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Thread: Pup was attacked at off leash park... Need Advice

  1. #1
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    Default Pup was attacked at off leash park... Need Advice

    I have a Shih tzu and a 6mnth Spitz puppy. We were at the local off leash park, its always been fantastic and friendly however today these two larger dogs charged at pup and pinned him by his neck and the other dog was on his other end. I felt the meaning of fear when they charged. The owner was yelling at them and they were just on my pup. He was screeeming. I freaked and just dove kinda plunged at this Weimaraner-like dog to push him off his neck. Pup got up and I yelled at this dog and he backed off. 2nd dog went at pup again - Pup ran for the hills. No blood or anything I can see physically thank gosh. it was so quick.

    I had seen other dogs earlier in the park and were not cause for concern. They just seemed to turn in an instant like I'm sure they just thought fluff ball pup was a rabbit or something haha.

    Anyway that is what happened. I was-am quite shaken up.. What can I do to avoid this, we love the park? And really I cant be diving in dogs faces that are the size of me.

    Pup also growled and barked at everyone and thing on the way home. He socializing has been coming along great he is a very gentle n quite guy however he already needs to build more confidence with dogs.

    Is it simply just to risky with bigger and little dogs? Should I leash them when there are big dogs I dont know? (we <3 all dogs btw)
    But then that seems kinda unfair.

    What is protocol in off leash parks?

    What do I do with pup tomorrow to make sure he is okay and happy to be out. Do I just stay at home for a bit?

  2. #2

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    Try not to show too much fear, I know that sounds trite but your dogs are going to closely observe your reactions and form their future behaviour based on it.

    These things happen - some dogs are bullies and can't be controlled by their owners. The rules at dog parks say aggressive dogs have to be leashed, but people rarely follow these and you won't find a dog park in which incidents never happen. Dogs especially puppies get beaten up at dog parks all the time, vast majority of the time there's no injury and the dogs are fine. Dogs are quite at home living around life threatening danger, they are incredibly resilient animals and this won't traumatize them if you don't let it. It sounds like you handled that situation fairly well, you suppressed the antagonizing dog and chased it away. You acted like a good leader and protected your pack. Your dogs have no reason to be scared while you are around - make sure they know this.

    Keep going to the dog park as you usually do, act as if everything is normal and nothing happened yesterday even if you are still on edge, and above all don't show any fear when other dogs approach. Make a huge effort to mask your emotions. If you allow this to disrupt your routine, the puppy will remember it and quite possibly develop a fear of larger dogs. If he acts normally and socializes with other dogs, reward him with pats and praise. Communicate to him that bravery is more desirable than timidness. Yes the world can be a dangerous scary place, but he will be safe and fine if he sticks with you.

    Keep a close eye on the other dogs body language in future and work on creating an invisible bubble around yourself where only you and your pack are allowed. If your puppy is feeling threatened by an overly boisterous playmate (ears back, tail between legs, hunched posture), call him to you, then push any other dogs out of the bubble but don't touch or talk to the puppy. He will learn to come to you if he's scared, but he'll know scared behaviour is not rewarded.
    Last edited by Mosh; 11-14-2012 at 10:26 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks so much for the reply

    Yeah thinking about it now again has my is heart racing. .
    aww protect my pack <3 cute. thnx. My other dog was awesome he was just next to me the whole time being brave as, not horrid or anything just beside me. cute
    I called out to pup when he was running away (the owner had both the dogs by then) he turned around ran back and jumped into my arms - headbutted me... haha.

    Is there any specific body languages I should have / avoid with a bigger dog? Or more what to do in a situation? Its always been on my mind Im only little and so are the dogs, it wouldn't take much.

    So we are focusing on bravery :P. I have also already stopped patting him or such attention when is just sitting on my feet at the park or hugging my leg. He is very cute u see. He has done so well this week however just sniffing dogs butts n being happy. :P

    How would I keep another pup away from this circle.?

  4. #4
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    I think my bernie would want to jump on your pup, and yes, it would be because he thought it was prey.
    and he's large n fast.
    However, i would NOT allow this to happen. If you have a high prey drive dog, you know about it, and it is your responsibility to do something to prevent what happened to your poor pup. For bernie, seeing a fluff ball move, seems to make him realise it is not a rabbit, and a dog after all. And he's fine then, up for a sniff, and a play bow. But most would just see 'rabbit-chase!'.

    Dog parks are feral places with feral dogs with feral owners. Mixing with socialised dogs. Chaos. Dogs that are standing tall/stiff, and looking directly at you, are likely to be the ones to watch.
    Consider giving it a miss, if the dog that chased your pup is there when you next visit. You cant control other peoples dogs, and clearly they cannot either.
    Why risk it?

  5. #5
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    What Mosh said is so very true and the crux of getting your pup over this, you must be confident and give good positive vibes off to your pup is you wish to return to the park.

    However having said that I'm not a lover of dogs parks and especially little dogs at dog parks. If they could be segregated into small and large I'd be more in favour of them.

