Dog Walking Safety Tips!

Dog dragging walker

Recently I was walking a dog in West Los Angeles and was informed that a vicious dog belonging to a man living in a camper had killed a dog. This really upset me. I had seen the man and his dog many times and instinctively always avoided them. As a dog walker we also play the part of “dog bodyguard” and must take our role very seriously. Here are a couple of safety steps I take when I am walking dogs.

1) Limit your time texting and talking on the phone. We all do it from time to time but we need to limit this activity. It distracts from our dog bodyguard duties. We need to be looking ahead for safety issues. Make sure your dog isn’t picking up an old happy meal while you are in a texting stupor.

Pay attention sign

2) Always size up other dogs and the people walking them. For example if you see a 100 lb person walking a poorly behaved 110 lb dog cross the street. When letting your dog play with a new acquaintance be sure to decide for yourself whether the dog may pose a threat. Never rely only on a stranger’s word that their dog is friendly, read both dog’s body language. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told a dog was friendly then watch it go ballistic. The offending owners always say “I don’t know what got into him, he never acts like this”. Also take note of vicious dogs in the neighborhood even if kept indoors or in fenced areas. Gates get left open and screen doors may be breached. Avoid walking past homes with crazy dogs.
3) Dogs off leash are a real problem for responsible pet parents. I have met dogs that are just fine being off leash, always walking right on their owner’s heel and never straying, BUT 99% of the dogs I see off leash have no business being off leash and pose a huge danger to themselves, other dogs, and traffic. When I am walking dogs on Venice Beach many of the off-leash dogs are running onto the bike path and causing all sorts of hazards for themselves, other people and dogs. I get it, dogs are fun off-leash but dog parks are probably the best place for off-leash activities.

Off Leash Area Sign
4) If you are reading this I can safely assume that you are an animal lover. Have you ever thought what you would do if a vicious dog attacks? I know it is a really unsettling thought but please consider it. I am an animal lover but If one of my dogs is under a life threatening attack all bets are off. I will not hesitate to take the necessary action to bring my dog home safely. I encourage pet owners to investigate dog repellant sprays that make an attacking dog rethink his or her ways.