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DON’T Make Me SPRAY YOUR DOG!

We were out for a walk  a couple of weeks ago. About 2/3 of the way through the walk I had just started thinking that maybe we’d get lucky this time and be able to have a great long walk without any problems when up ahead I noticed a larger sized black and white dog watching us from its porch several houses ahead. I couldn’t tell if the dog was leashed or not but I can tell you this porch was not very far from the sidewalk and even a short leash would have have allowed this dog to get too close to the sidewalk and us. My inner alarm went off because I already know all to well that this situation is never pretty. Not only are my dogs in danger of being injured in a dog fight but this is also dangerous for me and so I avoid other dogs any way I can.

Our Most Recent Loose Dog Incident

As I started my avoidance detour by crossing the street (walking not running because I know running is only going to make things worse!) — a large brown dog came charging, growling and snarling at us from behind the black and white dog. I didn’t even know he was there until he came at us and there was no doubt in my mind that he meant business. This set off the black and white dog who jumped off the porch to pack up with his buddy but was stopped short by the leash snapping his neck which really had to hurt this poor dog! The brown dog was not leashed and as we stepped up on the curb across the street, the brown dog was already in the street still carrying on in his (or hers!) very convincing “This is my property — GET OFF!” voice and moving one step closer to us with each bark. Now mind you, we were still three to four houses away from this house with the two dogs but it was quite obvious these dogs believed the entire block belonged to them, that we were intruders on their territory and they weren’t about to let that happen.

This kind of other-dog behavior sets my Riley off into immediate protection-mode which means I then have a dog in high alert mode — jazzed up, ready and more than willing to rumble — which makes things more difficult for me and escalates the entire situation. I now have two dogs I have to try to control (and one of them isn’t even mine!) plus I must try to keep my precious non-confrontational Nissa safely out of the action. Are you doing the math here? One person faced with having to keep three dogs and herself safe all because of one loose dog! Had the black and white dog snapped its leash you can add it to the mix as well.

Where the Heck are the Owners?

There were two cars in the driveway and the front inner door to the house was open. There was quite obviously someone at home! You’ll never convince me that these people didn’t hear that something was up with their dogs but yet not one single person came out of that house or from anywhere in sight to control their dogs! I also noticed these folks have a decent size back yard in which they could keep their dogs safely confined but they chose to put them on their front porch which sits maybe eight feet from the sidewalk. We can’t possibly be the only ones who’ve ever walked by their house, so they have to know how their dogs are going to react when strangers enter the area!

The Intervention!

Lucky for us, there was a very nice man who came out of his house on the side of the street we had detoured over to when he heard the commotion. He offered to keep an eye on and shoo the offending dog (who was now halfway into the street and still making his way towards us) back to his yard should he follow us when we turned around to go back in the direction we’d come from. The brown dog was so determined to keep us away that he was slowly inching his way towards us even we weren’t anywhere near him and his yard. As we walked away I looked back and saw that the brown dog was still jazzed up watching us but this nice man kept his word, put himself in danger and was– very gratefully — guiding the dog home.

Up Until Now …

I can never relax when I walk my FurKids because I must always be watching for loose dogs or dogs that even if tethered, are tied in such a way that they’re able to get too close to the sidewalk. I can’t begin to tell you how sick to death I am of irresponsible owners not giving a damn and allowing their dogs to be outside unattended, unleashed or confined in some insecure manner which poses a potential threat to anyone walking by — with or without a dog.

Not only is it physically dangerous, but because we’ve been charged so often by loose dogs and dogs on short leashes with easy access to the sidewalk — my Riley now goes on the defensive no matter what other dogs are nearby. I know there are many other people out there who cannot safely and pleasantly walk their dogs without fear of an incident. These situations have caused me to lose all interest in walking my dogs, I dread even thinking about walking them. I just do not want to have to deal with it and I don’t want my own dogs to have to deal with it. It’s an absolute chore to get me out of the house for a walk now which doesn’t help me help my dogs with the emotional and behavioral issues that now plague them. Instead of nearly daily walks, we get out maybe twice a week. We should be able to get out whenever we want to and go on a safe walk!

