intensity of the attack by a partially disabled target. You have to remember to recharge both devices on a regular basis.

I have reduced my potential choices to pepper spray and a stun box, but I am having second thoughts. Am I being paranoid? Am I succumbing to fear? Would I even be able to use a device effectively if I am panicked and not thinking clearly? Do I stop taking Ricky on walks (me too) and just stay in my own fenced yard? Do I continue walking but always be aware of my surroundings (which I already am but that doesn't always work)? I am on the fence right now about proceeding with a choice, if any.

I would welcome some feedback from HF members with opinions and experiences, both first and second hand. This could be a controversial subject so try to be kind. Everyone will come to different conclusions and that is fine because all circumstances are different and can vary. Thanks for your input.

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Last edited by Ricky Ricardo; 05-26-2020 at 09:09 AM.
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post #2 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 09:38 AM
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I'm REALLY sorry that this has happened to you and Ricky. It has happened to me and my dogs too, as you know. I agree with you about the spikey suits and collars. I think they prevent the owner from picking their dog up and getting them out of harm's way.

After our work big dog encounter, where Dave was knocked down and trampled. We DID get pepper spray and carried it. For a while. Then we would forget. The other problem is that they get out of date, and there are several dangers. If it's a REALLY dangerous dog and your aim is not good enough, you can just enrage them and they can come at you instead of the dog. The bigger danger is that with the slightest breeze, it will get in your and Ricky's face too. So every time you have to weigh the risks and danger there too.

With the short-range stunner, you have to realize that it is LIKELY that they will already be in contact with Ricky if they are that close. Meaning HE will get shocked too.

There are no easy answers. Just other things to think about.

There is another tactic that will stop most dogs in their tracks. That is to throw a handful of kibble on the ground between them and you and Ricky. If there is an owner involved, this gives them a chance to get there. If not, it gives you a chance to make a retreat. In general, I find it easier and faster to get a handful of kibble into my hand and thrown than it is to get a spray can out, engage the trigger mechanism, make sure it's pointed in the right direction and spray. With kibble, close is good enough. And the further it is broadcast, the more time the dog is going to take to find all the pieces.

The other tactic is just a big long walking stick. And if the dog continues to come, bring it down as hard as you possibly can across the dog's sensitive nose. It is already in your hand.

So these have become our standard walking tools. They are easy to remember and easy to use. We were taught to use the walking sticks when hiking Cape Breton in Canada, after there had been some Coyotes attacks on humans. No one was to walk in the woods without a walking stick and all dogs had to be on 6-foot leashes. The point was that hitting a coyote (or dog) this way usually does not cause lasting harm, but it DOES teach them not to go after dogs or humans. And they were working REALLY hard to retrain the coyotes in their parks to stay away from humans.

I figure that if the "nice way" of scattering kibble and having a friendly but firm talk with the owner doesn't work (you've already set them up to not be defensive toward you, because you just gave their dog treats, so they MIGHT be more likely to listen to YOUR needs and those of YOUR dog ) The stick will protect you and Ricky, is not likely to hurt you and Ricky the way pepper spray can, and you can use it without getting as close as the stunner seems to need you to be. (though I have no personal knowledge of those)


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post #3 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 10:29 AM
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I think the stick is a great idea. It sounds like the best option to me. Regarding the other methods, I think right after an incident probably isn’t the best time to make a decision. Maybe give it a month and see what you think then? I know there have been a few different incidents, but that just makes this last incident even more frightening and lead you to choose something you might not otherwise.
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post #4 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 11:06 AM
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I, too, live across the street from an aggressive pit mix for 7 yrs. Owned by the renters from hell. First week, it chased me and my RIP, Romeo into the house. Escaped and the owner ran through my gardens and broke 2 landscape lights and many plants were trampled.
Animal control did nothing without witnesses or video. I warned everyone about the dog.
It managed to attack 2 dogs and a neighbor walking on the road. (3 separate instances). The owners of the dogs did not report it even I was a willing witness to the attacks. Finally it attacked a neighbor while it escaped the house. Sadly, they were only fined for having a dog loose, no licence, no proof of rabies vaccination. The dog lives on barking like a lunatic because the owners claim it is a "service dog".
Several neighbors have moved because of the fear of this dog.
I did get a pepper spray gun that I carry in a holster. It can reach 30 feet.
I also have Halt. And a rape whistle.
My mailman recommends an ultrasonic handheld device. He says it has been very effective.
When I garden out front, I keep a big shovel handy.

So sorry this happened to you, Momi and Ricki. I know exactly what it is like to live in fear. I pray almost daily that "Chloe" dies and the people move. The slumlord refuses to do anything. Animal Control has been very unhelpful. Our HOA wrote a letter to tenant and landlord. No one has been much help. I would report the incidents via email to make sure there is a written record.
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post #5 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by krandall View Post
There is another tactic that will stop most dogs in their tracks. That is to throw a handful of kibble on the ground between them and you and Ricky. If there is an owner involved, this gives them a chance to get there. If not, it gives you a chance to make a retreat. In general, I find it easier and faster to get a handful of kibble into my hand and thrown than it is to get a spray can out, engage the trigger mechanism, make sure it's pointed in the right direction and spray. With kibble, close is good enough. And the further it is broadcast, the more time the dog is going to take to find all the pieces.he other tactic is just a big long walking stick. And if the dog continues to come, bring it down as hard as you possibly can across the dog's sensitive nose. It is already in your hand.
Karen, that is a GREAT suggestion................But................. Ricky and my DD's Bowowzer are chow hounds. I know that if I throw a handful of kibble on the ground to deter an aggressor. both of our dogs would be reluctant to leave and be eating the kibble on the ground too. I would pick Ricky up and leave, but there is no way DD is going to pick up her 75 lb. dog.

