Emergencies On Walks – Have a Plan Before You Leave The House


DSCN1379Sometimes, taking your dog for a walk, is like taking a mission, from Mission Impossible….cue music now!

First off, the series of events on this walk needs to be explained to most urban dwellers. I live in a small city on Vancouver Island, part of Canada, but literally an Island of the Coast of Canada. The deer I mention, is a black tail deer which are smaller, and a whole lot less flighty than white tail deer. In fact, black tail deer manage to stand in yards and eat while you watch them. They are frequently seen in urban areas and generally have a high survival rate. Unless of course they are hit by a car.

We are lucky to live with a lot of wild life and where I live there is a large park behind my backyard fence. Many types of wildlife live in it, including a bald eagle. Love it, but sometimes it can be a bit tricky when trying to avoid them.

As a dog trainer, I teach people a lot about polite walking with their dogs, which is no pulling, no lunging etc. However, sometimes reality steps in, going for our walk tonight, was an interesting experience, and I practiced some of what I tell my clients to do if it happens to them.

We went to an area where they usually go off leash fenced area, except it wasn’t and they went out the others side. (Hoping to find rabbit, which sometimes eat there)
I called them and they came back, yay, wonderful recall, practice makes perfect!

On the way back, leashed, there was a deer right by the sidewalk, having two large dogs that are very interested in chasing the deer by a busy road, we chose to go the other way and avoid the deer. (Also I was avoiding having them pull to chase the deer and barking, whining, and generally making a huge fuss.)

Here is where it gets sticky. First, there is a dog that barks crazily if you pass by his house and wants to kill everyone, is in the front yard behind the fence barking wildly. So we decide to go to the next street. Except we cannot get to it! There are 3 dogs off leash on the sidewalk at different points, one a half block away, one at the next house, and the third, came running wildly out from a building. I am yelling, “Call your Dog” as the lab comes bounding toward us. “Call your Dog” which I am sure the dog stopped as my dog was looking at him and I am yelling for someone to call the dog. I did not want to allow a loose dog to jump on my leashed dogs! This will cause unnecessary problems for all of us! I am sure they thought I was a crazy lady just yelling for no reason, but let them think that!

The lab was probably, friendly, but I did not stick around to check and continued walking. Which, of course, forces me to pass crazy barking dog who would love to take a chunk out of us, my dog starts barking at him as we walk by. We then we pass the other neighbor’s dog, which is also barking madly at us….at least they were all behind fences!

What Went Wrong?

First, dogs are supposed to be on leash, not off leash, which apparently most people think is optional, and I won’t even go into the optional picking up the poo either! My dogs were on leash, and for good reason, I don’t want them to run onto the road and get hit by cars. Two, people just leaving their dogs out to be a nuisance to bark while passing on the street? I have to wonder, is it to keep people away and for what?

So, what do you do for an emergency plan?

What if I had to get away from a charging dog, what would I do?

  1. Yell to get attention preferably from the owner.
  2. If necessary, put yourself between the two dogs. (If you choose to leave the area, walk and don’t run. Running will cause the other dog to start chasing you like prey.)
  3. Stand your ground, and put your dog between your legs, or if you have a little dog you can pick up, do so!
  4. Yell for help, or someone to get the dog! If bitten, you will need to seek medical help for you, or your dog.
  5. Try to find out where the dog comes from for future reference.

I went home exhausted, but, have a plan, what could I do better next time?

On my walk the next day, nothing! Calm quiet, no deer and no barking dogs!

Am I ready for next time? I hope so! Have a plan to get you and your dog out safely.

Have you experienced emergencies on walks? Do you plan out your walks? Do you have an emergency plan, if something goes wrong? What steps do you take to keep you and yourself safe on walks?