He does that sometimes…
Walking with Sue and Clint (my fostered and muzzled dog) in the woods today a, potentially, very dangerous situation quickly developed.
We came across a woman with a couple of dogs, one an ageing German Shepherd cross and his offspring a young, around 18 months, cross, probably a Rottweiler cross. Both of these dogs were showing aggressive responses. We put Clint on the lead and Sue moved to a safer distance from the other two dogs.
The woman had been holding the younger dog by the collar, it was still looking very lively. As we passed, she let go of the dog who ran directly at Clint, snarling and getting very close to biting him. Clint, of course, was on lead and muzzled. Not a good situation. We managed to get the other two dogs under control, or at least partially.
The first thing this owner did was to shove her dog to the ground and hit it. I told her, in no uncertain terms, to stop hitting the dog. The worse thing an owner can do is to meet an aggressive response from a dog with violence. It will only increase the problem.
I got the woman to put her dog back on the lead. Now with the situation under control I stopped to talk with this woman. This dog was known by her to respond like this with other male dogs. The first point here is why was the dog not on the lead, particularly when she saw us approaching? I let her know what I did for a living. Of course, she said she knew everything I was telling her. If that was the case, why was she not doing it?
She told me the other, older dog was fine, he was no problem. In fact, the older dog was growling through our encounter. Now, this woman had only one lead and two dogs that were showing aggressive tendencies towards other dogs.
She had bred both of these dogs and considered herself ‘expert’ and ‘knowledgable.’ She was neither of these things. Common sense and law expects a dog owner to be in control of their dogs. With a single lead, two difficult dogs and no muzzle, this lady failed on multiple counts. Of course, she failed to accept this viewpoint. She had had dogs for years and thought she knew what she was doing. She did not.
Holding an aggressive dog back by its’ collar is not recommended. Police and military dogs are often trained by holding them by the collar, to increase their response before they are released too ‘take down’ a target.
It is far better to restrain a dog on a lead and for the human to remain calm in the face of challenging circumstances.
I took the opportunity to show this lady the effect of using calmness and kindness when dealing with dogs. I, quickly, had both of these dogs sitting, calmly and relaxed in front of me. They were rewarded with kind words, a stroke and a small biscuit for their responses. I left, with both of the dogs maintaining their calm state.
The point here is that owners MUST think about what they are doing. They need to take responsibility for their dogs. If they have any issues they must learn how to mitigate them. Failure to do so can, often, result in the intervention of the law with bad outcomes.