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What should I have done? Another dog went for mine, she bit back: hard

(13 Posts)
Notonyournellly Sun 11-Dec-16 13:54:20

My dog is very reactive so I always keep her on a lead when other dogs are about, and I'll cross the road or duck into alleyways to avoid dogs if I spot them in time. It's works to an extent: she still goes bananas when she sees other dogs, but I tell her to walk on and she calms down eventually.

This morning, however, because of an unfortunate set of circumstances (coming round a corner on a narrow track and a van trying to drive past, so obscuring the view ahead), we encountered a little dog off lead running alongside its owner, an elderly man in a mobility scooter. No time for evasive action so I started to walk past very briskly. The man tried to call his dog back, but he took no notice and ran straight for mine. Whether he bit mine or not I don't know, but his body language was quite aggressive and he certainly lunged at her throat.

Mine was barking and tugging at him as I tried to pull her away when I heard a horrible squeal and saw that she had the little one's ear in her mouth, and she wasn't going to let go. Eventually I managed to separate them, and the other little dog jumped up on to his owner's lap. We looked at his ear and - luckily - couldn't see any puncture wounds, but obviously it was very upsetting for everyone.

What should I have done to prevent this? do I need to get her a muzzle? I've been working very hard to get her to calm down around other dogs so this is a huge setback for us, and now I am very nervous about taking her out again. She is a very fit and lively dog and needs a lot of exercise so keeping her at home isn't an option

RandomMess Sun 11-Dec-16 14:01:39

Is your dog insured? Hopefully she is!

I would honestly say there is nothing else you could have done IMHO.

I have a small dog who tries to show dominance over some other dogs (she barks & chases but doesn't attack/bite) because she is nervous. To be honest if she then got attacked by a dog on or off lead because of her initiating then it would be MY FAULT.

I think you need to remember that dogs will sort things out between themselves your dog clearly was not attacking but more putting the other dog in it's place?

Wolfiefan Sun 11-Dec-16 14:03:35

Have you worked with a behaviourist on the other dog issue?
There are secure dog fields you can hire. Maybe a mad run off lead in one sometimes would help?

hairypaws Sun 11-Dec-16 14:07:43

IMO not your fault. I have a reactive dog too and know how stressful it is. His dog was not under control and ran at yours, yours reacted as expected. Luckily no real harm was done. I wouldn't muzzle given this incident. It never ceases to surprise me the owners who think it's ok to let their dog run up to random dogs in this way, it's an accident waiting to happen.

Notonyournellly Sun 11-Dec-16 14:11:48

I have spoken to a man who is a dog behaviourist, and I do plan to make use of his services. We met when our paths crossed on a dog walk. I apologised in advance for my dog in case she snapped at his and we got chatting. Funny thing is, she behaved beautifully then, and he said what a lovely dog she is. I was so grateful!

No, she's not insured but that is a good idea. I suppose it's a good sign that she didn't draw blood? clutching at straws here

tabulahrasa Sun 11-Dec-16 14:11:50

Would muzzling her make you feel more confident? If so, do it.

In all honesty, it doesn't sound like she did over react, but, muzzling her will not cause her any harm at all and so if it'd make you feel happier then just do it, even if it's just for a while. Because if you're anxious it will make her worse.

RandomMess Sun 11-Dec-16 14:21:14

Yes get her insured as it's cover for her injuries and legal costs etc. should an incidence occur.

My dog only reacts to some other dogs I've worked out she loathes teenage dogs - she is desperate to put them in her place. She also loves playing chase and some owners don't recognise that her barking (which is excessive and loud) is just part of her being excited at playing her favourite game and mistake it for aggression.

It's hard this dog owning at times! Very few dogs are truly being "aggressive" and will attack all the snapping and growling is "conversation" to them.

StarryIllusion Sun 11-Dec-16 21:24:43

The other dog shouldn't have been out of its owner's control but realistically you knew you had a potentially dangerous dog and have done nothing to make her safe. She needs to be muzzled in public if she is that reactive and imo she needs to see a behaviourist. For her own safety as much as theirs. Imagine if it had been a whacking great Rottweiler that she went for. She would have come off a lot worse.

Soubriquet Sun 11-Dec-16 21:26:10

He didn't have his dog under control. Your dog was

Nothing else you could have done

krustykittens Sun 11-Dec-16 21:29:19

Your dog was under control and his wasn't but I do second going to see an animal behaviourist. We have a very nervous, anxious dog that used to bark like crazy at just about anything when we were out and about and just seemed to live in fear all the time, a behaviourist really helped.

Stefoscope Sat 17-Dec-16 01:54:42

Muzzle training would be worth a go, even if just for peace of mind that your dog can't hurt another or be set back to far in her training for when you encounter another reactive dog off lead in the future. In this instance, you had your dog on a lead, the other owner should have had his dog on a lead, especially if he knew his dogs recall isn't 100% and his dog is reactive. At the same time, muzzling your dog offers a 'belts and braces' solution.

My rescue dog can be very vocal around other dogs and he's a big lad. I would say the muzzle has helped me feel more confident when walking him as I know he can't hurt anyone. I've found distracting my dog with a 'leave' command and a treat before he has a chance to register there's another dog ahead has worked slowly but well over the past year. He knows he only gets the treat if he walks past the other dog without barking and he's a greedy beggar, so this works about 95% of the time!

lovelycats Sat 17-Dec-16 08:19:59

My dogs are fine with others, but if I come across another dog walking on a lead I will put mine back on the leads (because they have no concept of personal space or the fact that not every dog wants to talk to them). I learnt the hard way when my small dog was picked up by the throat and shaken by a much larger dog. I accepted full responsibility for that though, because my dog merrily sauntered into big dog's space and was totally ignoring my recall.

Although you've already stated that your dog has behavioural problems, I am struggling to see what you did wrong OP. Yes you could muzzle her, but it's very sad that you should have to. What about a colour coded harness? Only really useful to someone who understands the concept, but worth a shot?

Notonyournellly Sat 17-Dec-16 09:08:59

Thanks for all your helpful replies, it's reassuring to know I am not the only one with a dog like this. It gets very stressful trying to avoid these situations. It's getting too close to Christmas now to start with a behaviourist, but I will get going in the New Year.

One thing I have noticed, she is usually fine after a while with other dogs we see out and about when I stop and chat to the owner, if it's someone we know, or someone I know to be friendly and understanding about my highly-strung girl. It's as though she feels she no longer needs to protect me from 'enemy' dogs. The problem is getting past that initial burst of snarling, barking and tugging, which, understandably, puts a lot of other dogs and their owners off coming near.

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