The law is quite clear on what a person is allowed to do if they fear for their own safety or that of their dog(s) if another dog approaches them. You may take “any and all reasonable measures” to deter, prevent or stop the other dog.
I’ve been on the receiving end of such irresponsible behaviour: a woman whose dog bounded up to mine saying “she just wants to play!” became indignant when I “encouraged” her dog to leave us alone. I told her that neither I nor she knew the temperament or medical conditions of each other’s dogs and that my dogs had been intimidated by a loose dog out of control. I advised her to do two things: 1) get to know the law and her personal liability to keep her dog under control in a public place and 2) put the dog on a lead until she had trained her dog to respond to her repeated recall attempts. If she failed to do so, she could be liable to a hefty fine, to have a control order placed on her dog and, in extremis, face a prison sentence (bit harsh, I know, but I was a tad miffed!).
Having dealt with similar cases in court, I know my actions were legal. It bugs me that many other dog owners assume that it’s OK for their dogs to behave like hooligans.
It’s something we stress at our training courses at Mullenscote Gundogs: you are at all times personally responsible for the behaviour of your dog and for any distress, perceived or real, caused to other humans and dogs as a result of their actions.
Rant over. Indignant Meldrew of Codford signing off. Harrumph.