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?' No. 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.