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Protecting ourselves and our Cairns


hheldorfer
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Having had the unfortunate and terrifying experience of my Cairn being attacked by another dog, I have given a lot of thought to various methods of protecting myself and my dogs in the future.  Until the incident this week I did not have a crystal-clear understanding of what we are all up against when a large dog swiftly and unexpectedly attacks us or our Cairns.

 

I have already told the story of the attack in another post but I cannot over-emphasize how quickly and brutally Buffy was overpowered by the Rottweiler and Pit Bull who came after her.  From the time I became aware of the dogs approaching to the time the Rott and Pit were on top of Buffy, no more than 3 seconds passed.  There was no time to think, react, plan or avoid the attack. 

 

Several people have suggested carrying a walking stick.  With all due respect, I do not believe a walking stick could have been effectively used for protection in my case.  Perhaps the Pit - who was much smaller - could have been persuaded to back off, but I doubt that the Rott would have responded at all to being beaten with a stick, so intent was he on attacking Buffy.  

 

My husband has suggested pepper spray.  Unless it had been in my hand at the time of the attack I would not have been able to get it and use it on the attacking dogs before they got to Buffy.  Once they were on top of Buffy, the pepper spray would have blinded not only the attackers but would have blinded Buffy, too.   

 

Another thought is one of those electric shock "zapper" things.  I could have used one during the attack because the Rott was right next to me and I could have easily reached him with it.  On the other hand, I don't know how strong these contraptions are and whether or not they are capable of stopping a 100-lb bloodthirsty beast.

 

The "concealed carry" law allowing citizens to carry firearms was passed in Illinois last year.  I don't want to go there.  I learned to shoot as a kid - my dad taught me - and I am not shy or inexperienced when it comes to guns but this seems rather extreme.  I am also unsure under what circumstances a lethal weapon may be used and, as mentioned earlier, I know there is no time to consult an attorney when a huge dog is bearing down on you.

 

Until Monday morning I thought I was smart enough and observant enough to see an attack coming and respond before me or my dogs were hurt.  I was proven horribly wrong.

 

What would you do?  Has anyone here had experience successfully defending themselves against a dog attack?  What did you do/use?

 

 

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I always wondered if this would work. I saw this on TV, can't remember what the program was. It involves a stick. One was to shove the stick as hard and as far as you can into the attacker's mouth. The other was to shove it in his eye.  It may be a difficult thing to do as the attacker is not exactly going to stand still and allow you to do it. A large knife might work. None of these suggestions are for the squeamish, of course.

 

By 'zapper' do you mean a taser? They are supposed to take down big men, so I'm sure they would work on a big dog. I don't know if they are legal.

 

What about a pellet gun? Bear in mind I know *nothing* about them. Would a dozen pellets stop a 100lb Rottie, or slow it down enough to get away? Are they legal to carry?

 

I don't know if there is a fool-proof way.

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In Canada we arent allowed to carry any concealed weapons so thats certainly not an option here. However I do have a very strong walking stick that my great Scottish uncle made. It could break bones if applied strong enough... horrid thought but if its my dog or the others life, I will always pick my dog to save. A stout stick to the head or Eye would certainly cause any animal to back off... the bad thing of course if the nasty thing turns on you! In our local paper A few days a go we had a lady walking her small dog when four Akita crosses attacked her dog. The wee dog was badly injured but as the owner was trying to save her dog, the pack turned on her. She was badly mauled and thank goodness a man in a house near by heard her screams, ran out with a chair and managed to get the dogs to back off. The owner and the dog are both in bad shape.  Bear spray or pepper spray has a 15 foot radius so for sure your dog and perhaps even your self would be effected, especially if windy.  I always thought that a very loud air horn, the kind they use of boats, in the face of the attacker might make the dog back up.... giving you time to start beating it with your walking stick.

 

I just know from  personal experience that you rarely see trouble coming and they move like greased lightening. Very frightening. I wonder if a call to your local police department and humane society could give you some tips and recommendations on dog attacked?

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Until one has loved an animal, a part of  one's soul remains unawakened.  - Anatole France

Adventures with Sam &Rosie

 

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9 iron?  

 

We have coyotes where I live and when they are very active (spring and fall) I carry a golf club with me when we do our last potty break at night.  

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I like the idea of an air horn.

 

Don't laugh, but I just thought of a can of hairspray, or bottle of acetone.  Sprayed or thrown in the eyes, it certainly would blind them temporarily (maybe permanently), but again there is the risk of dousing your own dog as well. I'm just trying to think of things to carry that are lightweight, easy, cheap and legal.

