View Full Version : advice needed:luckly escape an aggressive dog on our walk

1st January 2007, 08:57 PM
On new years eve afternoon we took lady for a walk to a local nature park we decided to go on the dog walk the only walk where dogs can be off leads, as we want her to get used to seeing other dogs. She seemed really happy saw lots of dogs westies, another cav and some spaniels with and without there leads on. These dogs were all friendly as were the owners sniffing lady and all had waging tails and so did she. We were really proud off her for behaving with the other dogs. Anyway soon after i heard a loud panting and growling and saw this huge black lab cross i don't know what it was crossed with but it was very muscular and much larger than normal labs. As it got closer i pulled lady up in to air she had a puppia harness on so it was easier for me to grab her. I past her to jason and this huge dog was jumping up at both of us and growling i tried to get it away from us. And the owners arrived after what felt like an eternity it was probably only a few seconds. And said her boy only wanted to play and i said well she's only small i waas so mad and shaking i could bearly talk i kept her in my arms till we were away from them. I don't even want to think about what may have happened if i couldn't have picked her up as quickly. Although we have only had her just over a month i am so attached to her i treat her like my baby. We decided to go back to the car as lady looked stressed out on the way back we saw another lab and another spaniel both on leads and she wouldn't go near them, these dogs were friendly she was pulling on the lead to get away which she has never done before and stood between my legs and behind me till i picked her up and took her to the car.
What can i do to stop her being frighted around other dogs and also could she have sensed my fear when i saw that lab running towards her. What can i do to appear un afriad around other dogs. So that she's not frightened. Should i have done anything differently? Any advice please.

Joanne M
1st January 2007, 09:28 PM
I eagerly await, advice on this topic as well. This is how fearful I am. This past spring, I returned home with Tucker in my car, pulled into my
driveway and a beautiful, tall, irish-setter was there. He came right up to my car window, and was jumping up at it, paws on the window. I sat in the car for awhile, hoping it would leave. I was unsure of the dog, I'd never seen it before (or since). I sat in the car, five minutes and the dog stayed by my car for that long. I backed out of the driveway and drove around for about 10 minutes. Came back home, the dog was gone and only then would I get out of the car. I have never been fearful of dogs, but now that I have Tucker, I don't want to take the chance a big, powerful dog might hurt him. I think at least in part my fear comes from something I read in Barron's Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - A Complete Pet Owner's Manual. It says,

"Despite the Cav's friendly nature, owners must be cautioned that not all dogs are so friendly in turn, and the Cavalier is virtually defenseless against bigger dogs. As such, it should never be taken to run off-lead in areas where large dogs are also running free. In fact, the Cavalier should never be let off-lead except in the safest of places, because the Cavalier is too easily tempted by the smallest diversion. Even a fluttering butterfuly can lure a cavorting Cavalier into the path of traffic."

I want Tucker to be able to socialize with other dogs, I just want him to be able to do it with safety.

1st January 2007, 09:51 PM
hi natalie
good thing you could grab Lady so fast.
i think it's possible she picked up on your fear.
but how are you going to not be scared in a situation like that?
how old is lady?

i think what i would try in this situation is to find a puppy play group and let her sit on your lap while other puppies play, and get down on the floor with them, and play with the puppies, and encourage her by being playful with her, act relaxed and casual.

It might be best just to find someone with one other puppy, preferably cavalier, and get together with just the one other dog, and watch them play. Lady will probably continue to enjoy other dogs in an environment where you're relaxed, where you know she's safe.

Another similar thing to try would be to find a puppy kindergarten class and encourage puppy interaction with the guidance of an instructor. Those classes include socialization, and puppies are encouraged to play with each other.

Maybe you can find a dog park that has a small dog section. The one i go to has a small dog enclosure with a 20 pound limit, or maybe it's 25. Zack loves playing with big and small dogs, and so we visit both parks when we go, but lots of the dogs and people in the small dog park only go in the small dog area, and there is the option to keep small dogs completely separated from big dogs. A lot of dogs and people prefer that arrangement.

i do think if you feel comfortable and safe with an environment, it will help Lady to feel safe.

1st January 2007, 09:53 PM
You were absolutely right to pick her up when a dog was behaving that way. The owner needs to learn that 'just wanting to play; is not signalled by aggressively jumping on people, growling and starting to grab at other dogs, especially a small dog. That dog needs better manners as do the owners. Somewhere in the training section there's an article on dogs that'just want to play'... I'll post the link if I find it. Anyway you never want to risk a situation that you are not comfortable with -- don't leave your cavalier accessible to a dog whose behaviour worries you. She has had plenty of opportunities to meet friendly dogs so lifting her in such cases is not going to make her fearful.

One reason my vets really recommend using harnesses on small dogs is just what you found -- a harness makes it far easier to quickly lift a small dog to safety.

