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Advice re my dog which has unfortunately bitten another dog

(56 Posts)
hmcAsWas Wed 22-Nov-17 11:53:04

Long sorry !

My dog, who is 4 in January, bit another dog on a group walk yesterday (with the dog walker) in an altercation over a ball. Unfortunately the other dog requires sutures sad. The other dog was also on the group walk and this poor dog and my dog have been on several other walks together previously without any issues.

My dog has no form for this. He is walked off lead in the countryside and invariably greets other dogs in a friendly way - with only one or two occasions where he hasn't like another dog and has growled at them (but never been violent), so I am horrified and shocked by this turn of events.

The dog walker phoned me yesterday - the other owner is very upset (understandably) and also does not want to claim off her insurance for vet costs (again, understandably). I said that I presumed my insurance would cover it as third party liability. I have spoken to my insurance today and they wont advise me because the insurance is in my husband's name and so he has to speak to them. I can't track him down at the moment and am impatient to get to the bottom of this....

I did find an exclusion in my policy :

What we will not pay - applying to Third Party Liability
6. Any costs.. .resulting from an incident which takes place when your pet is in the care of a business or professional and you are paying for their services

So it sounds like it may not be covered? Is the expectation that the Dog Walking service will pay from their insurance? shock

On a separate and related note, I have made an appointment to see the vet (tomorrow) to discuss this incident and get advice concerning whether my dog needs to see a behaviourist or similar?

Any advice from any dog owners who may have insight or experience in this area?

So as not to drip feed - my dog is obsessed over balls and sticks and will try and take them off other dogs but it has always been a bit of game for him, he has not been aggressive before, just he has sometimes taken a ball and its been a hassle to get it off him and return it to its rightful owner. I now routinely put him on a lead when another dog approaches with a ball to avoid the hassle... I have previously joked that balls and sticks are like crack cocaine to him....but now that's no longer funny / a joking matter sad

I am wondering if I can assume he may only be aggressive in ball / stick incidents and is otherwise 'safe'?

Justbookedasummmerholiday Wed 22-Nov-17 11:57:20

Biting in the context you describe isn't the action of a vicious dog.
You need to find a walker who will have him on his own. Lots of training to make him 'give up' his ball to you might be worth a go. Imo.

hmcAsWas Wed 22-Nov-17 11:58:39

I'm feeling really quite shaken about this - that my dog could do that! sad sad sad, and I keep thinking of the worry and distress caused to the other owner and her dog

hmcAsWas Wed 22-Nov-17 12:01:06

Thanks Justbooked - my gut feeling is that he isn't vicious. I was anticipating that we might need to do some intensive training on relinquishing balls etc

Iris65 Wed 22-Nov-17 12:01:39

The incident should be covered by the dog walker’s insurance. It sounds as if she was hoping that you would clain so that she wouldn’t have to.
Echo the advice above to give lots of socialisation training, including playing with toys.

supermanslefttesticle Wed 22-Nov-17 12:04:25

Oh bless you it's horrible. First off, this is your dog walkers fault. If she's aware your dog resource guards balls (which she absolutely should be), there's no way she should have taken one out with them in the company of other dogs, that's just asking for trouble.

I'd take your dog to the vet anyway to investigate if your dog is in any pain etc which could have caused the change in behaviour, but if that's all clear I would just work on the 'give' command and make sure you're regularly practicing removing toys from him so he becomes desensitised to it.

To reassure you, this doesn't sound a single bit like your dog is aggressive or in fact did anything that unusual, your dog walker should have spotted him resource guarding the ball and taken it away as soon as the behaviour started, not put him in a position where he became so stressed by his ball being taken by another dog that he lashed out.

With regards to insurance, no your insurance won't cover it nor should they. Your dog walker should have public liability insurance which will cover the cost and it should be that you claim on as the dogs were in her care and this was a preventable incident.

Chin up.

Swizzlesticks23 Wed 22-Nov-17 12:11:45

Sorry I'm
Confused how much damage did your dog actually do to the other dog for there to be an insurance claim ? Stitches ?

hmcAsWas Wed 22-Nov-17 12:14:19

Thank you superman for making me feel better.

In the dog walker's defence - she didn't have a ball with her, the other dog found a half eaten tennis ball on the path and picked it up, my dog then tried to take it off him and the incident occurred. All very unfortunate (and quick)

We'll start on intensive training with him asap. I am assuming that the basics are that I let him have a ball and reward him with a treat when he gives it up. Will google....

Yes, I will still attend the Vets appointment tomorrow for a check up and further advice.

hmcAsWas Wed 22-Nov-17 12:15:03

Swizzle - yes deep bite needing cleaning and stitches

Oops4 Wed 22-Nov-17 12:18:50

It really should be your dog walkers insurance that pays. You can't and shouldn't accept liability in terms of insurance. I'm not suggesting it wasn't your dog or that your walker's making it up but you didn't witness the incident so can't actually confirm to your insurance that your dog did it or what actually happened. I would expect a dog walker to judge which dogs were suitable to walk together and as others have said, it does sound like this situation could have been stopped before it reached that stage. I also agree it doesn't sound like your dog viciously attacked but yes, needs some work on giving up his sticks/balls.

Swizzlesticks23 Wed 22-Nov-17 12:24:18

Ah ok.