 

I'm curious and I don't recall if you've said, but were the dogs males or females?  Are male dogs as sensitive in the private area as human men are? Maybe a 9-iron to the jumbly wumblies would make a male dog run. It made Nick cross his legs just saying it out loud.  Then, as he obviously never wants to have sex again, just said if you showed a dog a photo of me, the dog would run.

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Oh no!  I assume/hope Buffy's OK?  About the "sticking something down the dog's throat" thing, dog attacks are so quick and the dogs are so

excited and moving around so fast, I don't see how you'd be able to aim.

 

Did you find out where the wayward beasts came from.  That certainly warrants a complaint to authorities.

Max and Nelly
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I have nothing against carrying a walking stick; I guess my main concern is whether I have the strength to do enough damage with it that it would stop a large dog.  Love the 9-iron idea except I'm not a golfer and would be liable to toss the damn thing through someone's windshield. 

 

Remember that I'm almost always walking two crazy terriers and carrying at least one bag full 'o poop.  Whatever I use has to be compact enough that it won't get in the way of walking (get tangled in leashes) and easy to access quickly.  I checked out the stun guns/tasers online today and they look like my best option.  I would need an FOID card to carry one, which isn't a big deal.  I'm going to do more research before making a decision.

 

Keep the thoughts/suggestions coming!

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I've been wondering  if I would be quick enough with my hiking staff. It's hard to say. Sometimes you see these attacks coming and sometimes like with you, you don't. 

You might try carrying a water bottle with a vinegar/water mix in it, or even just water. Spray the face. and shout NO.Carry it in one of those water bottle holders you can put over you shoulder. 

For myself I'd be leery of pepper spray, tasers etc. Might do more harm to my dog or me than the aggressor. Plenty of accidents recorded.

What about wearing a piece of clothing hat or scarf, or one of those things you can put a ball in for example -  that you could throw at head of dog?

Just hurl the poop bag at the dog.

Your aim with all these suggestions is to (hopefully) distract  the aggressor so you can get your dog away.

 

 Actually if it were me I think I'd just walk another route. Or do what I do - drive to a place where Angus can run free and safe, apart from porcupines, skunks, and other natural hazards.  :lol: 

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Is there a way to protect the dogs or at least delay some of the worst of the attack to give us a minute to get a whatever means of defense we're carrying?

 

I'm thinking of a padded dog coat with a high collar that might lessen some of the damage. Or maybe those sporty dog harnesses with the handle where you can quickly grab the dog up and out of reach. I know I'm always walking 2 dogs and could scoop up one in my arms, but what about the other guy? Not perfect ideas, especially in hot weather. 

 

I like the pepper spray idea -- maybe clipped to the leash handle, at the ready.

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Just want to say that tasers can be lethal, many incidents of police killing people with tasers in BC.

I have thought about this a lot since first reading Helene's post. I would not want to walk anywhere that I felt I had to carry a weapon. That said, I know it can happen anywhere, two pit bulls jumped a fence and killed a mini dachshund on a leash in my town last year. The dogs were put down and the owner compensated the owner of the victim, who is still heartbroken and traumatized.

I do carry lightweight hiking sticks, and I have used them not to hit dogs but to "bar" them or push them. But that was in a situation where the aggression was building up, not a vicious attack.

If I were going to carry anything, it would probably be bear spray.

Edited by Islander
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Zekeys mom that's a good idea. 

Angus always wears his JuliusK9 IDC harness. http://www.julius-k9.us/harnessesidcharness-c-2_17.html?zenid=alrar36tee0i3almn1udl93ah6

Angus wears the mini mini size. I have it on him out in the field because I sometimes put him on a long line if there might be game around that he would chase. He wears orange like all hunters. They come in quite a few different colors.

Ruffwear also have a quality harness. It covers more of the body.http://www.ruffwear.com/Web-Master-Harness_2?sc=2&category=1131

Both have handles you can grab and lift.

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I have thought about this a lot since first reading Helene's post. I would not want to walk anywhere that I felt I had to carry a weapon. 

I agree, Islander, but the number of Pit Bulls and Rotties in our neighborhood seems to be increasing - practically one on every street; some well trained and others not so much.  I have adjusted my walking route several times in the past few years to avoid them and it's getting more difficult.  New people with unknown dogs move in all the time.  I don't *want* to carry any kind of weapon.  That said, I want to be prepared if something like this happens again.  

