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Q: Sports and Recreation - Outdoors ( No Answer,   1 Comment )
Subject: Sports and Recreation - Outdoors
Category: Sports and Recreation > Outdoors
Asked by: didi6446-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 05 Jun 2006 19:29 PDT
Expires: 05 Jul 2006 19:29 PDT
Question ID: 735620
I would like to begin a walking program to lose weight, but I am
deathly afraid of large dogs.  I was once attacked by a German sheperd
while bike riding.  Should I carry pepper spray, mace, a stun gun or
something else?
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Sports and Recreation - Outdoors
From: sonorabloom-ga on 13 Jun 2006 09:29 PDT
Not to scare you off, but If a dog of any size or breed is set on
attacking you, if he can reach you, he will.  Mild and moderate
aggression are controllable, but for the severly aggressive animals,
only physical restraint is effective.

Many people carry mace or pepper spray to protect themselves against
dogs.  However, it has been shown that irritants like these cause pain
in the animal, and are therefore more likely to agitate the dog
further, actually increasing your chances of being bitten.  If you are
looking for a spray, "DirectStop" is the way to go.  It's actually a
citronella-based spray in a can just like mace.  "It's proved to be
just as effective as 10% pepper spray in stopping attacks, without the
side effects" it says right on the can.  (Yes, I use it, myself). 
It's also effective on snakes, raccoons, cats, and opossums.  As far
as your stun gun idea, if it were to cause any injury to the dog, and
he didn't attack (because of it, or not), unless it was on your
property, it's grounds for a lawsuit.  In certain cases, using mace or
pepper spray "unnecessarily" can yield the same result.  Stick with
the citronella.

More than anything else, prevention is the key.  Knowing the area you
go into, and knowing the potential hazzards are very important.  The
best way to avoid potentially aggressive dogs is to stay away from
neighborhoods, and choose more public places (like local parks) to go
out to.  There is NO breed, as a whole, that is aggressive by nature. 
Not pit bulls, not dobermans, not even the presa canarios whose breed
was created to be attack dogs.  However, the dogs that tend to be
aggressive are those who are territorial.  Wild dogs' main goal in
life is to secure territory.  With territory comes food, status, and a
mate.  This is critical, and certainly worth defending.  This behavior
has been carried through to the domesticated dogs.  Understanding
this, you can see how you are far better going to a place where a dog
is less likely to consider it's territory (simply because it doesn't
live there).  No area is perfect, and no dog is completely
predictable.  I'm a trainer by profession, (mostly Shepherds,
actually) and I couldn't even begin to tell you how many clients I've
had bring me their sweet little "Fluffy" poodle, because Fluffy
snapped at the neighbor.  It's actually the small dogs that are more
aggressive, but because they cause less damage out of sheer size, they
are so often overlooked.

Your best bet is to try to gain an understanding.  I know it's
difficult because of your fear, but it's much easier to control your
fear if you understand how to control the situation.  If dogs make you
uncomfortable, find a place to go that doesn't have a large dog
population.  So long as you have sturdy ankles, I recommend finding
trails meant for horses.  The terrain is a little more rugged, and is
usually just dirt or stones.  Most dog-owners worry about muddy paws
in their car on the way home, or about cutting fido's feet, and will
steer clear of the horse-trails.  Which is Great for someone in your
position - so long as you don't mind horses!  The other nice option is
the historical parks.  Because of monuments, and historical relics,
many don't allow dogs at all.  Those that do, tend to be just big
fields, which is also okay, since you would be able to see a dog that
might make you uncomfortable way ahead of time, and alter your path,
so you don't cross him.

Any other questions, feel free to drop me an e-mail.  I also do some
work with kids who have dog fears due to previous trauma.  So if
there's any way I can help you with your fear, or with understanding
your canine enemy, please don't hesitate to ask.

Take Care!

and if by chance, you live in southeast PA, or northern DE, I can list
you some great places to go, too!

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