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Dog fight turned human fight, first ever sign of violence

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by andymt, Aug 11, 2009.


  1. andymt

    andymt PetForums Newbie

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    Hello
    This first post is as a result on an incident earlier today.

    My parents own a 7 year old Border terrier called Rupert, but I walk him frequently.
    We bought him when he was 8 weeks old and over the course of his life so far he has never displayed any signs of aggression towards us or any other dog, save for the occasional growl/bark that ceases on my command. When other dogs are aggressive towards him he usually growls back and that is the worst that has happened. Usually he just retreats. He is a family pet through and through. He receives long walks and is healthy.

    However at the end of one of his walks today he was carrying a ball that we found. He seemed to display particular attraction towards it, as he ran away if I tried to take it from him. Soon after, he met what we later discovered was a staffordshire bull terrier. Rupert started growling and my girlfriend,who was accompanying me on the walk, grabbed his collar. The bull terrier responded in a similar fashion. Rupert started making lunges at the bull terrier, although they never actually made contact. At this point the bull terrier, who was also off the lead, started attacking Rupert and a fight broke out. My girlfriend at this point let go of Rupert's collar for fear of her hands. The owners of the other dog did nothing initially, and neither did I (I will explain why later.) Eventually though through the owners of the bull terrier managed to get their dog on the lead, and I followed suit with Rupert. The dogs were completely unscathed and none of us were hurt either, except from some minor scratches/bites on my girlfriend's hand.

    However it was what happened next that concerned me most. The owners of the bull terrier started shouting abusive comments at me and my girlfriend, accusing us of lack of control over our dog among other things. They swore continuously, became increasingly aggressive despite my attempts to ask for a proper conversation. They called my girlfriend a "f*****g c**t." My girlfriend didn't respond aggressively, but tried to talk to her. However, a fight between one of the owners of the bull terrier and my girlfriend commenced, because one of the owners slapped my girlfriend. There was slapping, biting and hair tugging involved. I, and the other owner (who was also a woman) stood there; I didn't want to get involved with two girls fighting, and the other owner seemed to enjoy it. My girlfriend became trapped in a headlock and at which point the fight stopped. We continued to received abuse. I once more asked to have a civil conversation, but all I received was more swearing. There witnesses there who came over to us and checked we were OK. My girlfriend was unsurprisingly crying out of shock at this point.

    I am extremely angry at the owners of the bull terrier, because they turned a dog fight into a human fight. Although I appreciated the severity of the situation, their reaction was out of control, even more so than that of the dogs.

    I would like impartial opinions on the situation, and also advice on whether I should consider some immediate action on behalf of my dog, for example not letting him off the lead again for some time; i.e. is this first sign of violence something to worry about? I cannot forget that it was my dog who seemed to initiate the growling. Personally I suspect it was the ball he was carrying that caused him to feel overprotective and aggressive.

    (Going back to the point above about why I was too scared to intervene: A few months ago whilst running with a group of people (without dogs) I saw a dog fight that resulted in a bull terrier mauling and killing a smaller dog, in what was a completely unprovoked attack. Despite the owners' attempts to separate the two dogs, including pulling them apart and kicking the bull terrier, they continued to fight and all that was left was a bloody mess. This incident scarred me and since then I have always been afraid of bull terriers.)

    Thanks in advance,
    Andrew
     
  2. rachel57

    rachel57 PetForums Junior

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    oh my gosh is your girlfriend ok ? that realy does concern me that people can react in such a violent way !! i realy do hope she is okay but i would definatly definatly report this assault to the police .nobody deserves to be treated like that regardless of the situation with the dogs .:(
     
  3. Luvdogs

    Luvdogs PetForums VIP

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    Deary me!! :eek: I hope your girlfriend is ok? Agree with Rachel, I would report it :(
     
  4. andymt

    andymt PetForums Newbie

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    If I see a PCSO or something in the area I'll mention it to him/her;problem is I can't really remember the women very well and at this point it's too late; If i'd attracted some attention straight after, something could have been done.
     
  5. haeveymolly

    haeveymolly PetForums VIP

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    Oh no this is awfull, definetly report it choose what sort of situation it was its assault hope your girlfriend is ok,also they were so aggressive i cnt see this being an isolated case so will proberbly be known to the police when you describe them and the dog, do you know or know where the witnesses live they would be very helpfull.

    I wouldnt be too worried about your dog being aggressive, they can sense a lot more than you can, we have known a staffy for about 6 years since he was a puppy and mine a springer has always approached tail wagging staffy doing the same a lovely dog no problem.

    About a month ago we met them as they were walking towards us harvey my dog began to back off staffy still walking towards nothing to me was any different to any other time harvey was then getting behind me it was very strange neither me or the other owner could understand it them the staffy just went for him then went for the pup, it was over as quickly as it started no fight, but obviously harvey backing off even from a short distance could sense things wernt right with the staffy.
     
