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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maya had a huge encounter with 2 great danes yesterday. We were on a normal walk when she spotted a cat on someone's driveway and went berzerk. I told her to leave it and she composed herself but then a Great Dane from inside the garage of the house we were passing barked. Maya in her natural response to another dog's bark, she barked. The dog broke through the tiny mesh screening and ran toward Maya, but playfully.

I was holding Maya on her leash and she immediately went from be defensive to submissive toward this great dane. I honestly don't think the dane meant any harm to her and was being more curiouis than playful.

But all of a sudden another, larger, great dane broke through the mesh screening of the garage and bull rushed right into Maya and she was completely taken by surprise and tumbled a few times on her back. The two great danes were surrounding her while the owner was feebishly commanding the dogs to return to the garage. I soooo wish my husband was around because he would have have reacted in a completely different manner and not in a good way for either dog. But he wasn't there and I did the best I could do.

Basically, the 2 great danes didn't appear to want to harm Maya in the least but there shear size and rambuctiousness intimidated her enough to immediate submission. She basically cowarded and tried pulling away from the leash as far from us as possible just to get away from them.

This worries me because if these dogs intended any harm on myself or my children I always thought Maya would do everything in her power to protect us.

Does this not seem to be the case? To me, no.

My little chi mix standed his ground the entire time with my 13 year old daughter and when they approached him he snapped and snarled as if to say, "don't even think about messing with me". Both dogs backed away from them immediately!

That's when they turned their attention to Maya. She, on the other hand is still young, she just turned 1. I think because maybe she's not mature enough, nor healthy enough, she still has one hip surgery to go, she's not confident. Her body languages reflects that, or so I think.

Why is Maya acting in this way?

I realize any dog would be intimidated by 2 great danes charging them, am I expecting too much from her at such an early age?

Do dogs sense their own weakness due to health reason's and that's why she reacted the way she did, so submissively?

I have a lot of unanswered questions from the experience we had and just need some answers. I want to get Maya 100% well and 100% confident. No matter what. But I guess I just want to know if it were life and death, would Maya protect us no matter what?
 

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I believe a dog's natural instinct is flight over fight. Some dogs have it in them to protect, others don't. She is very young yet and, yes, in my opinion, you are expecting to much from her. If she was defensive, rather than offensive, to begin with then it makes sense that her choices were to fight from fear for herself (not for you) or to be submissive to the two dogs.
 

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This sounds like a scary experience for dogs and humans alike! I think Maya's reaction was perfectly appropriate. It is absolutely not her job to protect you from giant charging dogs but it is instead your job to protect her (especially if she's recovering from hip surgery!). I teach my dogs to go behind me when dogs charge and I take care of the problem. The last thing I want is my dog getting ripped apart by another dog because they think they need to protect me.

Btw, when my dog Massie was 5 she had a total hip replacement. About 6 weeks after her surgery my housemate was walking her when out of nowhere came a gsd who charged Massie, knocked her down and bit her hip, right where the surgery had been done. My housemate didn't see any of this coming and neither did my dog. I felt awful for the longest time that I wasn't there to protect her. :( I am very glad that Maya was not hurt today!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It is absolutely not her job to protect you from giant charging dogs but it is instead your job to protect her (especially if she's recovering from hip surgery!). I teach my dogs to go behind me when dogs charge and I take care of the problem. The last thing I want is my dog getting ripped apart by another dog because they think they need to protect me.
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In my defense, my conern at the time was to protect my children. First and foremost! Maya was secondary.

After I figured out after the second dog came out that my kids were in no danger, the owner had come out at that point, my attention was directed toward Maya.

Maya was running circles around me trying to get away from these two large dogs. The only thing I thought to do, beside keeping my son as close to me as possible, was to pull Maya in as close to me as well. I felt if she was close enough to me I could keep these dogs away from her.

After several attempts I got her close enough but by then the owner of the two dogs had gained control of her dogs.

She had surgery back in April and has been acting completely normal with no issues since June. She has always acted extremely protective towards our family, within reason. Meaning, she doesn't bark at every dog or person but stays "alert" and will bark at suspicious looking people.

Basically, I've always felt safe walking her but I'm feeling a bit more unsafe after this experience. Im feeling more protected by my chi at this point.
 

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How scary that was. Seems now days people just do not think and they do not contain their dogs in a way that they can not break free. It happens in my neighborhood often, I hate walking here. Seems like everytime someones dog comes running out, so far nothing has happened.

Thanks goodness none of you were hurt.
 

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From all reports, Danes seem to be just goofy and playful and tend to knock people over because of it. I think you were lucky they were Danes and not something else. But big dogs are scary and even my uber-friendly Balto will become very submissive when he meets one.
 

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I understand that sometimes dogs can escape or for whatever reason get loose, but as a dog owner it is my total responsibility to make sure it doesn't happen. I made sure my dogs are unable to get out. I had a few encounters with loose dogs, my older female is reactive, believe me you don't want that. Luckily the few loose dogs that I've encountered have backed off when I yell out to them. What was the reaction of these people. I personally would have been mortified knowing my dogs scared someone and knocked thier dog over.
Since Maya is still a baby I would continue to build on her confidence around other dogs. I wouldn't be upset by her behavior, she was scared. I would try to walk past that house again to make sure she doesn't continue to be scared. When I was walking only 1 pup I did carry a stick and planned to bat any loose dog over the head to protect my pup if I had to. There are certain houses that I walk by that dogs charge the fences barking at us. 2 of them are right on the road. My older girl anticipates it, thru me, even though I try to act so confident.
 

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Well that certainly doesn't sound like a fun experience. After DH and Niko were charged by an off-leash dog (who meant harm, not fun) and Niko actually pulled right out of his collar and ran toward home, I have no expectations whatsoever that Niko will protect us in the future.

It might be a different story if your dog had been trained in protection work. It really is in the dog's best interest to run away from a situation that she's unsure of, or that has the possibility that she could get hurt. Like Ruth said, your dog did the exact right thing. It was smart of her to get submissive if she couldn't escape. I'm not sure you would have really wanted her to try and take on two larger dogs, would you?

Also, as the owner of a post-op THR dog (also done this past April) I can tell you that your dog wasn't thinking about possibly hurting her hip if she tried to protect you. I'm pretty sure dogs don't analyze situations like that. Rosa is finally allowed to play with Niko, who outweighs her by about 45 lbs, and she'll play her heart out, knocking him down, jumping on his back, taking his feet out from under him. She's not the least bit worried about getting hurt.
 
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