It got to the point where I was walking my dogs in the overnight hours. I was more afraid of a loose dog than I was of the other bad things that can happen to a person out walking in darkness. Not to long ago I realized that walking overnight wasn’t the answer because I would likely not see a loose dog coming before it was to late! There are more dogs to deal with during the daylight hours, but for the most part at least I am able to see them coming, that is after peeking around bushes and other visual barriers that have on occasion blocked my view to dogs on porches and a few other things.

Done! Had It! Enough Already! Uncle!

The whole situation has made me freaking furious! Who the hell are you people that you feel you and your dog are so much better than the rest of us that the laws don’t apply to you? What right do you have to take away the rights of others to walk their dogs in safety? Words like “lazy” and “irresponsible” come to mind. Oh, so you think because your dog is so calm and friendly that it’s ok for you to just leave it outside on its own? Have you ever thought about your own dog’s safety? What happens to your own dog if someone else’s dog who’s not so friendly is either left out or gets out and is wandering around? Do you not give a hoot that your own dog could be in harm’s way or worse? Not every dog is other-dog friendly and one of the reasons they’re not is a direct result of people like you who don’t take their dog  parenting responsibilities seriously.

Being angry, taking detours and practicing one avoidance measure after another is quite obviously not working. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired and I’m so done with this crap! I’ve had enough of you people and your loose dogs and this includes people who walk their dogs off-leash! I don’t care why you think you are better than anyone else, why you feel you don’t have to obey the laws or why you have absolutely no regard for the safety of your own dog and that of others and their dogs. I should be able to get out and walk my dogs down any street I choose and not have to worry about what might come at us. I and every other responsible dog owner who cares about their own dog and those of others have a right to be safe when walking our dogs.

We should not have to memorize where every dog lives on every block we travel! About the time I think I’ve got it down pat, these dogs have moved or died, been replaced with another dog or an additional dog has been added to the household. We should not be forced to take detours to avoid loose dogs! There are so many dogs in my area there’s really no other detours we can take!

My Solution

I’ve racked my brain and thought very long and hard about what I can do so that I can walk my dogs in safety. I’m not fond of any of the alternatives bouncing around in my head but I will no longer tolerate loose dogs and the dangers they pose to me, my dogs and others floating the same boat. I can’t believe I even considered taking this kind of action but I’m at the point where I feel I have no other choice. I have a desire, a right and a duty to protect myself and my dogs and that’s what I’m going to do to the best of my ability. The last thing I want is to cause discomfort or pain to any dog — even one that’s charging us — but irresponsible dog owners have left me and others like me with no other alternative but to take steps to protect ourselves. I’m going to make good on my husband’s words: “It takes a lot to get her to this point but this is one woman you don’t want to be on the wrong side of!”

After discussing the use of a taser with a couple of Police Officers who rank very high on our Police Department’s range scores and are quite weapon savvy, I learned that tasers are too difficult to use safely because dogs move so fast. I’d have to be a good enough shot to make my local SWAT Team in order to even hope to zap a dog successfully with a taser. The chances of me stopping a charging dog with a taser while trying to control my own dogs are slim and next to none and I may only piss off the charging dog more than he is already making matters even worse. If it weren’t such a dangerous and scary situation, the visual of me trying to accomplish this would be laughable.

I refuse to carry a gun, you can’t shoot a gun inside the city limits anyway. I’m not out to murder or even seriously injure your dogs, I just want to keep your dogs away from us — they’ve caused way to much damage to me and my dogs already.

Since the incident two weeks ago and on the recommendations of these Officers, I now carry pepper spray on our walks and I will not hesitate to use it if I have to. Yes, that’s right — I will spray your dog in the face with pepper spray if it so much as makes a move in our direction. I will hate doing it, I will feel absolutely horrible and I will cry like a baby for days and maybe even weeks afterwards because your dog is going to pay the price for your stupidity and that is something I will have an extremely hard time dealing with in my heart. I’ve been assured that although your dog will be extremely uncomfortable for several hours from the pepper spray it, he/she will not suffer any permanent harm or damage and I have no doubt that I’ll have to remind myself of that many times over in order to get past it. I have absolutely no doubt that pepper spray is a horrible thing to do to a dog, but for our safety and those of other dogs and their walkers — I will use it.

