Nightwalks with flashlight, stupid aggressive dogs (with owners). Advice?

iso400

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
10
I like to take late walks when its dark and use my flashlights. The problem is that many of the areas I walk are also used by dog owners walking their dogs. And many of the dogs I encounter gets aggressive when its dark and they meet someone with a flashlight. And 99% of the dogs owners does not use a leash on their dogs even though its mandatory!

So there has been a numerous times dogs have started barking like mad and running straight for me with the dogs owners running behind and shouting at them. I haven't got bitten yet, but it has been a few close calls and its not a pleasant experience. And almost every time the dog owner comes up with a lame excuse "he's a nice dog, just like strangers at night blablabal). On time there was 3 dogs at once running and barking at me!

Anybody else having this problem? When this happens I remain calm, turn off my flashlight, and just keep walking slowly in a another direction trying to ignore the dog while waiting for the owner to come get the dog. Its tempting to start shining the light at the dogs at max.
 

Retief

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 17, 2014
Messages
3
Location
New Hampshire
Carry a walking stick to deter unwanted canine attention/aggression. No need to strike the attacking dog; simply keep them at bay with the end of the stick until you can tactically retreat.
 

Poppy

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
8,400
Location
Northern New Jersey
You might suggest a shock collar, and obedience training.

If the dog does not stop, and come on command, he has not earned the privilege of walking "off leash". Of course there are MANY scenarios that a dog running off leash, out of control can cause a bad scene. Perhaps you were a child with a little blinky, whirly toy, or the dog ran across the street to get to you and was struck by a car, or you were carrying a 3D maglight, or baseball bat.
 

yoyoman

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 15, 2012
Messages
2,345
Location
Switzerland/Scarsdale
As a dog owner, this behavior is not acceptable. Poppy is right - these dogs have not earned the privilege of walking off leash.

The worse thing you can do is run away - dogs with a strong prey instinct will react in a very bad way.
 
Last edited:

Stream

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 26, 2004
Messages
645
Location
Sweden
This sort of stuff really p!$$es me off. I would give those dog owners a good talking to. "Oh, but he's a nice dog", that's really comforting. The truth is the dog is only as nice as the owner makes him, and if the owner appears to have no control he / she can not guarantee the dog will not bite. And even if you don't get bitten, it's extremely uncomfortable to have stranger's barking dogs running towards you. If this happens a lot, you may want to start documenting by filming the encounters with dogs off their leash. If it's mandatory to use a leash in your area, it could be used as evidence to fine them. Even if that doesn't work, it could at the very least make them think twice before they let their dogs run loose.

The best thing to do when dogs charge you is to stand still. Running or even walking away can activate their prey drive, and make them give chase and / or attack. Likewise, don't flail or make any movements with your arms. As for what to bring with you in case of an attack, I would suggest an umbrella. An open umbrella will block their view of a target, and most dogs will be perplexed enough by this to stop dead in their tracks. You can also try shining your flashlight in their eyes, I have heard many stories where this has stopped advancing dogs.

Here's a video about how to prevent being bitten. It also shows you how useful an umbrella can be:
 

WalkIntoTheLight

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 18, 2014
Messages
3,967
Location
Canada
I carry a pocket knife. Never had to use it, and I really don't want to. But, if I'm being attacked, at least I have a fighting chance against most breeds.

In forested areas, I also carry bear spray. It's mainly for protection against coyotes or sometimes even the occasional bear (though I've never seen a bear at night), but it should do a good job against dogs too.

The only animals that have ever threatened me are dogs. Many owners are just clueless idiots.
 

Stream

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 26, 2004
Messages
645
Location
Sweden
In forested areas, I also carry bear spray. It's mainly for protection against coyotes or sometimes even the occasional bear (though I've never seen a bear at night), but it should do a good job against dogs too.

Yes, I forgot to mention some type of spray. I have a dog spray with me when I go for walks that is supposed to prevent dog attacks. I have never used it so I can't say how effective it would be, but you can't legally buy regular pepper spray or anything stronger over here. Also, there are sonic devices that supposedly repel dogs. I don't know if they are all gimmick, but you could buy one and try it on your next walk. It's basically a small clicker that emits a sound only the dog can hear.
 

WalkIntoTheLight

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 18, 2014
Messages
3,967
Location
Canada
Yes, I forgot to mention some type of spray. I have a dog spray with me when I go for walks that is supposed to prevent dog attacks. I have never used it so I can't say how effective it would be, but you can't legally buy regular pepper spray or anything stronger over here.

I'm surprised you can't buy bear spray. Where I live, they ban just about everything. But, I can still buy bear spray, as long as I fill out the forms.

