How to Protect Yourself When You Walk Your Dog Walk Your Dog Safely

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How to Protect Yourself When You Walk Your Dog Walk Your Dog Safely

by Dennis Fetko

Be careful when you walk your dog. A few years ago I worked with the San Diego County Sheriff?s Department on a case. Evidence indicates the fellow was walking his dog in a rural area when 5 dogs belonging to a new neighbor attacked his small dog. To prevent injury to his dog, the fellow picked it up. The loose dogs caused so much damage to his body that he died.

I was recently retained in a similar case. Since the bite victim survived, we know what happened. A young woman was walking her dog when it was attacked by a loose dog. She picked it up to hold it away from the attacker, and she sustained severe injuries resulting in loss of hand use and permanent disfigurement.

People, DO NOT PICK UP YOUR DOG TO SAVE IT FROM ATTACK. Not only will this act NOT stop the attack, it will include YOU as a target. It?s hard to stand by while your dog is being attacked, but picking it up or getting between the attacker and your dog will likely lead to severe injury to you.

I always carry a deterrent when I walk dogs off my property. An ultrasonic transducer, a citronella spray device, even just a coach?s whistle to startle an approaching dog is better than nothing. I also DO NOT TOLERATE loose dogs. If you do, shame on you. You invite an incident.

If you have no deterrent and a dog attacks, drop the lead and stay away from the fracas. I KNOW how hard this is to do. But if you leave your property with NO deterrent, you?ve already chosen to be impotent in case of attack. I don?t know why you?d choose to be unable to defend yourself or your dog against attack, but if you make that choice, do not blame only the aggressing dog.

For all you know, he was just defending his territory against your dog?s intrusion. He may be defending puppies or a new baby in the home. Since you cannot know whether or not this is true, be prepared. But DO NOT PICK UP YOUR DOG. The only thing worse than having your wonderful dog injured or killed is to have you injured, disfigured, or killed. You can take steps to prevent that. Please do so.

The author, Dennis Fetko, Ph.D., "Dr. Dog", is a world-reknowned animal behaviorist whose accomplishments range from appearing on the 20/20 television show and managing the reintroduction of captive-bred Arabian Oryx into the Saudi Arabian National Wildlife Research Center to making a presentation at the South American Veterinary Congress. Dr. Fetko's audios and ebooks detail his fast, easy--and even fun--methods to eliminate your dog's behavior problems. Learn more at

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