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Advise Please.

1004 Views 12 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Slowpoetry
Today I took Molly for her first real walk to a dog park near our home. Molly is 15 weeks old and can now be out and about. The walk went really well until the last 20 feet. As I was leaving the park with Molly on her lead two white terriers off lead started running towards her. I brought her close to me and called out to the owner to say my dog was a puppy and how were his dogs with puppies. He said, "They are really great dogs." as they bit my Molly. Then quick as can be the owner and his dogs scurry off leaving me with a very distressed little dog. I brought her home and when I was wiping her down I noticed a small scratch above her eye. I was near the eye therefore, I took her to the vet who told me it looked fine and to just watch it. Here's my question. What should I have done to prevent it? Does one simply not trust what an owner says about their dogs or are there things I should watch for? I feel like a totally horrible puppy owner right now. How could I let this happen? I am not overly worried about her socialization being effected as she's had only positive interactions with other dogs and puppies in training and socialization classes. Plus there are some really great dogs and dog owners in my neighbourhood. But this has scared me and I don't want to pass my apprehension on to her. Is there something I should have been watching for? It happened so fast.
Should I never let a dog I don't know near my puppy? I could really use some good advise but, please try not to make me feel any worse then I already do.:(
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I'm sorry, but I have no real advice to offer since I am a new Golden mommy as well. I just wanted to tell you not to feel like it was in any way your fault. I have taken Jax to the dog park quite a few times and I am constantly feeling like I need to step in somewhere. I just try to watch body signals from the other dogs and take Jax out of there when it looks too heated. I guess I'm just a nervous nelly ad well.
and called out to the owner to say my dog was a puppy and how were his dogs with puppies. He said, "They are really great dogs." as they bit my Molly.
I know how that is, my nearest neighbor has a free-running pitt bull that "is really a sweetie", um, no she isn't. She attacked my senior golden while I was walking her on leash on MY property. I have been outside and look up to see that dog staring at me with it's tail straight out (no tail wag or play bow). Beware of owners saying "my dogs are great".

Also, I want to say how sorry I am you and Molly experienced this. :mad: I don't care for dog parks for this reason.

Guess I really didn't answer your question.

Geez: I am so sorry that happened to Molly but glad to hear she is alright.
I don't think anything you did was wrong-the other guy was WRONG.
In this park you were in is it ok for dogs to be off leash.
His dogs should not have been off the leash and if there is a leash law in your state I guess you could file a complaint.
ME, personally, I would probably not go back to the park.
Are you sure your puppy is old enough to be going to dog parks? I've read here several times that there is a certain age your dog should be before bringing him/her to the park due to medical concerns.
I would say, trust no one. I hope your puppy is okay!!
I'm glad your dog is okay. I stopped going to the dog park in my town after I had a bad experience there. You just can't trust people. It's not your fault so you shouldn't feel like a bad owner. If I have a not-so-nice encounter with another dog (assuming nobody is actually injured), I would take a deep breath and walk it off with my dog so that he doesn't leave the sitution feeling anxious.
Glad your puppy is okay. I agree with everyone to not trust the owner about "my dog is great". They probably are, maybe the dog hasn't been socialized much with puppies..
I read the local news a long time ago that a family has a adult male german shepherd dog (i forgot the age of the dog) that they claim good with people. One day the maid bring her 1.5 yo baby to work because she couldn't find a sitter. When she was doing laundry, she put her child nearby on the floor and didn't realize the dog was approaching. She suddenly heard her child scream and the dog was literally dragging her by the head. She screamed hysterically and the owner's son was home. He couldn't get the dog to release the head in time and the child was rushed off to the hospital. She eventually died from her injuries. The family claimed it is a first time the dog is aggressive and it's like the dog is possessed or something, and decided to put the dog to sleep after the incident.
Just because a dog was never aggressive doesn't mean they won't, especially the kind of dogs that known to be aggressive (pit bull, etc)
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Hope she's ok, poor baby!

I always keep an eye on dogs at the dog park who 'charge'. It's one thing if they see another dog and trot over, but another thing if they're racing up (goldens are guilty of this a lot...). Also another thing if it's more than one dog, that's a pack, and if it's a breed that usually isn't good with other dogs or can be an issue with other dogs (like terriers). I'm sure there's exceptions to the rules, but I don't like to assume.

Not all dogs who go to the dog park are great with other dogs, and not all owners have brains. I remember one time someone brought a very young, very small puppy to the park, it was screaming when other dogs got too close. We were up on the hill and could see a big area. It was a bit creepy how when that dog screamed, 5-7 dogs from different areas all noticed and started to head in that direction with their hackles up... most would come back after the owners called them or the screaming stopped, but still...

What you can do is step in front of the approaching dogs and stomp/growl at them. If nothing else this often will make them stop and think twice about flying into the situation (you become your pup's defender of sorts, or at least redirect their attention a bit). It also teaches your pup that you are there to help in those situations. Carry a spray bottle of water if you want to shoot dogs who come too close as well (if it's a huge issue).

With your pup, find some little dogs who are good with puppies and make sure she has some positive experiences with little dogs to balance things out so she doesn't think all little dogs are like that. My old border collie got attacked a few times by a GSD, and so started to worry about them when one was near. Found a friend with a GSD who was just going into season and very flirty, let them party for a few minutes and he decided that not all GSD's were so bad to be around....

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As someone mentioned, if sometimes helps just to step in front of your dog, or call out a command to the dogs approaching. It gives them a moment to pause and gives you a moment to assess the situation. As I was walking Logan and Lacey, our Golden's, and Ralphie the Corgi the other evening. We passed a house where we know the little "Toto-type" dog who lives there. He happened to be on leash as the owner was getting ready for a walk. Buster started barking and taking a very defensive stand. No threat to us as he was on a leash. As the owner walked out to the street, you could tell Buster was a bit distrustful of us, even though he has seen us before. The owner said he had been jumped at the dog park, so now Buster was taking the defensive position first. I had the Goldens sit, and let Ralphie (since he was more his size) walk up to him, sniff noses, wag tails and we then left on a positive note for Buster. As we were returning we saw Buster on his return trip. Again, we did the same thing. The owner thanked me for taking the time to do this with Buster. Hopefully we did a little bit to help Buster realize not all dogs are as mean as the one at the dog park.
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You're a good owner--you wanted to socialize your dog, provide it with exposure to other dogs and there's nothing wrong with that. What you experienced are the dark side of dog parks, and that's why many of us go to obedience, agility and other type of training classes so we can meet up with like-minded folks and arrange for play time either before or after class with our dogs--much safer all the way around, plus you have diligent owners watching the dog's body language, ready to step in should things begin to get out of hand.

Your pup will be all right--someone mentioned continuing to socialize and that is exactly what you should do. I had something similar happen to me with my second golden--and she still remained very trusting and friendly with dogs.
There is nothing you could have done to prevent what happened, other than not going to the dog park. It's really unfortunate, but there are many dog owners who just do not control their pets. I stopped going to the dog park because there were always overly aggressive dogs and I was uncomfortable. The bad news is that this could have happened anywhere....we were walking in our neighborhood and I had my pup in a sit, with a very short leash, off the sidewalk as another older dog and it's owner approached. She said, oh my dog loves other dogs, can he say hi....I explained that mine was young and might upset her older boy, might be better to let me keep mine in a sit while you pass...needless to say, her dog lunged and ATTACKED my pup, piercing a hole in his ear. I had never experienced something like that in the 10 years I've owned dogs, unbelievable! So sorry this happened to you too!
If you have your pup on the lead, and loose dogs approach, it can be very stressful for you and the pup, but you must try to keep a cool head if possible, as your pup could view any other dog approaching as something to fear. Instead as others have said, straighten up, shoulders back, and put yourself between the other dog and your pup. I like the idea of the water bottle also. If the other dogs are "fixated", a quick squirt or "oi!" shouted from you could be enough to stop their intent.

I find now that if a dog is being aggressive, Obi (who interacts more than Izzie) will run behind me. I guess if a dog does that, I have to act as a leader and protect him, right? He's a big boy too!! I would much rather he did that than engaged in agressive behaviour!

I don't know what it is about some dogs just going for pups, heck Lexi (5 months now) has been bitten several times, by Collies mostly, when she's been on the lead!! Luckily, she has lots of experience with many other dogs of all shapes and sizes and it hasn't put her back.

It's so important your pup learns how to behave around all types of dog, it's how they learn about body language, posturing, etc, and should help her as an adult to interpret other dogs' intent, and also help her to act appropriately.

Is there another place you could walk? If there were agressive dogs at the dog park, I would definitely not be taking my pup in there.
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Thanks to everyone for all the help. Molly is fine - luckily the bite ended up being only a scratch. I have had her around other great dogs and it doesn't appear that there has been any change in her confidence. That being said, while she is young and on the leash I will be stepping up my assertiveness when it comes to dogs and owners I don't know.
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