One thing UK trainer Jan Fennell suggests doing is carrying a chain lead -- not to use for walking your dog (I hate them) but if a scary dog approaches you can whirr the lead in front of you like a propeller, creating a barrier that even a big dog will not be likely to cross -- they hate the whizzing sound and the appearance. Fennell at a lecture here said if the owner says why are you threatening my dog, you just point out you are not threatening their dog, that you are just keeping their dog, which doesn't seem to be under their control and doesn't seem friendly, away from your own dog. It is easy to carry such a lead in your pocket as they bunch up and you don't need a heavy chain, just a light chain lead will do.

The bottom line is: even tough you may have the sweet dog and someone else's dog may be the rude or worse, aggressive dog, you do not ever want to risk another dog attacking yours as a cavalier will just NOT defend itself adequately against most other dogs as it isn't in their nature to fight. So you have to be the one who makes YOUR dog safe, which to me means never, EVER allowing a dog offlead that doesn't have (near) perfect recall anywhere that other dogs frequent (you may need to get your dog back in a second); training your dog to come close or heel when off lead so it is within reach, or keeping your dog on a lead or be ready to put it on a lead so you have more control if you see a questionable dog.

1st January 2007, 09:56 PM
Here's the previous thread and article:


1st January 2007, 11:15 PM
Definitely think you did the right thing, and Ellie is going through the same thing. We live in an apartment building, which is pet friendly, and as she was outside to go to the bathroom, some kind of very large dog was with his owner, on leash, and was pulling toward Ellie. Seeing the dog on the way, I scooped her up in my arms. The owner let the dog (jumping and pulling and obviously out of control) come right up to us, at which point the dog nearly jumped on me. I stepped back and she started crying so I told the other dog's owner that she's very young and scared. Luckily he took the hint. I wonder how people can be so stupid... Anyway that was yesterday and today we met a very nice poodle who gently came up and sniffed Ellie, but she whined because it was a big dog. However, this time I did not pick her up as the other dog was very calm. I read that this 9-12 week can be known as the fearful time, so socialization with other dogs is key. I also read in a Cav book that you should not pick them up, as that will promote being fearful. But it also said to be careful of big dogs that you don't know, because bad things can happen in an instant. I think you need to use your own judgment, especially when it comes to bigger, aggressive dogs. I know I don't regret picking her up to protect her, and if it means I need to work a little harder to get her socialized, so be it! I'd rather do that then have her get hurt. Anyway, long post, point is I think you reacted completely appropriately and you just need to do what your instincts tell you. Shame on those owners of big dogs who have no control!

1st January 2007, 11:26 PM
I also think you did the right thing.

This is something that really annoys me as well. We often go with the family and the dogs to the local park for picnics. Now it's a public park, not a dog of leash park so we keep our dogs on leashes and then tie the leashes to long ropes attached to trees right in the middle of all of us. The dogs love it cause they can sniff around, walk up to everyone in the group, play, jump on laps for cuddles etc. We are always right by the dogs so if young dogs or children are nearby we hold the dogs close to us and make sure they don't bother anyone. I know cavs are gentle dogs, but I can understand other people feeling uncomfortable about dogs going up to their children in parks. In other words we control them all the time.

I can't get over the number of dogs we see in those parks that are taken off leads and allowed to do what they want and often big dogs as well like alsations. The number of times we hold our dogs so that they can't get near these big dogs and the owners just let them come up to our dogs all the time and we can't do anything about it cause they're off leads. It's dangerous for our dogs for one thing but I also worry about all the young kids playing in the park.

2nd January 2007, 10:25 AM
That's a difficult one...
When Jake was a puppy we were in a similar situation and it ended in disaster, he was mauled by a German Shepard, it ended up ruining his socialisation with other dogs, from then on he was scared... TERRIFIED of EVERYTHING (bar other cavs).
Even though picking up a pup does reenforce there is something to be fearful off, being mauled by another dog i think is a way worse message!!!
I would have picked her up and pushed the dog out of the way and booted the woman!
If you dog is over excited and can't control itself around other dogs it should be on a leash even if its playing, a dog of that size rough playing WILL hurt a smaller dog!
You can't avoid these situation, you just need some sort of plan if it comes to that i guess??

2nd January 2007, 11:21 AM
hi thanks for all your relplies and advice i am going to look for some puppy classes today so she can socialise safetly, and i think that i might look out for a chain lead to deter an aggressive dog if this sort of thing ever happens again. I am thinking about not going on walks where dogs can be off leads i know it sounds pathetic but the whole thing has made me frightened about large dogs. I know that there are only a small minority of agrressive dogs but i don't think it is worth the risk esp after reading justines post on aflie being attacked.