I think @EvaE1izabeth makes a good suggestion - don't make any rash decision in this heat of the moment. I am going to take her advice and think this through carefully. Thanks to both of you.

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post #6 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 02:22 PM
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I suspect any one who has had a non aggressive dog has had one of these experiences and they stay with you for a lifetime. Mine was walking my shetland sheepdog years ago, a german shepard comes running out of an open doorway and goes after her, I twist around trying to get between the dog and mine and she pulls out of her collar and starts running for home. i am holding the leash, swinging it and screaming at the GS in the wildest, commanding voice while the owner comes stumbling out her door holding a toddler, I am yelling at her to control her dog, my dog is running and the GS is confused with me coming at him. I think the fact that I like dogs, and know how to use an authoritarian voice on them and it was not a Pitt Bull helped. After that, I carried a stick and pepper spray but never had reason to use it. I pick Cassie up the instant I see a loose dog, even though some people say that teaches your dog to be afraid...don’t care, I grab her and keep her safe. I feel that walking her now is like navigating an obstacle course. I am on high alert for dogs, unmasked and masked walkers, more dogs being walked during the daytime...but I continue to do it because we both need our walks.

My sheltie ran the two blocks home and I found her pressed against our front door. I know people love their pitbulls, but they are dangerous and should be reported everytime. If I had a mid-size or larger dog, I would probably carry a stick to push any aggressive dog away. I might remember to carry one if I couldn’t pick Cassie up so easily.

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post #7 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 04:53 PM
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Karen, that is a GREAT suggestion................But................. Ricky and my DD's Bowowzer are chow hounds. I know that if I throw a handful of kibble on the ground to deter an aggressor. both of our dogs would be reluctant to leave and be eating the kibble on the ground too. I would pick Ricky up and leave, but there is no way DD is going to pick up her 75 lb. dog.

I think @EvaE1izabeth makes a good suggestion - don't make any rash decision in this heat of the moment. I am going to take her advice and think this through carefully. Thanks to both of you.

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Can you toss the kibble so it is beyond Rickyís leash? My guess is Ricky is on a leash but the other dog isnít, same with your daughter. Although, maybe you said she was putting the leash on because they had just gotten out of the car? Even still, that particular situation seems to be the rare exception, most of the time when a strange dog approaches you can count on your own dog being on a leash. If you can throw it just out of Rickyís reach, you can pick him up and give him his own treats while you make your escape to report the dog!
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post #8 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, in every incident I shared, our dogs were on a leash, the attacking dogs weren't. I presumed that the closer you threw the kibble to the offending dog, the more attention the kibble would get. Maybe not?

Ricky is ALWAYS on a leash when outside a fenced yard, or when at a fenced off leash area. I believe that is the same for DD.

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post #9 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 06:31 PM
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I suspect any one who has had a non aggressive dog has had one of these experiences and they stay with you for a lifetime. Mine was walking my shetland sheepdog years ago, a german shepard comes running out of an open doorway and goes after her, I twist around trying to get between the dog and mine and she pulls out of her collar and starts running for home. i am holding the leash, swinging it and screaming at the GS in the wildest, commanding voice while the owner comes stumbling out her door holding a toddler, I am yelling at her to control her dog, my dog is running and the GS is confused with me coming at him. I think the fact that I like dogs, and know how to use an authoritarian voice on them and it was not a Pitt Bull helped. After that, I carried a stick and pepper spray but never had reason to use it. I pick Cassie up the instant I see a loose dog, even though some people say that teaches your dog to be afraid...donít care, I grab her and keep her safe. I feel that walking her now is like navigating an obstacle course. I am on high alert for dogs, unmasked and masked walkers, more dogs being walked during the daytime...but I continue to do it because we both need our walks.

My sheltie ran the two blocks home and I found her pressed against our front door. I know people love their pitbulls, but they are dangerous and should be reported everytime. If I had a mid-size or larger dog, I would probably carry a stick to push any aggressive dog away. I might remember to carry one if I couldnít pick Cassie up so easily.
I'm with you on the pre-emptive pick-up. Pixel got very frightened by two times getting rushed by big black dogs when she was little. We actually got her mostly over her fear by pre-emptively picking her up when we see other dogs WAY in the distance, before she reacts and before we have any inkling how they will behave. We don't wait to see if they are leashed or if they are friendly. We are matter-of-fact about it. We don't coddle her, or make her think there is something to be afraid of, we just do it. If we can, we cross the street. If not, we try to step into a driveway, to give the other dog and handler as much space as possible. When they are well past, we put her down. Often, she'll still be unsure enough that her tail will be down. We look at her and in a surprised voice say, "Where's your tail!?!?!" She'll smile, shake it off, put her tail up in true Havanese fashion, and start wagging. Then we're ready to go again. We just don't take ANY chances with her getting rushed again.


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post #10 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 06:35 PM
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Yes, in every incident I shared, our dogs were on a leash, the attacking dogs weren't. I presumed that the closer you threw the kibble to the offending dog, the more attention the kibble would get. Maybe not?

Ricky is ALWAYS on a leash when outside a fenced yard, or when at a fenced off leash area. I believe that is the same for DD.

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Yes, you want to throw the food as far from you and your dog, and as close to the rushing dog as possible. In the case of a little dog, pick them up and remove them. If you think your daughter's big dog is going to go after the kibble too, have her have enough kibble in her pocket that she can quickly scoop some more up, put it in his face and lead him away. She can easily practice this over and over, (without the charging dog!) until he understands that the moment kibble gets tossed, he's going to have a handful shoved in his mouth! She could even have a special cue that means it's coming if she'll remember to use it under pressure. I'd probably just get him used to the sequence and leave the words out.


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