Dog spray is pretty useless, unless you hit them right in the eye. It's a very small stream, and only reaches a couple of feet. Better than nothing, though. Bear spray will soak the entire area out to 15' or so. But, you have to be certain not to use it into the wind, or you will be in serious pain yourself! I'd probably only use it against a charging pit-bull, since you don't want that breed to come in contact with you. Pit-bulls are supposed to be illegal where I live, but idiot owners still breed them. (And they're the type of people that shouldn't have dogs at all, much less pitbulls.)
 

markr6

Flashaholic
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
9,258
Yes, I forgot to mention some type of spray. I have a dog spray with me when I go for walks that is supposed to prevent dog attacks. I have never used it so I can't say how effective it would be, but you can't legally buy regular pepper spray or anything stronger over here. Also, there are sonic devices that supposedly repel dogs. I don't know if they are all gimmick, but you could buy one and try it on your next walk. It's basically a small clicker that emits a sound only the dog can hear.

What happens if you buy pepper/bear spray online like at amazon.com? Just curious since I'm about to get a big can for $30 for a camping trip soon. I live in the US so it's not a problem.
 

Stream

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 26, 2004
Messages
645
Location
Sweden
I'm surprised you can't buy bear spray. Where I live, they ban just about everything. But, I can still buy bear spray, as long as I fill out the forms.

Dog spray is pretty useless, unless you hit them right in the eye. It's a very small stream, and only reaches a couple of feet. Better than nothing, though. Bear spray will soak the entire area out to 15' or so. But, you have to be certain not to use it into the wind, or you will be in serious pain yourself! I'd probably only use it against a charging pit-bull, since you don't want that breed to come in contact with you. Pit-bulls are supposed to be illegal where I live, but idiot owners still breed them. (And they're the type of people that shouldn't have dogs at all, much less pitbulls.)

I'll have to look into bear spray. It may be that you need to have a hunter's license or something if it's available at all. The dog spray was something I could order online without applying for anything or filling out any forms, so I'm guessing it's pretty weak. It probably won't stop a charging pitbull, but if a flashlight beam to the face can stop a charging dog in many instances, I figure the spray should at least have some effect. The same Swedish website also had self defense sprays against human attackers, but given the law over here, I'm guessing they are a complete joke.
 

markr6

Flashaholic
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
9,258
I'll have to look into bear spray. It may be that you need to have a hunter's license or something if it's available at all. The dog spray was something I could order online without applying for anything or filling out any forms, so I'm guessing it's pretty weak. It probably won't stop a charging pitbull, but if a flashlight beam to the face can stop a charging dog in many instances, I figure the spray should at least have some effect. The same Swedish website also had self defense sprays against human attackers, but given the law over here, I'm guessing they are a complete joke.

The stream that the small cans put out could be weak. They are convenient and some people actually carry them on a keychain. The bear spray I'm looking at is HUGE! It's like a mini fire extinguisher and comes with a holster. Could be overkill for a dog, putting out a huge cloud that shoots a good 5-10m.

I can't STAND people that keep their dog off a leash, especially if it is a law or rule to the specific area. Sometimes I'm walking thru the woods/nature preserve and a dog starts running at me. Come on. Then the owner says something stupid like "oh sorry I didn't think anyone was here". That works as well as the "oh I didn't know it was loaded!!" or "I thought the safety was on!" after they accidentally shoot someone.
 

Stream

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 26, 2004
Messages
645
Location
Sweden
What happens if you buy pepper/bear spray online like at amazon.com? Just curious since I'm about to get a big can for $30 for a camping trip soon. I live in the US so it's not a problem.

I'm guessing Amazon has restrictions on shipping of certain items. But I suppose if you could get some seller online to ship pepper spray, you might get away with it if customs didn't catch it. If they did, you would probably get a fine or something. A better option would be to make it yourself. I remember one friendly police officer even gave me advice on how to make pepper spray lol.
 

reppans

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
4,873
Encountering another night walker can often be quite surprising/startling. If you are using a flashlight, it makes others (incl dogs) keep their guard up since you remain mysteriously hidden behind a veil of light/glare.... and that's already on top of everyone's own natural suspicion at night - "what are YOU doing out here at this hour?"

One of the most disarming things I've seen, and now practice myself, is shining yourself. I walk my dog where there's no sidewalk or street lighting and use a momentary-max-from-ON feature to fire a two 1-millisecond flashes toward distant cars to warn them pedestrians are ahead. Then I shine myself/dog on my previous lower mode to let them know my purpose. Not sure if this will help with nervous dogs (haven't encountered one), but it definitely helps with nervous people, and might be worth a try.

