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Why does my dog keep getting attacked?

(15 Posts)
lisad123 Sun 21-Aug-11 19:25:49

My boy is 16 months now and attacked again today sad poor boy was set on by one dog and then two more joined in. We separated them quickly and no major damage to my boy. He didn't fight back, just lay there and then tried to run, but with three dogs going for him he couldn't get back to me.

This is his forth attack since he was a small pup, and I dont know why they go fir him sad

First one was the worse, but ever only been unprovoked attacks.

moosemama Sun 21-Aug-11 19:44:55

It could be any number of things.

He could be giving off the wrong 'signals' to other dogs - this can sometimes be the case for dogs that haven't been well socialised as pups and have therefore not learned correct 'manners' and social skills.

What breed is he? Sometimes it can be down to the dogs breed/conformation. Eg some spitz breeds can appear to other dogs as if they have their hackles up and this can lead to communication problems and some docked breeds can struggle to give clear signals without their tails. One of my dogs had her tail broken at the top when she was a pup (before we rescued her) and is unable to lift or hold it properly - she had a few problems communicating with other dogs as a youngster, but has learned to compensate for it over the years by using very clear signals in her other body language.

Another thing could be that he's a bit too bolshy with older dogs, especially considering his age. If they give him clear 'back off' signals and he carries on and on, then older dogs may snap and 'put him in his place'. This usually involves a lot of noise and fuss, but normally there's no damage to anything but the younger dog's pride.

You say they have been unprovoked attacks, but its often very hard to as a human to catch the subtleties of canine communication and interaction. To you it may just look like he is being keen and friendly, but to an older dog that has had enough of having their rear end sniffed by him etc, if he doesn't back down when asked - some dogs will choose to go from 'ask' to 'tell' rather than let him carry on being pushy.

Do you attend a dog club with him at all? A decent trainer or behaviourist would be able to assess his 'interpersonal skills', as it were, with other dogs and should be able to help from there and the increased socialisation with other well trained dogs would probably also be of benefit.

Were the other three dogs all together - or were they being walked by different people?

lisad123 Sun 21-Aug-11 20:11:25

His a labradoddle, and very hypo, so could be that.
He was well socialised as a pup.
All times his been attacked his been on lead, apart from today sad his first attack was horrible and lost loads of blood, and he had just gone to another adult dog and it went for his face.
Todays dogs knew each other but not same owner.

mycatsaysach Sun 21-Aug-11 20:16:16

i have a totally nuts lab but he has never been attacked by another dog.
perhaps you need to find somewhere else to walk - away from other dogs.
poor thing.

lisad123 Sun 21-Aug-11 20:28:54

Should have said the two of the three tines attacked on lead, his been minding his own bushiness.

moosemama Sun 21-Aug-11 20:32:14

Hmm, Interesting that he's attacked whe he's on the lead. I'm wondering if its possible that after the first attack, his response to other dogs is to tense when they approach and they're misreading him being tense as potential aggression.

There is the alternative possibility that you have just been unfortunate enough to come across other poorly socialised and aggressive dogs or it could be the combination of both.

Its impossible to say really without observing his behaviour around other dogs first hand.

As a labradoodle, I assume he has dropped ears and long facial hair/fur? If so this can affect communication skills in some cases, as its harder for other dogs to 'read' him. Eyes being covered with floppy hair can sometimes be an issue. Is he black or dark coloured? That could also, potentially, present some dogs with problems in reading body language?

As I said though - I am just guessing. If you are seriously concerned, I would book an appointment with a decent behaviourist and ask them to assess him. Your vet may be able to recommend one or if not, you can find a suitably qualified one on the APBC website.

