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Chihuahua Attack! (Ruby didn't bite anyone)

1429 Views 19 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  The Stig
My son and I were playing with Ruby off leash at the park throwing the ball around- suddenly she bolts past him and keeps on going in a dead run..she drops the ball..and is still running. All I could think was "oh @#$!" She rounded a corner toward a trail that I can't see around. I'm at least 100 feet in the rear and my son is closer trying to catch her. Suddenly I hear squealing and yelping of small dogs and my son yelling for me. I was already running but I guess I kicked in the turbo or something as I yelled over my shoulder in the general direction of our house for my husband. I didn't really think he'd hear me, but it was worth a shot. As I'm rounding the corner I see a couple with 3 chihuahuas. The woman is holding one under an arm. The husband has one dangling from a harness attached to a leash, and the a third with only 2 feet on the ground still struggling to bark and yip. My son has already got a hold of Ruby and I'm immediately putting her on leash. Of course, I'm apologizing as fast and profusely as humanly possible while asking if everyone was alright. Thank the heavens the people were VERY nice. The woman assurred me Ruby didn't hurt anyone. She said " She obviously was running up to play. It was my dogs that went after HER." You can imagine the stunned look on my face. I was talking to her but eyeballing the little dogs looking for signs of wounds or blood on them. Nothing. One of them was a senior dog and was breathing and wheezing like a tiny pig. Poor thing! But she said everyone was just fine. I lingered and told them I just wanted to make sure no one is hurt and watched them for a minute. They seemed good enough. My husband had appeared in sock feet running down the trail and took Ruby home while I talked to them. I am soooo glad no one was injured. My heart was racing!

I told them I heard the little dogs screaming and terrible visions ran through my mind. (for those of you who have seen our GS's play with stuffed toys whipping them around- you know what I mean). I asked them "what about the yelping and screaming?" She said that was her dogs going berserker mode on my dog and making like her chihuahua gang was going to tear her from limb to limb
I can tell you the husband looked SHOOK up, the wife was cool as cucumber ( I wonder if maybe he has some fear of big dogs)

So now we are inside. Ruby is looking at me like "what?" I am pacing in the house because the adrenaline is following and saying a silent prayers every minute that everyone is ok. Finally I decided to pour myself a beer so I'd stop pacing and SIT DOWN. I was making Ruby nervous too. And here I am on the board.

I keep thinking- will she think all little dogs are mean now? Will she go after them? Gone are her care free ball days? Is that little old dog gonna expire?? ARGH!
So I call her trainer just now and relay the whole thing. He says that we have to stay an hour after class and we have to now use "electronics" and "teach her to come to you no matter WHAT is going on " I cringed. This is not what I wanted. But I have to realize that Ruby didn't even break stride when I was calling her. So now what? Electronics. CRAP!! I hate the thought of it. But if it saves her life and keeps something bad from happening then I'll have to.

I feel terrible and nervous, and down. Anything you guys can throw out there is welcome.

Oh.. and my husband was practing his draw with his 45- he's part of a shooting club, so he had his pistol holstered. So now my neighbors see "crazy ruby" and my armed husband heading through the park after a commotion... I tell ya.. we are NOT going to be invited to the next block BBQ!
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That reminds me of when I used to take sarge to the dog park. He always played and had a great time. Theres a place for big dogs and a place for smaller dogs. Sarge is playing with 5 or 6 big dogs and having a great time. A man was throwing a ball and all the dogs were trying to get it at the same time. There was no aggresion from any of them. Well this lady shows up with this little yappy dog and brings it to the big dog area because theres nobody at the other place.

She put it down and for whatever reason it picks out sarge and starts barking and nipping at his hind legs. After a minute of this sarge turns and gives it this 4 or 5 quick barks like, leave me alone. The little dog backs off but comes right back. This time sarge swings around snatches this dog off the ground picks it up and body slams it to the ground. Now he's laying down with his front legs over the dog using it as a chew toy.

I get the dog from sarge and give back to the lady and tell her im sorry. She happens all the time. Sarge goes back to playing. She puts the dog down and it goes way up the fence line minding its own business. Sarge sees it again and bolts after it. It tries to get back to the owner but sarge cuts it off and tackles it in this big cloud of dust. Again I get it back, its not hurt at all and I decided that was it for the dog park for us.

I think with the little dogs its like a rabbit or squrrel. The prey drive kicks in and they go deaf for some reason.

