6 Tips for Dealing with an Unleashed Dog

Written by: Phil Monahan

When your dog is leashed, the approach of an unleashed dog can be unsettling.
Photo by Phil Monahan

When your dog is on a leash and under control—say, during a daily walk—and an off-leash dog comes running up, this can create real problems. The leashed dog may become upset or aggravated, and the situation can turn dangerous for both the dogs and the human involved. An article on pawnation.com offers 6 useful tips for dealing with this situation, ranging from the simple (simply saying “sit” to the approaching dog) to the last-resort (tossing your dog to safety over a fence):

2. If that doesn’t work, try to startle the loose dog

Step in between your dog and the oncoming dog and use a body block. Square your shoulders and hips, and hold your hand out like a cop stopping traffic while saying “no,” “stop,” or “stay” in a firm, low voice. Alternatively, you could carry an umbrella and open it in the direction of the rushing dog, which will both startle him and provide a physical and visual barrier. One of my clients painted large eyes on her umbrella, which would pop open explosively at the push of a button. This so startled an aggressive Puggle in her neighborhood that he never again went after her dog.

Click here to see all 6 tips.

Do you agree with these strategies? Do you have other tactics that you use?

5 thoughts on “6 Tips for Dealing with an Unleashed Dog

  1. Lmr

    Why are you assuming an unleashed dog will be aggressive ?
    My dogs know how to open the doors to our house and will on occasion
    Bolt if there is an opportunity. I think most dog owners/people overreact
    When they see an unleashed dog when in fact, if they are “educated” dog owners they can recognize the difference and help that dog get back to where it belongs.
    Unleashed is a minimal variable to a dog running free.

  2. Deb

    Lmr, why are you assuming the dog on the leash is friendly?

    My dog can be very reactive to unleashed dogs approaching him. Yes, the loose dog may be friendly…but if he/she comes running up to greet the leashed dog (who may be reactive), it could still turn into a dangerous situation.

  3. Jim

    Of course, there’s someone who defends the practice of dogs running loose. Unless you’re in a rare city that doesn’t…in most cities it’s THE LAW to make sure they’re leashed in public! Don’t put it on US to know how to handle your charging dog, but fix your da*n door so that your pooch can’t get out.

    I’m tired of irresponsible people defending their irresponsible behavior.

  4. Brian

    Here’s a twist. My dog has become villainized due to the fact of having her leashed. She is an English Mastiff and, at 140 lbs, is quite intimidating. I walk her in a neighborhood of unleashed dogs, one of which charged her and received a bite on the face. And now she and I are the bad people. She is the sweetest dog to people, allowing the my kids and the neighborhood children to push her, pull her ears, poke her face, etc. She does nothing in return but give big sloppy kisses. But now she is vicious. Ironic, ain’t it?


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