Dangerous situation in a Long Down/Stay in competition - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Dangerous situation in a Long Down/Stay in competition

I got this on email from the agility/obedience club I've attended. Thought it was worth passing on. Those of you who compete in obedience, do you think it is an overreaction or should the group long down/stay in competition be modified or eliminated?

There is a petition, I can email it to anyone who would like to see it, or you can email the individual listed at the bottom of the story.


Debbie and I have been asked many questions about Jasmine's attack during the Group Stays. It has been very difficult to discuss the occurrence. But, we wanted everyone know what happened. Hopefully, this will help with questions about the incident.

In early May 2008, during the long downs stays of the Open B Obedience Trial in Big Spring, TX, Jasmine, our eight pound four year old black Pomeranian was lying perfectly still and had dozed off awaiting my return from out of sight. Two steps after the judge called out "Return to your dogs" the sixty pound strong male Dalmatian, placed next to her, leaped up and pounced on her with extreme aggression and shook her like a rag doll. She screamed in terror as she tried to escape from his jaws.
Just a few moments before the attack, the environment was a good as anyone would want; nice clean indoor show on mats, quite room with only two rings for obedience with respectful spectators (competitors, families with children, etc). Conditions were perfect. Jasmine had been in stays, previously, with this dog. Harm from him was not a concern. We will never know why it happened.

25 feet away, I could not have gotten there fast enough. When the owner of the Dalmatian and I got to within three feet from him he broke off the attack and let her go. Jasmine took off behind the row of downed dogs. With horrifying screams, she ran from the other dogs as they broke their stays and pursued her at an amazing speed. It was total chaos. Some dogs ran in fear, few were contained by their handlers and most were running free in prey mode. Having the dogs arranged by height would not have made any difference. As Jasmine ran around the ring screaming in terror, I placed my self in a position where I thought she would run, the ring gate. I was amazed that she did run in my direction and actually saw me standing away from the alerted crowd of scattered teams. When she jumped to me, my first priority was covered - to get her away from the pursuing dogs, of which, at least four were closing in from behind. Her screaming did not stop until long after we left the room and made our way to where we thought the Vet was located. There was nothing any steward, judge or bystander could have done to prevent or stop the attack quickly enough. I firmly believe if the attack had occurred while we were in the out of sight portion of the exercise, then Jasmine would have been killed.

Jasmine had surgery Tuesday, May 20, to remove a large cyst and scar tissue that had formed as a result of the bite wound. The Vet had to remove a large amount of tissue deep in her muscle. It has been very painful for her and heartbreaking for us. But, we are thankful that she is making a good recovery.

We will send the American Kennel Club a petition, complete with signatures, asking for the removal or replacement of the Group Exercises in Novice and Open. We just can't bear to think of another dog being attacked, large or small. If you would like to sign and ask others to sign the petition, you may contact me at [email protected] We would like to have the petitions signed and returned by 8/1/08.

Thank you for your interest and concern,
PH and Debbie Cantwell

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 04:56 PM
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wow... that is absolutely terrifying to hear and to consider!!!

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 05:29 PM
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that poor little dog. I can just imagine how terriefed she must have been, and then to have to have surgery. Bless her sweet little heart.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 05:40 PM
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That is a very terrible thing to hear of. THAT'S why so MANY want it gone...and for various other reasons. I have no problem with them...but maybe large to small dogs will go in seperately...however the case may be...I'm sure the AKC will figure something out.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 05:44 PM
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That is very sad. I don't want to seem uncaring, but why would they want to remove that activity from the competition? I don't know anything about obedience competitions, so I may not be understanding the situation correctly. But to me, it doesn't seem like down/stays could have caused the attack. Is it just that they don't want to be in competition with a bunch of dogs at once because something like that could happen?
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 09:32 PM
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I've actually heard a few people that train with us complain about this and I completely see their point... we haven't started obedience yet and I'm not actually even sure I want too.

Augustus McCrae's Mom it's not the down/stay itself that "cause" attacks.... who knows what happened in there. It's simply the fact that you have a group of dogs unattended with owners out of sight. Any dog can break the sit or down and wonder around the ring at their leisure and nobody will touch them. I can see how this happened. I'm sure it was a horrifying experience for that owner and her dog!

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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The concern is that there is a large group of dogs, unfamiliar to each other, and basically unsupervised, for this exercise the handlers are out of the room. There must be a safer arrangement.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 09:49 PM
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I never thought of the different types of intact dogs that would be in the competition. Maybe it should be by size.

I wasn't in a competition but my shih tzu that was once attacked by a German Shepherd, one shake does a lot of damage to a 10 lb dog.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 09:54 PM
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Oh how sad for everyone involved!

I, as an active obedience exhibitor, am not really sure where I stand on whether or not groups should remain part of the exercise. Personally, I think it's silly to do an out-of-sight stay, when really, as responsible dog owners, we should be keeping our dogs in-sight at all times. For that reason, I wouldn't mind seeing the exercise traded out for something else. I don't think it would eliminate "attacks" at dog shows b/c those can happen anyway. You walk too close to a dog who lunges out to the end of the leash, or a dog gets away from his owner and goes after another dog, etc.

If the "stay" is still considered an important part of obedience in the eyes of the AKC, perhaps the Open version can become owners in-sight, but the stewards acting as major distractions for the dogs?

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 11:40 PM
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This actually could become a controversial issue...like Steph I don't know where I stand either, my dog hasn't hurt any other dogs or has she been attacked by any during that exercise. But in the end the Advisory Committee will figure something out that will end all attacking...etc.

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