Friday, October 5, 2012

Unleashed Frustrations

Mushroom was charged by an off-leash dog yesterday. There wasn't any sort of physical scuffle, but it did result in a massive reactivity episode. Despite our apartment complex posting signs that say that dogs must always be leashed, this is the 4th time we've seen this particular dog off-leash. Three of those times, we saw the unleashed dog charge up to a leashed dog. Two of those times, the unfortunate on-leash dog was Mushroom.

Don't make me go outside! Pugs and chihuahuas will eat me!

Just last month, L and Mushroom were chased by a different off-leash dog and had to hide behind the dumpster. The strange thing is, we rarely see any of our neighbors out walking their dogs on-leash. If we did, it would provide a great opportunity to stand a distance away and practice calm behavior with Mushroom. Unfortunately, it seems that the majority of dogs we come across in the apartment complex are either charging us off-leash or barking at us from balconies.

L did report the incident to the apartment office, but setbacks like this are extremely frustrating. The next available reactive dog class in our area doesn't start until November, and I'm afraid that she'll regress over the next month. It's also frustrating that we're spending time, money, and effort to fix an issue that wouldn't be nearly as bad if our neighbors would just be responsible enough to keep their dogs leashed.

We've also learned that Mushroom's reactivity is dog-specific. That is, she reacts more or less to an individual dog based on her experiences with that particular dog. During our reactive dog class, she learned to feel comfortable around the two dogs closest to us. She's comfortable around Badger and a few of my friends' dogs. And, not surprisingly, she's especially reactive toward the dogs in our apartment complex who have charged at her.

Cool with this dog...

Cool with this dog too

How do you deal with off-leash dogs?
Also, do you know of any places where dogs will always be leashed?


  1. That's furry frustrating mates...being bum rushed by off leash dogs. We too have had the problem- when all three of us are out an off leash dog can be very bad. Pops does carry one of those retractable whacky sticks but has never had to use it. Usually just yelling works.
    We've never found a place where you can count on all pups being on leash- there always seems to be one who thinks it's of luck furiends. Play bows,


  2. Poor Mushroom! As a person who takes my dogs off leash 95% of the time I make sure to do it in places where it is allowed and I never let my dogs bother people or dogs who aren't interested.

    I can't believe people let their dogs run around apartment complexes and on city streets! Well, I can believe it, but it still sucks. These people ruin it for responsible owners who want to take their dogs safe places to run and explore.

    I've had to protect my dogs from other dogs even when they are off leash. Best bet is to get in front of your own dog, stand tall and do some Cesar thing like "tsh!" or however you'd spell that. If that fails, I've even poked a couple dogs in ribs when they've considered Norman a humping post.

    It's great that he's doing well in the classes and getting used to certain dogs. Good luck!

  3. I don't think there is any place where all dogs are always on leash. One of our neighbors thought her dog was well trained and stayed in her yard until the day he came rushing out to attack Maggie. I had to dive between them and yell "NO! GET IN YOUR YARD!" and drag Maggie away as he followed us down the street.

    It was pretty freaky, I had to yell at this idiot to get her damn dog, as Maggie was definitely willing to eat his face. She loves other dogs until they try to climb on her or chomp her, then IT'S ON!(said in super loud wrestling voice). It doesn't help that Duke will join in like "OH YEAH! GOT SOMETHIN' RIGHT HERE FOR YA!" Love to drag 110 lbs of barking crack dogs away from a puppy riot, best upper body workout ever.:)

  4. That is so frustrating! Polly (who is very leash reactive) was charged by an off-leash dog at a local park (which does not allow dogs to be off-leash) and I lost it. I screamed at the lady to get her dog under control and threatened to call animal control on her. I feel bad for reacting that way, but I know that if Polly would have bitten her dog, she would probably try to at least report ME for having an aggressive dog and at most try to sue me. I'm just not having that. It's not fair that responsible owners have to deal with setbacks because of other people's irresponsibility. I am sorry you had to deal with that!

  5. That sucks! Some people believe that their dog is fine being off leash in there yard without a solid recall. Like my neighbor who's dog always comes into my yard when off leash. I even had to catch him once after his owner tried for 30 min. I let trinity off leash in our yard but I watch her diligently and she has never tried to go up to the road (she's afraid of cars that move). Good luck with this Mushroom is very lucky to have patient parents like you guys!