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*kirty*

I'm Becoming Afraid To Walk My Dogs

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*kirty*   

I realised today that I am becoming increasingly afraid to take my dogs out for walks. I am constantly scanning the area for other dogs and when I see other dogs, my heart starts to race and I tense up. :( I'm sure this is transferring to my dogs but I just can't help it. My dogs have been attacked three times now and each time we were minding our own business when the attacks happened. I think my fear has been made worse because I now own small dogs. Today we were out and a lady was walking towards us with a huge crossbreed. The minute the dog saw mine, it went into prey drive. Its eyes locked onto mine, it dropped its head and was completely fixated on my dogs. It was wearing a shock collar and when the handler realised what was happening, she gave it a correction and moved further away. I was hoping like hell she held on tight to its lead. My heart was pounding and I was already thinking about what to do if it got free - I was actually thinking I'd have to throw the dogs in the lake lol.

Anyway, what do I do? Has anyone else been through this? I really feel that it is becoming an issue and I want to get on top of it.

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I rarely walk my dogs now and when I do it's through pretty short streets or just through the main streets whilst I'm shopping. I used to love walking them through town but I've been rushed too many times. I now go out to my friend's property to run my dogs or give them a lot of mental stimulation instead. I feel your pain

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I too feel your pain.. the way you described your feelings was exactly how I used to feel back when I owned a reactive dog. Nowadays when walking my non-reactive dog I have to be very very self conscious about not tensing up - it has sort of become muscle memory for me lol. As soon as I feel myself tensing up I quickly allow my leash to relax.. no tension on the lead. And breath. Hum a song. Anything to help relax. I also look for an escape route just to put myself at ease, be it crossing the road or just looking for a driveway to go up just in case and keeping that in my mind so I don't feel like there's no way out. I still scan for other dogs paranoid as we have also been rushed several times minding our own business, we have not been attacked just charged by over boisterous 'friendly' dogs normally but it is still alarming, I worry that it will make my non-reactive dog reactive. If I walk in the day I try to stick to on leash areas and places where I can see people or dogs approaching from a distance. Lately I've been finding more often that I go to the off leash park late at night when there is guaranteed no other dogs around, more for my own peace of mind than anything. Still I scan my surroundings like a psycho for ninja dogs in the dark LOL whilst my dog runs rings around her nutso mum.

Walking dogs have become a stressful exercise in today's generation of dog owners who don't follow the laws unfortunately.

Edited by silentchild

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Find a 'safe' place to take your dogs to walk..

I only walk my dogs at the local town park - I haven't walked dogs around our suburban streets for many years for the same reason (you just never know how many loose dogs you will run into).

We do still see the occasional off lead dog down at the park but mostly, they are on lead. I also find walking really early in the morning (say from 6-6.30am to 8am) there are not as many off lead or roaming dogs around (maybe because the family are still home before they go off to work and the dogs get bored and sneak out??)

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How awful. Your post illustrates what I have been saying in the thread about the elderly lady being attacked ... It is in In the news Forum.

Dogs and people are leading unnatural lives, dogs and people are suffering. Instead of growing more concerned for each other and recognising other rights and adjusting or modifying our behaviours accordingly, we are becoming more like rats in a cage or inhabitants of the book Lord of the Flies.

Can you find somewhere where dogs have to be kept on their leads (and such directive is adhered to!!) and walk your dogs there?

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I would only walk one dog at a time & have a big stick in the other hand.

Would never go to a dog park either.

It never used to be like this.

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Yup. I used to go nearly every day after work. Now it's just too stressful. Walks are supposed to be relaxing. Not interspersed with dogs barking at your dog (wouldn't be such a pain if it didn't mean he'd anticipate it before we're even 3 houses away), other people's "he's just friendly" dogs dragging their owner around, feral little SWFs growling and snapping at the end of their lead at my dog, etc.

I don't even let him off the lead at the end of the road where there's a park if there are dogs there because I don't know if they'll come up and scare him off (he's got a good recall except when he's in a situation where he thinks the other dog is chasing him, then he'll just run. My calling him doesn't seem to help icon_smile_mad.gif ). It's really crappy. Thankfully we're moving back to the farm in the next couple of months so we'll be able to go on walks together where he can chase rabbits and go on fun adventures biggrin.gif

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*kirty*   

I have too many dogs to walk one at a time lol. I don't go to dog parks, too risky! My dogs have each other to play with, and offlead runs (for the big dogs) are at quiet areas. The littlies don't go offlead.

Has anyone been able to get their anxiety under control?

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Steph M   

I love walking Gus and I refuse outright to give that up. Our area is notorious for roaming dogs, I've never had a dog go for me until I moved here. I love the area in every aspect other than that.

I get so angry that a few d*ckheads who can't manage to lock a gate put me off walking my dog to the shops or the local park, so I now get in the car and go to a nicer area.

I'm not suggesting anything about where you live, I know nothing about QLD so please don't get me wrong, only going from my own experience, but if you're finding your own suburb impossible to walk in then it might be worth chatting to a few people and seeing where they go and which parks are good at which times.