If you don’t want your dog pepper sprayed, get up off your lazy ass, get responsible, protect your own dog and those people and their dogs who walk near your house. The city streets and sidewalks are public domain and I have every right to use them to walk my dogs and be safe doing so. I don’t care how big or small the dog, I don’t care in what way it’s approaching us — if it’s coming in our direction — it’s going to get a face-full of pepper spray. That includes the friendly unknowing puppy who doesn’t have a clue that other dogs might be a danger to them if they approach. You can think of it this way — my pepper spray just saved your little guy’s life — so he’ll learn a harsh lesson but at least he’ll be alive. You will have no one to blame but yourself if your dog gets sprayed!

Pepper Spray is NOT All You’ll be Faced With

I will also make note of your address and call the Police myself and tell them what happened. I’m the very last person who wants to pepper spray a dog but I’ve verified with our Police Department that I have every right to protect myself and my dogs. If you come towards us in anger because I’ve sprayed your dog, you’ll be the next one wearing pepper spray and you’ll be thanking me again for me keeping you safe from a bite. Should I or my dogs need medical or veterinary attention afterwards, you can rest assured you’ll be held responsible for paying all costs. If you want to fight it, go ahead and good freaking luck with it because you’re going to lose. I’ll hire a lawyer if I have to and you can pay his fees as well. Are you getting the picture yet? YOU are responsible for YOUR dog but if you leave your responsibility to me you aren’t going to like the consequences.

My Solution is NOT My Recommendation

Our city is moving towards stronger safe-dog laws but this is not something that will happen overnight. I also know that even with stricter laws there will always be law-breakers. It could be years before our streets and sidewalks are safer to walk with our FurKids and so until then, I have to think about and do something pro-active for better safety in the here and now.

I’m not recommending that anyone else do this, this is my solution to a huge problem that I face every time I step foot outside my house with my dogs. I’m at my wits end and feel that pepper spray — as ugly as it is — is my only hope. It breaks my heart to even think about using it because the dog on the receiving end will suffer simply because it drew the short straw in the owner department. Unfortunately, the fact is that the unprotected alternatives are so much worse. At least I will save all the the dogs from a dog fight and the resulting injuries to them or myself. You irresponsible, lazy dog owners have left me with no other alternative and you might want to keep in mind that I may not be the only law-abiding responsible dog owner packing pepper spray.

 

20 Comments

  1. Allen G doak says:

    A neighbors dog pushed out a picket on there fence & it came over in my yard when I was raking leaves & after fighting it for at leased 10 minutes it bit my elbow before the owner heard me me.I am in a power wheel chair & if & did not have the large plastic rake I might not have survived. I bought pepper spray spray pens but since I am 91 I was unable to use them; I ended up getting a pepper spray in the shape of a gun which gives a 15 foot stream & I have no problem with the trigger. It is perfect since it is easy to use a has a safety switch

