Given how my new year started, I’d like my first blog post of the year to be about dogs attacking dogs.
(I know the cover picture is actually a police dog in training, involving a human participant, but I couldn’t bring myself to locate pictures of dogs fighting, and I have huge – HUGE – respect for these amazingly well-trained canine officers.)
So what happened today to prompt this, of all possible topics, to kick off my 2018 resolution to write more in my blog?
In truth, I need to go back another day or so.
Last week, while walking Buddy on lead (as always) a man and his dog stroll into the park and walk through areas where dogs are restricted. The dog is off-lead and roaming freely through the kids’ play area, then sees Buddy. Now, this dog is a golden retriever. It’s always assumed that golden retrievers are lovely and friendly dogs, and this one was probably no exception. However, it had exactly zero dog/human manners.
Buddy is very reactive to other dogs – a topic for another post and something I’m actively working to resolve. But knowing how reactive he is to other dogs, I do everything I can to mitigate any possible situation that could result in a fight. He’s on lead. I have him in a harness I can hold on to and keep him close and tight to me. If that doesn’t work and he escalates more, I can actually slide my arm underneath it and hoist his front legs off the ground to steal half of his strength and keep him restrained. He’s a big dog, and if I’m going to be a responsible owner, I have to consider not just his safety and reactivity, I have to make sure he’s not a danger to anyone else around him. This takes a lot of strength and patience on my part, as well as an iron will.
There’s a reason I have chunky man arms! /flex
This golden retriever trots right up to us, and ignores Buddy. I’m not sure if this is necessarily a bad thing, but Buddy was already showing signs of defensive aggression – signs I can see as a thick-headed human, surely this other dog should be recognising these signs too! But, no. This dopey retriever simply trots by Buddy and gets between us to say hello to me.
Buddy barely tolerates it when dogs he knows approach me. He absolutely won’t tolerate it when strange dogs do it.
So, there was a fight. A very noisy, growly fight full of lunging and swiping.