The weather is warmer and that means more people are outside walking their dogs. Unfortunately, that also means more off leash dogs as well. Littleton has strict leash laws. According to the city’s website, leash laws with the City of Littleton are as followed:
“Both the City of Littleton and South Suburban Parks and Recreation require that, outside of designated off-leash parks, pets must be on a leash at all times. Both park rules and city ordinances specify that the leash cannot be more than six feet long. Retractable leashes are not allowed anywhere in the city, including the High Line Canal, Lee Gulch Trail, and the Mary Carter Greenway/South Platte Park area.”
Unfortunately, not everyone follows the local leash laws. Knowing what to do when an off-leash dog approaches you, is crucial to your safety and your pet’s safety. Not too long ago, one of our dog walkers was attacked by two off-leash dogs while walking with a client’s dog. Thankfully she and the dog are okay, but the incident reminded us that we all must be aware of our surroundings even when enjoying a leisurely stroll with one of our canine companions.
What Do I Do When An Off-leash Dog Is Approaching?
If you see an off-leash dog approaching, stay calm and attempt to move your dog away. Avoid running as this may cause the other dog to chase you. Cross the street to create distance and find a barrier, like a parked car. If the other dog follows or if there is not enough time to react and move away, keep control of your dog and try to keep your dog as still as possible. Put yourself between your dog and the off-leash dog. Then in a loud voice, tell the other dog “NO”, or use another command it may know such as stay, sit, or go home. If the approaching dog does not listen, throw treats down and try to make an exit with your dog. If needed you may need to use an air horn, or a pet safe deterrent spray to keep the dog away.
What if I Do Not Have Treats Or A Method To Keep The Approaching Dog Away?
If you do not have an air horn or deterrent spray, relax and stay calm. Most off-leash dog encounters end peacefully. However, if a fight ensues, do not try and separate the dogs alone! Try to find someone else to help you so that each of can should grab the back legs of each dog in a wheelbarrow-like fashion, then lift the dogs up. As soon as the dogs are separated move them away from each other to prevent them from re-engaging. If you are unable to find someone to help you, grab the legs of the more aggressive dog in a wheelbarrow-like fashion, and lift. Move that dog as far away from the other as you can. Once the dogs have been separated and you and your dog are safe, immediately call the police to report the incident so the police can be sure to give a citation to the pet owner that was not abiding by the local leash laws. It is also important to take your dog to the veterinarian for an exam to assess any bite wounds he may have received during the altercation.
What Products Do We Recommend To Use As A Deterrent?
There are many products on the market. Citronella spray is a safe and effective way to ward off an oncoming dog while on a walk. PetSafe sells SprayShield® Animal Deterrent Spray>. According to their website, “when sampled at the Canine Aggression Research Center, it was found to be as effective on moderately aggressive dogs as other personal defense products including 10% pepper spray solution.” Carrying an air horn such as this one listed on Amazon is recommended by Humane Societies for keeping approaching dogs at bay. Carrying an extra slip on lead such as this one sold by Doctors Foster & Smith can help you get ahold of the off-leash dog which may help prevent a fight.
Written by Julie Gajewski. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a technician and hospital administrator since 1997. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats.