protection situation - Police, don't shoot my dog! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-13-2008, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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protection situation - Police, don't shoot my dog!

Hi,

I'm looking for suggestions and input and would be particularly interested in Police Officers and trainers/behaviorist replies. I work at a Police Dept but we have no policy set up on this and only one instance of a similar situation ever happening so a broader view is needed.

Last year I was walking my 2 dogs in the middle of the night. I slipped and fell backwards on a patch of ice and hit my head on the sidewalk. Other than a big bump & a headache and being very embarassed, I was ok. With Riley's help, I got up and we went home.

Let's say we're out walking, I fall and am knocked unconscious. Passerby calls Police/EMS. Husband's an over the road trucker so he's gone all week and daughter doesn't always have her phone on. So, let's say they've now tried unsuccessfully to reach both of these people. They're the only ones who could help out, there's nobody else that can be called. I pretty much am all I got all week long except for the dogs.

Nissa is very laid back and would probably be afraid and run away if anything. Riley is very protective of me, in fact he is over-protective. I have visions of him not letting anyone near me in a situation like this and he WON'T be nice about it, if you follow me. Anyone on the scene is more than likely going to be afraid they're going to get bit if they try to help me with him protecting me. What terrifies me is that one of the Officers might shoot him and I wind up with a dead dog over something as simple as a concussion.

I talked to my Sgt and we agreed that I should compose instructions for the other Dispatchers and the Officers to follow if some kind of situation ever comes up. While I wait to hear back from Riley's trainer on this, thought I'd pop in here and ask if anyone would share their experiences, give suggestions, what do your Dept's do etc.

I also wanted to ask if anyone has any information on how dangerous it is to use a taser on a dog? He's about 75lbs which is a far cry from say a 130lb or more person. No, I don't want them to taze him either, but provided it won't kill him it's a better option than a bullet. My husband thought a taser might stop his heart.

He's met a number of the Officers but not like they're best buds or anything. In a situation like what I mentioned, just how much difference is having met and sniffed some of them going to make? I'm guessing it may not make any difference at all if he Riley's moved into protection mode.

I certainly don't want an Officer getting hurt but I don't want a dead dog either. Thanks for your input.

Deb • Riley & Nissa
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-13-2008, 10:36 AM
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Re: protection situation - Police, don't shoot my dog!

Have you discussed your concerns with Riley?

First, we know our dogs' usual responses by what we actually see them do. You would have no clue as to how Riley would respond if you were unconscious. He would probably first consider it as unusual that you would decide to have a nap on the sidewalk. Thus, he likely would not respond in the usual manner.

He might actually feel relieved when he sees the EMS bringing the 'bed, blankets and pillows.'
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-13-2008, 10:43 AM
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Re: protection situation - Police, don't shoot my dog!

Interesting topic. I have never thought about this before. We dont get much snow, but I am sure Rocky would react the same way if anyone tried to get near me.

The ideas that comes to mind is Socialize your pups more with the officers that you work with or if that is not a feasible idea, I would try to get him very familiar with a neighbor or two if you can.

When I walk Rocky I need to remember to carry my cell phone, just incase. I have enough stored numbers that are family and friends, all of which Rocky would listen to/or go with, just wondering if he would let them get to the cell phone.

This is a great thread and I am very curious to see other ideas.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-13-2008, 11:32 PM
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Re: protection situation - Police, don't shoot my dog!

lol I cant even begin to state my opinion..........he would let them take the cell phone but only if it isn't anywhere near the body.

in the end, I live happily ever after. And so does my dog.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 12:23 AM
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Re: protection situation - Police, don't shoot my dog!

Prevention is the cure, wear a helmet.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 05:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: protection situation - Police, don't shoot my dog!

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Originally Posted By: PaschaFirst, we know our dogs' usual responses by what we actually see them do. You would have no clue as to how Riley would respond if you were unconscious. He would probably first consider it as unusual that you would decide to have a nap on the sidewalk. Thus, he likely would not respond in the usual manner.
Hi Pascha,

You're correct, I've not seen him react in a situation where I really do need help. But I *have* seen him react in situations where people try to get to close to me and it's not pretty. If he perceives a threat to me even if there isn't one, he reacts. I've learned that he does not like to be crowded, does not like me to be crowded and takes direct eye contact from some strangers as an invite to confrontation. These things bring out his protective side and are all a part of the activity at the scene of this kind of call. Add to that, most of the world doesn't have a clue how to safely approach a strange dog. If they're afraid, they're only potentially going to make things worse.

Some of you may think this is a funny thread, but since I've seen how he reacts when he perceives a threat to me, I feel I need to think ahead to possibilities. I know I'll never be able to consider everything that might happen, but falling on a walk is a real possibility. You could instead insert any type of situation where the dog owner is in need of some kind of help and but being temporarilty incapacitated is not able to control the dog at the time. I don't want anyone to get hurt trying to help me nor do I want HIM to get hurt for trying to protect me. Maybe some of you are right, maybe he won't react protectively. I'm trying to protect my dog if he does. To many people believe dog protecting = vicious dog. To many dogs are being destroyed because people don't stop to think or realize there are other options available.

I'm becoming more and more aware that the general public along with a huge number of dog owners themselves do not understand dog behavior or that there's a difference between behavior and dog training. Take for example someone who's never owned a dog that got aggressive no matter what. They don't have a clue what to do when their new dog shows aggression. Not understanding the dog's behavior for what it really is, they get scared and figure the dog's gone vicious on them so you better destroy it. GSD's are automatically viewed by way to many people as being vicious and are to be feared just because they're a GSD. These people aren't going to think past that. At least in our area, Police Officers and EMS personnel are not trained in how to correctly approach a dog no matter how the dog is behaving. They don't know that how they approach can change a dog's demeanor in a heartbeat.

I could be wrong but my understanding is that a dog senses when there is something wrong with their owner and thus he would know that Mom's not just sleeping. Until proven otherwise, I have to assume that my dog is not Lassie, he's not going to go get Mom when Timmy falls down the well hole. For everyone's sake, especially my dog because he's not the one carrying a gun, I have to assume he's going to react in the same protective fashion that he has in the past when he perceives something around me is a threat.

I do carry my cell phone and keys to my house w/me on walks. However, like someone said, they'd have to get past my dog to get at these things so they're pretty much useless until the dog is under control. A helmet might help in a fall situation, but as I said this is used as an example. I'm looking more for the best solution possible should I need help of any kind where I myself am temporarily not able to control my dog and someone needs to get near me to help me.

Deb • Riley & Nissa
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 08:39 AM
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Re: protection situation - Police, don't shoot my dog!

I'm looking more for the best solution possible should I need help of any kind where I myself am temporarily not able to control my dog and someone needs to get near me to help me.
_________________________
Well, you must understand that my first duty is to protect life. We run into this situation with folks incapacitated inside of a wrecked vehicle with their dog inside. In 30 years,I have never heard of any of us in this area having to shoot a dog in order to extract the human and render aid. Your dog is not protection trained and will most probably will back off out of fear. This is not something that I would stress over. We take out a dog as the last possible resort as there are many other options.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 10:06 AM
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Re: protection situation - Police, don't shoot my dog!

This thought also occured to me recently. While out running, my lab and I were struck by a car. I had let go of the leash, and he didn't come back to me right away. I had thought he was under the car but fortunately for me he wasn't. He was running free and spooked. He did return to me in a short time.
Usually I run with Kaper or both Chatham and Kaper. Kaper happened to be at the vet when this occurred. I wondered what would have happened. He is very protective of both me and Chatham and I am not sure how he would have reacted.
I used toworry about car accidents because Kaper is extremely protective of the car. We now have the back of the van closed so he would not have access to the front of the vehicle.

During our Taser training, we were trained to use it on dogs. We were not given statistics on the effects on animals.
I do know personally of one deployment of the Taser on a dog. He was a large pitbull and he attacked and killed a small Terrier. He also went after the family of the dog. A witness went after the dog with a 2x4 to protect the family. The dog was not backing down. When the officer arrived on scene (with a large group of bystanders), the dog turned his attention to the officer. The taser was deployed and struck the dog, I cannot remember if both probes hit or just one. The dog immediately backed down and ran to his owner.

Most people I know would attempt to use pepper spray or Taser prior to shooting the dog. There are always exceptions to the rules but I don't think anyone wants to have to discharge their weapon when there are other options available.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 10:33 AM
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Re: protection situation - Police, don't shoot my dog!

I think most cops would really try to avoid shooting the dog. I know that the ones I work with certainly would. The instances I'm aware of where dogs have been shot are more of circumstances where the dog is rushing the cops, there is no owner in sight, and the dog is basically just loose and not attached to anyone.

A situation where a cop knows that the dog has a normal owner nearby and it is not a stray dog that is going to attack them "just because" is unlikely to be shot.

I haven't heard of a taser killing a dog. I do know of situations where tasers have been used on dogs and no after-effects medically. So I really wouldn't be worrried about a taser. In fact, if you look on utube, there used to be a video of a dog being tased by a cop. I'm sure it or one like it is still around.

The only other suggestion I'd have is to have a toy or treats with you and then set the dog up for training. Train a situation where you've fallen and are not responding. Have a friend come up and bring their own toy to play with your dog. Get your dog used to that idea of that specific situation and a friendly bystander playing with them. Eventually you could progress it to having a friend walk up and take the toy from you and play with the dog. Just a thought.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 11:51 AM
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Re: protection situation - Police, don't shoot my dog!

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Originally Posted By: Riley's Mom [
I'm becoming more and more aware that the general public along with a huge number of dog owners themselves do not understand dog behavior or that there's a difference between behavior and dog training. Take for example someone who's never owned a dog that got aggressive no matter what. They don't have a clue what to do when their new dog shows aggression. At least in our area, Police Officers and EMS personnel are not trained in how to correctly approach a dog no matter how the dog is behaving. They don't know that how they approach can change a dog's demeanor in a heartbeat.
You are right about that. Unfortunately, I don't think you can just teach some people how to do that. I have seen people I work with terrified of a dog that is not aggressive in the slightest. Some people are just plain afraid and would refuse to approach a friendly dog, let alone a barking one whether they were trained how or not.
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