That said, if a threatening dog came toward me in an aggressive manner, I would absolutely light him up with max, and follow through with boot to the head if within reach.... call it "flashlight training." :D
 

bdogps

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 8, 2014
Messages
618
Location
Melbourne Australia
Like others have said, those dogs should be on a leash. I have dealt with aggressive dogs when I was a meter reader. Just do not move and do not run. If you try to run they will chase you which they like to do. You do not have to carry a bear spray, you could use a citronella spray. I have used it and it is pretty effective, it wont backfire, and wont harm the dog. [emoji3]
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,453
Location
Dust in the Wind
What does the mailman do?

Dogs by nature are pack animals that follow their leader.
The "alpha" as it were. If there is not a pack "leader" they think they are and protect the person they think is their leader...the person who should be leashing them. Period!

Ok, so you have to put yourself in the position of the dominant over that dog role. Either by stopping, stomping and placing that thought in the mind of the dog, or by acting like you and the dogs owner know each other in a good sense. That way the dog does not see you as threatening to his/her leader...the person who should be leashing the dog(s).

You should also let said owner know you have the local dog catcher on speed dial.

My local mailman carries spray and dog treats. If treats don't work, the spray does.

Shame of it is you shouldn't have to carry either to fend off unleashed dogs.

Call your local police. Maybe they'll stake out the area and issue citations.

I have a dog who won't let anything or anybody in my 3' circle....until he knows you're cool. So when say, the mailman skulks by the dog stays upset. But if he says in a cheerful tone "how bout them hoot owls?" and I say cheerfully "how bout 'em?" he goes into cool mode everytime.
 
Last edited:

SCEMan

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 6, 2005
Messages
1,881
Location
Treasure Valley, Idaho
On my nightwalks I periodically encounter unleashed dogs (occasionally coyotes) and carry a mini-stun baton on a belt holster. Partially covered by my shirt it's unobtrusive, but quickly gets their attention when triggered in a dark setting. Also carry a Mace OC spray in my back pocket (even on daylight walks).
 

P_A_S_1

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 1, 2010
Messages
1,271
Location
NYC
I can attest that standing still works. I was attacked by two pit-bull dogs, I stood still as if frozen with my hands up and flat against my upper chest. They circled me and quickly went to another individual in proximity who was fidgety. For your nightly walks I'd say freezing up until the owner can control and leash his dog should work most of the time. If the dog starts to nip or pull you down, a small bottle of pepper spray is your best bet. Small so you can carry it (bear spray is too big and not necessary), pepper (not mace/TG) because it's effective on K9s, and it will do double duty as a personal protection item if needed (the dog owner might go nuts when you spray his 'baby'). Remember your probably going to spray the dog when it so close it's jumping on you or within 2-3 feet circling making delivery of the spray into it's nose/mouth/eyes easier then trying to hit him mid charge from 15 feet away. Use quick short bursts when deploying the spray. Knives, don't bother. Chances of you causing enough blood loss that the animal is quickly disabled is very slim, chances you sent a somewhat hyper dog into a frenzy and he tears you up, very good. Plus you'd be bending down putting your face closer when your face should be the furthest from the dog. Good luck.
 

recDNA

Flashaholic
Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
8,761
I've never been bitten by a healthy dog who wasn't fighting another animal. Breaking up a dog fight is very dangerous and I have been bitten doing that. An injured or sick dog is also very dangerous.

Dogs running with an owner behind are rarely a threat imo. I often squat as they approach to pet them. The barks turn to wagging tails so hard their butts wag too! I would worry about a pack of wild dogs living on their own. In the dark I suppose it is hard to tell what you're dealing with but if the owner is in sight I think you're fine. If you pepper spray a dog that hasn't bitten you you better hope its owner isn't armed. You are in the right. I wouldn't walk my dog without a leash but if he got away and someone hurt him....well it would be bad for all involved. I don't have a dog anymore but when I did I considered it a member of my family.
 

markr6

Flashaholic
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
9,258
I can attest that standing still works.

Not about dogs, but this just reminds me of a sign I recently saw. I thought it was a joke but it's not! "...if it starts to eat you..." :huh:

bearsign.jpg



I've never been bitten by a healthy dog who wasn't fighting another animal.

I have, but it was my 100% my fault. I was at the neighbors house when I was a kid and didn't know there was a dog in the house. When he saw me, he probably came to play or thought I was an intruder. I ran up the stairs and he got me in the leg-outside thigh pretty good.
 

recDNA

Flashaholic
Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
8,761
As I said I greet the dog. Running away will get you bit. I didn't think of that. Some yard dogs of course are very territorial too (postmen can comment) but a dog out for a walk with an owner is usually pretty friendly. Now a pit bull with a scary looking owner is another story. A pit bull with a nice owner is nice. One often runs loose in my neighborhood and he likes me because I like him. He takes care of coyotes though and a pet dog would not be safe. If I still had a dog I would complain.

I don't like coyotes that do not run away when they see me.
 
Last edited:
Top