  6. r_neupert

    r_neupert PetForums Senior

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    Agree - report. Be wary of warning signs from your dog - sounds like possesive agression - try an extendable lead maybe, or stop that sort of behaviour before it starts - like not letting it carry around things that could cause possesiveness.

    Out of curiosity - why did you step away when your girlfriend was being put in a headlock and getting her hair pulled??!!!! I would be equally mad at my other half if he didn't step in if i was in a fight out of no choice of my own. No offence intended as you shouldn't be encouraging fighting - but stepping into defend her surely?!
     
  7. shazalhasa

    shazalhasa PetForums VIP

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    I do hope that this post won't offend you as it is only written to offer some advice in relation to the situation you have described.

    The most important piece of information regarding this outbreak comes right at the end of your post, where you described a previous incident that has scarred you and caused a fear of bull terriers. Dog's pick up on feelings very quickly without you having to touch them, you only have to be in the their space. When you realized what kind of dog you were coming close to, your fear would have been picked up by your own dog causing him to react in the way that he did... he would be protecting you because you were afraid. The bull terrier was reacting to a dog attacking him, acting out and showing aggression towards him. You say that both were unharmed, that to me says that the bull terrier was just correcting the bad behaviour your dog was demonstrating... you've seen what a bull terrier is capable of first hand so you know what I'm talking about.

    I don't know if you can see this video, but it may give you some understanding as to how sensitive dogs are to feelings and emotions... especially fear.
    Login | Facebook

    From your first paragraph, it comes across that even though your dog will cease aggressive behaviour... growling etc, on command, it shows that you don't have leadership of your dog... he shouldn't be growling to start with, this needs addressing.

    I won't make comments on the fight between people as I wasn't there to witness and have no way of knowing the facts, I'll leave that to others ;)
     
  8. andymt

    andymt PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks everyone I will report, and the gf is fine.
    I didn't intervene because firstly I was concentrating on the 2 dogs; making sure they stayed apart, secondly because the two owners of the SBT seemed completely crazy and I think my choice of letting it calm down was better than the possibility of making it worse and getting the other owner involved in the fight. Also my gf has 2 brothers and she is very good at holding her own ;-)

    I appreciate that I could have tried to pull them apart, but they had each others hair etc so it could have just made it more painful
     
  9. MerlinsMum

    MerlinsMum PetForums VIP

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    Also report to the council Dog Warden! If there's been trouble with these people and their dog before, they will know about it and the DW will be able to go round and have a stern chat, also liaise with police if necessary.

    And police yes too, as it's assault.
    Hope you get some feedback, what a horrible thing to experience, and I do feel for you.
    Hope your dog is ok, sometimes it can upset dogs to see their owners getting aggro.
     
  10. PennyH

    PennyH PetForums Senior

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    That all sounds horrible.....
    We have a cocker spaniel who has bad legs and she can sometimes initiate problems. That is because when a dog bounds up to her, she is scared that she is going to get knocked so she snaps at the other dog. Usually that is enough warning to stop anything escalating, but occasionally it starts a problem with the other dog too. However, we are lucky because it has never escalated, and because we know she is like this, we are extremely careful when she is off lead.
    However, that doesn't help you - apart from maybe you should check your parents' dog is not in pain from anything???
    As for the fight, I am glad you are going to report it - nothing is an excuse for physical violence like that. The language itself is bad enough - surely that is verbal abuse, and the physical violence is ABH?
    I am sure the police will be interested as I doubt if it is the first time these people have done such a thing....
    Good luck and glad your GF is ok.
    Also agree with the previous poster that your dog will have picked up your fear - my lot know perfectly well if I am anxious, afraid, upset or just downright fed up and they all respond accordingly!
     
  11. jaxx

    jaxx PetForums VIP

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    If the owners are aggressive it seems like that's been transferred to the dog as well. I can't believe anyone would attack someone just because of a dog fight. I would also call into question the other owners ability to control his dog if it's going to growl and attack other dogs in the first place.

    I would definitely report it to your local dog warden and possibly to the police as well as it was totally uncalled for.
     
  12. Dundee

    Dundee Banned

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    I think the assault on your girlfriend is the main problem here - definately report it. Dog fights are just that and the law doesn't really like to get involved, but assault on a human is.
     
  13. cassie01

    cassie01 PetForums VIP

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    I agree with everything said except the highlighted bit. When a dog growls it does so beause it is uncomfortable with a situation. you as the owner should make the situation easier for the dog to cope with. personally i would much rather my dog warned me that it was upset and didnt know how to cope rather then just reacted bady and attacked. If your dog growls again in a situation like that, walk the dog away so it doesnt get too worked up and upset.
     
  14. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

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    If you've got witnesses, then I would report the attack on your girlfriend, there is no place for that in a civilised society (did you manage to get any contact details of the witnesses after the frenzy had died down?)

