Join Date: Jun 2009
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Ther are several issues in this thread. Re: picking a small dog or puppy up when a large dog is approaching unleashed... I would ALWAYS pick my small dog up if I can. Nowadays, I carry "Halt" spray, which gives you quite a bit of distance between you and the advancing dog.
Before i learned about the spary, Kodi and I HAVE been attacked by larger dogs a couple of times. If the dog still comes at you, it most probably is still going after the dog. (If it is human aggressive, and truly after you, it's not going to make any difference whether you are holding the dog or not). If the dog still comes at me I kick the dog as hard as I can, if possible in the soft part of the belly, if that's not possible, I kick at any part of the dog I can contact. The owner might get mad at you... There is even the (small) possibility that you will injure the dog. Tough luck. As far as I'm concerned, it's their problem for not controlling their dog. No court is going to blame you for defending yourself against an attacking dog.
Re: Puppy classes. We hear this over and over again on the forum. I am beginning to think we need a "sticky" for choosing a Puppy Kindergarten, just as we do for choosing a breeder. Peopel have to check out training facilities and puppy classes BEFORE subjecting their puppy to something that is going to have a lasting negative effect on their ability to socialize well with other dogs. This is part of our responsibility as dog owners. We need to protect our puppies from situaions that will cause them harm (even if it is emotional harm) while building as many positive experiences as possible. Don't LET your puppy get jumped on by a large breed puppy. A good training facility won't allow Flexi's on the property, and won't allow small children to handle dogs (large breed or otherwise) without an adult using a second leash on the same dog for safety. Some large breed puppies are low energy, and FINE playmates for small breed puppies. These pups are a GREAT way for our little ones to learn that just because a dog is big, doesn't mean he's scary. Conversely, a tiny rat terrier pup could EASILY overwhelm a larger Havanese puppy, and their interactions would need to be carefully monitored. All this means you need to have scouted out a good quality training facility and instructor before you even sign up.
Re: walking though a door with a small breed dog. Whether you are walking into your training establishment, or a Petco, Petsmart or anywhere else that you might come face-to-face with another dog, never allow your dog (large or small) precede you through into an unknown situation. You are just asking for trouble. Even many well socialized, dog-friendly dogs have a problem with a strange dog coming face first into their space, especially if they are feeling cornered.
We have a GREAT training center. Even so, the door, office and entryway to the rings are bottlenecks. This is a competition training center, so many of the dogs are highly trained. But we still have young dogs, and even reactive dogs who are coming in and out... And Kodi is invariably the small dog in any face to face encounter. So, Kodi always waits behind me as I open the door and check things out. If the coast is clear, or if any dogs present are ones I know won't be an issue, we procede in, with him in heel position, never ahead of me. Until he was trained well enough to stay at heel, we went through with him on a short enough leash that he remained at my side. If I have any question about the safety of the situation, whether it is dogs I don't know, pet owners who are oblivious and not handling their dogs well, or just that there is a lot of congestion as classes are changing, I pick Kodi up and carry him in.
I guess my overall message is, we need to be PRO-ACTIVE to keeping our dogs out of situations where they can either be hurt, traumatized or practice behaviors that we don't want to develop. We can complain as much as we want about the owners of other dogs, but the fact of the matter is that we can't control them. So we have to think and act defensively to keep our own dogs safe.
Karen, Kodi, Pixel and Panda
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