Sorry for the long story but I'm hoping someone can offer me some insight and/or advice about this issue.
My boy Milo is one of the sweetest, most gentle little guys. He's the kind of dog who gives sweet little good morning licks and takes food from your hand really softly. He's a total cuddle bum, easy to walk, friendly to other people and other dogs. We've had him since he was a pup and he's always been on the submissive side - he has a sister he always defers to (to the point where she can take food or toys right out of his mouth and he'll do nothing.)
Anyway, yesterday our dog walker called to tell me that Milo had done what to me, is unthinkable. She said that he had viciously attacked another dog while playing ball, bitten her on the hand when she tried to break up the dog fight and bitten her assistant on the leg, tearing his pants "half off". I was of course, horrified. She said all this as if I should have an explanation for it and I just didn't. I've never ever seen a hint of aggression in him. I've taken him to dog parks three days a week for the last year and he's played ball with other dogs and other dog owners and he's never even tried to take a ball away from anyone, let alone attack another dog or bitten another owner.
She basically said our relationship was dissolved because of this incident and I can't help but feel hurt and frankly, angry. I feel like I'm not getting the whole story here. I did notice she wasn't appreciative of me pointing out that she's changed the scenario on my dogs a lot in the last couple months, bringing a new assistant and new dogs into the mix (they walk with 6-8 dogs at a time).
My thought is that she and her assistant have spread themselves too thin taking on that many at a time and didn't have full control of them/weren't able to watch them carefully enough. It seems reasonable that that might have played at least a part in this whole thing. I know we can't ever know 100% what our dogs will do if the circumstances are right, but I find it really hard to believe that Milo up and became a biter without any motivation.
Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing with their corgi? If so, what should I do from here? I admit I'm really upset, thinking something's seriously wrong with my sweet little boy. Thanks so much.
Well yeah, it seemed kind of too much for two people to think they can watch that many at a time but I was taking it for granted that a professional knew more than I did.
Milo's 2.5. It was pretty hot yesterday and I wondered if the heat had anything to do with it. My pups get worn out pretty fast by the heat and maybe I'm grasping at straws here, but I get pretty grumpy when it's hot so I figured, why not my dogs?
I know I have to take him back to the dog park and see how he is around other dogs but I'm nervous about it. I'll probably start on the leash first, walking in the neighborhood. That's really what gets me. I was never worried before but now I am. Kinda ruins the dog park for me. :(
Thanks for answering.
Funny that you mention that about getting grumpy when it's hot... I've definitely noticed that Chewey is a grump at the end of the day if he's been running around a lot and is tired. He'll snark at dogs that he normally plays and gets along with great. He definitely doesn't attack them, just gives them a warning "back off, I'm not in the mood". Unfortunately this can backfire if he snarks at a dog that calls his bluff, so I've definitely learned not to take him to places off-leash around unknown dogs when he's in that sort of mood.
Fortunately the dogs that are normally his buddies are all labs and they pretty much just ignore him when he's being a snark ;-> He acts like a tired/crabby 2 year old, that's the only way to describe it...
That really is unfortunate - it does sound like there is more to the story then you've gotten... If they were walking/caring for that many dogs it wouldn't be surprising that they missed body language cues, etc. so who knows what really happened. Whatever the case, hopefully it won't totally ruin the dog park for you long term...
Considering your dog walker said that Milo "viciously attacked another dog", I'm surprise this other dog's owner didn't ask for your contact information or had Milo reported to your local SPCA. That said, I would go to that particular dog park (ask the dog walker if she didn't tell you in the first place) and see if you can find anyone who was there and maybe they can tell you the real deal. For a dog who is always submissive to be so aggressive all of a sudden is very unusal. Has Milo shown any more signs of aggression since this incident?
Well yeah. I was thinking right off the bat that she was exaggerating because she said her brother's pants were "half off". I mean, Milo's not a pit bull. I could see him maybe tearing a hole in your pant leg but tearing the guy's pants half off? I find that a little absurd.
We're regulars at that dog park but I might not be able to find a witness to the incident unless I went at the same time the dog walker goes. As you can imagine, I'm not keen to run into her.
Nope, no more signs of aggression since then. He's still his same ol' self. I felt sad for him and his sister though. When I got home yesterday after the incident, I found vomit and diarrhea on the floor. I think they were both really stressed out from the whole thing.
Thanks for answering!
If there is a chance that he might be sick, that might explain if his behavior really is off. I know when I'm sick, I'm really cranky. Instead of the incident causing the vomiting/diarrhea, maybe the vomiting/diarrhea caused the incident. Have you taken his temperature?
I haven't taken his temp but he was fine the rest of last night and all today. He's peppy and just like his usual self.
I believe there is probably more to the story too. Even if they are walking that many dogs they could get tangled, scared and react. Maybe a different dog started it or they weren't doing or watching as they should have been.
Maybe if there were too many dogs and they got too close together. I would think the owner of the other dog would have contacted you if such an attack took place. . .
Yup, I'm not saying that it's impossible for Milo to do what the dog walker said he did, and I know for a fact he acts somewhat different around other people than around just me (he's different in some ways with me than he is with his dad). It's just that the description of the incident seemed so "pat".
What bothers me most is that the dog walker didn't give him credit for the dog she knows him to be. He's been walking with her for over a year now, and has been to the dog park and with lots of other dogs tons of times. Thus far, there's never been an issue with him (unless there has and she's chosen not to tell me about it). Under those circumstances, I would have expected her to give him the benefit of the doubt, but instead she was kind of like, "Well obviously, we can't play ball with Milo around now and he's ruining it for all the other dogs and I could dissolve our relationship based on this." I mean, call me crazy but that seems extreme.
I've already taken steps and found another dog walker with years more experience who only walks dogs - and walks them on their own, rather than subjecting them to the mob setup. Here's hoping that solves the issue.
That is very bizarre, especially since if he was acting out you would want to know so you could keep an eye on his behavior!
It seems like you are well rid of her, then. Especially since she has an assistant, it is crazy to me that they would group them together like that than having both of them take out 3-4 dogs separately.