You're walking with your (leash-reactive) dog and feeling pretty darn pleased because so far it's been peaceful. Suddenly, a dog is bounding towards you, no leash to be seen. A person, strolling along, 30 feet behind. Your dog freezes, as do you. You tighten up on the leash and you yell "get your dog!" and you hear the dreaded words: “it’s okay - he’s friendly!”
How long does it take for your heart to stop pounding after this type of incident? Probably longer than it takes your dog's heart to stop pounding. Am I right?
The Umbrella Block
Quickly open a pocket umbrella to block the dog from getting closer. (Be sure to condition this at home in advance so that your dog thinks this means good things happen!)
The Food Bomb
Toss a generous number of treats directly AT the loose dog so that they are distracted by the goodies and will stay to clean up while you make a quick exit in the opposite direction.
Dispense a burst of Spray Shield towards the loose dog
If you feel you or your dog are in danger, using a safe deterrent is a perfectly acceptable method of defence.
You’re going to want to give that person a piece of your mind…but…
Focus on YOUR dog
It's stressful for both of you, but you need to help your dog recover. Get some distance and when it's safe, do something fun with your dog to lighten the mood.
Walking a reactive dog is hard enough as it is. When we are charged by an off-leash dog (or even a dog on a retractable leash), it is not just stressful, it’s dangerous!
You are your dog’s advocate and you don’t need to be polite OR go postal. Safety first.
Go home and shake it off. Both of you!