My Dog is Deadly Contagious

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As I was away enjoying a few days with my mom in the Poconos, I got an urgent call from my husband seemingly upset. He rattled off a tale that I have been fearing ever since Oreo got attacked…a person who just doesn’t understand.

As many of you know, we live in townhomes, which we have been trying to get out of FOREVER! We finally sold our home back in May, but are currently stuck in a short sale. We do have a date we have to get out though-end of September is the moving date (YAY!). Anyway, he was enjoying a nice walk on the walkway behind out homes (about 50 feet away from our back door) with the dog and out of the corner of his eye he saw one of neighbors open his back sliding door and let the dog out. The neighbor is newer, but has mostly followed the rules about leashing his dog. My husband kept going on his leisurely walk with Oreo until he saw a golden retriever mix heading straight for them. Apparently the neighbor brought his dog out without a leash, surprise, surprise.

This is the scary moment, where I would say, “HOLY SHIT, IT’S HAPPENING!” Luckily, my husband is stronger than I am, and he told me that lifted her up way above his head as the dog approached. Oreo couldn’t see the dog since it was like Simba being held up in The Lion King. The dog below didn’t growl or snarl, but barked and waited below my husband to greet Oreo. However, Oreo was not in the greeting mood-she was looking around wildly trying to find the dog, growling and snarling.

“Don’t worry my dog is nice, she just wants to play,” was the response from our neighbor. Wow, how clichĂ© is that? My husband yelled back, “My dog is not nice and will attack your dog!” The neighbor took his time getting to the dog, calling it-with no response. He finally reached his dog and left without a word. No sorry, no it won’t happen again, NOTHING!

Ugh! I have heard this blogged about countless times-people who think if their dog is nice, it’s okay. What if my dog isn’t nice? Should I have a blinking sign or shirt made that says stay away my dog will tear you apart? Maybe then, people would get the point…probably not. Our neighbor didn’t seem too concerned that his dog would be attacked. I would be running to get my dog and apologizing profusely if I were in his position.

Not surprisingly I was enjoying reading “The Whole Dog Journal” on my porch in the back yesterday with Oreo laying at my feet, when who comes out unsupervised? The golden mix pooch. At least he was leashed this time, but his leash was long enough to cross 3 townhomes and no one was supervising him (the rules in the neighborhood don’t allow dogs to be outside without someone with them). Oreo of course went ballistic as I pulled her inside then asked for tricks and gave her treats…I can’t wait to move & I bet Oreo can’t wait either!

The morale of the story is to have a plan. Matt and I have talked about this many times after Oreo was attacked-we wished we had a plan before she was attacked. We decided that we would risk getting bitten by Oreo if she would go crazy and bite us to get down (which hasn’t happened..) and risk getting attacked by the approaching dog. We decided we would rather be attacked than the dog. That is our personal choice, where many people would not risk it. I told my husband to yell to the owner of the loose dog that our dog is not friendly and will attack their dog. However, I see that doesn’t work as effectively as I thought. I did read somewhere where someone suggested that you should call out, “My dog is highly contagious.I thought I could take it another step and say, “My dog is deadly contagious.” (haha) I read recently if you are near a car you can try to get on the roof of a car if a dog is actually attacking-I always keep that in mind. Whether the dog is friendly or not, if your dog is reactive towards dogs, you must have a plan.

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Do You Watch or Take Action?

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What do you do when you see someone using hurtful training techniques, being rough with a dog, or harming a dog? Or do you take action??

This question came to my mine while at my sister’s house and witnessing inappropriate behavior toward a neighbor’s dog. We walked up to get my sister’s dogs from the neighbors who were watching them. They just adopted a female black lab who is around 6 months old. She is what you picture a typical black lab-full of never-ending energy. As soon as we walked up the hill to their house the dog bolted right towards us, jumping and snapping at our fingers. I decided to ask for a sit, however, the dog doesn’t seem to know what sit means. So, I decide to turn my body so the dog doesn’t get any attention from me for jumping like a jack-rabbit.

This is where I cringe. The neighbor-we’ll call him “Bob”. Bob runs over and starts yelling at the dog “NO!! BAD DOG” and grabs her collar and yanks her hard to the side. As soon as Bob lets go of her collar she goes right back to jumping on us to greet us. Of course this is where I curse myself, I should’ve had treats in my pocket as I usually do. As the dog jumps on us Bob grabs her skim behind her neck and reprimands her with harsh words and a tug of the skin. Bob then lays her on the ground and holds her dog for a minute covering her muzzle. (Ahh! At this moment I want to push him off the dog and scream at the top of my lungs). Luckily, he let go before I could push him.

My question to you is what would you do in this situation?

A. Punch the guy and tell him he’s a jerk
B. Educate him on dominance and tell him about positive training
C. Run the other way
D. Offer to help with training

Although some of the answer choices are silly, we run a fine line telling someone else how to treat their dog. You don’t want to scream or sound like you are scolding them, otherwise they will shut down towards positive training and never know the error of their ways. However, you don’t want to let the training (if you would call it that—I’d call it ABUSE) go on. What I decided to do was ask him about training and he mentioned he needed some help, so I offered to help him and told him a little bit about positive training and starting with some education on rewards instead of punishments. Next time I see him I’m heading over there with my clicker and treats to hopefully transform their thoughts on “training” and what is right and what is wrong. Unfortunately, many of the people in the rural area up there see nothing wrong with holding their dogs down and following some outdated and abusive trainers tactics-that’s where he learned them from. Surprisingly enough you wouldn’t guess his profession–he’s a minister!!! I sure hope a minister would find much more pleasure giving the dog rewards instead of using hurtful methods of punishment.

When I’ve seen people using choke collars I want to run up to them and tell them the damage they are doing to their dog and how horrible it is…it’s so hard to stand by and watch people abuse their dogs like that. What do you do?

Have you ever encountered someone hurting their dog with negative punishments? What did you do??