A man and his German shepherd were alone in the dog park one early morning when another man with three dogs appeared. The three were overly aroused and snarking at each other in the airlock. As soon as the group entered the park, the shepherd ran up to them. The largest of the three, a malinois, immediately attacked the shepherd. It was noisy. It was horrific. It was terrible to see. Fortunately, the shepherd’s owner had the wisdom to pull the attacker away, rather than grabbing his own dog. The malinois’ owner then restrained his dog by the handle on the dog’s body harness. I shouted at the shepherd’s owner to grab his dog as well. Instead, he called his dog to him. The shepherd did not listen, and began walking back toward the malinois. Once again, I urged the man to get his dog on a leash. Instead, he called the shepherd to him. Again, the dog did not listen and this time, he approached the malinois, who pulled free of his owner and once again attacked the shepherd. This time the malinois’ two housemate dogs joined in. Now there were three dogs attacking the poor shepherd, who is not a dog that fights back.
Between the two men, they got the dogs separated and away from each other, although both parties remained in the park. The shepherd was limping badly, not able to put any weight at all on one of his back legs. Since my dogs and I were in the empty, enclosed small dog side of the park, I left my dogs to walk over and see if I could help. By this time the shepherd was on the ground, lying on his side. A few people I normally encounter during weekday morning walks were passing by. I stopped them and asked the owner of a Lab if he could stand by in case the shepherd needed to be carried back to his car. Instead, the Lab owner walked into the park to inspect the shepherd himself. While he was examining the dog, I told the shepherd’s owner the dog should be taken to a vet. But the Lab owner stood up and pronounced, “He’s fine. He doesn’t need to be taken in.” Good thing this man’s a veterinarian. Oh wait, he’s not. (He is, however, the same man who once, upon hearing that my dogs were on leash in a high-brush, rattlesnake-infested area because I was concerned about rattlesnakes, said, “You worry too much.” Yep, that’s me.) The shepherd was finally standing again and as he left, his owner called to the man with the three dogs that he’d see him the next day. These men are normally both in the dog park on the weekends at the same time, and although this is the second time their dogs have fought, they planned to allow them back together again the very next day. What could go wrong?
Have I mentioned that this same malinois has attacked at least four other dogs that I know of? It’s true that he does get along with many dogs, but then…well, there are some he just doesn’t. Interestingly, I was chatting recently with the woman who cuts my hair when something about this man and his dogs came up. She said, “Oh, I know him! His malinois attacked my puppy!” According to her, this very same dog had attacked her six-month-old labradoodle to the point that the mal had the pup’s entire head in his mouth. When it happened, she said, the man had sauntered over and in a baby voice said, “Oh look, he’s playing with the puppy.” Seriously.
You might be wondering if I’m going to say malinois are the most dangerous breed. I’m not. They’re certainly serious, driven dogs, but they are not the most dangerous. Nor are German shepherds. The most dangerous breed is, hands down, the Irresponsible Owner. If you run into one, you can certainly attempt to reason with them, and I give you kudos for trying. But don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work. This particularly breed is unlikely to be swayed by logic or even experience. Often seen allowing their dogs to participate in unsafe activities, members of this breed may also appear to have gone completely deaf and blind in instances where their dogs are bullying others. They’re also the ones yelling, “He’s friendly!” after you shout to please call the dog, who is off-leash and making a beeline for your own dogs. In a perfect world, members of this breed would walk around wearing shirts that say, “Don’t worry, it will all be fine!” so they could be instantly identified. If you encounter this dangerous breed, beware! The best course of action is to avoid, avoid, avoid, and do whatever you need to in order to keep your own dogs safe.
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Horrific. I feel for the GSD and don’t understand why one owner lets his dog attack the shepherd and that owner lets him!
These guys like dog fights, they don’t really care about their dogs!They are horrible people!
Sadly it would appear so. 😦
I so agree with you Nicole, there are many people that just don’t care, or are in denial that something serious could take place. I have a shepherd, although she gets along with most dogs, she plays very rudely, muzzle punches, she will at time ignore calming signals from the other dog. So, I avoid dog parks with her, I don’t want her or someone else’s dog to get hurt. Thank you so much for all your writing and training tip Tuesday. I have learned a lot.
