I get a phone call from my mom a couple of weeks ago while I was at work on a Saturday. It probably went something like this.
Mom: “So I need you to help me bring in groceries later…”
Mom: “And can you vacuum your room today?”
Mom: “What are you doing next weekend, you should come with me apple picking!”
Mom: “Oh, and Cassie got attacked by another dog today-”
Me: “WHAT?! OMG IS SHE OK? WHAT HAPPENED?!
The story goes like this: My stepdad Geoff left out some old fans in front of our house that weren’t working that well anymore. It’s pretty common for strangers to come by and pick up the free stuff that gets left out…sometimes things get taken that aren’t even meant to be up for grabs- but that’s a different kind of story.
Well, some random guy in a van comes to take the fans, and I guess he had a large dog in the back. My mother thought it resembled a pitbull, but we really have no idea what kind of breed it was. My mom was walking Cassie on her leash and just happened to be in the driveway with her, on the way back inside.
So this dog (I’m gunna call him Bob because its easier than saying ‘the dog’ and because why not) sees Cassie – my 10 pound terrier- and leaps out of random dude’s van and straight for her. The situation was described to me as absolute chaos, that Bob was on top of Cassie faster than my mother could react (to be fair, my mom isn’t really effective in situations like this, and probably just did a lot of shrieking and flailing).
Well amidst the growling, nipping, and scrambling around, Cassie managed to escape and took off. Bob naturally followed her, probably thrilled at this new revelation- super fast squeaky ball of fluff AKA Cassie= BEST TOY EVER. So while my mom and random dude decide to hash it out in the driveway, my stepfather made the brilliant decision to actually follow the dogs (THANK-YOU GEOFF). Cassie and Bob streaked back and forth for a while before landing up in our backyard, where I’m told Cassie was trying to get inside by ramming her body through the screen door… . Bob was all over Cassie, and wouldn’t let off, so Geoff had to kick him off her.
Eventually Bob stopped and gave Geoff a look something like: “WTF is your problem?” before sulking off. Then Geoff picked up Cassie to keep her safe, and she immediately peed all over him. All in all, both dogs walked away physically fine. Cassie was pretty shaken up and had some tufts of hair missing, but nothing major. But we were lucky. If Bob wanted to, he could have ended Cassie in a minute instead of choosing to “play” with her.
I know a family who lost their little dog down the street from us because one of the neighbor’s pitbulls got loose and grabbed it by the throat….it was over in a matter of seconds. I had seen the alleged pitbull before, chained up in a tiny area on concrete behind an apart complex- it was a “guard dog”. But don’t think I am picking on pitbulls- the breed doesn’t matter. Little dogs are actually more prone to aggression than the larger canines, but ankle-biters don’t do as much damage so they usually aren’t labeled as dangerous.
And guess what Bob’s owner had to say about the whole situation…”Oh, don’t worry. He won’t bite her hard, he’s not mean.”
Uh, what? I don’t care if he won’t bite her HARD, he shouldn’t be behaving this way at all! This comes down to proper training of any dog, for the safety of others AND for the well-being of the dog. Do I think that Bob was vicious? Probably not, because if he was really aggressive he would have done more than chase and scare Cassie. And ultimately I think a large part of the responsibility lies on the owner to teach their dog about Good and Bad behavior.
My assessment of Bob having control and MANNERS when socializing with Cassie…FAIL. My judgment on Bob’s owner and his dog handling skills (and maybe his I.Q. level)….EPIC FAIL. I don’t go jumping out of vehicles and chasing people while my mom brushes it off as tolerable behavior…I was raised to be a respectful member of society. Well, dogs need to learn how to be good citizens in all environments, whether they are interacting with humans or their own species. No one likes an out of control canine. If Bob were a person, he probably wouldn’t have many Facebook friends… Yeah, I bet Cassie would agree with me on that.
- Showing Pack Leadership in Dog Training, By Martin Deeley (http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/trainingtips/Are-You-Being-Your-Best-Self)
- Pitbulls Reputation (leyshaquinonesgarcia.wordpress.com)
- ASPCA- Training Your Dog (http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/training-your-dog)