RIP Lacey the Yorkshire Terrier (5 replies)
I don't want to scare you with this post, but I want to remind each owners to be responsible on your pets. This sad news have waken me up, and I am sending my sympathy to the owner of Lacey who was mauled to death by a black alsatian-type big dog. Here's the link,
While these images are VERY disturbing, as a pet sitter, dog walker, and animal lover I have to say that I do think it's very important that people see them. Not because I classify dogs as a threat based on their breed - which is going to come up eventually - but because dogs will act as dogs act.
Humans tend to become lax with training and leashing when their dogs are "fully trained." The end result can be tragic, as we saw here. In fact, just yesterday a 61 year old woman in my area was mauled by an American Bulldog yesterday - the dog belonged to her son, and it was off leash. Right now she is at a Boston hospital fighting for her life.
I don't care if you think your dog is perfectly well-behaved off leash. Leash them. Every dog has a trigger. Whether it's other animals, territory, fear, aggression, food, possession, or even play. Your dog may listen to you now, but when s/he sees something or smells something that triggers her/him, all bets are off. I have many clients tell me to walk their dogs without the leash. I refuse. Not now, not ever.
Dogs are not people. They do not react the same way we do. Pet parents, remember that. Leashing your dog is for their protection too - because I can almost guarantee that that American bulldog that attacked his parent's mother is going to be put down.
It only takes once. Leash your dogs.
I agree with you, Melissa. Inter-dog aggression is in their nature. You can't even predict when they'll attack, but you can observe it in their gestures. They may growl or pose a submissive body posture. The best thing to do is to leash your dogs. If possible, don't put dogs together in one space if they are not supervised.
Part of the problem is that some parents don't take the time to learn "dog language." They assume that their dog feels in a human way, when this is not the case. For example, I have one client who's small dog actually hates going for walks. She shakes and she yawns. Her owner is always saying "Oh she's so cold and tired all the time!"
No. She's afraid and she's stressed.
Kind of drives me a little nuts. The same goes for aggressive versus friendly behavior in dogs. Some dogs are super friendly with people and with other dogs. They're expressive, ears are questioning, eyes bright, tail up, etc. Stiff legged-ness, head lowered, tail down, and straight on eye contact should be a huge red alert for anyone around a dog. But it's not. "I'm scared/annoyed/angry/aggressive." Then their parent is shocked when their dog attacks someone.
"He's never done that before!"
Good grief. He basically took out an ad in the paper saying he was going to do it.
I know the dogs I walk. I know their mannerisms and behaviors and whether they can handle other dogs and/or people or not. I do not know a stranger's dog, and will not take kindly to that dog running up to me or the one I am walking. More than a few people have walked away from me with blistered ears.
I agree with everything said by Melissa and DogLoverEra. Even a pet owner can sometimes misread or simply not be aware of the signals his or her dog(s) are giving and a scuffle or fight (hopefully not the latter) can break out in a second. This is especially true when there are two or more dogs in the family. I have just adopted a sweet, loving, cuddly male Shih Tzu. My other two are both female. All three are jealous of each other and they are possessive of me. I have the Shih Tzu on a leash at all times while in the house. In our backyard he is off leash; each does his or her own thing and so far there has been no indication of conflict, but I am always there, especially close to the Shih Tzu, who is the newest member and the most jealous.
I never ever let anyone close to my dogs without them being on a leash. Just a precaution, but a wise one.
I think I have inadvertently brought up an issue that I need to ask help on.
Help is what we're here for!
I really like the point that you made, g1f, about pet parents not realizing what their dogs are "saying." I see this A LOT with pet parents now that I'm a pet sitter. Dogs usually give very clear indicators as to how they're feeling and how they might react. It's on us to learn their language too, not just them to learn ours.
Many pet parents have no idea what their dogs are actually saying. "Oh he's so shy today!"
No. He's nervous and anxious and approaching him and forcing contact is probably the worst idea in the history of the universe right now.
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