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Reactive dog advice

1661 Views 40 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  GoldenRetieverL0ver08
Well we had a bad experience today, im upset and Tucker knows it. A met a person who had a lab. Denver met him before and hit it off playing. This lab is 6 or 7 month old super close to Tuckers age. So his name is Charlie. We went on a walk, i was walking Denver someone else was walking Tucker(before this i took him on a 10 minute walk to get him started). Charlie walked around the corner and gently met Denver, meanwhile Tucker started barking, lunging and trying to bite Charlie. Then he started trying to do it to a kid near the park. He was walked to the other side of the street until we got home... We told him no tried pulling him away, redirecting him. It didnt work... We are going to call up the trainer we use, but i cant do reactive dogs. I cant we go camping and are always traveling, hiking, walking, outside in the summer. I just dont know what to do? What do orhers do with reactive dogs. At this point im lost at what to do. We have never once had a reactive dog.
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I don't know how it always goes in this direction on this forum. This person is talking about reactivity not if dogs need other dogs in life. She said that the dog also reacted to a kid.
I have experienced reactivity with my shepherd mix. It has improved a lot with lots of patience and figuring out what was the inner trigger. I get you since we also like going camping and spending time outdoors.
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gb.... consider that maybe the 'inner trigger.' you mention is the pups relationship to the 'pack'! And another strange dog that is not in your pack needs to be dealt with....Dogs are PACK animals...
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Well we had a bad experience today, im upset and Tucker knows it. A met a person who had a lab. Denver met him before and hit it off playing. This lab is 6 or 7 month old super close to Tuckers age. So his name is Charlie. We went on a walk, i was walking Denver someone else was walking Tucker(before this i took him on a 10 minute walk to get him started). Charlie walked around the corner and gently met Denver, meanwhile Tucker started barking, lunging and trying to bite Charlie. Then he started trying to do it to a kid near the park. He was walked to the other side of the street until we got home... We told him no tried pulling him away, redirecting him. It didnt work... We are going to call up the trainer we use, but i cant do reactive dogs. I cant we go camping and are always traveling, hiking, walking, outside in the summer. I just dont know what to do? What do orhers do with reactive dogs. At this point im lost at what to do. We have never once had a reactive dog.
If you think your dog is truly being aggressive at six or seven months of age, I’d seek help from a professional animal behaviorist and the sooner the better.

If your dog is simply displaying over anrousal/excitement issues and it’s more a lack of impulse control and lack of obedience, a good trainer can help you. I’d use a pinch collar in that case and teach him which behaviors are unacceptable. I would enlist a trainer who knows how to use one to show you how to do so. The more you let him pull you around, the worse it is going to get. I think at least the first three or four years of a dog’s life should be filled with consistent obedience training. If you can get him into obedience classes — even competition obedience classes — where the teachers know socializing a dog is not letting them greet on leash, that would be really good for him also.

FWIW, my vet uses a pinch collar with his large conformation Lab — started at about eight months. He said he has no issue with them and they are not harmful to a dog unless used improperly. I used one with Logan and wished I had started sooner than I did. He’s perfectly able to walk on a flat collar these days (he’s three), although I still use a pinch sometimes in competition obedience class.

We love to hike also. When I take Logan hiking he’s wearing his pinch collar. I use an e-collar if I’m somewhere where he can be off leash — mountain meadows and places where I’m not going to run into other people.) I prefer a pinch collar hiking because there are places where footing gets more precarious and if we are on a more narrow trail and passing someone who has no control over their dog, it’s helpful for me. Logan will generally ignore, but if dummies let their dogs pull too close and they are acting insane, it’s just a more stable situation for me to utilize one of the tools. I’d smack the owners, but that’s frowned upon.

Again, if it’s actually aggression that‘s very unusual for a Golden and I would seek professional help.
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Use a gentle leader on walks. That will stop the lunging behavior but also try to maintain distance to other dogs and no meeting on leash as others have mentioned. You can eventually transition out of the gentle leader with training and desensitization around other dogs. Your trainer can help with this but in the meantime the gentle leader will prevent tucker from practicing bad behavior. Also a training class with other dogs once a week (where they practice obedience but don't meet) can help tucker learn to listen to you around other dogs and people.

Our pup is 6 months old and leash reactive but the gentle leader has stopped that.and she continues to improve her focus on us vs other dogs and people.
Don't set up playdates with other classmates. Then they get to class and want to play with their friends instead of listed to you. I know it's tempting when it's another golden but it won't help Tucker's training at all.

I do think playdates with other dogs not in the class are ok from time to time, but maybe not for now.
I switched from using a harness to a slip lead that tightens as he pulls. We do maintain our distance from dogs. But a dog could be 25 -30ft away and he starts doing it. The Obedience class was over so we were going to let them play a few times. As she wasnt taking him back to the classes in July or August.
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We train our dogs to be part of our pack!

They are pack animals so that training is important to the long-term behavior of the dog. When we start exposing them to socialize with other dogs, from other packs, they will eventually react. When you do this, it confuses your dog on who he/she is and what pack he/she belongs too.

I suggest you....get off the 'my dog needs another dog in his life' story. ...unless you buy another dog of your own who will them become a pack member. Then your current pup will have that dog you want him to have....of course they may not 'hit it off' when they try to work out the dominance thing....but that is another story!
I know dogs dont need other dogs. When i got Tucker, i got him from a friend who was in a situation and they needed to rehome him. I took him in knowing i was going to start Agility and hunting with him. He immediately became attached to me, and started to freak out when i left. So we worked with a trainer so he could see its ok if i left the room. But im still his favorite person. Denver taught Tucker quickly who was boss. There was no biting but she growled once. He did start trying to bit her. And i had made another post, a lot of those tips worked and quickly stopped it
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I don't know how it always goes in this direction on this forum. This person is talking about reactivity not if dogs need other dogs in life. She said that the dog also reacted to a kid.
I have experienced reactivity with my shepherd mix. It has improved a lot with lots of patience and figuring out what was the inner trigger. I get you since we also like going camping and spending time outdoors.
So with the kid he started barking and standing his ground. What triggers him is other people and dogs, i think the people he has gotten better at. He hasnt really reacted as bad as he does to dogs.
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If you think your dog is truly being aggressive at six or seven months of age, I’d seek help from a professional animal behaviorist and the sooner the better.

If your dog is simply displaying over anrousal/excitement issues and it’s more a lack of impulse control and lack of obedience, a good trainer can help you. I’d use a pinch collar in that case and teach him which behaviors are unacceptable. I would enlist a trainer who knows how to use one to show you how to do so. The more you let him pull you around, the worse it is going to get. I think at least the first three or four years of a dog’s life should be filled with consistent obedience training. If you can get him into obedience classes — even competition obedience classes — where the teachers know socializing a dog is not letting them greet on leash, that would be really good for him also.

FWIW, my vet uses a pinch collar with his large conformation Lab — started at about eight months. He said he has no issue with them and they are not harmful to a dog unless used improperly. I used one with Logan and wished I had started sooner than I did. He’s perfectly able to walk on a flat collar these days (he’s three), although I still use a pinch sometimes in competition obedience class.

We love to hike also. When I take Logan hiking he’s wearing his pinch collar. I use an e-collar if I’m somewhere where he can be off leash — mountain meadows and places where I’m not going to run into other people.) I prefer a pinch collar hiking because there are places where footing gets more precarious and if we are on a more narrow trail and passing someone who has no control over their dog, it’s helpful for me. Logan will generally ignore, but if dummies let their dogs pull too close and they are acting insane, it’s just a more stable situation for me to utilize one of the tools. I’d smack the owners, but that’s frowned upon.

