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Hello all:

I have been reading this forum for quite some time now and I have decided to become a member.

I have had my Golden, Oakley since he was a puppy. He is now 2.5 and I love him to pieces. I used to live up near the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario and last year I moved to Toronto for school. I was hoping to get some insight/advice from you guys on one specific topic.

Since I have moved to Toronto, my little guy has been attacked three times. Once at a dog park in Brampton (Oak was leashed and a dog charged him), once while walking through a public park (Oak, again was leashed and a dog that wasn't leashed charged and attacked), once walking through a seemingly quiet neighbourhood and a guy dropped a rottweiler's leash and it chased us down the road (he said it was my fault and chased me and swore at me - it was terrifying) and finally we were assaulted outside a supermarket by two huge dogs without leashes while waiting for my husband (again, my guy was leashed).

Oak is a very shy and docile dog. He does not approach other dogs and is very cautious of them. He always has been. He is extremely calm for a Golden Retriever and would rather be with me or my husband than another dog. He has never in his life shown any signs of agression and submits to any dog he sees. (He once submitted to my old roommates cat!) I didn't have him neutered because he has never strayed, never humped anything and still pees like a lady at two and a half.

Ever since the last attack, (and I have to say that I was in tears, we had to call the police and I was really shaken up by it) I have been fearful. I am a 23 year old girl and I am nervous in the city at night as I am from the country. So we take precautions: My husband and I walk Oak together, in the evening, on less travelled/main routes around our quiet neighbourhood.

So my question is this:
My husband and I are moving on September first to a high-rise complex. Our unit is about midway up. I am not concerned with apartment living as Oakley has been living in an apartment since birth and has had many different experiences: we lived above a store, rented a cottage, rented a house, boarded for a few months and now we are in a basement unit. He doesn't get upset with moves or anything.
Since the attacks though, especially the last one, I am nervous of going in the elevator with Oakley. We are on the 20th floor so it's probably necessary but I'm worried that a dog will get on the elevator and attack him. I, obviously, would wait for the next elevator if I saw people with a dog on one but some people are so foolish. "My dog is friendly." seems to be people's way of excusing laziness. All dogs react differently to each other and people's "friendly" dogs have attacked my golden before! (Two out of the four incidents the lazy owner let the dog charge us and claimed it was friendly.

I can feel the fear when I see a strange dog appraoching us and I make a point to cross the street or so whatever is necessary to put geographical distance between Oakley and a strange dog, but I am worried about other dogs in an elevator/apartment.

I have had Oak to a dog park in the past few months to gain some confidence and he befriended many other Goldens, some boxers and any dog that showed an interest in walking around with him. I am just so cautious. I don't want to stunt Oakley's social growth but I am so fearful. He is my baby and I couldn't bear if anything happened to me.

Any thoughts or input would be ever so appreciated!!

Thanks everyone,

Katie
 

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Hi, Katie, and welcome to GRF.

It sounds like you've been going through a lot with strange dogs. I can see why you're scared, but I suspect your dog is picking up on the anxiety. Regarding the elevator issue, I suspect there wouldn't be a problem, but you could routinely stand close to the door and just get off if another dog gets on. You don't need to explain to anyone about why.

Making sure he has a chance to meet other dogs is a great idea. My only concern is that your anxiety might be communicated to him and make him even more shy. You're going to need to fake it and act OK with it all. I've never heard of a dog being picked on so much and my concern is that your dogs timidness is somehow a factor. But there are trainers and animal behaviorists on here so I hope one will chime in.

Good luck! And post some pictures of you boy when you have a chance.
 

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I miss my Buddy
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Welcome to the forum Katie and Oak. You got a good advice, I hope it all works out fine in your new environment.
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Please reconsider bringing him to the dog park...there are some dogs that for a variety of reasons seem to be 'picked on' more then others...your dog is one of them..
Why tempt fate?

Its my opinion that some dogs, I dare say MOST dogs, don't need or even want a ton of dog-friends. They are very happy to go through life with one or two buddies that they know well and trust.
 

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I am so sorry you have had these experiences, my heart goes out to you and your little guy. You should definitely consider carrying pepper spray!

Welcome to the forum though, we are very glad to meet you and I'd love to see pics of your little guy!
 

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Is there any way you can build up your own confidence, like taking self-defense classes? Although I would never advise anyone to get in the middle of a dog fight (although I have and will anytime any dog has the nerve to go after my dogs), a confident assertive person can prevent many assaults. I call it my "Alpha Aunt Care" superhero persona.

My advise is when you see a dog charging yours is to move in front of your dog and issue a loud, deep command like no or sit. If is also helpful to toss a handful of yummy treats toward the charging dog. It should distract the charging dog and break the charge.

Some submissive dogs do get picked on by other dogs, but if you really up your confidence, it will help your pups confidence level too. Have you thought of doing some performance training like agility to boost his (and your) confidence?

Welcome to the Forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you everyone for your great advice and support!
We have been here for about 7 months and Oakley has really come out of his shell! He's almost lost his shyness completely and gets really excited when he sees familiar faces out and about.
I did not expect such a dramatic change but I am so happy!
We have attended a local dog park on a few occasions and have had success! He seems to particularity like Boxers and Pit Bulls!
I guess once we both became comfortable, Oak's natural and wonderful personality really started to shine through!


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