It might help you get in under control to have a few positive experiences too, is there a dog walking group near by or anything that might be doable? Meetup.com have a few pretty good doggie groups?

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Kirislin   

I have too many dogs to walk one at a time lol. I don't go to dog parks, too risky! My dogs have each other to play with, and offlead runs (for the big dogs) are at quiet areas. The littlies don't go offlead.

Has anyone been able to get their anxiety under control?

Do your dogs have good recall? If so, you're welcome to come and walk them in my 10 acre paddock. I dont take my own dogs there because they'd go nuts and p!ss off hunting, but if yours aren't so feral they'd be fine.

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Is there another park that you could walk at? Or a sporting field? Or show ground? Just taking guesses here at what might be around where you are..

What about the local dog club? Would they give you access to their grounds when they aren't training?

I know for us, our local park is the safest place to walk, as opposed to just walking around the streets near home.

Maybe because there is a sports ground, kids playground and a nice pond area, people are more inclined to have their dogs on lead.

It took a while to find a place I felt comfortable to walk and then you have to work out what time is best (so there are less dogs around, less chance of being off lead or loose).

I do take Zig to off lead parks but he gets really excited, so he is closely monitored and we leave if he looks like he is getting overly excited.

Our dog park is pretty good most of the time and it also has two sections that are fenced off separately.

When I have foster dogs, we tend to go into the side with no dogs in there and they Zig and the foster get a good run with a tennis ball. But still get to see other dogs and say hi through the fence.. Again, it depends on time and also what dogs are there. You get to know those that go and the dogs that do play nicely..

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PRADA68   

I hear you I am always on edge walking my small dog. My predicament is this I cannot walk and use a scooter or gopher to walk him. I am not physically capable of defending my dog from attack. He weighs seven kilograms. My only defence is to shove them with the scooter. I take the same route every time as I know it is safe. I am always on edge and constantly scan for dogs on and off leash. The advantage being that I can pick him up and tuck him under my arm it is my worst nightmare a dog attack.

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Guest Clover   
Guest Clover

I hardly walk mine anymore :(. After thinking my youngster was going to be killed in front of me by a dog that gotten out of its house last Christmas I have become extremely nervous about being out with them in public. Even if I only have the one dog with me I am still super aware and constantly scanning for stray dogs.

For something that is suppose to be relaxing and fun for both dog and human it really isn't anymore :(.

I feel your pain Kirty.

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Me too and it's not the dog parks that I'm afraid of, I live in a cul de sac and the issue is making it to the end of the street with dogs in one piece.

I've given up now, as each time I think it's safe and I'm now longer thinking the a-hole dog will attack, it gets us again.

The dog did eventually get one of mine and it ended his race career. It's charged us in our own drive on numerous occasions, charged me in the street more times than I care to remember.

So when people tell me they are afraid, I believe them.

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I agree that it's a very stressful situation these days. I personally think that I need to remain on guard and aware, rather than trying to get over it. My dogs have been attacked more than once and I've also just missed being attacked through sheer luck.

I had pretty much stopped walking except for a few yards in one direction which I was still very nervous but luckily for me the people who owned the Am Staff in the next street and let it wander, have now moved out so I've been able to start walking my normal route again.

I don't go out after 6pm any more - used to do 2 walks a day. There have been a lot of attacks on dogs after that time, I guess it's when people get home from work and let them out.

I wish to God there were rangers on call 24/7 and large fines for dogs found wandering ...

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Podengo   

I'm glad to live in an area where I feel safe walking my dog - there are sometimes a couple of dogs loose, but I know them well and Elsie enjoys her mid-walk visit from those dogs. I'm very thankful they aren't nasty.

I used to walk my friends large breed dogs for her, but have quit now as I have had a couple of near encounters with unfriendly dogs (she lives in a not very nice area, which of course has a lot of bully breeds with lazy owners that are unable to shut gates). One time I got out of her street to encounter a large mastiff x a few houses down in one direction that was apparently having a stand off with a staffy x across the other side of the street. I promptly turned and took the dog back home to play ball instead. The idea of having one of my friends large dogs get into a fight is pretty scary too; even though they could defend themselves unlike a small breed, there is nothing I could do to put a stop to anything, I would have to drop the lead and look for help! I can't physically wrestle a 45kg out of a fight.

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Teebs   

I don't walk kaos much either, now I have a baby it's too stressful walking her and the pram.

I've done it once and we got rushed at by a dog.

The odd time OH is able to we will both go, but that's probably once a month :(

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sas   

I'd recommend you get in your car and take your dogs somewhere else for your walk that you can feel calm.

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Rosetta   

I think it is only sensible to be on alert when walking the dog - I am constantly scanning around for off leash dogs. Fortunately I live in a quiet suburban area where off leash dogs are uncommon and I can go for a walk later in the day when there are fewer people and dogs out. It helps if you can avoid peak times. Dog parks I avoid all together - full of distracted people on their phones with no idea what their dogs are doing. I used to take my small dog to one which had a separate section for the littlies but there was a woman who took her two little dogs there every day for hours and sat glued to her phone while her dogs terrorised any other dog who tried to enter. :mad

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