Have a great day,
That poor GSD. My heart hurts for him. His owner is just as dangerous IMO. Imagine if either man were attacked in a back alley by a bunch of hoodlums how he would feel. Why can’t people see their dog’s perspective?
I did not even have to read the blog to answer this one gratitude though you made the case in point very clear. Malinois everywhere applaude you and the German Shepherds agree. It is the human element.
Nobody ever listens to me either. Wondering if the Mal. had military training. Very sad scenario, but why am I not surprised? Is there a police or ranger you can call?A report should be filed, add witness accounts.
Sadly, for dog walks now, I carry my cell w/the emergency ranger #, a hiking stick, an air horn, and now pepper spray-not for the dogs, but people, men!
This is one sad commentary on what’s going on today. Why am I up before dawn to walk my dogs? So I don’t run into people like this.
What really bothers me about this story is how you, as a woman no doubt, was pretty much brushed aside, discounted w/your help and advice. GSD=big sweethearts, hearts of gold.
Again, with meaning, nobody ever listens to me as well.
We don’t have rangers here, police would say it’s an animal control issue, and animal control will not do anything on heresay. I fear someone’s dog will eventually be badly injured or killed. And yes, my input was completely brushed aside, never mind that this is what I do for a living. Smart of you to carry all that you do.
I cannot understand the mindset of owners like that and frankly, they infuriate me. I’m normally a very calm and reasonable person, but off-leash dogs running up to my dog bring out the super bitch in me. There is a man in my small town that allows his large Labradoodle type dog to hang out off-leash on his front porch. Now this dog is, in fact, very friendly and non-intimidating, but nonetheless, I do not appreciate the dog running up to me and any dog I may be walking. For many years that was dogs I brought home from my service dog work who were generally well-socialized, but I still didn’t want them to have another dog right up in their face. Now I have my own boy, a dog and people reactive Lab mix, with whom I have spent many hours and $$$ working to help increase his comfort level around other dogs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve angrily told this man his dog needs to be on a leash after the dog has literally run across the street and then up to us, with the owner essentially ignoring me and not even apologizing for the dog’s rude behavior. After one such encounter, I actually went back to his house after safely securing my dog at home and tried to have a neighborly, non-confrontational discussion with him, explaining why it was so upsetting to me (and my dog) to have his dog come running up unrestrained. He was somewhat receptive but I mostly solve the problem by doing just what you noted at the end of your blog – avoiding his street altogether. A few days ago, however, I turned down a side alley to take a shortcut home, without realizing it ran behind the house where this dog lives. Sure enough, here he comes trotting out and getting right up in Charlie’s face. (To be fair, Charlie handled it better than me!) This time the wife was out in the yard and I gave her a piece of my mind, knowing full well it will do absolutely no good. As for dog parks, I avoid them completely … too much potential for the kind of incidents you describe for my comfort level!
That IS infuriating. I’m sorry you have a neighbor like this and have to deal with this issue regularly, as much as you try to avoid it. I have a friend who lives in a rural area who has the same issue. She has worked with her dogs and they all love their daily walk, but she is now very limited where she can go, as someone has an off-leash dog in their front yard and will not change that. There are unfortunately so many ignorant, irresponsible, inconsiderate dog owners who make things much more difficult than they need to be.
Donna/Wildemn: Sounds like my neighborhood as well! Any leash laws? Responsive police that can handle the situation instead of us? I get nervous when someone’s garage door is open, and who know’s if a dog will charge out or not. Do we all have to carry an air horn and hiking stick for protection now? Those fenceless (wired) fences do not work !! Come over to my house and see all the dog poop people leave on my lawn. I love to catch them.
Again, no bad dogs, just bad dog-people.
That is very true the owner is to blame not the dog. That poor German Shepherd. If that was my dog and that guy showed no remorse for his dog attacking my dog then I’m gonna show no remorse when I attack the owner