Far far too often you hear about cases on the news about dog attacks or hearing stories from people you know. I can honestly say that I'm proud that I grew up around aggressive dogs and I had volunteered two years of helping aggressive dogs heal.The events that took place on Sunday made me very thankful for my experience in this field.
  Sunday night a bunch of friends and family friends of my husband were having a bonfire. They also have two dogs, a German Shepard and a poodle mix and since Dodger's friend is moving away I thought it'd be good for him to make some new friends. We went to the bonfire and as we were introducing the dogs, things took a turn for the worse. Dodger was just being his normal friendly self. The behavior and reaction were strictly coming from the other dog. I followed every possible way I could to smooth it over, to help the other dog adjust to a new dog coming onto his turf. I offered treats, I had a friend take Dodger away from the scene, we walked and separated only enough that they could see each other, we tried backing off and reintroducing, nothing was working. It came to the point where I had to step in between them to prevent a dog fight from breaking out due to too many people trying to force the friendship and not listening. Whether it was territorial, too much excitement, or was just extremely picky about other dogs, it's hard to say, but either way he didn't want Dodger or me there on his turf.
  So, please learn to realize the signs of a dog becoming aggressive so you can prevent a dog fight from breaking out and you or your dog getting hurt. Here are some of the signs: becoming very still and rigid, lunging forward, growling, showing of teeth, quick nip that leaves no mark, pricked ears, blocking your path, etc... These are all signs that a dog is starting to get aggressive. protect yourself and your furry family members by noticing the signs. Stay safe!

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Comment by Anna Morelli on April 23, 2014 at 10:20am

I can relate to Beth's comments on "stillness" in a more personal way.   I am one who always believes you can talk things out when there are differences of opinion or misunderstandings.  My family knows that it's when I stop talking that you really have to worry!!!   It must be the dog in me :-DD

Comment by Beth on April 22, 2014 at 10:28pm

Thank you for sharing.   Stillness is always the one I watch for (since the others are more easily spotted).  A still dog is getting ready to act, and usually not in a good way.  The ones I have trouble judging are terriers;  they tend to stare and go still when they want to play.    When in doubt I go by Jack's reaction.  He is very dog-savvy.  If a dog wants to play he invariably wants to go say hi.  If a dog is posturing aggressively, he will look away and sniff the ground.   

I am disheartened by the number of people who don't recognize the signs of pending aggression in their own dogs.   I don't rely on others assessments unless I know the people.  I trust myself to determine which situations are safe for my dogs, and which are not.

Good for you for preventing a bad situation.

Comment by Anna Morelli on April 22, 2014 at 9:38pm

People need to realize that it is quite normal for dogs to not like other dog and more so in some breeds than others.  To expect strange dogs to automatically get along is unrealistic and unreasonable.  As you say, one must know the early signs to avoid disaster...

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