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First of all, I need to comment great job on the recall!! It sounds like all your hard work has payed off!!

I do not think it was your fault either. I do not let my dogs visit other dogs though, because I have seen too many(ecspecially little dogs), that were not really all that dog friendly. I always keep my dogs leashed because of other people and dogs. You just never know.
Molly is only about 6 months old, and I already can't even count the number of times I've been told a small dog is friendly, only for Molly to get snapped at by them.
 

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My dogs aren't allowed to socialize with strange dogs for that very reason. It doesn't matter how well you know your own dog, it's the other dog you don't know. If a strange dog approaches my dog I will put myself between that dog and my dog
 
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The dog was barking and the boy tried to grab him to quiet him. The boy got bitten because the dog was upset about being grabbed. (I don't think it matters what the dog was barking about).
I can't see where you would be "blamed".
 

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My first thought here is always leash up....anytime you've got another dog approaching and particularly if there's a child present. It's always a guessing game with the other dog even if the owner says he's friendly. And even more important with children evolved as you're not sure what they're going to do either. And god forbid if something, anything, should happen with a child you and your dog can find yourselfs in a world of trouble.

I don't think you were at fault here but you're far to nice a person to let something like this happen when it can be prevented by just leasing up.:)

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Thanks guys for all your perspective and advice! I have read everyones replies very carefully and I am thinking about what to do in the future! You guys are the best!

And a couple people have asked - no, the other dog was not leashed either.

I hate to leash Ry every time we see another dog because he and the other dogs we see love to run and play together. But I think I'll definitely be leashing whenever there are children around!
 

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VCm5

VC

This was not at all your fault-I agree with the person that says it sounds like this Mom needs some direction around children and pets.

Our dogs are always on a leash, when they are not in their own fenced backyard.
It is the law where we live!
 

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Teddy and Dakota's Mommy
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As the mother of two children, an extremely friendly Golden and a "not so friendly" small dog I just wanted to chime in here. I don't think you did anything wrong at all. You asked her if it was OK if Ry could approach. If I just had our Golden with us, I would say most definitely but if I had our smaller dog then I would have to say no because he is getting older (13.5) and does not like other dogs and will definitely snap at them. He would most definitely try to nip at anyone that would try to pick him up if he was feeling "inferior" to a bigger dog. The other mother was at blame and probably was feeling guilty that her child got bit and was lashing out at you to release some of her guilt.
Please don't feel bad because you didn't do anything wrong with the child getting bit, in my opinion.
 

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Just tossing this in- it sounds like it could have happened just as easily with Ry leashed up. It's the small dog and particularly its owner who was at fault here. And wow- I too am impressed by how well trained your guy is!

That said- yep, with kids around, probably not a bad idea to call him over and leash him. But no way you were at fault and I'm not sure there was anything you could reasonably have done that would have prevented it.
 

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First of all, I don't think you did anything wrong in this situation.
But, as the owner of a dog who isn't always happy to meet strange dogs I can tell you what I know about our leash laws in my area. I ALWAYS have Guinness on a leash in public. A lot of other people don't. Guinness has been approached by off leash dogs and so far I've always been able to avoid a fight by getting between the dogs until the owner can get the dog (most don't have as good of a recall as you do). What I do know, is that if there ever is a fight, even if the dog is friendly but gets too close to Guinness and he starts the fight it is 100% the off leash dogs owners responsibility. Even if Guinness does serious damage to their dog, if I wanted to, I could turn around and sue them for a scratch that he'd get in the fight (not that I would, but I could). I think many people don't think about the consequences of some situations. If there is a leash law and both dogs are off leash, then both owners are responsible for their own dogs damages. However if one of the dogs is on a leash, than the owner of the off leash dog is 100% liable regardless of who the aggressor is.
 

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Wyatt Earp
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Just tossing this in- it sounds like it could have happened just as easily with Ry leashed up. It's the small dog and particularly its owner who was at fault here. And wow- I too am impressed by how well trained your guy is!

That said- yep, with kids around, probably not a bad idea to call him over and leash him. But no way you were at fault and I'm not sure there was anything you could reasonably have done that would have prevented it.
This is what I got out of it also. Even if Riley was leased the other dog wasn't, so it really wouldn't have mattered. I believe the other dog still would have reacted the same. Hopefully they learned from THEIR mistake. When people are embarrassed or get defensive they automatically lash out at the other person.
 

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I personally wouldn't put my dog at risk. If you do not know the person and their dog I wouldn't let the dogs interact at all. Adding children into the mix even adds to the possibilities of problems. There are so many if's that could happen.

With no one else there that woman could have claimed it was Riley that bit her child.

I don't think it is really that important that Riley interact with every dog on the trail. From your posts Riley gets a lot of good socialization with dogs and owners that you do know.

Either leash him up or just call him to you and move on leaving some space between you, Riley and the other owner and dog.
 

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shadow friend
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I'm just commenting on this because one of my pet peeves is people who walk their dogs off leash whether it be in town, or on trails, etc etc. At a dog park, I can see a dog off leash totally - whatever happens happens, it's kind of like a take your chances kind of thing. If we go to our local park and it's just me, Max, and Leif - I'll let Max run around with his leash still attached as an extra insurance. If I see a family coming or another dog anywhere in the vicinity, I call Max and I always keep him on his leash. As much as I love dogs, I understand that not everyone does and that some kids might be afraid of dogs. I understand that as sweet as Max is to everyone and other dogs, I don't really understand dog talk or can predict what will happen so I keep Max near me and in control when other animals and people are around. If they ask to come and see him or say their dog is nice (and I see positive doggy language/greeting going on) I will tell them, sure but I know that if something happens negatively, it's for sure on both parties.

My anal retentive advice is this: If you want to let your dog off leash and he/she is trained well enough to come back to you when you call him/her and you can see a safe distance in all directions around you, go for it. If you can't, then keep your dog on a leash. Also, I have to say, I think it's a bad idea to ask a. if your dog can come say hi to a dog you don't know owned by people you don't know or b. take that kind of chance especially when kids are present. What I would have done in your situation is call Max back to me, get his leash and have him in control well before the family neared me. I would let them know that my dog is not a threat but move aside so they could pass. If the mom asked if the two dogs could meet and the other dog seemed to be interested in meeting Max, I'd say sure but let them know that Max has a big bark and gets excited when he meets other dogs. Full disclosure. If the boy would have gotten bitten then it would have been unfortunate but the mother wouldn't be able to put the blame on my part in it.

I used to feel differently when I was younger, I'd ask if Willow could say hi to other dogs and lucked out with no bad incidents. Now that I'm older, I understand that dogs, even my own dogs, can be unpredictable because we don't really understand how they communicate and what kind of messages they are sending each other. Better safe than sorry. I've also learned it's also really great to have a dog that will wait for an okay from be before approaching a strange dog or an unknown child - especially a big dog like Max!

I wonder if anyone else shares my viewpoint or if it's a bit too extreme on the side of caution for most people.
 

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shadow friend
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Thanks guys for all your perspective and advice! I have read everyones replies very carefully and I am thinking about what to do in the future! You guys are the best!

And a couple people have asked - no, the other dog was not leashed either.

I hate to leash Ry every time we see another dog because he and the other dogs we see love to run and play together. But I think I'll definitely be leashing whenever there are children around!
Commenting here too - leash up every time you see another dog unless you know that dog well. It's really playing with your dogs life if you don't. Not only do you have to worry about vicious/unpredictable dogs hurting/attacking/killing your dog you also have to worry about if your dog bites a little dog in self defense, etc. your dog will have a bite record and after the 1st incident, again, you're playing with fire. I understand you're young but you really should follow an elder's advice. I can tell your pup means everything to you. Don't take unneccessary chances with precious things in your life.
 

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As much as I love dogs, I understand that not everyone does and that some kids might be afraid of dogs.
That's actually very true. I have a friend who is terrified of dogs, all dogs. Once a mutual friend of ours was watching my dogs when I was out of town and our friend and his family was over for dinner. Bear was standing there with her whole body wagging and a big grin on her face and he said "oh, that dog looks like it could bite" My friend who was dog-watching couldn't help but laugh, but also kept all of the dogs outside while he was visiting.
 

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Wyatt Earp
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I think some people are missing the point that she had complete control of Riley. It was the other off leash dog. I do believe if you can't control or trust your dog he needs to be leashed period.

Wyatt meets up with another golden every Sat. and Sun. at a local park and play for an hour or two off leash. This is a busy park. Kids playground, softball etc. People and other dogs all around us. Our 2 dogs were trained from day one like this in the middle of all the commotion. If we see dogs that are not controlled we will move on or wait til they pass.
I believe Riley has a great recall because his mommy works with him off leash alot like we do Wyatt. I would hate for her to stop because of this one incident. If anything just be a little more cautious.
 

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the party's crashing us
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Hmmm, well I see things a little differently. Your dog is off leash being approached by a small child and unknown dog. Even though the mother indicated it was OK I think I would have leashed my dog and proceeded past. I have known too many people who say their dog is "friendly" that for whatever reason did not appreciate my dog. With a child involved there is just too much at risk.
I completely agree. Please don't ask or otherwise tell someone your dog is OK when he is off a leash and they are approaching. Either put your dog on a leash or call him to you and have him sit while they approach or pass. If they are interested in letting the pets meet then OK. But how many times does someone yell "MY DOG IS FRIENDLY!!" or "CAN THEY MEET???" as the dog barrels toward you off a leash?
Now as far as the dog biting the kid, well that is between them, it's their own dog that bit the kid! I'm sure if it escalated that quickly just merely in the presence of your dog, it's happened before over other seemingly "normal" situations, and that ain't good.
 

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This, every word of it.

My first thought here is always leash up....anytime you've got another dog approaching and particularly if there's a child present. It's always a guessing game with the other dog even if the owner says he's friendly. And even more important with children evolved as you're not sure what they're going to do either. And god forbid if something, anything, should happen with a child you and your dog can find yourselfs in a world of trouble.

I don't think you were at fault here but you're far to nice a person to let something like this happen when it can be prevented by just leasing up.:)

Pete
Anytime I see new to us people walking their dogs I always clip the lead on mine, they usually do the same.
 

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Situations like this are the exact reason I avoid places where dogs are usually off-lead. My two are always on-lead and I don't allow them to approach strange dogs, ever. They have a lot of dogs from family and friends to play with that they don't need to interact with dogs they or I don't know. I've always been this way and I know I'll never change.

Many people will say that their dogs are friendly when they're not. It's not that they're lying or anything, they just really have no clue. Just because someone owns a dog doesn't mean they're knowledgeable about them and their behaviors. I always err on the side of caution with Chance and Lucy. They can't make those decisions for themselves, but they would be the ones to pay the price if something was to go wrong.
 

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shadow friend
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I think some people are missing the point that she had complete control of Riley. It was the other off leash dog. I do believe if you can't control or trust your dog he needs to be leashed period.

I would hate for her to stop because of this one incident. If anything just be a little more cautious.

In a perfect world maybe. You are basing this on the fact that only people who can control and trust their dog let their dogs off leash. Tell that to the numerous people who go to court to sue for vet bills or worse, for the death of their beloved pets who are killed while walking their dogs off leash or for the owner's of the other dog who viciously attacked the victims dogs.

I also disagree that we are missing the point. I notice that the people who are posting that off leash and approaching unknown dogs is a recipe for distaster are the older, wiser forum members. I would hate to hear that she just kept letting her dog run up to meet only the unknown dogs that don't have kids around it and gets bit, maimed, or worse. In a world were more than half of dog owners are irresponsible and stupid, it's a risk no one who loves and is responsible for their dog should take.

Again, like I said, I grew into this mindset over the years after having experience and knowing what has happened in situations like this over time.


PS Max, I'm proud to say has excellent recall. Still, I behave in a way that ensures his safety and the safety of everyone and every animal around him. He learned his recall without having to be able to approach unknown dogs and people. I think it's great to work and have off leash time with dogs you know and that your dog knows. I think how you go about introducing dogs or which dogs to introduce is something one needs to really be particular about.
 
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