Sorry for this happening I bet your gutted and sorry j cannot offer more advice xflowers

hmcAsWas Wed 22-Nov-17 12:29:32

Thanks Swizzle and Oops and everyone on this thread. I was expected a lambasting

mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Wed 22-Nov-17 12:43:40

My previous dog got into a few fights occasionally and you always feel awful (even though some happened not through her or my fault). Once, with a bad dogwalker, she was so stressed when the dogwalker (large) fell on top of her that she attacked the dogwalker's dog, standing next to her and bit (by accident) the dogwalker's foolishly intervening hand - she was then expelled from the dogwalker's client base(though dogwalker said later that it was "probably" her own fault and explained circumstances). My neighbour has 3 rescue staffie-crossed-with-something=fighty and lives to prove that dogs are fine if you train them properly and treat them properly. One of his has ball=guarding issues with other dogs and he is very careful to warn people with other dogs not to come near when the dog has his ball. Other than that, his dog (and the other 2) are beautifully behaved and very happy dogs. So, probably not good for your dog to be playing with a ball with other dogs close even if he will learn to easily give up his ball to you, he probably wouldn't want to for another dog.

Judashascomeintosomemoney Wed 22-Nov-17 12:52:45

A friend of mine (very experienced dog owner, as am I) told me that just last week she had seen another friend of ours (professional dog walker) out with what she considered to be far too many dogs. They were off lead and she had no control over them, calling some back but none listening as too involved in chasing each other, going in the sea, chasing other people. This wasn’t an isolated incident, it’s how she does it. She seems comfortable with it, I certainly wouldn’t be. But I think there are probably a lot of professionals that do not treat your dog the way you would. I agree with Iris that she told you in the hope you’d cough up instead of telling her that’s why she’s got liability insurance. If she claims on her policy it’s not great for her business or her premiums, so she’s going to let you believe it’s your fault.

Wolfiefan Wed 22-Nov-17 12:57:39

How stressful. Does sound like your insurance won't cover it. Also does sound like the excitement of a ball whilst being surrounded by lots of excited dogs was just too much.
I think you need to make other dog walking arrangements. Your dog on its own?
Can you offer to pay or should the insurance of the dog walker pay? Surely they have insurance for just such an eventuality.

TheHodgeoftheHedge Wed 22-Nov-17 13:09:17

This is exactly the reason that professional dog walkers should have insurance. It happened under their watch and supervision, their insurance should pay.

ginghamstarfish Wed 22-Nov-17 13:19:04

I also would think the dog walker should have to have insurance as he/she is the person in control during this time. Surely your dog should not be off the lead at any time though if you know it has this problem - could be a child with a ball next time.

rightsaidfrederickII Wed 22-Nov-17 13:23:56

Nothing to add on insurance etc but I've managed to train PestDog to swap balls - he'll now drop the one he has if you're holding another waiting to throw. It was far easier to train that than dropping on command (which he still can't fathom)

LaGattaNera Wed 22-Nov-17 13:33:04

It's probably a one off if he is 4 has has no previous. Dog walker's insurance should pay -this is what it is for and what your fee includes!
Going forward, will you have to have him walked on lead with group or taken on solo walk? These things do sometimes happen and it does not mean that you have a vicious dog.
What does dog walker have insurance for exactly? Why have it if she intends to tell every owner she doesn't want to use it and they will need to pay for whatever arises! She runs a business and she is in charge.

hmcAsWas Wed 22-Nov-17 13:43:22

"Surely your dog should not be off the lead at any time though if you know it has this problem - could be a child with a ball next time"

We walk in the country. We can go 20 minutes or more without seeing a dog, and I can see dogs / people on the horizon before they get to us, so I think putting him on a lead all the time is OTT, although putting him on a lead when someone is approaching is sensible and I will do this (and have done this)

If however we routinely walked in busy areas full of activity and people (we don't) I would agree with you - he would be on the lead all the time

Wolfiefan Wed 22-Nov-17 13:45:59

The trouble is that you can and do that but a dog walker can't possibly give all their charges the same level of attention.
And a dog having a spat with another dog over a ball is not the same as a dog going up to a child and biting them. confused
I would ask about dog walker's insurance. I would also look to make alternative arrangements.

Cocobananas Wed 22-Nov-17 13:51:37

I recently stopped ball play completely out on walks with our young dog. She wasn’t wanting to end the game, ripped my pocket trying to stop me putting it away, growled and air snapped at other dogs coming up to her when she had hold of the ball. She seemed stressed by the ball rather than excited. A friends young dog can take or leave the ball but mine was becoming obsessive and I don’t think that’s healthy for her. Three weeks later she is back to her happy self meeting, greeting and sometimes playing a bit of chase, doing plenty of sniffing etc. Walks are pleasurable again and ball play is a treat game in the garden a couple of times a week.

Floralnomad Wed 22-Nov-17 13:52:28

I think the dog walker should pay and I really wouldn’t be getting too stressed about it , these things happen . My dog was jumped on by a Labrador at the weekend and to avoid a fight ( mine will get stuck in at the drop of a hat) I had to dive in and pick mine up and I got bitten by the Labrador . As I said these things happen .

hmcAsWas Wed 22-Nov-17 13:59:58

Yes Wolfiefan I think I might have to make alternative arrangements. There is a lady I use to house sit when I go on holiday - she would be prepared to walk just my two dogs rather than several dogs in a pack. She might be better than groups dog walks in the circumstances

hmcAsWas Wed 22-Nov-17 14:00:40

I hope your hand is okay Flora !

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