    I have sight hounds and yes they do see small fast moving fluffy dogs as prey but when they get close they realise it's a dog and they are fine & since they really only grab at the neck of the dog rather than pin it down, this is also not so bad. But I know what they are like so on the few occasions they have been to a dog park I keep an eye on incoming dogs and put them on lead.

    My dogs have also been the "rabbit" because they run so fast, however as no ordinary dog can catch them this is not so much a concern.

    If you wish to return to the park start to "read" the other dogs and know when it's time to leave, put on a leash if you think there is potential for trouble, or as I've done on many occasion not even enter.

    Personally I prefer to socialise my dogs at my local obedience club with known dogs and owners who have more control and ability to read their dogs body language.

  6. #6
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    There is really nothing you can do to stop this happening other than not taking your dogs to any dog park. Unfortunately you can't control other people. It must have been a terrifying experience for both you and your dogs though

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  7. #7
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    I first must say that pups do scream out of fear and it may have been less serious than you thought. It is still not on of course. And I have in those situations shooed the other dogs away even though I wasn't worried about them biting mine then. I never grab a dog I don't know though. I just make myself tall and walk up to them in a threatening way. I might yell Oi or something for added effect.

    Putting your dog on lead every time a big dog approaches would just enforce the idea to your dog that all big dogs are bad news, which of course isn't the case.

    Look for stiff legs in approaching dogs. What sometimes helps to defuse a situation like that is also to get down to the dogs' level and have a hand or arm over your dog while you try to engage with the bigger dog/s.

  8. #8
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    Hi Wynkle

    That was a horrible thing to happen to you and your dog, and the other owner should have been more careful.

    I am especially careful at dog off lead areas with dogs I don't know. So I would have had my dog close to me if there were new dogs coming into the park. The owner should have done the same - ie not let his dogs go until he was sure that he knew all the dogs in there and that his dogs would play nice with all of them.

    There are some off lead areas that have separate areas for small dogs and puppies and this is a much safer place for your puppy to be and still learn to socialise. Personally - I prefer to avoid off lead places with big fences around them because your dog and you cannot escape easily if you're attacked.

    I have put my dog on lead and left at high speed when I've seen dogs coming that do not get along with my dog. Sometimes that's all you can do. I have tried calling the ranger and police in this situation but they don't come. The police will only come if the dog attacks you (or another human) enough to require an ambulance. So it's entirely up to you to defend and protect your puppy. And the best method is prevention.

    PS - a polite dog approach is indirect, slow, a lot of sniffing the ground and lip licking and looking away and looking back.
    A rude aggressive dog - will charge up directly at speed and you'd need to be close and fast acting to prevent trouble if that's what the dog has in mind. Ie you'd have to step in front of your dog , stand tall, and yell as loud, growly deep as you can at the approaching dog to repell it. Some people throw treats - but that's only good if you're planning to leave immediately and fast (before the dog can finish the treats) because you're rewarding the bad behaviour and the bad dog will come looking to you for more treats.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 11-15-2012 at 10:58 AM.

  9. #9
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    Hey Guys Thanks so much for all your replies and information I really appreciate it. I feel much better. Hopeless a little bit but much better and clear on how I have to be this afternoon.

    I'm going to do some googling on dog body language to be able to recognise these signs better. And more research about everything really.

    Disheartening really, As pup was screaming and timid with most dogs in the park up until last week. (Yesterday certainly was a different situation entirely) All the people in the park were complimenting how great he is doing with his confidence and just sniffing bums and happy. But he was still at my feet most the time. I don't mean to sound like he is broken but I guess we will see. I am taking him out again this afternoon despite how much Im freaking haha I promise to hide it. So Ill let you know how we go. GET EXCITED :P

    The park is a large park open park with no fences used by just as many little dogs as medium and Large ones. I do know most of the afternoon regulars there so I might just stick with them for now and maybe keep to the top side when alone. The 2nd dog park in the next suburb (Small and Large Enclosures) over is too far for us to get to by daylight during the week. I found with my first pup that weekend socializing really isn't enough and there is never as many people around.

    Does anyone know of any socializing groups in North Brisbane or where to look? << That would be awesome because going out with my dogs is absolute my favourite thing to do - they are the apples of my eyes and waay cooler than my friends haha.

    Also any socializing trainers I could possibly recommend? I would rather be pro-active here than re-active here and ensure I'm guiding him correctly.


    Thanks again guys :P Here is a pic of him playing in the water.

    Waterdog.jpg

  10. #10
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    Hi Wynkle

    He's very cute. I wonder where Mitte is (a Japanese Spitz enthusiast who sometimes visits here)

    Samboss has a thread asking for trainer recommendations - we put two in there and links to their websites.

    The other thing you can try for doggy socialisation in a controlled environment (all dogs on lead) are dog training clubs also known as obedience clubs. There's usually lots of dogs there in varying states of control, usually all on lead (unless they're doing advanced stuff). All shapes and sizes. If you want something more rewards based - look for the ones that do dances with dogs and rally obedience.

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