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  • Writer's pictureCaryl Wolff

Frightening Encounter with an Offleash Dog

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Frightening Encounter with an Offleash Dog

I’ve lived in West Los Angeles in a middle class, well-populated neighborhood for about five years. Most people with dogs are very respectful and courteous. Never did I think this would happen to me.

This morning at about 7:30, I was walking my dogs on the same route I take every morning, and about a block from home, an offleash dog came out of nowhere running up to us ready to attack. He was 60+ pounds and a lab mix. The hair on his back was up from his neck to his tail. This dog meant business.

Fortunately, I had a spray deterrent which I whipped out and sprayed him. The spray actually did not reach his eyes, but the hissing sound along with my screaming “GET OUT OF HERE” was enough to stop the attack. However, he returned several times, and I kept screaming and spraying at him. No person came out to see what was going on or to help.

Then he was in such a frenzy, he ran down the street and tried to attack a man who was walking *without* a dog. The man screamed at him, and the dog took off.

I came home, very shaken, and called 911. I told them what happened and said that at this time of the morning, kids were walking to school and there are many people walking their dogs. This was a very dangerous situation. I also said that I think I know where the dog lives and gave them the address.

About two minutes later, Animal Control called me back to follow up. I told them the same story, adding that I had lived next door to that address about four years ago and that the yard was easily escapable. AC asked me if I had had any dealings with the owner (I presume to see if this was some sort of revenge on my part), and I said no. About five minutes later, the police called and were in front of that house.

I haven’t heard anything further and don’t know what happened. But I am convinced that if I had not had the deterrent, my dogs would be seriously injured or dead.

This rogue dog had “gone limbic.” For those of you who I have worked with because your dog has exhibited reactivity or aggression, you know what I’m talking about because I explained it in our lessons. But for those of you where we have worked on puppy stuff and basic obedience, here’s a very brief, but important, discussion.

There are two parts of the brain, the thinking or cognitive brain and the primitive or reptilian brain. We and our dogs spend most of our time in the thinking brain. When we are triggered by an event, we switch into our primitive brain. At that time, all sorts of chemicals and hormones are released in our bodies, and we are in survival mode. Think of when you’re driving on the freeway talking to your passenger about something, and a car cuts you off. You slam on the brakes. At that moment, you physiologically cannot hear anything your passenger is saying because your body is concentrating on staying alive.

Nothing happens. You don’t get into an accident. So your body starts to return to normal and you switch back into your cognitive brain. BUT your stomach falls. This sensation is the chemicals and hormones being reabsorbed into your body because you don’t need them.

The dog this morning did NOT return to normal. He was lashing out at whatever he could because he literally was not thinking straight. This was a VERY dangerous dog.

Please read my article on what to do if an unleashed dog approaches you , and please, please, please protect yourself. Carry one of the physical deterrents mentioned in the article.

Thanks for visiting Frightening Encounter with an Offleash Dog. I make a small commission on any products or books I recommend.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only. It does not replace a consultation with a dog trainer, dog behavior consultant, or veterinarian and may not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions in your dog.

If you need help with puppy or dog training, we do both private in-person and virtual lessons via Zoom. Please contact us by calling or texting (310) 804-2392 or sending an email to . We look forward to working with you.


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