2nd January 2007, 07:42 PM
Thank you so much for posting your experiences. Unfortunately, my dog, Sofee Marie also wasn't so lucky this past weekend (Sat - 12/30). I went for my first walk with her to a state park with my sister's 9 year old Springer spaniel. Her dog is aggressive, but we decided to give it a try as they had been on two previous walks together and got along fine. I turned my back to put Sofee's crate back in the car and my sister was not looking at her dog and the Springer attacked Sofee. They were both on leads at the time. She bit Sofee's face, causing two wounds on her nose and under her chin and knocking out two of her baby teeth. It was awful. We had to pull them apart and took a long time to calm Sofee down. We went right to the vet, who declared her fine, just some pain pills for the swollen lip and gum and antibiotics. Her Springer is up all on her shots.
I assume the blame for putting my dog in a bad situation. I was not aware of the heightened aggressiveness of my sister's dog and now, after reading this post, better understand the Cav's nature and temperament with regards to fighting back and so forth. I am soooooooooo thankful she is o.k.; I really thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. It was so hard for me to leave her at all over the past three days, but she seems just fine and actually was in a play group this morning with another dog and did fantastic. They had a blast, no aggression whatsoever.
As you all have said, it can happen in an instant and I'm here to say that is exactly right. Better to err on the side of caution, I have certainly learned that lesson.

2nd January 2007, 07:51 PM
Almost any spare lead will likely work to spin it, BTW, but chain leads fit easily in a pocket and are easy to spin.

2nd January 2007, 11:52 PM
My dog was attacked when I was younger and walking her. Was only two houses away from my own. I was young, so I tried to pick her up but the other dog who was loose jumped up and pulled my dog out of my hands. Loose dog (Golden) grabbed Lassie (30lb mix) and just shook her like she would a small prey animal. I kicked the loose dog repeatedly and screamed until someone came to get it. Lassie had some puncture wounds, but healed up nicely overall. I walked with mace after that.

Julie J
4th January 2007, 04:20 PM
Jack has been through something similar. Over the Canadian Thanksgiving (this past October) we were visiting my in-laws who have a standard poodle and were taking care of my brother-in-law's black lab. Neither the lab nor the poodle have ever been properly socialized (don't get me started!!). My in-laws have a huge piece of property and my dogs love to roam around and explore there. Jack pretty much just follows my golden, Blue everywhere so they have never gotten into trouble. Both of my dogs are very friendly and love to meet new "doggie friends". Long story short, the lab attacked Jack and he ended up with 3 staples under his chin and one on his cheek when the lab picked him up, shook him, and threw him away. Then Blue stood guard over him until we could get over there. It was one of the most horrible experiences I have ever had. Luckily he healed nicely and doesn't seem to have too much lingering fear. However, I have noticed that he will hide between my legs for a minute, assessing the situation before he will approach a new dog. He always lets his big sister check things out first. :)
It just goes to show you that you never know - my in-laws have always insisted that this lab is the most gentle dog they have ever seen.

6th January 2007, 12:05 PM
Unfortunately you see this time & time again. The larger dog owner's frame of mind that their pooch wouldn't hurt a smaller dog. A lot of times they might not have yet but most are completely unaware of a Cavvy's nature personality-wise. They are simply a sitting duck for any aggressive tendancy another dog may have IMHO.

One of our neighbors has two Staffordshire Terriers (Pit Bulls) and a little Pug. There is a wooden stockade fence separating our yards. Whenever our dogs and theirs happen to be out at the same time, their dogs go at the fence like a wrecking crew in a frenzy trying to get at our's.

Each time this happens, they have to come out, calm their dogs down and get them back inside. Otherwise, I truly believe they would eventually turn the fence into toothpicks. My wife and I have often commented that if they ever got through our babies would be nothing but horsd'oeuvres for those big things. :yikes

Here's the kicker. Time and time again they've said; "You know, our dogs have never attacked another dog. We've never seen them get like this. I'm sure if we just put them together under a sort of supervised "meet & greet", they would just become friends"

Yep....uh huh. And the check's in the mail and there really is a tooth fairy.

This is not going to happen. At least in my lifetime.

Then there's those folks who were obviously caught in the shallow end of the gene pool that just let their dogs run loose.

Here is a link to an ocurrence this past week here locally where the gallant pet owner saved her "Sccoby Doo" from harm but paid the price with over 60 bites and the loss of a finger. :yikes


Sorry...but IMO...in cases like this, the owners should be euthanized with the dogs. :swear:

6th January 2007, 04:38 PM
wow, that's horrible. i wonder if those dogs had killed before, apparently the owner seemed sure that they would in this case, the person who was warning her that they would kill her dog. Maybe the dogs had been trained to be aggressive. It's scary to think that there are dogs like this out there.
I don't understand why the animal control would release those dogs to anyone, after an unprovoked attack like that. Then again, that reminds of of a story i posted here once from a New York journal about junkyard dogs killing pet animals and intimidating people, and there was no government agency having jurisdiction over the problem.

i just googled it and found it, here it is:


6th January 2007, 05:00 PM
WOW...that story's both horrible & amazing. Amazing that the victim, Bonney, was able to survive such a vicious attack.

That story brings up a disturbing question in my mind as to whether there is a 'dog-on-dog' ordinance in our area. I know there's strict ordinances with dog-on-people but not sure about dog-on-dog as I write this.

I do know that I'm constantly bothered and irritated when I hear of a pet owner's cruelty to an animal because there's no teeth in those ordinances, so typically not much penalty either. So if there is a dog-on-dog law, it's probably the same way.

The innocent pet and / or pet owner suffers from the irresponsiblity of others. :swear: