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Thats that

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Shadowrat, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Shadowrat

    Shadowrat PetForums VIP

    Jan 30, 2011
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    Dresden went after another dog today :(

    Before I go on, I want to say that I know about the dobe tendency toward dog aggression when mature, and I've always been very careful with Dresden, watching for any signs, and told myself the second they showed, thats it, never off lead again.

    But he's been going to the park off lead since he was 14 weeks, and has always been what I consider 'dog neutral'. He wasn't really interested.
    He'd occasionally have a little play bow at another dog or leap about excited, but always been more into people, or balls, than dogs.
    I've never seen any aggression from him to other dogs. Even when they were running around him harassing him with owners that didn't bother to try and recall them, he would show amazing tolerance and just try to walk on.

    But today...... that's it. No more.
    I hadn't taken Dresden to the park for over a week, as I was focusing on just lead walks for a while, as I found the park was so exciting to him, it was making him a bit manic in the home.
    So we just stuck to lots of nice structured lead walks, and he seemed fine with that. He was also making huge leaps in his barking at onlead dogs issue, to the point where he'll now look to me every time a dog appears and sit and wait for his treat. A massive improvement.
    So today I thought I'd try the park again, give him a chance to stretch his legs as a break from the lead walks.

    We got there, he got out, looked to me for a while in case I had a ball, had a little happy zoomie, then trotted to have a poo.
    As he finished, a black lab appeared, and ran up to him. He barked once, but it didn't leave.
    And suddenly, he BELTED off in pursuit of this dog, I've never, ever seen this from him. He isn't a dog that generally chases other dogs, even in play. And if he does, its a very obvious playful gallop.
    This was a full on, top speed, run after this dog.
    I called him back, but he totally ignored me, I doubt he even heard me.
    As he roared past me with me calling and trying to grab him, I noticed he was snapping his teeth as he ran.
    Its purely by chance my mum managed to grab the handle of his harness and stop him. I immediately put his lead on.

    Now, this, in my view, was NOT playing. Its highly unusual for him to chase another dog in any manner, but this was like he was chasing down prey. I've only ever seen him run that fast and with that much intensity when he's chasing his ball.

    And I dread to think what would have happened if he'd caught up to this lab. Obviously I have no way to know for sure, but Im fairly confident it wouldn't have been friendly.

    I apologised proffusely to the owner, who didn't seem that bothered, and his dog wasn't either, thank god.

    But what if that had been some little old woman's blind old yorkie? What if he'd caught up with this dog? What if we'd not been able to catch him? What if they'd run off far away instead of being near us?
    I really dread to think.

    I made the decision that moment that Dresden is an on-lead dog only from now on.
    It just isn't worth the risk. I don't care if people say 'but he might not have hurt it! He might grow out of it! It might be temporary! Maybe that dog just rubbed him up the wrong way!'
    I don't care. As far as Im concerned, that was my warning and I have to heed it. Its just fortunate that my warning came without any bloodshed.

    I don't care if he wouldn't have hurt the dog, or would only have 'nipped' it, that kind of behaviour is not acceptable, to me, regardless.
    And if someone else's dog had done that to Dresden, I wouldn't be happy.
    The bottom line is that I am NOT going to take the risk with him. It isn't worth the risk to other dogs and himself for the sake of him having off lead time.

    Sure, it might have been a one off, it might have been only a minor scuffle, it might never happen again, but as far as Im concerned, I'd be an idiot to ignore this warning sign, particularly when I already know this breed can sometimes be dog aggressive at maturity, and have always been aware of it and watching for it.
    I have to admit, I didn't expect signs to show until he was older, but there it is.

    Im not angry at him, not at all. In fact, in a way, Im relieved. I've always kinda worried about when and if this trait would show (of course, it doesn't in 100% of dobes) and how it would if it did. Now, I've had that shake-up, and fortunately in a way that resulted in no harm to either party.

    I feel awful. But as I said, he's always been so good, and I've never seen signs of anything like this. I've always been so vigilant.

    So he shall never again be allowed to go off lead in a public place. It is a bit of a shame, as he did so love his ball chasing. But Im not going to be 'that' dog owner who doesn't heed the warnings their dogs give and risk others in the process.
    Im responsible, and Im doing the responsible thing.

    My husband suggested 'maybe we could take him to the beach really late at night when no-one else is about?'
    Its just not worth it. What if someone else has had the same thought with their dog? Maybe thats the thought the owner of the GSD who went after Dres when he was younger had, too?

    Sure, he'd not been to the park for a week, he was probably expecting a ball to chase and there wasn't one, he was probably just very excited, and the dog did approach him first but none of that makes any difference to me: there is no excuse.

    But I will embrace this as a way to really bond on lead walks, as we've been doing lately and really enjoying. Its not the end of the world if he cannot go off lead; many dogs can't.

    After the incident, with him on lead walking round the park, he passed 2 on lead dogs without reacting. It seems his lead-reactivity has improved tenfold, while his previously wonderful off lead behaviour has taken its place.

    Yes, I do feel bad if I caused any distress to the lab or its owner. Maybe I should have never let him off lead from the start, just because of his breed. But many dogs of DA breeds don't show this tendency, so I don't think I was wrong to give him that opportunity, and indeed he'd always been great.
    And yeah, it could have been much worse but I will not be one of those owners you see people ranting about on here who had a dog that had given them a warning with other dogs, and they'd ignored it.
  2. alyssa_liss

    alyssa_liss PetForums VIP

    May 4, 2009
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    i dont see the problem tbh . you dog has shown that he most likly will attack so why risk him offlead around dogs?? surely thats just common sense.

    i have a mainly onlead dog . for the same reason. he has a flexi for when we are in fields etc.. he is always on lead around dogs. he occasionally gets to go offlead (middle on nowhere with noone around) doesnt do him any harm
  3. GingerRogers

    GingerRogers PetForums VIP

    Sep 13, 2012
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    Sorry you have had that scare but take heart that nothing bad came of it. It does shake you up though I know!!! I am just starting to relax after a week and bit, not to the point of carelessness but to the point that I am enjoying walks again.

    Of course some dogs never get let off lead and it doesn't do them any harm at all. I have had to battle with my OH to get him to realise we can't afford to let Ginge off yet as she doesn't have a reliable recall and a very high working drive, we don't even have the focus from her you have with Dres (but I realised this morning that it is coming :D) there was a time when I thought we never would be able to let her run free again and it hurt, now I am not so sure, but even if we can it will be in places where there are absolutely no unfamiliar dogs at all for certain after last week.

    However I don't think she is suffering, she gets a run about on a long line every so often when walks allow and I even manage a bit of a jog now and then :eek:. She has longish lead run abouts on the dunes and the beach and she seems perfectly happy. In fact mostly delirious :p

    Don't beat yourself up, I know how easy that is.
  4. hippymama

    hippymama PetForums Senior

    Jul 26, 2012
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    :( that's a shame , totally understand why you cant risk it though , perhaps use a long line once you're at the park so he can still have a wonder and work on recall ect
  5. Miss.PuddyCat

    Miss.PuddyCat PetForums VIP

    Jul 13, 2009
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    I can see where your coming from, is there any inclosed parks were you could take him without any other dogs being there?

    Not that I have any problem with dogs being onlead, infact Id prefer it for most dogs to be onlead.

    Sophie has been onlead Id say 90% percent since last months incident and I dont feel even 50 percent confident to let her off again, Id say Im more at 20 %.
    I have let off for a few minutes at a time but the fear is there and Im ready to dive on her and clip the lead back on. When your confidence is shot its shot.

    Onlead walks can be just as fun tho :) I dont think Sophie is hurting any less by not being offlead.
  6. SLB

    SLB PetForums VIP

    Apr 25, 2011
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    I'm sorry if I haven't got the whole story - but what he did possibly sounds like rough playing and a poor recall from dogs. My dogs will snap at each other when they run - in fact I have a picture of it.


    I even have one dog that will scruff my dogs (and only mine) when running with them.

    Have you had him around dogs to see if there is actual aggression there or any hints of it? Or are you just providing him a self fulfilling prophecy?
  7. terencesmum

    terencesmum PetForums VIP

    Jul 30, 2011
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    I understand how it must have been very frightening to you, but are you not being a little hasty with quite a massive decision about how Dresden's life is going to be?
    To decide after one incident that Dres will never, ever be able to go off-lead ever again is jumping the gun a tiny bit to me.

    Please don't get me wrong: I am not saying it wasn't bad what he did, but, personally, after one isolated incident, I wouldn't be putting Terence on a lead for the rest of his life. Just my opinion.
  8. Phoolf

    Phoolf PetForums VIP

    Jun 13, 2012
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    Pretty sure Kes does that to your Jack and Louie too.
  9. Julesky

    Julesky PetForums VIP

    Feb 10, 2012
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    have to say i defo agree with quite a few other posters on this...

    Bruno used to literally race towards dogs like he was hunting them, crouch, prey stalk, crouch charge, hackles up- he does it with his pals- we met a goldy girl who was 5 and plays the whole time with her teeth bared.

    This is all play.

    You look for issues you will see them. i don't know your situation well enough but one incident does not an aggressive dog make- he didn't actually do anything did he?

    Frustration and excitement can lead to a lot of things.

    I dunno what else to say really....
  10. Leanne77

    Leanne77 PetForums VIP

    Oct 18, 2011
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    Having briefly owned a Dobermann, and seeing how he played with my other male dogs (although it tended to start as play but become something more), and seeing how that Dobe played with an EBT and both dogs ending up being fairly bloody, I can understand your worries. This is partly the reason I did not keep the Dobe I had, I already had 2 males and I realised it was a risky rehome on my part.

    But anyway, only you know your dog and only you was there to see what happened so we can only speculate. I wouldnt make such a big decision quite so hastily, and you may rethink once you have calmed down, but I guess it's something which needs to be monitored closely.
  11. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 24, 2011
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    Sorry you've experienced this. It can be so frightening to watch, and it's a minefield when it comes to play or aggression - you practically need a degree in canine behaviour to know the difference sometimes :p

    The only thing I'd say is, he was fine with the dogs he passed when he was onlead, and you said that the lab himself didn't seem to be too concerned...

    Tbh, I'd be looking to see how the other dog reacted to this treatment. If he wasn't bothered by it, I wouldn't be overly concerned. M&M can both look and sound aggressive when they play and both have come away with slobber on their necks - both from each other and from other dogs, but neither have shed blood. They've once "doubled up" on a yellow lab (astara's dog, Harvey) - the lab hid in the bushes :eek:, I called my 2 off, and Harvey came bounding back over for more. After that, I let them get on with it.

    By all means, work on the recall, and don't feel pressured into letting Dres offlead if you feel safer leaving him onlead, but I'd be taking my cue from the other dog, not the breed trait of my own (at least, not from an isolated incident) ;) :)

    Certainly keep a watchful eye on it though. :)
    #11 LinznMilly, Nov 20, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  12. catz4m8z

    catz4m8z PetForums VIP

    Aug 27, 2008
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    Oh dear.:( Sorry you and Dres had such a bad walk. I can see where you are coming from and it would def be worse to have him really go for dog off lead, esp if you knew the warning signs had been there before. (I dont think I could forgive myslef if I knowingly put someone elses dog at risk).
    Maybe there is some way to let Dresden have abit of freedom until you know more about his motivations? Using a long line, looking for safe enclosed areas to let him run about and seeing if there are any decent training classes in the area where you can socialize him spring to mind.;)
  13. GingerRogers

    GingerRogers PetForums VIP

    Sep 13, 2012
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    I agree with the last few posters point, it is not necessary to say for definite Dres cannot go off lead, ever, but I think everyone else saying that even if that were so it really won't matter is also true.

    It is hard to get back to that trust point when your dog has done something you feel inappropriate or out of character and I think the op has a pretty good handle on her dogs behaviour, I would rather the responsible better safe than sorry approach than the irresponsible, oh sh1t hindsight.

    I would take it as slow as you feel necessary, gauge his reactions carefully, use a long line to give you more control but most of all do not give in to any pressure to do something you are not 100% happy with.
  14. Miss.PuddyCat

    Miss.PuddyCat PetForums VIP

    Jul 13, 2009
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    I agree I wish more people would see how their dog behaves and realize its not fun for everyone else. Id feel Horrible if Sophie showed signs of being aggressive and I continued to allow her offlead and someone or dog got hurt.

