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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Handling charging dogs?

I have seen a few posts here about people and their dogs being charged by other dogs while walking. 14-month-old prey-driven, territorial Luther and I have been working with distractions that the nicer weather brings (bicycles, more people, dogs, etc.), but tonight we were charged and I did it all wrong!

We have a very large unfenced yard and I was walking Luther on a long line across the front of the property - about 50+ feet from the road. Our neighbor's dogs spotted us and all of a sudden, a Malamute, a GSP, and two Huskies were barking and came charging across the road - right at us in our yard. I told Luther to sit - and he did (Yay Luther!) - but as the dogs came on us, he (and I) lost it. I stepped forward to block them from getting to Luther and told them to go home. I was feeling afraid - and I'm sure Luther sensed that - and he pushed past me barking and lunging at them. So - I was reduced to pulling Luther back while yelling at the dogs to go home. (They finally did)

This was definitely not the picture of an in-control owner and well-trained dog! I have been working with distractions (bicycles/people/dogs) by asking Luther to heel - or if a really big one - sit and then watch me. He knows "Leave It" for things he's not supposed to be playing with, but I haven't tried to translate this to distractions on walks.

I know this was the big kahuna of distractions - so does this mean we are just not there yet - but will be if we keep working as we are? Is there anything else we can work on - maybe a protocol for what to do when charged by a pack of dogs - counseling or drugs for me to not show fear?

Some of you will probably think I should call Animal Control, but my neighbors are good people who work very hard to keep their pack (there are more of them) in control and on their property (100 acre farm - house directly across the road from ours). The dogs are not bad, but have in the past nipped the occasional jogger/bicyclist - and the owners have responded by doing a really great job of keeping them home and dealing with this for the most part. They are having a problem now with a new dog they rescued who is instigating the others to roam, but are working on it.

Any suggestions much appreciated!

Martie
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 09:53 PM
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Re: Handling charging dogs?

Years ago when my wife was walking our first dog in her parents neighborhood at night (quiet street, very little light) she heard a dog coming hard at them. She shortened the leash on Emmie to keep her next to her and yelled Bad Dog as the Doberman came in range. Her voice must have been strong and convincing as the dog turned tail and ran off. Fortunately it was only one dog.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 09:56 PM
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Re: Handling charging dogs?

I say you should count your blessings. Luther did more than ok considering the adrenaline you both were feeling! And it ended w/out an attack.
In the book Purely Positive Training by Sheila Booth, she suggests tightening up the lead so your dog will feel your presence, and it will give him more confidence when being approached by a strange dog. This is good advice, but with a pack of dogs, I think there are no rules~you did what you had to do!
Every situation is different and from the previous threads the best you can do is carry a big stick or pepper spray.
Making yourself larger and stepping forward will work for some dogs, but others may see it as a challenge and it will backfire on you. Thank God things went positively for all. I'd talk to the owners of the loose dogs, though and let them know what could have happened. Let them know, if it happens again, then AC should be involved.
Sometimes talking in a happy voice will diffuse the dogs that are charging up(or commanding them to sit)...I do this when we are approached or my dogs are focusing on dogs behind fences while we are walking, it makes the situation more positive.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Handling charging dogs?

weber1b, how scary!!! Good for your wife to take the offensive and I'm so glad it worked.

Onyxgirl, thank you. Keeping it positive is just what I need to do - but so hard for me in this situation. I think these dogs would have responded very well to a positive response, but my head just wasn't there. Luther is a bit of a reactive 'fraidy cat and I need to work on staying calm and positive no matter what is going on in order to keep him OK. I did quickly shorten the leash (a long line), but need to be careful about transmitting tension as this will set him off. My big fear is that Luther thinks he drove them away.

I will talk to the neighbors (and have in the past). They really want very much to do the right things and appreciate feedback. They really are good people, but also want to keep their dogs off-leash on the farm - a delicate balance!

Martie
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 10:27 PM
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Re: Handling charging dogs?

Been there on may occassions
I usually yell at the charging dog to stay and stand between that dog and mine it usually works then the owner comes up and I say you know htere is a leash law.

I have been told by others to drop B's leash but I can't
I rather get hurt then something happen to him

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 10:43 PM
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Re: Handling charging dogs?

I can't do the drop the leash thing either. There is a spray that alot of bike shops used to carry for when cyclists have dogs following them. (Don't know if they still do, but pepper spray doesn't smell good either) I would try that along with the "Go Home" or whatever you calmly command them to do. The spray may seem cruel, but if noone gets hurt, that's all I care about.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 10:43 PM
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Re: Handling charging dogs?

Onyx was a fraidy cat at that age, too and a tightened leash did cause her to react more. Hopefully this experience will be forgotten and he won't hold it against the other dogs. My dogs know who is who when we walk and get ramped when we go by reactive dogs houses from about 2 houses away.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 12:21 AM
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Re: Handling charging dogs?

Quote:
Quote: They really are good people, but also want to keep their dogs off-leash on the farm
then they need a good perimetre fence so that people using the street (cyclists, joggers, walkers etc) & you (in your yard!) are safe- not to mention the safety of the dogs should they dart out into traffic or start car-chasing or worse.

If these dogs have already nipped (bitten) in the past, they are long past the need for a fence: pack mentality with otherwise 'good' dogs can lead to some very frightening behavior (imagine a group of 5 fluffy dachshunds killing sheep these dogs had lived with the sheep for years, the owners thought the first incident (a single dead ram) was a oneoff that would never happen again - they did take measures to prevent a repeat incident but not sufficiently: the second incident resulted in several dead lambs & injured ewes)
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 01:05 AM
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Re: Handling charging dogs?

Quote:
Quote:14-month-old prey-driven, territorial Luther and I have been working with distractions
Quote:
Quote:but as the dogs came on us, he (and I) lost it. I stepped forward to block them from getting to Luther
Some dogs (and with out knowing your dog in person I cannot say for sure except for the top quote) Will see you the leader stepping forward and "follow the pack leader."

My GSD hella was and can be like this if I step forward towards my husband for example during a fight she will then also go forward with me.

If I happen to "curse a driver out" for cutting me off while I drive she will also bark at them!

But as far as what to do with a group of dogs charging? I am not sure I have not had this happen yet.

Suzi

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 03:10 AM
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Re: Handling charging dogs?

I see the word 'charge' everywhere in the forum, but I can't find a definition for it. What is a charging dog? Is it a dog that's just running towards you?


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