Issue: Cujo is off-leash and barreling toward you, and his owner is nowhere in sight.
What to do: Try to remain calm, don’t make any sudden movements, and don’t look directly at the dog, says Lash. Never run away if a dog approaches you in an aggressive manner, and don’t make loud noises. “Stand with your arms folded, and look away from the animal,” she says. “A dog can read your stare as a challenge, and you don’t want that.” If you have food or something that might be of interest to the dog, throw it away from you and the dog. That should distract him, and you can walk slowly away.
Issue: Visitors repeatedly ask you to put your pet outside.
What to do: If you don’t know your guests well, tell them in advance that you have animals. If someone is allergic, it’s fair for him to ask you to put the pet in another place in the house. “It’s never appropriate to leave the animal outside unsupervised,” says Angeli. “But you can set up a room with the animal’s blanket, crate, or basket, as well as toys and water. And turn the TV or radio on to calm the animal.” In fact, she adds, consider doing this when you have a party, as it can be stressful for the animal (and for you) if there’s a lot of commotion.
Issue: A neighbor’s kid is kicking your pet or pulling its tail.
What to do: “Be the voice of the voiceless,” says Angeli, “and tell the child that what he is doing is cruel and wrong―and against the law.” Kids might not get the message right away, so say something like “If I pulled your hair, it would hurt you, and that’s how it feels to the cat. Try petting him nicely―like this―instead.” Show the child how to pet the animal properly. Also, consider the child’s age: There is obviously a big difference between a toddler pulling a fluffy tail and an older child knowingly harming a living creature. Talk to the child’s parents, suggests Angeli, because young people who are cruel to animals have shown a tendency to become troubled―even dangerous―adults.