  2. Ashley says:

    Hi–
    My dog is rescue and has a lot of fear aggression issues. He does not do well with other dogs, which is a continual work in progress for us. However I still walk him every day and, like you, I am constantly on the lookout for other dogs, especially loose ones. He is excellent on a leash and usually we are able to maneuver and detour to the point that we don’t have an issue. However about 2 years ago, we were chased down by a loose Labrador. It was terrifying. Its owner was nowhere in sight. I was near a park and there were many people around, and not one person stepped in to help in any way. I ran and ran and eventually fell, all the while my dog (the smaller of the two) and the lab were furiously going at it. It was such a scary event because I realized I could never outrun this dog and we had no means of escape. I had no clue how to get out of it. Finally, a car on the nearby busy street pulled over and let us in, then took us home. We were both so incredibly shaken up, so I researched my options, went out and bought pepper spray, and never had an incident again until tonight.
    We were walking our usual route in our neighborhood and I heard a jingling sound like dog tags coming from behind us. It was a loose Samoyed or American Eskimo making a fast beeline for us. I quickly turned and started to cross the street, but this dog was quickly approaching.. I picked up my pace to a run but was wearing flip flops and it quickly caught up with us. Before we even got across the street, the two dogs were going at it. I shouted NO! Loudly twice, hoping that the owner might be nearby and intervene. No one was in sight, so I pulled out the pepper spray. I let a short burst out first to see if that would be enough. My dog backed off but the other one kept pursuing him, so I sprayed a longer stream, enough to get him to back off, and then we turned and ran. It was still terrifying and I feel ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE for that poor dog, but I know I had no other option. I totally agree with you– dogs are ANIMALS and for us to assume for one second that they are anything else is just foolish. I don’t care how great you think your dog is with people, kids, other dogs, etc. When put in fight or flight mode, most dogs will choose to fight and their animal instincts will kick in. It is OUR JOB to keep them out of such situations and to be RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH to protect them, and others. It is so unfair that I was put in a position of having to do that and now feeling so horrible about it. I am just thankful that this time I was prepared and that I’m dealing with guilt rather than injuries to myself and my pup.
    Thank you for this article– it has helped me to feel a bit better about what I was forced to do. I truly hope that some greater change will come soon.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Ashley,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your run-ins with other dogs. I know how scary that can be and I’m sure glad everyone is ok. I, too, absolutely would be upset if I ever have to spray a dog. Chances of the spray getting onto you and your our own dogs is also great, all it takes is enough of a breeze and you and your dog are wearing pepper spray. I’ve always dreaded that happening but I always remind myself of the alternative and then I’m ok with it again. I just hope if I have to spray that the wind direction is in our favor.

      I can’t say I agree or disagree with your statement “When put in fight or flight mode, most dogs will choose to fight and their animal instincts will kick in.” Yes, their animal instincts will kick in, however the part where you say most dogs will choose to fight .. that’s where I’m iffy. My thought is that it depends on the dog, if a dog is a “flight” dog it will flee, if it’s a “fight” dog it will fight.

      I did want to mention this, running away will only make the dog pursue. Never run away from a dog. I know it’s a normal human reaction but when you run they chase, it’s part of their instincts and some of them take it as a game. A human cannot outrun a dog so don’t try. You’re safer if you teach yourself to stand your ground, make yourself seem big and dominant/confident to the dog and use your spray. Not only will the dog pursue if you run but you put yourself in a position of possibly being hit by a vehicle because in your fear you may not be paying enough attention and run into the road with oncoming traffic that you didn’t notice in your rush to get away from the dog. You could trip and fall as you well know, it’s happened to you. If there are other loose dogs in the area you could wind up with multiple dogs chasing you.

      I hope you never run into this situation again, best of luck to you.

  3. Jax says:

    Today on our routine walk three dogs from down the street tried to gang up on my dog. Two of which twice his size. Lucky my dad was visiting and tagged along as he was able to keep them off while I struggled to jeep my frantic getting-protective-mode boy moving forward. Had I been alone they would have grabbed him…

    I’m now going to carry pepper spray for both our safety. Another neighbor also has an agressive dog that got out once and mauled another dog-walker’s pooch in our front yard. You just never know… better be safe than sorry and I’ll put my animal’s well being over anothers without hesitation.

    • Mom says:

      Fantastic, Jax! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I’m very happy to know that all turned out ok, it’s a wonderful thing that your Dad was with you and able to help out!

      Please research your pepper spray before buying. Some just isn’t all that good and can make things worse if it’s not strong enough to make the other dog(s) go away. If you simply piss them off things can get worse instead of better. You might check with your local law enforcement agency and find out what they use and then you should be able to order it on your own.

      Also remember that depending on which way the wind is blowing you and your dog could wind up wearing the spray yourself so please be very careful! IF there’s wind or even breeze, you have to spray with the wind at your back which can mean a bit of maneuvering sometimes. I also test my spray every so often by spraying it behind us to make sure it’s working, again watch the wind!

