kellienurse wrote:I walk my 3 dogs almost every day on leash. I have 2 yorkie mix and my Pit/Cur 73lb mix. Recently a neighbors dog who looks to have a bit of Pit in him walked up to my dog. I had seen this dog numerous times and he had never seemed aggressive so I thought he was just going to smell, check my dog out and they would be friends. Well put his nose up close and the next thing I know he has lunged at my dog and is going for him. [...] It seems now when we go on walks he is on high alert. Any suggestions?
Suggestions -- Take deep breaths and relax. Lots of us have been through this kind of thing; it's a valuable learning experience that teaches you to pay attention to your environment. Remember that dogs, when they're aroused, are a lot quicker than you and the nice man are, and if they really wanted to hurt each other, then there would have been blood; so probably they were posturing more than anything else.
It's much better to prevent a fight than to break up a fight, so going forward, walk the dogs separately. Study dog body language so you can more accurately predict how a dog-dog interaction is likely to go (the Sarah Kalnajs dvd The Language of Dogs
is a good resource). The "high alert" hypervigilance your dog now shows is a pretty normal response to that kind of stress. It may take time -- possibly weeks -- for him to calm down again. Do what you can to help him feel safe -- make walks a fun training time.
Carry dog repellent spray (one I've seen recommended is called Direct Stop; the one on the strap of my dog walking bag is called Muzzle iirc) and practice pulling it out, aiming, and pretending to spray until you can do it even while you're about to panic. If you ever need to use it, remember to account for wind direction.
One piece of advice I've seen is to train your dogs to run away with you on cue. Then you can give the cue as you throw a high-value food item (a handful of cat food was suggested) toward the off-leash dogs. Your dog has fun running away with you while the off-leash dog is distracted by the food. Training this will take some time, so it's not something you can count on using tomorrow; but it's a pretty useful item for your bag of tricks.
I don't know if shouting at the other dog would help. In some situations, it could make things worse -- adding nervous energy to an already tense situation.
Be ready to try to salvage things if it all goes to chocolate and, despite your best attention, your dog ends up in a fight. Carry a couple of spare leashes in case you have to tie a strange dog to a fence (and read earlier in this thread for real-world fight-stopping advice). Having a breaking stick on you, and know when and how to use it (only useful if a dog is gripping; and beware of a dog redirecting on you). (I know of people who carry a stun gun in case of dog fight; but I don't know whether that's good general advice.) Have the number of the local emergency veterinarian programmed into your cellphone. (Animal control too, though it sounds like that won't do you much good.)
Don't forget to relax and breathe. Everything is much easier with sufficient oxygen in one's bloodstream.