    Pay extra attention to your dog over the coming weeks, this incident might have unsettled him and make him more defensive. Make sure that you have a good recall and that he knows to leave toys that are not his.

    I might be tempted to avoid using a lead unless you feel very confident when approaching other dogs, otherwise the lead will become a telephone wire transmitting insecure feelings from you straight to him. Play it by ear and call him away in good time if you suspect an outburst.

    Hopefully you'll be lucky, he might take the retaliation from the other dog as a warning not to be possesive like that again. Get straight back on the horse and show him that life goes on but you will not tolerate his outbursts.
     
  15. TabbyRoad

    TabbyRoad Banned

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    Having witnessed my own dog being horribly attacked FOUR times in 18 months by pitbull mixes I can completely understand why you were afraid to intervene. The hairs on my head still stand up when I hear any sort of aggressive dog barking, even when we are both inside the house as safe as can be.

    I'm glad your dog is ok but your poor girlfriend must be terribly shaken. :(

    THE BEST WAY TO BREAK UP A DOG FIGHT:

    The safest way to break up a dogfight requires 2 people. Each person grabs the back feet of one of the dogs. The dog back feet are then picked up like a wheelbarrow. With the legs up, both dogs are then pulled apart.

    Once the dog fight is broken up and the dogs pulled apart it is critical that the people do not release the dogs or the dog fight will begin again. The two people need to start turning in a circle, or slowly swinging the dogs in a circle while they back away from the other dog. This stops the dog from curling and coming back and biting the person holding their legs.

    By circling the dog has to sidestep with its front feet or it will fall on its chin. As long as you slowly continue to back and circle, the dog cannot do any damage to you. To insure that the fight will not begin all over again when you release the dogs, one of the dogs needs to be dragged into an enclosure (i.e. a kennel, the garage, another room) before the dog is released. If you do not do this, the dogs will often charge back and start fighting again or if you release the dog to quickly the dog will turn and attack the person who had his feet.


    How to Break up a Dog Fight without getting hurt
     
  16. andymt

    andymt PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks-I accept that I might not have as much as control over my dog as my parents do, (they are the ones who trained him and look after him for the most part etc..)
    So I'm going to keep him on a lead when I walk him, except when I reach some open grass parks that I know well where I can let him have a run around. Even then I will keep an eye on him and keep an eye out for other male dogs and put him back on the lead until it seems safe.
    I will tell my parents when they come back from holiday (I'm looking after house and dog whilst they are away.)

    Although the behaviour of the other dog's owners was outrageous, this incident has alerted me to the fact that I might not have as much control over my dog as I should, probably because he treats my parents as his real leader. If I feel patient I might try to get him to do some of the commands my parents have trained him to do, such as roll over and lift up his paw etc... Just to try and assert some leadership.

    Thanks everyone for the supportive comments, and the girlfriend is completely fine now, apart from some worries about the clumps of hair pulled out by the other woman.
     
  17. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

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    You sound like a very level headed bloke.... you've come onto a forum and asked for advice about a dog fight involving a bull terrier and not resorted to blaming that dog because of it's breed but instead asked if the problem might have been your own dog. Credit to you :)
    As for the pyscho attacking your other half? Well, some people just have no shame!
     
  18. JSR

    JSR PetForums VIP

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    Hi
    Hope you are both okay, must have been a horrible situation. Firstly regarding the dog fight, I'm afraid you are both as responsible as each other in this situation. Both dogs were off lead and therefore not under control so legally there is nothing that can be done or achieved by reporting it. I suspect your dog did provoke the attack by his body lanuage and your GF grabbing his collar would only make matters worse. It's an automatic reaction to grab the collars but not always the best thing to do as it can highten an already unconfident dog to a state where he feels forced to attack. Fight or flight remember is a dogs defense so if he feels he can't escape he will attack.

    But I would most definately report the attack on your GF, although I suspect it will be very hard to prove who threw the first punch or who provoked who but it can't be left and does need to be reported as those people are obviously thugs.

    Invest in a long lead (not one of those awful retractable one's get something more like a horses lunge rein), then you can let your dog have a run but still keep control. ;)
     
  19. Louby

    Louby PetForums Junior

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    i am not a dog guru - yet :p but.....

    I would imagine your dog felt the tension/fear/anxiety in ur body as the SBT approached, therefore a growl of protection ensued. I doubt it was a possessive 'gerroff my ball'. Although, keep an eye on him for a repeat performance - then maybe address it then.

    As for the fight - welllllllllllllllllllll

    Report the assault to the police, a provoked slap across the face can result in being requested to show-up at the police station and cautioned - minimum. Unprovoked attacks may well be reffered to the CPS for their judgement on whether the case should go to court.

    I dont know much about the powers Dog Wardens have to be honest, in fact, i have never seen a dog warden anywhere ever - wouldn't have the first clue of how to contact one either - maybe yell.com :001_tt2:

    L x
     
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