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Question
Posted by: Jen | 2011/02/15

aggressive dogs attacked mine

The other day I walked my golden retriever who is 11 to the park near us. It is fenced in with a gate (belongs to the school near us but we are allowed to walk dogs there). As we came in, 2 dogs who were off their leash rushed at us and attacked my dog.
Before we came in they didn''t show any signs of aggression, and the owners seemed unconcerned.

The dogs, one a staffie and the other a mix, drew blood by biting my poor old girl''s ear. When the owners came up they said they were sorry &  that they let the dogs off there because they can''t walk them elsewhere because - wait for it - they can be aggressive.

So, what I want to know is
1, how do I know when a dog is potentially going to attack mine,
2. what can I do about it - shoud I carry a stick (i don''t really want to hurt the other dog - the problem, after all, is bad owners, not bad dogs), and
3, what is the other owner''s responsibility towards me &  my dog. I was absolutely furious and told the woman off, but she didn''t seem overly concerned. What if her dogs killed mine, or I had a kid with me?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Jen, that kind of thing just makes my blood boil - talk about inconsiderate owners!I was given a very reactive dog as a pup (would never have chosen him, but he did get my into this work professionally!)and i used to walk him at 6a.m, on lead and always carried an electric shocker. Now in the case of a fight, this device can actually make the behaviour worse, but it is a wonderful deterrant - you just aim and push the button and all dogs i came across, turned in the opposite direction! What you should do is firstly desensitize your own dog to the noise and then carry with you. Another method you can employ is stand your ground (not easy), hold your hands out in front of you in the 'stop' position and scream stop. As the dog stops, point your arm away, and say 'away'. This does not always work, tho, but the calmer you handle the situation the less likely of a problem. The majority of dog fights occur when your dog is on lead and the other off lead. Our dogs pick up on our feelings of fear and instead of relaxing, tense immediately. Phone the legal help line for correct info, but i definately think she is liable for any damages and i think you can phone the RSPCA and ask what to do. I would additionally consider speaking to the school and see if they know her and can ask her that if she walks her dogs, to keep them on lead. What horrible thing to have happened! Do take your dog to socialize with some other friendly dogs to help him get over this firght. Nice to hear from you, Scotty

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Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011/02/15

Hi Jen, that kind of thing just makes my blood boil - talk about inconsiderate owners!I was given a very reactive dog as a pup (would never have chosen him, but he did get my into this work professionally!)and i used to walk him at 6a.m, on lead and always carried an electric shocker. Now in the case of a fight, this device can actually make the behaviour worse, but it is a wonderful deterrant - you just aim and push the button and all dogs i came across, turned in the opposite direction! What you should do is firstly desensitize your own dog to the noise and then carry with you. Another method you can employ is stand your ground (not easy), hold your hands out in front of you in the 'stop' position and scream stop. As the dog stops, point your arm away, and say 'away'. This does not always work, tho, but the calmer you handle the situation the less likely of a problem. The majority of dog fights occur when your dog is on lead and the other off lead. Our dogs pick up on our feelings of fear and instead of relaxing, tense immediately. Phone the legal help line for correct info, but i definately think she is liable for any damages and i think you can phone the RSPCA and ask what to do. I would additionally consider speaking to the school and see if they know her and can ask her that if she walks her dogs, to keep them on lead. What horrible thing to have happened! Do take your dog to socialize with some other friendly dogs to help him get over this firght. Nice to hear from you, Scotty

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