DogsBestFriend Sun 21-Aug-11 20:46:56

Excellent words, moosemama. smile

My gut instinct would also be to do as moose has suggested and consult a behaviourist to identify possible/potential signals given out by your boy and to further socialise him with other dogs in order to ensure that he continues to be fine with them. I'd also (just gut instinct again, not professional knowledge) want to socialise him with the breed/s he's been attacked by, so ensuring that he doesn't develop any fears about them and therefore there is no continuing cycle of events.

blinkineck Sun 21-Aug-11 20:50:57

Not an expert by any means but when I talk to other dog owners whose dogs have been attacked it striks me that a lot of them are male dogs that haven't been castrated.
Would this apply to you?

lisad123 Sun 21-Aug-11 21:44:20

Yes a big chocolate brown doodle with loads of hair and floppy ears. I do make sure his eyes aren't covered by hair.
Yes he hasn't been to be done yet, that's in sept.
Will consider a behaviourist, I just find it odd, his not aggressive at all, very submissive but playful.
He has been well socialised and we continue to take his out to meet other dogs after an attack.
Most dogs love him as his a great play buddy and loads of running, surely if it were him all dogs would attack him wouldn't they??
Maybe we have been unlucky. First attack he was 15weeks and it was an adult weinerana (sp?), second was a old mix bred off lead, when he was onlead, third was a Labrador he had earlier been playing with an today was a staffie x jack russel.

I feel so bad for him sad

DogsBestFriend Sun 21-Aug-11 21:47:13

Very good point, blinkin, I was assuming that pooch had already been "done".

moosemama Sun 21-Aug-11 22:01:03

He sounds gorgeous. Poor lad. sad

You would think that if it was him then all dogs would attack, but just like people, some are more tolerant than others, some are laid back, some are more reactive/aggressive. Some dogs will tolerate hyper/lively behaviour from a youngster, whereas others will feel the need to put him in his place.

He honestly wouldn't need to be aggressive at all himself for some dogs to react to him, as I said, it could be that he's just not terribly clear with his communication (eye contact, posture, body language etc) or is not reading their 'back off' signals well - although if he's attacked on the lead, obviously he can't back off. Also, some adult dogs don't appreciate lively overtures for play and will snap to put a youngster in their place, especially as pups mature into juveniles and they are therefore not given the same leaway as young pups.

I would consider attending a dog club if possible, as it will be a good way for him to meet other dogs under more controlled circumstances than out on a walk and under the watchful eye of the trainer, who should be able to analyse what's going on for you.

It could well be that you have just been unlucky enough to meet several aggressive dogs, but even if that is the case, attending a dog club would give your dog enough positive canine interactions to ensure that he remains good natured with other dogs in general.

misdee Sun 21-Aug-11 22:09:09

T doesnt back off all the time lisa, i know ralph gave him a warning the other week.

i would advise getting him done asap, to help calm him down a bit.

maybe he needs to learn a few more manners wink

lisad123 Sun 21-Aug-11 22:32:25

No your right he doesn't back off straight away, and he gas been nipped a few times, with older dogs telling him to back off, which I totally understand and never make a fuss about.
Will ask about behavioural person nice back from holidays.

misdee Sun 21-Aug-11 22:54:00

sounds like a good call to make smile maybe he is misreading signals from other dogs and vice versa.

He is lovely, but very lively around other dogs still. hopefully he'll calm down a bit soon smile

CalamityKate Mon 22-Aug-11 10:23:06

Things are often worse when they're onlead. It can prevent them sending the right signals, often forcing them into a more upright and confrontational stance than they would ordinarily adopt.

To you it may just look like he is being keen and friendly, but to an older dog that has had enough of having their rear end sniffed by him etc, if he doesn't back down when asked - some dogs will choose to go from 'ask' to 'tell' rather than let him carry on being pushy.

Yep. My dog has a very low tolerance for bum-sniffing. Brief greetings and investigation - fine. But woe betide the sort of dog who follows her determinedly with its nose glued firmly to her bum (you know the sort...), or one who tries to play with her after she's made it clear she isn't interested. Dogs like that find themselves told VERY firmly to get. Lost. NOW.

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