As for your husband, If my wife called me like im sure you called him I also would have been
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I can't say anything to help but I can relate. I had an equally bad day and it included a Chihuaua.
My cousin and I took Kaper and Chatham for a walk. I let her walk Chatham since he is the easier of the two. While Kaper is more behaved, sometimes there are problems when other dogs come around and Chatham is there. He tends to be very protective of Chatham. I am working on it.
We were in the park, sitting in the shade relaxing. I saw three dogs (all small) across the park walking towards us. There was an exit they could take and another closer to me. I waited to see if they were leaving or if I should take the exit clsoer. Although it was closer, Kaper would have still seen the dogs. Turns out they headed our way, so I made a beeline for our exit. My cousin isn;t very experienced so I wanted to try to keep Kaper and Chatham calm. Kape was doing really well, he was alert and watching the dogs closely, but not barking or growling or anything, not showing any signs of aggresion, just alert. It was fine until the man let one of the dogs out all the way on his flexy, and he started barking. Kape started barking. My cousin sort of stopped in our way so we were trapped between the three dogs and Chatham. I finally got her to move, and began to move away with Kaper, trying to calm him. When we started moving, I noticed a man coming the other way with a Chihuaua in his arms. The dog was going nuts, literally. Snarling and barking. I thought he was going to get out of his arms. Kaper, already excited, started barking at him. The guy had plenty of room to walk around and was, at first, giving us space. Then, when he was almost past us, he walked right into our space, close enough for Kaper, on a short leash, to reach him. I couldn't believe it. Kape didn't touch him, just barked, but he can be pretty intimidating.
All I can think is that those people figured he is a crazy GSD. He is not. He reacted the same way as the other four dogs did, but he was the biggest and scariest.
Needless to say, I won't be walking the two of them with anyone else anymore, unless it is just me or DH.
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Ya - that's exactly how she acted- deaf! Like my son and I weren't running **** bent after her yelling. That's why I was afraid of what would happen once she got to her destination.

I was actually surprised my husband showed up. I didn't really think he'd hear me and it was a shout I threw over my shoulder as I ran. I'm not naturally the the kind of woman that says "let me get my husband"- so I guess I really must've sounded distress to him. I did make sure and thank him for hustling across the park in his socks to come looking for us. And he did have to search because we were nowhere in site. He said he came out saw the park was empty and then started running following our trail.. I had literally left a trail with each of my sandals, ruby's bait bag, and her ball she dropped as we all ran.
Before you go straight to the electronics, have you proofed her COME command with distractions? In other words, if you throw the ball for her and give the command after she starts running - will she obey?

If not, I'd work on proofing more before I went the hardware route.

Start with low level distractions and build as she progresses.
I wouldn't worry about the electronics. Hunting dog people use it extensively. There is a guy in our neighborhood that never uses a leash, he just keeps the e-collar on his dog.
We have always used the e-collar on Max since he was eight months old.

We went to look at several training places and then we found one where all the dogs were wearing e-collars and they trained us and the dogs. Max LOVES it, he is not confined by a leash. We're not in a tug of war on the leash in which a 90 lb dog would surely win. I totally agree that training is in order first and then training WITH the e-collar. It's just an electronic leash, once the training is instilled it's only used when they're not listening, just like a short tug on the leash is used. And it's not used negatively with the word NO, it's used with the good commands, come, sit, leave it, etc.

Our trainer said when you give a dog a command they ask: do I WANT to stop chasing the little dog? (no, I'm having fun!) can she MAKE me stop chasing the little dog? (no, she's too far away) This is true because if you're DH heard you then surely so did Ruby but only one obeyed!! LOL
Not true of all dogs. I've trained dogs both professionally and for my own sake for about four decades now. I can and always have trained my dogs to have a perfect recall. For some dogs it just takes longer than others. Odin had it down in a couple months. It took Frigga more than a year. What it requires is constant training - something that many people are unwilling to do so they look for quick answers like an ecollar. Don't get me wrong, ecollars have their uses, but to say that it is the only way to have a reliable recall is just wrong.
Don't rush into the electronics. Ruby and you haven't had a chance to break a sweat yet.
C'mon! This is fun, and you and Ruby can do this, too! Start out in your nice, calm, boring yard.. no kids, nothing. Practice COME. If Ruby is NOT at all dominant, use food, or a toy reward. If Ruby is slightly pushy, no food. At any rate, always use wild enthusiasm only when she gets to you. YIPPIEEE!! A party every time she comes? Cool beans, Mom!! When all is perfect, Practice COME when there is a kid zooming through the yard, or you are sure there is a squirrel in the garden, or the neighbor is using his weed whackah. (sorry.. originally from Boston here).

Perfect? Wow! Next, onto the BIGTIME!! Practice your recall in the most ho-hum, dullsville, boring field that you can. Darn.. poor Ruby, not even a jogger in sight! Use a longline.

Next, go to a busier field or the park on a dull, quiet day. Longline, and practice COME.

Finally, the park on a busier day.. eventually, a Saturday, oh my! Use that longline! Lotsa enthusiasm as she gets to you! YIPPIEEE! Use a treat or ball if you want. You are building a reliable recall in the midst of joggers, bikes, other dogs, running kids, babystrollers, and folks dribbling icecream cones on park benches! Go for it!
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She is good with food as training- but not super motivated. She's better with a ball. But we've done the backyard training, the distraction and she is still deciding whether it's worth her while to come. During class- she's a velcro dog and MUST be by side- she yearns to her the command "come!". We will need to practice A LOT.

Still mulling over the e-collar stuff. I guess I'm just not used to the idea yet. Well... in either case we have our homework cut out for us the rest of this week. Train, train, and more training.

I realized after my post that I forgot a detail. My son said that as he was going to grab her by the scruff and control her she was hovering over one of the little dogs- no biting. The husband smacked Ruby hard in the face to get her away. My son says she stepped back a moment and did the "yadda- yadda" (it all happened face) and then she fluffed and started heading back toward the man like "wait a minute!". My son grabbed a hold of her and was yelling for her to sit. The man reared back to kick her and my son said "no! I have her! Don't kick her!" And he didn't.
I can totally understand why he would be afraid and react that way. My son was angry that he would kick her, but I was frank and told him it would've been our fault.
But I did take note that Ruby when confronted like that did not back down- she thought about it- and headed in again. That's a good thing sorta- she shows she won't be easily disuaded is we need her. My husband thinks she may have thought he was rough housing- I don't think so.
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Not with arched fur, no, that was not rough-housing in her mind at all.
But if she was going for the Chihuahua, it wasn't protection either. Not sure if that's what the OP was referencing in the comment that they know she's not easily dissuaded when they need her.
I believe she was referencing the fellow who smacked Ruby across the face.
Yes- I was referring to the man who smacked her across the face. And the arched fur was exactly what I was using as a barometer.

As far as the chihuahuas- I think she was just looking to get into something and make a ruckus, she had plenty of opportunity to grab one and take off running and she didn't. Believe me.. I said more then a few prayers of thanks that didn't happen!

When I talked to my trainer last night and he mentioned the e-collar, I told him I'd feel like a jerk using one. He asked how I thought I would feel if the next time little dogs were ACROSS the street and Ruby bolted out in front of a car, and I couldn't recall her.
K- point taken.
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And my question is why can't you do as Lauri already suggested and start work on training for a perfect recall? Electronics is only one route. I'd rather depend on my dog's interaction with me than a jolt from a collar that may or may not work when it has to.
Training without the collar is going to be first priority. I can't expect her to wear a collar like that all the time. I need her to listen to me in whatever the situation- not just with a special collar.
I just meant that she's not easily dissuaded (by a smack or whatever) when she's in prey drive rather than it saying anything about protection.

I think e-collars have their place and running off crittering is certainly a useful area for them but I would definitely start with the non-ecollar perfecting the recall route first and go as far as I could with that.
You don't need an e-collar, not that I am opposed to e-collar training. I think it is a wonderful training tool when used correctly and for the right purpose.

You just need to have control over your dog and by that, put it on a long line. Unless you are in a properly enclosed area. Unless your dog is excellent on recall, I would never allow it to be unleashed in a high traffic (be it cars, animals, humans, etc) area. Even so, it is still a risk for there will always be that one distraction that might cause your dog to turn a deaf ear.

Always, always have control over the dog.

~ Rei
I totally agree about having the dog under control. I was such a bone head! She is always on leash- but for some stupid reason it seemed quiet enough and low key afternoon and I took a chance. UGh!
Well it's OK, don't beat yourself up too much. Nobody is perfect in this world.

Mistaken learned and most importantly, nothing bad happened.

Good luck,
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