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Attacked by Another Dog!

An essential part of training your dog is teaching him to walk obediently on a leash without pulling. In public, most cities have ordinances that require you to leash your dog; this isn’t true in many dog parks. When you’re leash-walking your dog, what should you do and not do if another, unleashed dog attacks your dog?

For your safety, and your dog’s safety, keep these tips in mind from dog training for Dummies by Jack and Wendy Volhard and other sources:

  • Don’t scream or yell. An attacking dog’s instictive prey drive is further stimulated by high-pitched sounds.
  • Stay calm. Screaming will only intensify a dog fight; this is why illegal dog fighters yell and scream during staged fights.
  • Let go of the leash to allow your dog to either retreat or defend himself. Leashed, he’s at the mercy of the other dog.
  • Don’t try to separate the dogs. You’ll most likely end up being seriously bitten. Since the attacking dog is unleashed with no owner in sight, you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies. Your own dog could unintentionally bite you as well. Dog fights end on their own when one gives up, and the other walks away.
  • Do attempt to locate the attacking dog’s owner, if possible. File a police report, and also make a report to the ASPCA if you can find no owner; the attacking dog is likely to be a stray that needs to be taken off the streets.
  • Do seek immediate veterinary care for your dog if he’s injured in any way. Your vet will keep records of your dog’s injury; essential if you want the attacking dog’s owner to pay the vet bills.
  • Do seek immediate medical care for yourself in the nearest ER if you’ve been bitten. Without knowledge of the attacking dog’s history, you will need to be treated against rabies. If you don’t know which dog bit you, you will still need to be treated for rabies and given antibiotics to prevent infection of any wound you received.
  • Do carry with you a can of mace or pepper spray. Instead of risk your health and safety by trying to separate the dogs, spray directly into the attacking dog’s face and he will quickly back off. If your dog gets hit by the spray too, simply flush his eyes with water until the irritation from the spray is gone.
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