Being approached by a Pack of Strays is not some thing anyone of us want to deal with, especially when walking your client's Dogs! There are over 500,000 lost or abandoned Dogs every month across the US. The ones that become Feral are considered 'Stray Dogs'. Just because you 'know' Dogs doesn't mean you are equipped to handle a pack of hungry or sick Dogs. Here are some tips and myths to use and avoid.
#1 - Do not approach the Dogs. They are usually hungry in survival mode, not your happy couch potato. Keep as much distance between you and the Strays as possible, never taking your eyes off the Dog(s) or turning your back on them. Seek the closest home or business for assistance.
#2 - Toss Kibble. Always carry Kibble when walking your Dog! If you can not get help and the Dogs keep getting closer tossing Kibble is the best distraction and can buy you time to exit the situation.
#3 - Don't Run. Should the Dogs be upon you stand your ground, do not run! Keeping your eyes down using your peripheral vision, watch the Dogs movements. Staring at the Dogs can be seen as a threat, don't do it. Stand your ground calmly and with firm conviction with your arms together in front of you.
#4 - Don't Extend a hand. Extending a hand can be view as a threat, don't do it.
#5 - No Pepper Spray. You'd think Pepper Spray would be good right? Wrong! It's never a good idea with a Dog! What usually ends up happening is spraying Pepper Spray actually exacerbates the situation angering the Dog(s). Keep calm and toss kibble! No fast gestures, but reach into you pocket and grab a handful and toss it away from you. Back away as quickly and calmly as possible, never turning your back on the Dogs.
#6 - Play Ball. If you end up on the ground, curl into a ball covering your face with your hands and facing down. This is the best protection.
#7 - Pay Attention. The best plan is to be ever aware of your surroundings. It doesn't have to take away from the joy of walking your Dog(s) but the more aware you are of your surroundings, the more time you have to react. Always scan the area for unusual movement, etc. Look ahead and all around so you can anticipate your action plan.
#8 - Carry your Cell Phone. Having your cell phone fully charged and with you on your walk is wise. Don't leave home with out it. Just in case you need to call for help, you can. It may sound silly, but many of us enjoy that leash time away from technology, strolling along with Fido...you can turn the ringer down...just have it with you.
With so many Dogs lost and abandoned every month, the chances of you running into Stray Dogs is very good. The numbers out there are staggering. The best offense is a good defense. Be prepared to meet unexpected Paws. It's not a matter of 'IF' it's really 'when'.
We can help bring the numbers down by supporting low cost Spay and Neuter Clinics such SNAPS SAN DIEGO, http://www.snap-sandiego.org/ . My thinking here is fewer unwanted animals born, fewer roaming the streets... Even if you don't own a Pet your tax dollars go towards the shelters and euthanasia to control the population. I invite you to help stop the Feral Dogs one snip-snip at a time. Feral Dogs are everyone's business. If you would like to know more about safe dog walking tips or service you can reach me at 858-603-9925. Be safe out there and have fun, being prepared can be fun with the Paws!
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