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My dog bit another dog :(

(6 Posts)
TheTempest Sun 17-Feb-13 08:30:58

Please be gentle, I'm really upset. I have a 6 year old Patterdale bitch who is normally reactive and vocal to other dogs and stays on a short lead. We were walking yesterday on a narrow path and she bit another dogs lip. She was still tail wagging, no hackles,no growling, wasn't even barking! We rehomed her from a friends Dad as he was made homeless, and weren't told about her issues, 8 months ago and she has got a lot better since then other than yesterday.

What do I do now? The other owner was really lovely and obviously appreciated that I was really apologetic and ended up standing in a bog toget her away. We've seen a behaviourist and that seemed to help her in terms of her excessive barking at home (still barks a lot but not 24/7) and other issues around resource guarding, but I am so out of my depth on this one.

Apologies for typos, my tablet has a mind of it's own and my 3 year old is 'helping'. Any advice very much appreciated.

ditavonteesed Sun 17-Feb-13 08:47:32

You say she was on a short lead and it was a narrow path? am i reading that right? I think she probably felt trapped, if she doesnt like other dogs much (my dog doesnt so not judgung at all here) you have to be really careful in future not to get her in that position. I personally dont think it is a big set back, others will have far better advise I just wanted to say dont panic it doesnt sound like back to square one, just a situation you didnt see the dogs perspective in.
You sound like you are doing a great job,

Floralnomad Sun 17-Feb-13 10:23:33

I also wouldn't be getting too stressed , were the other dogs injuries bad ? My Patterdale (2.7) is not keen on other dogs when he's on his lead ( ignores them when off lead) and we use the 3 second greeting ,apparently 3 seconds gives them enough time to say hello but not enough time to think about doing anything else. It's worked for us, so far. Just out of interest do you ever let her off lead as mine is a menace if he doesn't get a good run .

TheTempest Sun 17-Feb-13 12:17:03

Thanks for your replies- Dita you're probably right I should have avoided it really. I'm normally very careful at that point (it's about 10,metres of very narrow, but the rest is fine. More vigilance needed at that point). Thanks for saying i'm doing a good job - it definitely doesn't feel like it when it's one step forward and 2 back!

Flora She has a long lead for training on open ground (15 metres) but I can't let her off fully since I got cocky when forest walking and it was deserted and she disappeared for 2 hours. I run with her regularly and she gets 1-2 hours excercise a day plus training. Thats a good idea about the 3 seconds, I'm scared to try as she's so unpredictable! She bit the dogs lip and made it bleed. She didn't let go and started worrying the other dogs head.

Floralnomad Sun 17-Feb-13 13:32:02

I know what you mean I can only let mine off in certain places as his recall goes to pot if he gets a whiff of any wildlife ,woods are definitely on lead areas with mine as is anywhere with livestock . I think that's also the thing with Patterdales once they get hold of their prey there is a distinct disinclination to let go . I'd just carry on doing what you're doing and do the 3 second greeting if you see another dog .

RedwingWinter Sun 17-Feb-13 19:27:02

Hi TheTempest, that sounds like a really unfortunate incident. I'm glad the other dog owner was so understanding. You must feel really shaken up by it. Obviously you now have to be extra-vigilant in that location and others like it where it's hard to avoid proximity to other dogs.

The good news is that you can work with your dog so that she isn't always like this. There is a technique called BAT - info here - that is really good for working with reactive dogs. It works by using increasing distance as a reward whilst - and this is crucial - keeping the dog 'under threshold' all the time. By which I mean not getting so close to the other dog as to be reacting badly to it. For some dogs this may mean the other side of a football field to begin with.

It sounds like you have a behaviourist already so it might be a good idea to ask her/him to work with you on this.

I don't think you should let your dog meet other dogs at the moment. The three-second-rule is very useful but you already know that your dog may respond aggressively. The point at which a dog is pulled away is sometimes the point at which things escalate so I don't think your dog is ready for this yet. Besides which, since you know she can react aggressively, it's better to keep her away - preferably far enough away that she is 'under threshold' and not reacting badly.

The other thing you might like to consider is whether or not you think it would be a good idea for your dog to wear a basket muzzle on walks. If you can stay vigilant and keep her from other dogs then it's not necessary, but if you're not sure then it would prevent unfortunate incidents like today. So I'm not saying you should, just something to think about. If you do, you have to get her used to the muzzle to begin with (lots of treats and going slowly will help) so that she is happy about wearing it.

Retraining a reactive dog is a slow process, but BAT can work wonders, so you should definitely look into it. Good luck and do come back and let us know how you are getting on. You might like to join the BD thread if you haven't already as there is lots of support on there.

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