violence at my dog park, very sad.

Weather's been nice and I've been less busy so Eddy and I can explore the park more often. Today a 7month old golden retreiver puppy was attacked (and bled) by an aggressive unneutered dog, I don't know what kind, maybe a mastiff/pit bull mix. The mean-dog-owner even tried to claim that it was the PUPPY that attacked the other dog. Anyways it mauled its face and we all argued about it, colorful language and all... finally the guilty party left, with no justice for the golden retreiver.. The mean-dog-owner insisted it was just a superficial wound and if the puppy had got it on its own, (?), it would probably not go to the vet. She said they were over-dramatizing it because another dog had inflicted it. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Everyone just wanted them to leave, so I guess we kind of lost the argument. I don't know how, it was like a dozen people against 2. It was very sad. The lady had no control over her dog, the entire time it had been attacking all the dogs. I hope the retreiver didn't learn a twisted lesson.

I know dog park etiquette is a commonly-discussed subject. So why don't more people know about it? This happens all too often at my local park. Sometimes, someone shows up with a well-known aggressive dog, and everyone else just leaves immediately. The common thread seems to be that the dog is completely deaf to its owner's commands and/OR it's an unneutered male.

A man walking his troubled german shepherd came in because he heard all the noise and yelling from outside. His adopted shepherd is super-dog-aggressive (we knew him) but he keeps him an arm's length away on an elaborate harness. He said he watched it all go down, and was wondering the whole time why that woman wasn't more like him. He wondered why people deny their pets' natures.

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Comment by Beth on March 15, 2010 at 12:10pm
Ok, first, Sunni says that the dog in question was attacking all the dogs, not just this puppy. And 2nd, an outside observer who saw the whole thing questioned the owner of the attacking dog, not the puppy.

Nothing in this story sounds to me like a calm, well-balanced adult dog correcting an over-exuberant puppy.
Comment by Sam Tsang on March 15, 2010 at 10:21am
Here's the problem that most dog park goer makes, they sit or talk on the phone and expect the dogs to play nice naturally. A lot of dog owners do not walk or exercise their own dog and only go to the dog park to "exercise". It is playing chance and that's why the dog park experience is a mix bag.

In my opinion, dog owner is responsible for their dog's behaviour in a public place, it is unfair to label a dog as "aggressive" because he is male, unaltered and a certain breed type.

An older dog is going to teach a puppy if it acts out, he is not going to paw at the puppy or nose nudge the puppy, he is going to let the puppy that know he means business by using his mouth. There is a beauty in resolution, unfortunately a lot of dog parents jump into conclusion and make that decision for their dogs, so they never quite get the lesson and that is a problem.

It is unfortunate that such thing happen, dog park is best used by a group of dog owners who knows each other and their dogs temperament. Keeping them in an area is a good idea and be honest and warn other owners before they join your group. I remember one time at a meetup, we had a pack of corgis chasing after a curious boxer pup, the boxer pup was scared to death and had to roll over to surrender, so yes, our corgis can be very bossy and will chase and bark at every moving thing in sight.
Comment by Beth on March 15, 2010 at 7:14am
Wanted to add, just checked some statistics and about 70% or so of all dog bites reported are by intact males, and the percent is much higher when you get to stats on fatal attacks (something like 90%). That is not to say there aren't lovely calm intact males, just that aggressive dogs are more likely (statistically) to be intact.

I'm very sorry this happened at your dog park!
Comment by Beth on March 15, 2010 at 7:05am
Ahhh, I'm sorry to hear this. I've seen stats on actual attacks on people, and I know unneutered males outnumber neutered males in attacks by something like a 2:1 margin. Whether that's because irresponsible dog owners are less likely to neuter pets, or because of the testosterone factor, I am not sure. However, I do know that in some other living things (horses, humans) testosterone is known to increase aggressiveness.

Our dog part does not allow intact animals, but that does not keep them from showing up. I prefer to let my dogs play with some friends in a quiet area of a regular park.

My dogs have "disciplined" unruly pups before and it never goes past an air-snap (which can be pretty loud) or a couple of wrestling-type pins. And Jack WAS a bouncy puppy at one point and he got air-snapped at twice. But if my dog drew blood, I'd be horrified and would only argue it was the other dog's fault if the other dog clearly started it in a way that my dog was also bleeding. *sigh* Some people just don't get it. The first and only time we were at a dog park, someone had a male husky there who was intact and was humping everything that moved. She just kept on chatting away and never tried to stop her dog. I had to intervene when Jack started screeching at him and he would not back off. (Jack was too short to actually reach him or knock him off).
Comment by Stephanie on March 15, 2010 at 5:43am
Makes me feel lucky - the only reason I changed dog parks was because of the mud at the one near my house. We've never had an issue with an aggressive dog...when Goldy got pinned by the greyhound, it was nothing but instinct. And the greyhound showed great bite inhibition and did not bite her - just put his mouth on her throat and pinned her to the ground. Greyhounds chase bunnies, Goldy looks like a bunny, I had to accept that they are animals and at some point their instincts will kick in, no matter how good the training is.
Comment by Joanna Kimball on March 15, 2010 at 2:32am
This is why I hate dog parks. I am glad they exist but they're better utilized by a group of trusted friends when the park is otherwise deserted.

The puppy probably DID start it. Older dogs are supposed to discipline unruly puppies (and Goldens are some of the very worst unruly puppies) by biting them. And if the wound was a little nick by a tooth (and all the other "attacks" didn't have any damage associated with them) the older dog was actually showing good bite inhibition. Not a mean dog, a good adult dog trying to discipline a bad puppy.

Unneutered males are no more likely to be "bad" dogs than any other. They're lovely to live with and easy to train and so on.

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