I've shared some stories before about off-leash dogs that have come charging at me and my own dogs. Feel free to ready part one here.
Well, I have another story. This happened just this morning.
Chris, Halo, Leopold, and I were on our daily morning walk when we noticed an off-leash german shepherd across the street. There was no owner in sight; I'm guessing it had gotten out of its back yard somehow and was wandering the neighborhood alone. When we noticed the german shepherd , it was already making a bee-line for us. To my eyes, the german shepherd did not approach in a submissive, friendly state. It's head was up, its ears were up, its tail was up; I had a bad feeling as soon as I saw the dog heading for us.
Almost as soon as the german shepherd reached us, it tried to attack Halo. Halo, who was just being a dog, tried to defend herself and pulled on her leash to get at the german shepherd . Chris had Halo's leash, and so he pulled her away from the german shepherd , trying to break them up--he kicked at the german shepherd a couple of times (thank goodness Chris had thick boots on this morning!). The german shepherd kept trying to get at Halo, so Chris kept pulling Halo away; he and I both yelling at the dog to go away.
Eventually the german shepherd backed away from Halo, then turned its attention on Leopold, whom I had on a leash. The dog tried to go for Leopold, too. Just as I've done with all other off-leash dogs that have harassed me and my dogs, I let this german shepherd know that I was taking control of the situation by taking a step towards it and firmly telling it "no" and to "go home". The german shepherd did stop his advance every time I stepped towards it, but it did not retreat much, and when it did retreat, it would stop and look back, still fixed on Leopold, and start approaching us again. Every time it tried to approach us again--even tried to take one step--I moved towards it, and firmly (and loudly...) told it to leave and go home, claiming control of the area around me and my dogs. I had to keep moving towards it halfway down the block until it finally stopped trying to approach us and scooted off between some houses.
I waited to see if it would reappear, and when it didn't, we felt we could continue our walk and get safely home. (wherein we called the police to let them know that a possibly dangerous dog was roaming around our neighborhood; maybe it wasn't dangerous to people, but we have a lot of dogs in our neighborhood!).
Afterwards, I looked over Halo to see if the german shepherd had done any damage; I thankfully found none. I'm also thankful that both Chris and I were out walking the dogs this morning, each of us handling one. Sometimes only one of us will take the dogs for their walk. I can only imagine what would have occurred
had there been only one of us walking Halo and Leopold this morning. Managing our own two dogs on leash while trying to fight off a german shepherd would have been a shit show!
This whole experience is a nightmare come true for me. In the past, the biggest dog I've had to deal with in this manner was a golden retriever. But german shepherds are big dogs, and while this one wasn't huge for its breed (I've definitely seen bigger), it was still a very large dog--much larger than my own dogs. And I know that German shepherds can do a lot of damage, so it was a pretty terrifying situation. My body was still quivering with adrenaline long after the encounter. However... Nightmare handled.