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

Note to dog owners. If you don’t want your dog shot, pepper sprayed, beaten with a stick, rocked, etc., arrange to keep it home.

Maybe change your user name? That can’t help…

Indeed. Not to minimize your concerns – I’ve encountered an off-leash, human-aggressive dog in my own neighborhood a few times. But even that one did not approach me very closely, and was content to fade back, snarling, as long as I remained calm. In general, I think people overestimate the danger from stray dogs. I’ve met a LOT of dogs, and I’ve seen a lot more cases of people who seem afraid than I have of dogs who seem genuinely human-aggressive.

That seems like a good resource.

You apparently need a high-capacity magazine too, if this particularly egregious case is any indication: link to case of a police officer panicking and firing 33 rounds at a puppy, hitting homes and cars, while other officers pleaded with him to stop.

“Just ignore them, and they’ll ignore you”

“most of the dogs you meet are probably not dangerously agressive - just annoying as they jump around you”

“That is fucking ridiculous. 'DOG! STAY BACK! I HAVE A GUN!”

“it makes a loud hissing noise that dogs will back off from”
Me thinks many people never get outside, have never been bitten, and don’t live in areas where lowlife breed pit bulls.

I don’t understand why people get so fussed about the legality of pepper spray. If I was ever put in a situation where I had to use it, I’d be goddamn glad I had it and lived to tell the tale. A misdemeanor conviction is worth keeping life and limb intact, no question.

I advocate civil disobedience of stupid laws. Moreover, if a cop came onto the aftermath of (for instance) an attempted rape, to find the attacker crying on the ground and the would-be-victim clutching her pepper spray, and tried to arrest the victim for possession of pepper spray… well, I just can’t imagine this happening. It’d turn into a media hellstorm.

Wait, are you saying the dogs in the OP may be rapists in addition to the vicious killers we already suspect they very well may be?!

Obviously if something proved essential in saving your life, then after the fact it’s easier to justify. “Well, as it turned out I really needed that bazooka in the trunk of my car, didn’t I?” But the problem would be all the other times you got caught carrying it, driving with it, taking it out of your bag at the airport, etc. you would still be cited, or whatever the law entails for pepper spray in areas where it is prohibited. I’m all for civil disobedience, but I can certainly accept being illegal for the OP as sufficient justification for ruling it out.

In the case of stray dogs there are clear alternatives that would be legal for the OP and just as effective.

Nonsense. I’ve been bitten by a dog (not a pit bull) and menaced by several off-leash dogs (not pit bulls – the worst repeat offender is some kind of spaniel) and I totally stand by what I said.

“Lowlifes” certainly can mistreat dogs to make them aggressive and fearful, but they can (and do) do that with any breed.

Pit bulls as a generalization are well-known to be friendly to (human) strangers.

A spray bottle of ammonia will take care of any dog.

The expert speaks:

As someone mentioned above, a can of wasp spray is said to be an effective dog deterrent…I’ve never personally tried this though, and cannot vouch for the method. I did have some success once, spraying a rottweiler in the face with ether; the kind that comes in an aerosol can for use as an engine-starting aid. No, I don’t ordinarily carry a can of ether in a quick-draw holster…the rottie attacked my dog while I was working in my shop, and I grabbed the first thing at hand and ran to the rescue :cool:

Quality advice, in a thread full of nonsense.

Get yourself a good sturdy stick. The vast majority of the time just brandishing it is enough. If you need to use it, get a good two-handed grip and thrust it like a bayonet at the dog’s face. Unless he is a highly trained attack dog, which is unlikely, he’ll attempt to bit the end of it. At this point, you do your best to cram it down his throat. Don’t worry. He’ll lose his enthusiasm for the whole enterprise long before you kill him.

Dammit! Now I see the problem!

Yeah, I’m not getting a gun. Dogs running around free here are against the law, but there isn’t any enforcement, so people are getting very lax with keeping their dogs under control where they can attack other people. I don’t think any dog will attack me, but with the startling amount of off-leash dogs I encounter every time I go for a walk (three again this morning), it is a definite possibility, and I would prefer to be prepared than to be bitten.

There is a certain amount of psychology involved, too - I think most dog owners will notice me brandishing pepper spray or a large walking stick at their “don’t worry, he’s harmless!” dog as it runs at me full speed. Then we can have a chat about how their dog wouldn’t be in any danger of being sprayed if it didn’t get close to me.

The other option is to get a bigger dog of your own! He’ll happily protect you!

An airhorn will work pretty good. Ammonia and wasp spray will be effective. Not sure anything but firearms will work against a crazed pit bull, or any other breed. If you understand canine dominance/submission you can scare off most dogs with a stare or harsh word. Most, but not all.

You can also scare most off by mentioning a bath. They’ll run a mile!

I don’t know the rules in Calgary, but in many jurisdictions where pepper spray is “illegal,” it’s actually “regulated” and you can fairly easily obtain a permit to carry it. I can also say that when hiking in other parts of Alberta, I have seen people carrying bear spray on their belts. Perhaps they were breaking the law; perhaps bear spray is not treated the same as pepper spray.

Should you choose to carry bear spray, learn how to use it! Most sporting-goods stores that sell it will be happy to take a couple of minutes and explain everything. Keep it where you can grab it quickly, or it’s useless. Spray down, not straight out, or the dog can run in under the spray. If you wait until the dog is right in your face, it’s too late. Obviously, don’t spray it into the wind, or you will be an unhappy cat whisperer.

Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.

And yes, if there are crazed/abused/hostile pitbulls/Rottweilers running around, there’s not a whole lot you can do short of firearms. However, if that was the case, I suspect the authorities would be a bit more enthusiastic about not letting them run around. Against someone’s “overly friendly” German Shepherd, I second the suggestion for bear spray or something.

[quote=“Crazyhorse, post:17, topic:586365”]

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


Postal carriers are also trained in handling aggressive dogs and could give you tips. Around here (western US), mail carriers carry dog biscuits. I don’t know under what circumstances they dispense them, though. Seems like giving one to a savage beast might just reinforce aggressive behavior, but definitely ask your carrier for advice.

Carry a cat. If the dog attacks toss it and run the other direction.