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Advice for a non dog owner.(15 Posts)
I live in a friendly village. For as long as I have lived here (6years) there has been an enormous German Shepherd living around the corner from us. It's garden is one away and we often here it barking like mad / being yelled at to shut up by its owners. We occasionally pass it when walking the kids to primary school. Both owners always have a firm grip on him and his lead, and try and move completely out of our path. Once when I thanked them they said that he "wasn't good with children" so I always appreciated their efforts to hold him off the path while we went past. (There's only pavement on one side otherwise I would cross or I'm sure they would).
Yesterday I was walking past their house, they had a van in the driveway, my kids were chatting and as we passed the end of the van I realised the owner and dog was stood the other side concealed from our view until the last moment. When we came into sight I can only assume we surprised him and the dog went crazy, he lunged at us barking and growling. I'm not going to lie it was not just my kids who were terrified. The owner didn't say anything and we rushed on as quickly as I could telling the kids not to worry and that it was because we had surprised it. My youngest said to me but what if the owner couldn't hold it or the lead broke, what would it have done if it got to us, and genuinely I didn't know what to say. I felt like it would have attacked us (but obviously didn't say that). But would it have? I've no idea?! And it worries me because he is well over head height and the size of a bear and his owners aren't getting any younger, should it be muzzled in case heaven forbid one day they can't hold it?
Not being a dog owner I'm asking for advice and opinions. I don't know or understand dogs, should I worry about him or do you think it was the surprise that set him off? Should he have a muzzle?
Another classic example of idiots with a dog. Not good with children... Says it all really. Why anyone would want to keep an aggressive animal is beyond me.
You don't know what it would do unleashed. For some dogs the leash is what causes the aggression and off leash are fine because they don't feel restrained. It barking at you isn't cause for a muzzle and no one would insist they use one. It doesn't sound well socialised but it's doing what guarding breeds do and barking at a "threat". Teach your kids to not stare at it and if it ever does break free to freeze and not scream.
Yup, idiots with a dog. I'm a dog owner and had a similar experience to the one you described. I didn't know the people, just walking along and a dog lunged and barked. I screamed. I wasn't being dramatic but it caught me off guard and was frightening. The owners apologised. There's a guy I see around with a dog that would cause trouble if loose. I'm anxious whenever I see him.
I think the owners are being irresponsible and the dog should be muzzled on walks and at any time when it could get out of the garden like the incident you describe. The dog may be more aggressive because of the lead and may be better loose but who would want to check that out with their children? Have a chat with the Dog Warden, he/she may be able to help by advising the owners.
Sometimes dogs that are aggressive on lead are absolutely fine off-lead. Leash reactivity is a real thing - dogs don't like being restricted and can react like that through fear. However I totally understand why you're wary - it's not nice being barked and lunged at!
They have no obligation to muzzle their dog - as long as it's under control (ie on the leash) they're not doing anything wrong. I would just do your best to avoid the dog completely tbh.
A dog making a lot of noise like that isn’t necessarily going to bite, some dogs are just noisy when they don’t like something, GSDs are a particularly vocal breed btw.
If it’s not likely to bite, a muzzle serves no purpose.
He’s on lead, they keep him back when they know you’re passing... they’re managing him... I would just keep out of their way tbh.
If he’s been about 6 years, he’ll get old before they do.
idiots with a dog. Not good with children... Says it all really. Why anyone would want to keep an aggressive animal is beyond me.
My dog is "not good with children" (due to abuse from children in her past life). However, she she won't want to attack them unless they come really close to her, are kicking a ball near her or run straight up to her (so she thinks they are about to hurt her - or me - she will seize and puncture a football if it is kicked near her as she only knows it as a weapon that was used to hurt her). She is otherwise sweet-natured and friendly and the locals love her. She is not aggressive to older humans or other dogs. A dog that is not good with children is not necessarily trained to be like that by an idiotic owner - it is more likely that they have reason to fear them and attack is their best defence - I agree, it was probably because the GSD was taken by surprise and you got a gut reaction (especially as it does not lunge at your children when you sometimes pass it on a path ) Mine has stopped shaking when children pass us nearby - there is no need for me to muzzle her but I do put her on a lead if children are around, so she feels safer and I can stop them approaching her. I, too, say "she isn't good with children" because otherwise they always want to come and stroke her and people will let their toddlers run VERY CLOSE to strange dogs - I wish they wouldn't.
* Another classic example of idiots with a dog. Not good with children... Says it all really. Why anyone would want to keep an aggressive animal is beyond me.*
Where does it say the dog is aggressive? Barking in itself is not an aggressive behaviour in the slightest.
I say my dog isn't good with children because he's still young and prone to jumping at people, and he could easily upset or accidentally knock over a young child in his excitement.
However with my niece he's fabulous - because he's grown up with her and any interaction is supervised.
The owners here are doing all the right things - warning people about the dog and keeping it off the path and away from children!
So the way he was when surprised was very aggressive but as you guys say they seem to be doing all they can. Id be happier if he was muzzled because clearly they worry about him to hold him on a short lead and giving us a wide berth but I guess I've got to hope it's precautionary rather than as a reaction to prior behaviour.
Annoyingly there's no way of avoiding him as he's only about 4 doors away and they walk him often (I take this to be a good sign). I have passed on the advice not to make eye contact or run but I doubt at their age (6&8) they'd manage to do the latter if a dog bigger than them chased them.
Thanks for all who commented, not really understanding dogs behaviours means I just didn't know how concerned I should be. I will attempt to cross the road or take a different route if it's possible to do so, otherwise I'll be sure to take a wide berth around him when we have to go passed.
Wish me luck 😬😕
“because clearly they worry about him to hold him on a short lead and giving us a wide berth”
But trying to keep him far enough back to stop him doing what he did today doesn’t mean they’re worried he’s going to do anything worse.
If they’re half decent owners they’ll not want him to react at all - so they’re keeping him at the distance he’s still comfortable at...
@tabulahrasa I see that, sorry, hadn't looked at it from that perspective x Fair point. ☺️
Exactly tabularasa - the dog trainer told me exactly that. Wherever possible, avoid the object that causes upset - so make a big detour, stay well back so that the dog just stands and watches the thing of fear move past. It's not always possible, though, as in this example.
When my dog was an (older) puppy I was walking him off the lead on 8ft wide path which was then enclosed by walls/hedges on either side. I came round a corner and there were two women with a massive husky type dog on a lead. The dog took one look at my puppy and decided it wanted him, it took both the two women all there combined strength to restrain the dog. My dog, who would normally go and say hello to any other dog or person took as wide a berth as he could and ran on passed them. I was terrified for him. That dog would have torn him apart of it had got hold of him.
Since this happened I have spoken to other dog walkers in my area and when I described the incident most knew exactly the dog/owners I was referring to.
I really don't think anyone would have dog that they are not physically capable of restraining on their own. Also whilst lost of people complain about dogs off their leads, I am far more concerned about dogs that NEED to be kept on a lead for the safety of other people/dogs, it only takes one slip of the lead or gate left open and the results could be horrendous.
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