You really brought up a hot-button issue the other day. While walking on a trail, we came upon a large dog off-leash. The owner told us not to worry that her dog was well trained. I pulled my Shih Tzu close to me. Her dog came over though, and before we knew it, her dog was attacking mine. I was paralyzed and didn’t know what to do. My husband finally fell on top of the big dog and stopped it.
When we tried to talk to the woman, she was quiet, wouldn’t answer questions, then burst out in a huge fake crying spell that went on and on. My Sofie was bleeding from the abdomen, so we quickly took her home and to the vet for a $300.00 visit. Since then, we have talked with people about their off-leash dogs, but I find many of them arrogant in attitude.
– Barbara, Tucson, Arizona
What a horrible experience for you – and she didn’t even pay your vet bill.
There is no way to know if an approaching dog is a friend or foe, regardless of what the owner says. Dogs can react to a variety of things, so if a big dog approaches, leashed or not, get in the habit of picking up your small dog until you pass safely by the other dog.
Owners of unleashed dogs need to understand that people are often afraid of an approaching dog and that their fear can change how their dog reacts in any given situation. Keep dogs leashed. It’s the law, and it’s the safe and neighborly thing to do.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal