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MerseyGrey

Dog fight

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Hi everyone, we had an incident whilst out walking this morning which I’d like to get some opinions on from people with more experience than me.

We were out walking Buddy this morning at about 5.30 as we normally do. On our return home we came across a dog that we hadn’t seen before with her owners. She bounded towards him and before we knew it there’s was a full scale emergency with the other dog in Buddy’s mouth, and him trying to tear strips off her.

a little context: Buddy is not great with other dogs. We have spent the past year of owning him trying to get him more used to being around other dogs with reasonable success. He is much more tolerant of other dogs but still can’t stand it when they jump up in his face and at this point he will snap and let them know it’s not welcome. After he snaps he gets himself out of the way. Before the snap comes we warn the other owner that he can be a little unpredictable (this was after a few months of telling people that he wasn’t likely to snap and them telling me that it was alright, their dog is ok, or ‘look! His tail’s wagging! He’s fine’ or the ultimate - Buddy being happy to meet the other dog and making me look like liar!)

Buddy is no angel - we had him off the lead for a while until he himself attacked another dog after chasing a rabbit. This I put down to his prey drive being engaged and not caring what he got got hold of - he just wanted to complete the chase and catch game. He’s been on the lead ever since except for in enclosed fields when we’re happy there’s no other dog in there.

To this morning: the rogue dog ran at Buddy from about 30 feet and got in his face. No lead. It was a bit of a blur but I think I saw her try to bite him (she was some kind of Staffordshire terrier mix and could only just reach his chest) and the husband tried to get in between them whilst avoiding being bitten by either dog and losing his specs in the process. Whatever happened, it resulted in Buddy clamping down on her neck and ear (he always goes for the neck of his squeaky toys!) and not letting go. Predictably she was growling and crying which made him want to bite her more. Buddy let go of her and she seemed to come back for more, at which point he tried to bite her again until her owner finally reached us and dragged her away. He said he thought that Buddy must have gone for her because she was a friendly dog and only wanted to play (she was still straining at the lead to get to him - he pointed this out as evidence of her being friendly). He then stated that he walked at that time to avoid this scenario which makes me think it may have happened before. A brief discussion resulted in me pointing out that we keep Buddy on the lead so we can control him, checking that both dogs and owners were ok, an apology from the other owner (just the man, the woman seemed to be completely  disinterested), and me steadfastly not offering to take care of any vet bills.

we were a bit shook up and after checking Buddy over we came home. Buds had no bite marks but I’m not sure if that’s because he got in there first. The other dog had bites to her ear. I suppose what I would like to know from people is:

should I consider muzzling Buddy? We stopped using it after he was set upon in February by a pit bull type dog as we felt that he wasn’t unable to defend himself if it happened again. I’m no dog psychologist but his greatest improvement in behaviour towards other dogs seems to have been since he’s not been wearing the muzzle. This may be confirmation bias, however!

was I right not to offer anything towards vet bills? Something about these people leads me to think that they might not be taking their dog to the vet anyway...which is very judgemental as the man at least clearly cared a lot about his dog.

other than warning people that he might be unpredictable and then essentially putting all the blame for potential attacks onto Buds, is there anything else I can do or a better way of avoiding conflicts (I don’t really want to kick the dogs away in these situations but am not opposed to putting my foot up the owner’s backside) ?

will I, at some point, become less neurotic about my greyhound?!?! I want another (and another! And another...) but I love him so much that I stress over every tiny thing! Actually, I am LOADS more relaxed about him that I was this time last year even if it doesn’t sound like it! I’m still working on getting the husband that way.

sorry for the long post but your collective advice is much appreciated x


Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

Won 17/112 races at Romford - our champion Essex boy

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Since you are in the UK, what you can do may be a little different than here in the US.

My suggestions:
- write down everything you can remember that happened
- take pictures of any injuries you discover
- take a photo of the location where the attack occurred so you can document who was where when the incident started
- do not offer anything toward the other dog's medical bills
- other owner is responsible for their dog's injuries since it was off leash. He would also be responsible for injuries to your dog
- what are your local requirements/laws regarding dogs off lead? Being off lead is much more common/acceptable in the UK
- do not muzzle. Your dog has a right to defend himself.
- you have a right to defend and protect your dog by any legal means


 

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Thanks Macoduck,

we weren’t quick enough this morning and I’m not sure that either of us had our phones on us but I think we’ll start carrying them now. There is no law to have your dog on a lead here although obviously each owner is responsible for their dog and it is recommended for greyhounds to be kept on a lead. The other owners probably felt it was ok to let their dog run free as it was so early but it baffles me as to why people assume that just because their dog I’d ‘ok’ with others, that other people’s dogs will be ok with theirs. Luckily Buddy came out unscathed today. Hopefully we won’t bump into them anytime soon!


Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

Won 17/112 races at Romford - our champion Essex boy

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NO!!!!!!! Do NOT muzzle Buddy!!!!! Buddy did not do anything wrong.  The simple fact is he was out walking minding his own business when the LOOSE dog came after him.  If you muzzle Buddy he will have no way to defend himself from such miscreants and will likely get hurt if not killed if attacked again through no fault of his own. The type of dog that came after him is more than capable of this and is a far better "fighter" than Buddy could ever hope to be with his thin greyhound skin and breed.  Don't doubt Buddy. Its not his fault he was victimized by a loose dog that should have been on a leash. And don't muzzle him-that would be cruel to take away his only means to defend himself when he is already over matched.  I understand the other dog was shorter etc., but don't underestimate it. That breeds jaws are so strong he could break Buddy's skinny little greyhound legs with one easy chomp. I don't know about the laws over there but in the U.S. the other dog owner is at fault. Further I would be taking a club with me or some type of weapon(s) to protect myself and Buddy should the loose dog with the aberrant behavior attempt to confront you again. And absolutely do not offer or pay for any vet bills for the dog that CAUSED all this trouble. You & Buddy are the victims here. BTW I was a sworn Animal Control Officer at one time and this is the way it would go down over here.

Edited by racindog

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Thanks racindog,

both replies are reinforcing what I already think - I don’t want to muzzle him because he’s come on so far since last year. I’m glad he was able to defend himself this morning and I don’t want to have a knee jerk reaction to one incident. It’s good to get this advice from you so I know I’m not being irresponsible. Thank you!

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Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

Won 17/112 races at Romford - our champion Essex boy

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I definitely agree that this is not Buddy's or your fault, and that muzzling is not the answer. However, after this incident you may see some backsliding in Buddy's tolerance of other dogs, because he was clearly provoked in some way into defending himself.

You might think about something like this - https://friendlydogcollars.com.au/collections/no-dogs for him to wear out on walks. As you've seen, lots of people are pretty stupid even when warned that another dog doesn't want to meet theirs. Something like this is one more layer of defense in a (hopefully only hypothetical) future situation.

Something like a club would be a good idea, and you should probably acquaint yourself with what the laws are in your area concerning this. I think most of us here (thus far) know what the rules are in the US - in this situation the other dog/owner are 100% in the wrong - but it could be different for you there.

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Thanks Bizeebee, all these responses are so helpful. Yes, I’m expecting to see him become a bit more nervous when dogs approach him *sigh* but we’ve found that in various aspects of his training although we’ve had setbacks he’s still massively improved from the dog we brought home last June. I haven’t seen those collars before - just ones that say ‘nervous dog’ - so these are something that we can consider. Thanks!


Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

Won 17/112 races at Romford - our champion Essex boy

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In the UK all dogs should be kept under control in a public place.

https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public


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You should also get and read these two books by Patricia McConnell:

Feisty Fido: Help for the leash reactive dog

And 

The Other End  of the Leash

And you might ask your adoption group if they have a good positive reinforcement only trainer they recommend to give you some in-person help with Buddy's issues.


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Hi MerseyGrey. I skimmed through the other responses and mostly agree with those. I'm in Australia where dogs must legally be on-leash in public, however an almost identical incident happened between my grey Max, and a poodle (and owner), some time ago. The other owner subsequently made a complaint about my dog and me to the local council here. The council is bound by the complaint process so I had some questions to answer, after which both Max and I were cleared of fault. Max was/is the same dog before, during, and after the incident but he now sometimes wears a very easily removed basket-type muzzle in public because, well we humans and dogs all have to get on together in public (including with un- or under-informed hotheads who have off-leash dogs and aren't responsible). Life is too short. I'd suggest avoiding potential incidents as much as possible and/or seeking some advice from a good trainer. I'd also keep accurate notes, timelines, details, just in case. Cheers. :)

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Thank you all for your advice. As usual, some great stuff here and I'm going to look into it all. Thanks for the link Banjoman - I was struggling to find an official website for the UK.


Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

Won 17/112 races at Romford - our champion Essex boy

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I’m not sure if this has been mentioned. The other dog displayed aggressive behaviour towards Buddy.

 

To this morning: the rogue dog ran at Buddy from about 30 feet and got in his face. No lead. It was a bit of a blur but I think I saw her try to bite him (she was some kind of Staffordshire terrier mix and could only just reach his chest) 

 

Buddy felt threatened and reacted. Often people think their dog is jumping up because it wants to say “hi”, but it’s actually aggressive in the dog world. Buddy may have sensed your nervousness as well which may have impacted his reaction. I personally don’t think Buddy was at fault.


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Thanks Greytpups,

i think you’re absolutely right about Buddy sensing our nervousness - Buddy is not the only one who has required some training over the last year! I have tried hard to be a bit more relaxed around other dogs when we are out walking but my husband is very protective over Buddy and did his best to intervene yesterday. I think it puts Buds on edge a bit, and someone I work with suggested that Buddy may have been trying to protect Dan, lovely boy that he is! So I’m going to work on training both my boys.


Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

Won 17/112 races at Romford - our champion Essex boy

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hmm... reading this I have a sense that what occurred may not be so straightforward. As to who is responsible that is clear - the owner of the off-leash dog. But as to the dogs themselves, there are a range of possibilities. The dog that ran up to Buddy may have just been running over to say hi and try and engage in some play. It's possible that the dog had poor skills when it came to letting Buddy know that he was not a threat, and just wanted to play. Alternately Buddy may have missed the friendly cues and reacted as if the dog was a threat when in fact it wasn't. It doesn't take much to go from a few missed cues to a full brawl. Dogs with poor communication and perception skills often get their signals crossed when meeting other similar dogs. When they happen to get it right they suddenly seem like they are just fine with other dogs and it becomes hard to explain the inconsistency.

This also explains why a dog with superior communication and perception skills will rarely if ever have a problem, even with other communication challenged dogs.The best "communicators" can even calm quite aggressive dogs.  If you have ever had the good fortune to have one of these, and they are not that common, they can be a marvel to watch in a crowded dog park.

Edited by KickReturn

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Yes, Buddy is inconsistent when it comes to meeting other dogs - he seems to tolerate puppies jumping at his face much better than older dogs, but occasionally it’s just all a bit too much for him and he snaps. He also likes female puppies a lot more and is earning a bit of a reputation for himself... He’s noticeably better with other greyhounds as lots of ex racers seem to be. We know he can be unpredictable, and that’s what say to people who let their dogs approach him off the lead. I don’t want to say that he doesn’t like other dogs to them because I want them to take a bit of responsibility for what their dog does. At nearly 9 years old I don’t think we’ll ever get him to a point where he enjoys other dogs’ presence but we have bought one of the books previously recommended on this thread (Feisty Fido - the other one is not in Kindle format!) and have started to apply some of the suggestions made in there.

we have noticed an increase in his whimpering at other dogs this week, particularly ones that bark at him - most have been smaller dogs. This is what he was like when we first got him but we’re optimistic that we can make progress with him. Fingers crossed and thanks for your advice. 


Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

Won 17/112 races at Romford - our champion Essex boy

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