    My confidence was blown out by a dog I was babsitting bolted out the door into rush hour traffic for 1.2 km. I forgot I left the front door open and thank god my brother had just gotten home and picked Sophie up as she made her way down the road after me :( I feel horrible as I forgot about her and was just so focused on getting the other dog back!
  15. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

    Aug 1, 2010
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    Don't beat yourself up, plenty of other dog owners allow that kind of behaviour and don't give a damn about it - at least you thought Dres was okay with dogs and it won't happen again.

    Glad your mum caught him in time and as the other owner wasn't worried it obviously didn't cause distress to him/her either. It's when you know your dog will attack and you still have it off lead (like Flynns nemesis) that you're being irresponsible.

    Mals can be DA but not all are, our local dog park has two who get on famously off lead with the other dogs. Unfortunately you never know til it happens the first time. Glad it ended without tears.
  16. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

    Nov 23, 2008
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    Hard call.

    I always look at the body language of other dogs because we can't always do it, but other dogs can. If the lab wasn't bothered then his intention was perhaps that of play.

    However, either way.. That type of intensity definitely can change a situation and so needs monitoring
  17. Janey D

    Janey D PetForums Member

    Jul 27, 2012
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    I have followed your previous posts and know how much effort you have put in with Dres so dont feel too bad about it. After all no harm was actually done, although I can understand how concerned you are feeling.

    Personally I dont see the problem with keeping him on the lead if that works better for you. My terrier cant go off the lead because he is a demon for chasing prey and I dont think he has a bad life and he gets plenty of exercise.

    Follow your gut instincts would be my advice.
  18. Lexiedhb

    Lexiedhb Team Ginger!

    Jun 9, 2011
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    Don't panic! You can work on it, and lots of high energy dogs live happy and fulfilled lives permanently on a lead! I'm fairly confident my dog has no nasty tendencies..... but is he OTT to the point he may well push another dog to far- HELL YES!
  19. Pointermum

    Pointermum PetForums VIP

    Jul 2, 2010
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    While i think it's great you are taking great responsibly for Dresden and wish more dog owners would with there dogs. Are you sure your not seeing things as you are expecting them :confused:

    Take a look at my two non DA dogs ;)
  20. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    Whatever you do is entirely up to you and what you are comfortable doing.

    Just wanted to make a couple observations.

    I have a dog who is not safe around other dogs. He is not DA, he plays beautifully with dogs he's suited to play with. In fact this past weekend he and my friend's intact weim had a blast and it was a great opportunity for me and her to practice recalls etc.
    However, this dog has a very low threshold for rudeness (which took until full maturity - about 3years).
    This dog will correct another dog.
    When he corrects, he air snaps. An air snap looks awful and sounds awful, but it is NOT a "missed" bite. Believe me, if they want to connect they will.
    If the dog takes the correction, my dog is fine, moving on, no problem. If the dog does not take the correction, things escalate really fast. <-- This is where a bombproof recall really helps because I can call my dog off mid correction and prevent the escalation if there was going to be one.
    Interestingly, my dog takes being corrected when he is in the wrong just fine.

    What I'm trying to say is, a chase and an air snap or two does not a DA dog make. Working group dogs tend to have that low tolerance for BS thing going on, and they do tend to be quick to snap. Doesn't mean its going to go in to full on DA, it can, but it doesn't mean it will.

    I wonder, if the lab had been under the owner's control if Dresden's reaction would have been different? I mean, if the lab's owner had recalled his dog as soon as he saw a problem (dog barking at his to go away) if Dresden would have reacted differently.

    Also, honestly, some dogs try to get dogs to chase them as part of their play invite. I wonder if the lab was doing exactly that and got more than he bargained for. Gosh you see puppies do this sort of thing all the time! Irritate the snot out of the older dog until the older dog takes chase half annoyed, half FINE I'll play with you. If the pup has any skills whatsoever, the whole thing is harmless.
    My guys sometimes do this and they are perfectly capable of de-escalating the chase and arousal level if you watch it play out. But obviously you would only do that with dogs you know well! Not some poor unsuspecting walker!
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