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Thread: Whats the right thing to do? Dog fight

  1. #1

    Default Whats the right thing to do? Dog fight

    Hi all, I have an 8 year old staffy cross who i adopted from the lost dogs home about a year and a half ago. His name is Doug, He is very well behaved, calm and a good walker both on and off leash.

    Each morning before work for the last few weeks I have been taking him to the local park where i meet up with other people and their dogs. We walk around the ovals together while the dogs sniff around and play off lead. They all hey along really well and run around like crazy. Doug gets along with them all and runs for a bit but as he is the oldest dog (all other dogs are under 5) he tends to happily trott beside the humans.

    Two days ago he was playing with 2 of the dogs, both big breeds like him, then all of a sudden Doug and one of the other dogs started growling aggressively at each other and it turned into a serious fight. They were both having a go at each other, hard. I jumped in and grabbed Doug by the collar and pulled him away and it was over in 30 seconds.

    We checked both dogs and they seemed fine. Then both dogs just went about their walk like nothing had ever happened. Tails wagging, happily. As the owner of the other dog is a big dog person and I've known her for a few weeks, she wasn't angry or weird about it as both dogs seemed fine.

    Anyway when i got home from work that day we noticed that Doug had a couple of bite wounds with dried blood and his right eye was all swollen, red and saggy. I cleaned him up and washed his eye with a bit of warm salty water and have just been making sure his eye stays clean. It's healing fine.

    But this morning when i meet up with the group at the oval, the owner of the other dog said that she ended up taking her dog to the very as when she came home from work she noticed he had a sore leg and wasn't walking on it. He also had a small bite mark on his leg! The vet checked him over and gave antibiotics just in case.

    I felt so bad! She was fine about it and says that it happens. But i asked how much the vet was and she said it was less than $200! I felt even worse and asked if she wanted me to pay half but she said no it's fine it's just something that comes with having dogs.
    I still feel so bad though, even though we don't know how the altercation started i feel like Doug may have been the grumpy older dog who snapped at the 2 year old dog first.

    I'll see them tomorrow morning again. Should i take $50 with me to give to the owner? Even though she said no, it's it still something that's expected or the right thing to do?

    Any advice/tips would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 07-09-2015 at 02:15 PM. Reason: put some spaces in, detail in hdr

  2. #2
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    If the owner said 'no' I personally probably wouldn't take money... too awkward for both sides trying to shove money into someones hand who doesn't want to take it. Maybe I'd take a bag of seriously nice doggy treats or a toy instead. I understand that you feel bad but it seems you didn't really see what happened? Maybe the other owner knows that her own dog isn't 100% around other dogs himself?

  3. #3
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    If you didnt know who started it I cant understand your reaction unless you know something about Doug you havent shared and know for sure he started the fight.

    Young dogs can be a pain towards older dogs and sometimes older dogs indicate they have had enough. The younger dog may have been persistant and reacted aggressively. Unless you know for sure why act like Doug was at fault? Your duty is to protect your dog and not to make it look like he is guilty because he may well not be. This action on your part could have consequences down the track for your dog. If the other dog has a problem the other owner is possibly aware and why isnt she concerned about Doug's injuries anyway. She is obviously distancing herself from the whole thing. Please dont act like your dog is guilty unless you know for sure that he is.

    I suggest that when these you interact in future with this dog that you keep and eye on your dog and make sure he isnt being harassed. I see it so often people wandering around not paying attention while their dogs are all interacting and watching carefully I have observed dogs being harassed and their owners havent a clue because they are not keeping an eye on things, or they think their dogs are having fun, especially when new dogs come into the mix.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 07-09-2015 at 02:28 PM.

  4. #4
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    Jesschong85

    I think it's unlikely your dog started it - being the older dog. Sometimes younger dogs like to push their luck and will get in the face of an older dog. In the worst cases the younger dog will kill the older (weaker) dog. Staffies do tend to "finish" fights.

    And when you checked the dogs, did each of you do a nose to tail feel of your dog - because you would have found the bite marks that way. Dogs - especially ones with a bit of excitement (adrenaline) flowing through them tend not to feel or show any hurt until much later.

    It's possible the other owner feels just as bad as you about it all. So I think it's fair that you each take responsibility for your own vet fees and not worry about the other ones.

    But - there's a really good chance these two might fight again and you'd have to be super careful when you're both at the park. I would want both dogs to be on lead or I'd be leaving.

    And some dogs hold grudges (mine does) and will develop an "I'll get you before you get me" attitude - sometimes known as "fear aggression" which is very difficult to train out. I think the sooner you check this and maybe get help with it the better.

    You also have to remember you can't really do anything much about the other person's dog this time because you don't know who started it. And the first move is not always growly and loud and bitey. Watch out for dogs that stand with their head over another dog's back with everything "up" ears up, tail up, hackles up. That kind of dog is not playing and you need to get your dog away ASAP.

    Also watch out for stiff and direct staring at another dog. Stalking for play can look like this but so does an actual hunt for a fight. If there was no play bow first - best to get away from the stiff dog. If it's yours, get your dog's attention, break the stare and move away.

    You might also want to google "calming signals" and pay attention to stress signals in your dog or other dogs nearby...
    If you see a lot of lip licking and looking away or even turning butt towards another dog - it means this dog is uncomfortable and stressed, and it might be best to move away. A fear aggressive dog will go from lip licking to growling and lunging if you don't make space.

    This video shows why you don't sneak up and surprise a rolling dog, and that the rolling dog only needed to bluff not bite to make a point with the rotti - but if the rotti had not backed off - it would have been chomped.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLrgtR9U6Z8
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 07-09-2015 at 02:35 PM.

  5. #5
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    Here's another video of greeting that goes wrong...

    Look how stiff the malamute husky type dog is. If it was going to be friendly it would have lowered its head and shared some butt sniffing. But it stayed stiff and upright, ears up, tail up, hackles up... Don't let your dog greet a dog like that.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSRQ9o22KG8

  6. #6
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    that last video is a excellent demo of:
    not intervening in time to prevent, then intervening at the 'critical mass' point of this standoff. The dog leaned, and the human tensed up, sending tension down a lead like lightening bolt, dog bites brown dog.

    I wish all large dog owners, would learn this stuff! and be your dogs leader, in time.

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    I would let the money offer go. Its being driven by guilt, for which you have no basis, your equivalent of lip licking, paw raising, head lowering, looking away. Which is good. Now stop and move on. Like the dogs did.

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    If all dogs were on a lead and under control this wouldn't have happened in the first place.

    I can't believe the people in the video let two strange dogs walk up to each other on loose leads and see what happens.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

  9. #9
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    I can't believe the people in the video let two strange dogs walk up to each other on loose leads
    How else do you introduce two strange dogs?

    Their mistakes were not reading and acting on the signals from both dogs...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    How else do you introduce two strange dogs?

    Their mistakes were not reading and acting on the signals from both dogs...
    I would walk my dog up to the other dog on a short lead... ready to pull my dog back at the slightest sign of trouble and I hope the other person would do the same but unfortunately not many do this...as seen in the video.

    If one of those dogs in the video suddenly lunged at the other dog being so close together the handler couldn't stop it as it happens so quickly and in many cases without warning....I would never put my dog in that position.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

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