What do you bring with you on walks for protection?
So I was with Mila this morning going for a walk down to the beach. I like to take her in the morning because less people are out and she can burn off some of her energy starting the day off right. Mila is 3 months old and about 20lbs+ I need to weigh her again. Anyways, we were walking and there was an older man looked like he was in his 80's or so walking his little chihuahua about 20ft down the path. Mila sat down to take a sniff of nature so I decided we would just wait for them to go by then keep walking.
I had her leash shortened up just to make sure I had a good hold on her incase the little dog excited her, I didn't want the older man to be nervous that she would reach them. Maybe it was a bad idea now in hindsight. He stopped once he saw her and was making eye contact with me as he reached down to the ground. I thought in my head for some reason that he was going to be picking up a stick because the way he was looking at Mila. When he came back up I saw that he had not just picked up a stick but lifted up a huge log about a foot around and 2 feet long! I was surprised. It looked like something to knock me out with, I am only 5'2" not my puppy.
I got a VERY, VERY uneasy feeling about the situation. I watched him carry it as he came towards us down the path. The whole time Mila was just sitting there silent not being threatening or aggressive in any way. The manner in which this guy did this was a clear message saying, "I got this in case your dog comes after my little dog". I kept my eye on him the whole time as he passed us and made sure I was in between Mila and him. She didn't bark or anything when they went by, he then randomly commented that she was "going to be a handful to handle". I said nothing and kept going.
I watched them keep walking and saw him throw the log down once they got further out of reach. It may sound silly but the situation was upsetting to me. I had never felt nervous or anything like that before with her or as concerned for her safety. I felt vulnerable because I knew if anything would have sparked him the situation would have gone badly because that log was no joke and could have caused serious damage to myself or Mila. I also knew that to the cops an elderly man with his little dog would make us automatically look like the aggressors since Mila is still a GSD who even as a puppy can be intimidating to some. Thankfully nothing more happened but it really made me think about needing something to protect ourselves when we are out since you never know what situation you can run into.
I would never want to have any situation with my dog turn into a serious one but I do realize that people are unpredictable and it is best to have something for safety and never have to use it then not having it when I unexpectedly need it, whatever "it" may be. So what if anything do you guys bring with you on walks with your dog for protection/safety?