Dogs running loose in my neighbourhood - how do I protect myself walking?

For some reason (probably lack of enforcement), there is a real problem with dogs of all sizes running loose in my neighbourhood this summer. I walk A LOT around here, and I’m concerned that a dog may attack me at some point. I also understand that pepper spray is illegal. Is there a legal device that I can carry with me as I’m walking around to use to incapacitate a dog if it should attack me?

Hickory walking cane.

Or a hiking staff.

“Legal” depends on your specific locality - you’re probably best off asking the local police or a lawyer, and should report the stray dogs if there’s a means for doing so.

I should be reporting the dogs; I thought that there wasn’t any point since the dogs would be gone by the time bylaw officers get here, but if they get called every damned day, they might start patrolling here. Good thought.

Edison meter readers carry umbrellas. Apparently the improvised weapon works two ways: as a stick, or as a suddenly large and intimidating shield.

I’ve always carried mace in my front pocket or strapped to my wrist while running and hiking.

But a squirt gun filled with Tabasco sauce is probably fine. If not, use a small plastic syringe with the same ammo.

On a Facebook group I’m on, they just recently posted guidelines for dealing with unfamiliar dogs. It’s meant for kids, but it seemed (to this not-terribly-familiar-with-dogs person) to be decent advice.

Apparently if you’re approached by a hostile dog, you’re supposed to “be a tree”–stand straight and still, “fold your branches” (clasp your hands in front of you), and “stare at your roots” (look down at your feet) until the dog leaves. If the dog knocks you over you’re supposed to “be a rock” (crouch down with your knees under you and your hands clasped around your neck. In both cases, stay as still as possible and don’t engage the dog in any way. Supposedly if you do this the dog is likely to sniff you, determine you’re not a threat, then get bored and wander off.

I’d be interested in hearing from dog-familiar folks whether this is actually good advice, and whether it would be good advice for dogs that are hostile and not just unfamiliar and potentially scary.

Pepper spray is not necessarily illegal in Calgary, AB. Just go to an outdoors store and buy a small black can that has DOG REPELLENT (or something similar) marked / stamped on it. As long as you don’t carry the thing in the open you should be fine. Also you’re entering the realm of illegal the moment you point that towards a person, whether it’s for offensive OR DEFENSIVE purposes - the criminal charge is assault with a weapon IIRC. (I don’t know Calgary that good but I think BassPro at Crossiron in Airdrie carries that spray.)
Finally, if a LEO or peace officer asks you about it, you are required to let them know you have it on you and comply with all indications they give you pertaining to it (including allowing them to handcuff you without verbal or physical resistance, so that they can safely remove it from you. They do that with their own safety in mind.)

I have had good luck with small rocks. Dog that run loose have encountered people that can hit them with ones big enough to hurt. They don’t realize that even if you did manage to hit them, it wouldn’t hurt.

And yes, beat on your authorities about the problem.

Get a gun. You may need a license depending on your locality, but I can guarantee you they won’t be bothering you for long.

Just ignore them, and they’ll ignore you.

That’s also good advice for dealing with panhandlers, missionaries and cops.

Pepper spray is illegal there?!

One officer told me to carry wasp spray if I felt threatened. :wink:

That is fucking ridiculous.


besides, she lives in Canada. Kind of harder to get a gun for dog-shooting over there. :rolleyes:

Well, that particular dog wouldn’t be much of a problem. The Canadianness does rather throw a wrench in the plan, however.

Perhaps petition your local governing agency for some kind of dog control? Do they have dog catchers in Canada? :dubious:

Hey that’s right. No pesky off-leash dogs in the county slammer! Popping some dog that looks at you the wrong way on the street is a one-way ticket to six to twelve months of blessed dogless peace.

Obviously I don’t know your situation but most of the dogs you meet are probably not dangerously agressive - just annoying as they jump around you. If this is the case and you want something that just frightens them off rather than “incapacitating” them you can get some stuff called “Pet Corrector”. Essentially it is just an empty aerosol can but it makes a loud hissing noise that dogs will back off from.

Ask your local postman if there are any problem dogs known to roam the neighborhood - they will know.

If you haven’t been attacked and none of your neighbors have been attacked, and there are no reports of others being attacked in the local news, packing heat might be a little bit of an over-reaction to a non-threat.

If you insist on being prepared just in case a dog goes crazy and attacks just you specifically, a small air horn is an excellent way to scare the dog away and call for help at the same time.

I believe in general terms, your post is good advice as a rule of thumb and may work well with some or even many dogs. Unfortunately, some dogs are simply aggressive and may not back off and could continue to attack a human lying on the ground in a ‘rock’ position. Since all dogs have a predator instinct, if you find yourself confronted by an aggressive dog, you have to transform yourself from prey to predator and become the aggressor.

The first reply on this thread was to carry a walking stick and others suggested mace or pepper spray leading to comments regarding legality. Simply stated, if you’re attacked by a vicious animal and you have pepper spray available, use it to protect yourself and to hell with legality because you’re protecting yourself from a real and serious threat of injury or death.

I believe a walking stick about 4’ to 5’ long and pepper spray is a great combination. Usually, an attacking dog can be momentarily kept at a safe distance using the stick because the animal will first attack the end of the stick. At that same time, you spray it in the face with pepper spray at which point you should be able to walk away.

Are these strays or domestic dogs?

Definitely mention it to the authorities. Neither case sounds like it would be legal, unless you’re in a very unusual area.

As a near-rabid advocate of the Second Amendment and responsible gun owner, I want to smack you across the face with a double-headed dildo for seriously recommending this.

Since dogs don’t understand the deterrent effect of pointing a weapon at them, the only way it works is by pulling the trigger. Then you got a whoooooole lot of headaches to deal with.

@Cat Whisperer: I second the animal-use-only pepper spray. The stuff works wonders against all kinds of critters and other than the temporary pain, it doesn’t harm them.