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I often walk our two in an area that has coyotes. My DH and mom have thought I should carry something - just in case. But my worry - similar to yours HHeldorfer - is how do I deal with a defence mechanism with a dog in each hand and a bag(s) of poop? Bear spray isn't an option, as I can guarantee it would end up in everyone's eyes; carrying a stick isn't really an option as my hands are already full. We've tried walking our two on a 'Y' leash to free up a hand but it's not a good experience for anyone...they have very different walking styles and it's a constant tug of war between the two. I've opted for an extremely loud, piercing emergency whistle. I doubt it would scare off an attack, but my hope is that if necessary, it would startle the attacker long enough that I could give a few good kicks to the offender.

 

It's so terrible that this has happened to you and your precious dogs. Whatever 'solution' you come up with, I hope you never have to use it.

Edited by jo_

Jo, Jagger & Eddie

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I don't think we can think and move fast enough - especially as we age.  I too like the air horn idea.  The coyotes were yippin' like crazy last night.  I saw a big one while we were cutting silage.  When they aren't mangy they are sure pretty.  By the sounds of it, we had better be letting some hunters out in the pastures.

Elsie, Max, Meeko & Lori

 

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If you carry a retractable leash as I do, you already have a weapon in hand. The hard plastic can act like a hammer. Smacking the attacker on the snout make break off the attack.

 

If you are walking two dogs at once your hands are going to be full. Not a lot you can do except drop your leashes and wrestle with the attacking dog(s).

 

You can create a weapon out of sweat sock, by filling it with something solid in the shape if tennis ball. A sap so to speak. It will stretch and there is a danger of hitting your own dog if using it. But the alternative is a possible dead dog anyway.

 

Keep in mind when a dog is in full attack mode, "the red zone", they can take a lot of punishment and still keep on fighting. You have to keep swinging or shooting until that dog totally backs off or goes down and stays down.

 

I personally carry nothing other than a retractable leash, but if I were to carry anything else it would be a taser and I am a gun owner with a concealed carry permit.

Edited by remltr
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Sassy Jan 22, 2005

 

AM. CH. THARRBARR LITE MY FIRE ZOMERHOF

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It's so discouraging to read about these attacks. 

 

I guess my conclusion is that there might not be any sure means of defense, (short of a firearm, which would not be acceptable or available for many people). I think the only thing we might hope for is to do the best we can, which would vary from person to person: a heavy k-9 dog jacket, which would slow down or inhibit a bite? A fairly bulky spiked collar for our cairn, to prevent or minimize a bite to the neck?, etc, etc. plus some above mentioned devices.

 

I hate to face the fact that I believe there is an element of futility in believing that one can successfully intervene. I say this based on having witnessed more than one sudden attack at the dog run. The amazing, swift, furious whirling blur of bodies is breathtaking to behold. We humans are really out-classed in these situations, which is not to say that I wouldn't jump in and do all in my (limited) power to save Ruffy...but I hope I'm never put to that test! Trying to aim anything like a spray in this situation would be next to impossible and probably useless in slowing down an enraged dog, who is oblivious to pain or discomfort.

 

As an aside, I looked on a pit bull site and found that they sell a certain type of super strong wooden stick for prying apart the jaws of the pit bull, once it locks onto a victim. (But who is brave enough to try this maneuver)? They also mentioned that most stout sticks, walking sticks, etc, will simply break on a pit bulls head or body!

 

Perhaps a stout, sharply pointed stick, (or even a pointed broom handle) could be carried, but aiming it at a swiftly moving target is another thing.

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FEAR THE CAIRN!

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I have been reading this for the last two days....and I am SO sorry for you and Buffy!!!  My prayers and wishes are that you both come out whole and just as good as before.

That being said....I too have had the occasional loose dog come at mine.  I have had it even when we had three....we would walk them all at once (even when it was just me or DH walking them).  Some think that is stupid....we did/do it because they all seem to need to go at the same time and need to work some energy off.

Any way....what I have found (and mind you I am only 5'4" and DH is 6'1") is to make myself look big.  Putting my arms on either side and raising them...kinda like a bear does when they standup and are ready to attack.  Yelling very loudly...anything at this point...words don't matter to them..it is the volume they understand.

They other thing that has helped me is getting mine either beside me or behind me (that one is a struggle sometimes) and go AT the attacker.  They stand there confused...and then with this maniac yelling and looking bigger than they thought they usually turn and run away.  Now my eye has to keep on the attacker..because most want to come back with a sneak attack.

When a attack happens so fast your mind is blown (not literally) kicking, screaming, hitting the other dog in the head with flexi-lead (plastic part...this is the kind of lead we use) is about the only thing that I can see using at the spur of the moment.