    • T. says:

      Get pepper spray. I too decided to get pepper spray. I have had it with pet owners who refuse to leash their dogs. I have been chased, growled at and bitten before on my jogs. the owner’s respond in one of three ways, offer an apology (while the dog is still out of control), are dismissive, or verbally abusive.

  4. Kay says:

    Your article sounds like I am you, and I wrote this. This continues to be my experience with my two little Pom Poms. I am so tired of being afraid that every time we go out for a walk in the neighborhood or sometimes we cannot even get out of the culde sac because of the loose dogs attacking us. I have just like you put my foot down. I am a 5ft 3 110 lb woman. I am not about to be wrestling with any dog especially the Large and/or Bully Breeds who want to have my little dogs for a snack.

    Thank you so much for your article. I am glad someone feels as fed up as I am and is just not going to stand for it any longer.

    Blessings,
    Sis K*

    • Mom says:

      Hi Kay,

      Thanks so much for your support! Since I started carrying the spray we have not had any incidents — thank goodness! But as you know it’s unfortunately not a real relaxing walk for the human when they have to be on guard for the entire walk and taking detours when we see dogs from a distance. In our case, the little dogs with Little-Big Dog Syndrome sometimes can be the problem but any dog charging us is not a good thing. Take care and walk safe!

  5. Chicago Corgi Man says:

    My experience is a lot like yours. Off-leash dogs are rampant in my neighborhood, primarily due to one flagrant and frequent violator, who loiters conspicuously in a two-block radius around my home with his two large off-leash dogs. Many other dog owners get the idea from him. One of his dogs attacked mine across the street from my home in August. I bought pepper spray and began carrying it. I encountered a large off-leash dog approaching me a month later. I pepper sprayed it. Its owner filed a misdemeanor complaint for animal cruelty against me. The penalty can be a year in jail. I go to court on Monday.

    • Mom says:

      Hi Chicago Corgi Man,

      This is just wrong! In my opinion, you should *not* be going to court for protecting yourself and your dog! The owner of the offending dog should be the one on the receiving end of any citations or court appearances. Your law enforcement agency needs to crack down on the loose dog problem in your area, too. It’s outrageous that things are so out of control there.

      I checked with our police department, here I can even use my spray on a dog who’s rushing/charging us and is still on it’s own property. The reason is that as a passer-by I have no idea what that dog is going to do or is capable of. I have a dog charging me which means I have every right to protect myself. I do not have to wait to possibly be bitten before I spray a dog. Would they rather you carry a gun and start shooting charging dogs?

      We are thinking of you, good luck and please let us know what happens in court!

      • Chicago Corgi Man says:

        Here is an update regarding my court appearance yesterday on charges of animal cruelty after I pepper sprayed a large off-leash dog (on a public parkway, in a city with an ordinance requiring dogs to be on leashes, and in a county with a law requiring dogs to be on leashes). As my lawyer suspected, the claimant is related to a retired judge and former prosecutor. This being Chicago, we thought it foolhardy to have the outcome of my case determined by a judge, since the claimant’s father is possibly a former colleague, or someone the judge may feel a degree of deference to. So we requested a jury trial, which means I had to write a large check to my lawyer. But at least the game won’t be rigged. My lawyer also said he doesn’t think it’s at all likely I’ll go to jail, but a judge may put onerous conditions on my probation, such as not being allowed to have a pet. Of course, the reason I am paying thousands of dollars to a lawyer is so that on a future job application, I do not have to check the box for, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”

        • Mom says:

          Something is VERY wrong with your legal system there, this should never have gotten to the point you’re at. The whole thing started because some idiot broke the law and you protected yourself and your dog. Does this mean if some guy attacks you on the street you are just supposed to let him harm you for fear YOU could wind up in jail or suffer other significant consequences? That’s what all of this says to me, that we are not supposed to protect ourselves.

          I think you were right to go to jury trial, but I also believe this whole mess is backwards and the wrong person is being put in the hot seat. I also think getting this kind of situation out for the public would be helpful and to your benefit, but I understand that even though I don’t agree with what your lawyer is telling you about keeping things low-key that you must listen to your lawyer’s advice. I hope he’s planning to enlist the help of some good dog behaviorists and that he himself has a good understanding of dog behavior.

          Do you have a court date set? Will keep our fingers crossed here and will be watching for the next chapter. Good luck, CCM!

  6. Roger says:

    Hi Mom,
    I have a question related to this blog post. I recently got a new puppy and he is now old enough to take to dog parks and i always keep pepper spray on me there because there is an owner with 5 pitbulls that shows up often and i just want to be safe. That being said, i have a neighbor who is a very poor dog owner and lets her dog out every day ( the exact same time i do and he tries to get under the fence to get at my roomates chihuahuas, youkie, and now my beagle. She simply stands at her kitchen window and laughs. I have tried confronting her about the issue but she said she had no idea what was going on. Ive spoken to the other neighbors and she does the same thing in the front yard too. While our backyard is properly fenced in, her dog has dug quite a large hole under the fence and i have to put new chicken wire under the fence every month or so. A friend of mine suggested i spray the fence line in order to deter her dog. would this be okay?

    • Mom says:

      Hi Roger,

      This woman sounds sick in the head and possibly even dangerous to me. How demented can you be to laugh at your dog attempting to harm other dogs?

      I’m not a pepper spray expert, but I tend to think that the effects of pepper spray wouldn’t be effective after it’s dry so spraying the fence-line might be a waste of your time and pepper spray. I’m pretty sure it only “does the job” when it’s wet if you follow me? I don’t think the residual odor would be enough to keep this dog from what it’s doing. Plus you’d have to keep re-applying it quite often which could get costly and it might damage your lawn, but not sure on that. Don’t forget that your dog would also be affected by the sprayed area if in fact it would do any good at all, even slightly. I wouldn’t want my dogs around that stuff. You might find more info by Googling for more pepper spray info.

      If I were in this situation I would contact my police department. This woman and her dog are menaces to you, your neighbors and all dogs involved. But before I did this, I’d get together with my neighbors and find out which ones would be willing to provide written statements about their experiences with this woman and her dog and then as a group file an official complaint. The more of you that are willing to stick together the better. I would also read up on my local dog and property damage laws. This woman is allowing her dog to damage your property on top of her allowing her dog to harass everyone else and their dogs. You should not be having to fill in holes created by someone else’s dog.

      I would take photos of her dog when he’s digging under the fence as well. The more good solid proof you take to the police the better it would be. I’d like to say record your conversations with her, but I do believe it’s law that you’d have to tell her you’re recording your conversations and then you’d not get accurate recordings because she would probably just shut down and not talk at all or she’d lie on tape. You could ask your police department about this, maybe there’s a legal work-around for what I’m thinking the law is. If you have the ability to quietly put up a video camera somewhere in a place she would not notice it you might consider that as well. If she saw you setting up a video cam and asked what the heck you’re doing you could tell her exactly what it’s for. If it were me, I’d calmly and in a very matter-of-fact voice tell her I’m gathering evidence of her and her dog’s behaviors to take to the police because I haven’t gotten any cooperation trying to handle things in a neighborly fashion. Then I’d stop talking, she has her answer and that’s all she needs. Any further conversations could potentially just lead to a lot of unpleasantness for you.

      If my neighbors would not join me in this, I’d just do it all on my own for me and my dog. You have every right to do all of what I’ve mentioned if you choose to. This woman and her dog are causing safety hazards for you, your neighbors and all your dogs and she’s enjoying the hell out of it! You’re already tried the Mr. Nice Guy routine and found it doesn’t work with her. I hope you’ll get the police involved before someone or some dog gets hurt.

      Oh on the dog park — I would make sure to only allow my puppy in the puppy area at the dog park. I would not allow my pup in the adult dog area. Sometimes parks also just have big dog and small dog areas. Please choose your area carefully. We had a 5 month old pup killed in our dog park just because the owner allowed it in to play with the big dogs and the little guy accidentally got crushed in the play. This pup shouldn’t have been there in the first place because it wasn’t even six months old but it *never* should have been allowed in with the big dogs! As much great fun as dog parks can be is just as horrific as they can be. You might want to read this article on dog parks before your next trip there. Here is one more about a dog that was killed in a dog park that you may want to read as well.

      Good luck! I’m very interested in hearing how this goes so I hope you’ll stop back and keep us all posted!

  7. John Wade says:

    I like this article and I would like to reprint it on my own blog but I’m never quite sure what the right nettiquette is. May I do a cut and paste and include a link back to the original article? If there is anything else just let me know.

    John

  8. Lindsey Cochrane says:

    I live in the suburbs, we usually walk around 7:00-8:00pm when I get off of work. I ALWAYS carry pepper spray around with me also. My girl is very submissive to other dogs. We have never had an issue but unfortunately, there are bad people. I completely agree that I would not want to use the spray, but it is the best thing for a bad situation!

    • Mom says:

      Hi Lindsey,

      Thank you for your support, ladies. I need to hear (often!) that others would use spray under the right circumstances. I did recently purchase a citrus based spray that’s made specifically for these kinds of issues. It’s my understanding that mail carriers all must carry this type of spray. Pepper spray is made for use on adults. My decision to do this was based on safety for us if we ever have to use a spray.

      I made some changes to the times I walk the furkids in my effort to try to avoid the potential need to spray a dog. I try to walk them when kids are in school and working people are at work because during these times most dogs are in the house, not out playing with their skin-kids or wandering their yards without anyone home. So far this is helping tremendously but summer will be here soon and the kids will be out of school which means more dogs will be outside and I’m dreading that.

      Anyway, I got to thinking that depending on the wind situation should I ever need to spray, the three of us could wind up wearing pepper spray as well as the target dog. Not only do I not want to have my own dogs exposed to this but I have asthma and my fear is that inhaling pepper spray would more than likely trigger an immediate and very severe asthma attack. It may be so severe as to very quickly incapacitate me to the point of not being able to handle my pups. If someone were to call EMS, we are 99.99% convinced that Riley would never let anyone near me which then would require the EMS personnel to call for police intervention. The officers here all know me well (not for bad or illegal activity reasons) and I honestly believe they would not shoot my Riley but they may be forced to the point of tasing him and that is something I never want to have happen.

      The citrus spay alternative makes me a tiny bit more comfortable in some respects. It means we’d smell strongly of lemony-freshness vs. pepper spray and I *think* (hope!) it’s less likely to prompt an asthma attack. I’d not be taking us home with pepper spray all over us, stinking up the house and permeating the carpet and furniture until I could get an “emergency” groomer appointment (which our experience with our skunk encounters taught me real quick is not always an easy thing to do). What could prove to be an issue is that citrus spray is known to be less likely to stop a very aggressive dog. It can actually make them mad which then escalates the situation vs. a hit from a can of pepper spray which has a better chance of stopping them.

      If you’re looking into purchasing any kind of spray, one thing I would advise is to test it on a walk. What I mean by this is to make sure your dogs are out of the line of fire, and that the wind is at your back. Turn away from your dogs and spray towards the road (when there is no traffic). This test will give you some idea of how far it goes and what kind of a spray action you’re getting (steady stream, spread out spray pattern or whatever). These sprays are not toys and I firmly believe you need to know what to expect. When you need to use it is not the time to find out how it works! In our case, the pepper spray had a narrower streaming pattern and a farther reach than the citrus spray. If there’s time I will utilize the citrus spray first and hope that it will be enough to send the offending dog away and not require me to haul out the pepper spray. The delay of having to pull out the secondary big gun could mean the difference between stopping a problem or not.

      Testing your spray can occasionally is something I would also do to make sure it’s working properly. I did note that the citrus spray is a two-step action of sliding the button over and then depressing it. With the pepper spray I only need to get my thumb/finger under the flip top. Know how your “weapon” works!

  9. Kathleen says:

    I agree that loose dogs that are not under control are menaces and risk being killed themselves by other dogs. Pepper spray seems like the only humane alternative if owners are not going to control their dogs.

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