Again, if it’s actually aggression that‘s very unusual for a Golden and I would seek professional help.
I have a pinch collar, a harness, a slip lead(that when he pulls it chokes him basically). I have been using the slip lead. We have the pinch collar from one of our labs, we had to take to a trainer so he could learn to "heel"as he was horrible at pulling. We also have e-collars. I had originally took Denver to a class so i could learn to use it right. She is a year and 8 months and i dont ever have to use it. I did start Tucker off with the same steps we did in class for Denver. But i think it would help learning how to use it for him, i think i will enroll in that class again.
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So with the kid he started barking and standing his ground. What triggers him is other people and dogs, i think the people he has gotten better at. He hasnt really reacted as bad as he does to dogs.
I know dogs dont need other dogs. When i got Tucker, i got him from a friend who was in a situation and they needed to rehome him. I took him in knowing i was going to start Agility and hunting with him. He immediately became attached to me, and started to freak out when i left. So we worked with a trainer so he could see its ok if i left the room. But im still his favorite person. Denver taught Tucker quickly who was boss. There was no biting but she growled once. He did start trying to bit her. And i had made another post, a lot of those tips worked and quickly stopped it
I remember your other post. Your dogs remind me of mine, except that my younger dog is a shepherd mix. My older one is Golden, in breed and temperament, like yours. The younger one is sweet, but can be reactive to dogs.

Here are some things I would try. When walking with Tucker, my goal would be to stop his reaction as soon as you can. Your tools could be ecollar, prong collar, jerk on a leash, pet corrector spray, food, moving in the opposite direction, asking to look at you... You would need to experiment to see what works for you. If you have to go all the way to ecollar don't worry that you will have to stay with it forever. You just need to reset him quickly to snap him out of that state. Progress from less to more challenging situations.

Going to classes is great. Seek for a place that is accepting of aversive tools. If he really turns out to be a reactive dog, you will be stressed in a class. If the tools you are using to manage his reactivity are not acceptable it is just not going to work. You will have to give up on the class.

Spend a lot of time playing with your dog outdoors and mix it with obedience. Pick one toy, entice him, be very engaging. Think of this as an exercise for you. If you don't sweat, it is not right. While playing, teach him commands like "heel", "stay", "leave it", and "place" such as sitting between your legs. Start in your yard and progress to fields where there might be other dogs. Be a team. Teach him that you are his universe.

Get a good recall. Again, if you need to go with ecollar to get the confidence, go with it.

Find him dog friends with whom he can play with. You want him to know that other dogs are OK. Goldens are social and it is not typical for them to be suspicious of other dogs and humans. If you don't expose a Golden much to other dogs it is not normally going to be a problem. For other breeds, that can be a problem, unless you live in a solitude. So if you think that his issue is that he is not comfortable with other dogs, do find him some dog friends.

Try to understand what triggers him. Once you understand what it is, it will be easier to correct him. For mine, walking on a leash is mostly fine now. He still have an issue with some of his dog friends, if they come too close to one of us (humans or his dog brother). He sometimes try protecting even people who are not in our family, by defending them with his body and barking and lunging at a dog. The dog could be just fooling around. He can't always read well. So, what I do is I tell a firm "no." But that has to be done at the right moment with a person and dog I trust. He is much slower than Golden to understand what "no" means. It depends on a dog how long it will take to finally get it that something is not acceptable. You will see it in their eyes when they finally start to get it.

Sometimes a dog will be reactive because they are overly excited to meet another dog. So it is really not that they are uncomfortable with the other dog. That behavior is unacceptable too and should not be rewarded by greeting the other dog.

If you are going to use ecollar, I would try to learn about different ways ecollar can be used. In hunting community, a dog is collar-conditoned to understand what he should do when corrected and for Goldens usually this would be on a low level. So, that could work well for recalls and sits. With some behavioral issues, there are trainers who will recommend a high level so that the dog just snaps out of it and say "I am not going to do that ever again. This is bed for me". One can use it in both ways, but the order matters. Try to learn as much as you can. Always trust your instincts. It is your dog.

I hope your problem doesn't escalate and that Tucker and you smooth-sail through his puberty.
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I remember your other post. Your dogs remind me of mine, except that my younger dog is a shepherd mix. My older one is Golden, in breed and temperament, like yours. The younger one is sweet, but can be reactive to dogs.

Here are some things I would try. When walking with Tucker, my goal would be to stop his reaction as soon as you can. Your tools could be ecollar, prong collar, jerk on a leash, pet corrector spray, food, moving in the opposite direction, asking to look at you... You would need to experiment to see what works for you. If you have to go all the way to ecollar don't worry that you will have to stay with it forever. You just need to reset him quickly to snap him out of that state. Progress from less to more challenging situations.

Going to classes is great. Seek for a place that is accepting of aversive tools. If he really turns out to be a reactive dog, you will be stressed in a class. If the tools you are using to manage his reactivity are not acceptable it is just not going to work. You will have to give up on the class.

Spend a lot of time playing with your dog outdoors and mix it with obedience. Pick one toy, entice him, be very engaging. Think of this as an exercise for you. If you don't sweat, it is not right. While playing, teach him commands like "heel", "stay", "leave it", and "place" such as sitting between your legs. Start in your yard and progress to fields where there might be other dogs. Be a team. Teach him that you are his universe.

Get a good recall. Again, if you need to go with ecollar to get the confidence, go with it.

Find him dog friends with whom he can play with. You want him to know that other dogs are OK. Goldens are social and it is not typical for them to be suspicious of other dogs and humans. If you don't expose a Golden much to other dogs it is not normally going to be a problem. For other breeds, that can be a problem, unless you live in a solitude. So if you think that his issue is that he is not comfortable with other dogs, do find him some dog friends.

Try to understand what triggers him. Once you understand what it is, it will be easier to correct him. For mine, walking on a leash is mostly fine now. He still have an issue with some of his dog friends, if they come too close to one of us (humans or his dog brother). He sometimes try protecting even people who are not in our family, by defending them with his body and barking and lunging at a dog. The dog could be just fooling around. He can't always read well. So, what I do is I tell a firm "no." But that has to be done at the right moment with a person and dog I trust. He is much slower than Golden to understand what "no" means. It depends on a dog how long it will take to finally get it that something is not acceptable. You will see it in their eyes when they finally start to get it.

Sometimes a dog will be reactive because they are overly excited to meet another dog. So it is really not that they are uncomfortable with the other dog. That behavior is unacceptable too and should not be rewarded by greeting the other dog.

If you are going to use ecollar, I would try to learn about different ways ecollar can be used. In hunting community, a dog is collar-conditoned to understand what he should do when corrected and for Goldens usually this would be on a low level. So, that could work well for recalls and sits. With some behavioral issues, there are trainers who will recommend a high level so that the dog just snaps out of it and say "I am not going to do that ever again. This is bed for me". One can use it in both ways, but the order matters. Try to learn as much as you can. Always trust your instincts. It is your dog.

I hope your problem doesn't escalate and that Tucker and you smooth-sail through his puberty.
Thank you! This info is helpful. Place for us is a cot where he stays.
I agree, calm down. If you kind of freak out your dog will sense that. I've read dogs go through like a fear stages. My Golden also went through this at around 7 months. It was embarrassing but I got my dogs to to on walks with so I wasn't going to let that make me not take her out. I also agree about the gentle leader. If I saw someone coming on the same pathway I would cross the street and would tell my dog to leave it if she growled and I would walk fast and tug on the gentle leader to keep her attention on me not the dog. I wouldn't walk in places where I knew I couldn't cross a street. She got over it quickly with more walks and training.
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Just to echo what others have said, good you recognize a personality change and the dangers this could lead to When I first read this I was thinking this is the age where we would start to see this. So my first thought is naturally NIP it in the bud a ASAP. I wouldn’t loose sleep over this. He is a puppy still. This can be corrected and worked on. I had an “Alpha” boy that I needed to watch when he was on a leash. Leash being the key word here - they can get leash aggression. I requested people not approach us on leash as I became well aware of which dogs would be a problem. I never had any real issues or fights because I was always aware. I do believe with constant reinforcement and monitoring he will out-grow this behavior with work.
Again. He’s Tucker not Cujo 😜.
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I have been using a combination of the slip lead, e collar. and tips from the trainer, also what others have said on here. So far i have been able to teach him to focus on me. If another dog starts barking though he full out barks and lunges. I quickly get his attention back and continue the walk. He hasnt barked at a person since teaching him to focus on me. I will continue to do this. Unfortunately the next obedience/group class is scheduled for July or August. We are already enrolled. Thanks everyone again. I will continue to update his progress and if things get worse.
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I have been using a combination of the slip lead, e collar. and tips from the trainer, also what others have said on here. So far i have been able to teach him to focus on me. If another dog starts barking though he full out barks and lunges. I quickly get his attention back and continue the walk. He hasnt barked at a person since teaching him to focus on me. I will continue to do this. Unfortunately the next obedience/group class is scheduled for July or August. We are already enrolled. Thanks everyone again. I will continue to update his progress and if things get worse.
Seems like Tucker is making quite a good improvement if he's already not barking at people when asked to focus on you... Looks possibly more like he's young and he just needs to brush up his obedience skills. I don't think he's leash reactive. Ramses doesn't bark but there were times during that age he had selective hearing 🙄 if he met a dog he knows and has interacted with back home in France (there are only 5 of them - 2 labs, a husky, 2 Goldens) he used to pull on the leash to get to them. Had to snap my fingers and say "Sit" with lots of authority - if that didn't work my mother tongue would come out 😂

Because the nice "sit" command just wouldn't work - probably because he was too excited. Takes a lot of time to work on it since he's a COVID dog - no classes open especially during the first year and after that I needed PT due to my freak hand injury. I had to reinforce time and time again. I felt the more time I kept practicing in the situations the better he understood it. It's highly possible though he would have done worse has I not cut my tendons and nerves in my fingers. He stopped to pull considerably on his own since then by intuition... And I was able to take him to work - level of cooperation I got walking him around and paying attention to me was unparalleled.
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So we werw on a short walk today, because of the heat. And i have been cautious where i walk as we have construction going on. I normally would go a different way, but had to go by our local gas station. A guy had his goldendoodle off leash and he wasnt paying attention. As soon as i crossed the street the dog came bolting at Tucker(if i saw the dog i wouldnt have went this way). The dog was tried to bite Tucker and was barking. It took the guy 5 minutes to grab his dog. Tucker backed down and coward between my legs. Of course when i tried to move the dog came closer to Tucker so i stood in the middle. Guess i need to start carrying the heeling stick. That i had for when Denver was in heat.
So we werw on a short walk today, because of the heat. And i have been cautious where i walk as we have construction going on. I normally would go a different way, but had to go by our local gas station. A guy had his goldendoodle off leash and he wasnt paying attention. As soon as i crossed the street the dog came bolting at Tucker(if i saw the dog i wouldnt have went this way). The dog was tried to bite Tucker and was barking. It took the guy 5 minutes to grab his dog. Tucker backed down and coward between my legs. Of course when i tried to move the dog came closer to Tucker so i stood in the middle. Guess i need to start carrying the heeling stick. That i had for when Denver was in heat.
Ugh! So sorry for you and Tucker. Wild off leash dogs are such a plague. You did well to protect him. I've had enough bad experiences that I now walk with a stick, and pepper spray. So sick of wild off leash dogs pestering me and my pup. I would try the stick first but would not hesitate with the pepper spray if needed.

And all these owners are like 'but my dog is so nice....'. Um, no, your dog is wild and out of control. People need to get that is not nice at all.
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Ugh! So sorry for you and Tucker. Wild off leash dogs are such a plague. You did well to protect him. I've had enough bad experiences that I now walk with a stick, and pepper spray. So sick of wild off leash dogs pestering me and my pup. I would try the stick first but would not hesitate with the pepper spray if needed.

And all these owners are like 'but my dog is so nice....'. Um, no, your dog is wild and out of control. People need to get that is not nice at all.
I agree. The guy couldnt even say sorry. All he did was give me a look like it was my fault. Even though the dog ran from 3 houses away. This isnt the only loose dog. Ill try the stick first. Then may have no choice to carry pepper spray. There is a person who has a dog. And if he runs toward mine, she apologizes a lot. The dog is nice but. He was out of control. I showed her a quick way to stop him. But i hate it even more when theh say oh hes nice....
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I agree. The guy couldnt even say sorry. All he did was give me a look like it was my fault. Even though the dog ran from 3 houses away. This isnt the only loose dog. Ill try the stick first. Then may have no choice to carry pepper spray. There is a person who has a dog. And if he runs toward mine, she apologizes a lot. The dog is nice but. He was out of control. I showed her a quick way to stop him. But i hate it even more when theh say oh hes nice....
I know the type. It's always your fault not theirs for some odd reason. Entitled mentality. Now I'm just super rude and scream like a maniac to the other owner to get their dog on leash.

Fortunately this happened once where I take my girl in the mornings to play fetch (she is on a long lead). A few regulars at that hour and they all know her and me. One day two huge dogs came running off leash at us - scared Sierra and me. Fortunately they went away and I got Sierra in the car. One of the regulars pointed at the owner and I marched up to him and gave him a piece of my mind. To his credit he apologized, said he's usually there earlier and no one is there but he understood my fear and would be more careful going forward. I saw him again a couple of weeks later (both his HUGE malamute mixes were on leash this time) and clearly his dogs are not 'nice' but super leash aggressive because one attacked the other (viciously) and even bit the owner a few times. He was punching the dog to get it under control, and was bloody at the end. One of the other regulars was filming it to report (guess many don't like these dogs) but we've never seen them again.

Again these owners don't train there dogs. Then are upset at us when we don't want their craziness near us. smh.
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So we werw on a short walk today, because of the heat. And i have been cautious where i walk as we have construction going on. I normally would go a different way, but had to go by our local gas station. A guy had his goldendoodle off leash and he wasnt paying attention. As soon as i crossed the street the dog came bolting at Tucker(if i saw the dog i wouldnt have went this way). The dog was tried to bite Tucker and was barking. It took the guy 5 minutes to grab his dog. Tucker backed down and coward between my legs. Of course when i tried to move the dog came closer to Tucker so i stood in the middle. Guess i need to start carrying the heeling stick. That i had for when Denver was in heat.

I'm thanking @SRW again for the heeling stick. I'm glad I bought one - mostly for the coyotes. For the last couple of days, it's been so hot I have been going to the field at 4.30am and I have finally seen them.. I heard one cat has fallen victime to them 😬

Generally here, everyone seems to be at great pains to avoid each other - I cannot stress how thoughtful that is. Another person who comes from Ohio mentioned to me that here people tend to do that "avoiding thing" alot more than back where she's from. Most dogs seem relatively well behaved here. Wish we could import that mentality back to where I come from in France - people generally don't go out too much for walks with their dogs because they have their huge gardens but when they do, some of them are really a big pain in the butt forcing their dogs onto you..
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I heard one cat has fallen victime to them
(y):cool:
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I know the type. It's always your fault not theirs for some odd reason. Entitled mentality. Now I'm just super rude and scream like a maniac to the other owner to get their dog on leash.

Fortunately this happened once where I take my girl in the mornings to play fetch (she is on a long lead). A few regulars at that hour and they all know her and me. One day two huge dogs came running off leash at us - scared Sierra and me. Fortunately they went away and I got Sierra in the car. One of the regulars pointed at the owner and I marched up to him and gave him a piece of my mind. To his credit he apologized, said he's usually there earlier and no one is there but he understood my fear and would be more careful going forward. I saw him again a couple of weeks later (both his HUGE malamute mixes were on leash this time) and clearly his dogs are not 'nice' but super leash aggressive because one attacked the other (viciously) and even bit the owner a few times. He was punching the dog to get it under control, and was bloody at the end. One of the other regulars was filming it to report (guess many don't like these dogs) but we've never seen them again.

Again these owners don't train there dogs. Then are upset at us when we don't want their craziness near us. smh.
Wow! Im lucky to have family with land then a baseball field a block away from us. And we have a prairie that only 1 other person ever takes there dogs to(that i know of). They live across the street from us. I either A have mine on a long leash or B a e collar with solid recall. I ran into the lady with the lab yesterday, and the lab was under control! But unfortunately she had been super close to being attacked by a pit the other day and now she is so scared to even walk.
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