Dog attacks are so quick...they happen so fast to us...but the attacker has been planning this for a long time.  It is clumsy to carry stuff other than the essentials for a walk.  I totally agree.

Coyotes,,,,oh my...they are so good..they call out the victim and then the pack attacks.  Females in heat are usually the calling card to get a Cairn to come.  Heard to many horrible stories of Cairns dieing this way.

Other than maybe getting a pole (such as a cane that folds up and folds out with a swing of a wrist) made of metal and is light weight...the walking stick has saved DH many a time walking in the desert or across a ranchers/farmers field (used to walk the natural gas lines in USA).  He takes this when he feels there might be a problem rising in the neighborhood (usually with new tenants).

I pray you and Buffy find what works for you, so that EVERYONE can enjoy the walk.  Extra hugs to Ziggy and DH....they are always there when you need them for support or help. :hug:

Ok...so I just re-read sanford's comment (excellent advice on the stick to pry dogs mouth open)....we have what is called a "Fish Bonker"....very strong piece of wood that hangs from a leather strap.   I am telling you it could really hurt someone/dog...again it goes on wrist-ready when needed.  We got ours in Canada.....but that could be made by DH or maybe googled online?

Edited by shergry
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It is so hard to say what I would do or would be capable of doing during an attack. When put in this kind of situation, we hope we can still think rationally.   I was attacked by a dog many years ago outside my MIL house and I just panicked, thank goodness my husband and brother in law came to my rescue.  They had grabbed a couple of shovels from the garage and started swinging and yelling until the dog back off.  Even if I had a spray I would not trust my reaction time to use it. 

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I truly appreciate all your comments/insights/suggestions.  You have given me much to think about!

 

remltr:  I don't use a retractable leash because a) I have seen what Buffy can do to a normal, heavy-duty leash and B) it's too awkward when walking two dogs.  That said, your comment about using the handle is giving me some ideas for other "weapons" I could use.

 

sanford:  You are spot on with your comment that there is an "element of futility" regarding intervention in one of these attacks and you apparently have witnessed the ferocity and suddenness with which they can happen.  I was paralyzed with fear and have been beating myself up over it.  The attack was taking place within a few feet of me and there was nothing I could do.  The Rott was massive (I have since learned that his name is "Titan"), muscular, and hell-bent on killing Buffy.  I desperately wanted to help her but had to remember that *I* was in danger too.  The Rott could have easily crushed my hand in his jaws if I got in the middle.

 

There is one other factor involved which may help to explain why this is such an urgent issue for me:  DH will be having major surgery at the end of October, with a long period of recovery.  I will be the only person to walk the dogs (often in the dark after work) and will be the primary caregiver for him as he recovers.  If anything happens to me, we're screwed.

 

So I hope everyone here doesn't think I am advocating arming ourselves to the teeth like Rambo just to walk our dogs.  I'm just trying to come up with a solution to my problem and keep myself, Buffy and Ziggy safe.

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We were told at the doggy day care to pick up the dog by the back legs and pull like a wheel barrow.  It might be very difficult if the attacking dog is moving and shaking but worth a try!  It sounds like the Rottweiler was the instigator?  It can happen to anyone... the neighbor down the street was walking her senior Shitzu and the other neighbor's cattle dog ran out the front door and grabbed that poor little dog by the back leg and drug it down the street....All in a FLASH!!!  That is the worst part - no warning!

Pepper's Mom

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Thanks for that excellent video, remltr!  I think I could have used that maneuver on Monday morning and it quite possibly would have worked - at least it would have drawn the Rott's attention away from Buffy and given the owner a chance to regain control.  It's simple, doable and does not appear to require a great deal of strength.  As for the dog repeller, I'll be willing to give it a try for $19.00. 

 

I knew an ex-Marine would know how to handle this.  :thumbsup:

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Thanks for that excellent video, remltr!  I think I could have used that maneuver on Monday morning and it quite possibly would have worked - at least it would have drawn the Rott's attention away from Buffy and given the owner a chance to regain control.  It's simple, doable and does not appear to require a great deal of strength.  As for the dog repeller, I'll be willing to give it a try for $19.00. 

 

I knew an ex-Marine would know how to handle this.  :thumbsup:

Hopefully you will never again be in a postion that you find it necessary to use that maneuver. I could see it being a very tiring and time consuming thing, especially if there is no one around to help you out by calling the police.

 

I just tried to purchase the dog repeller via a paypal transaction and was told the "This recipient is currently unable to receive money. There is a problem with the merchants paypal account." Hmm

Sassy Jan 22, 2005

 

AM. CH. THARRBARR LITE MY FIRE ZOMERHOF

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