2/2/16

Tuesday Tale - Little Dogs in Big Dog Country

Mama here today, to vent a bit of the frustrations of having little dogs (under 25 pounds) in a rural area, where big dogs are prevalent, and the effect it has had on me.


I want to start off by saying I love dogs....all dogs...big or little, chihuahua or pittie. I am against any state or country banning a dog because of its breed. That being said, I am not a big "neglectful dog owner" lover.  This would be the owner who swears his 120 pound dog is friendly and that it had "never" gone after a little dog before;  the owner who allows their dog off leash while not under direct supervision; or the owner who lets their dog run free on the beach more than 100 yards in front of them where there is little to no chance of recall, simply because the dog would not be able to hear them because of the roaring surf. 


As you who read our blog frequently may notice, Arty has not been to "his beach" lately. In fact he hasn't been on a walk there in almost two years, because of an unfortunate incident that occurred. Arty, my husband and I were heading back to the car after a routine beach walk when Arty (who was leashed) was charged by a very large dog (who was not leashed). I won't give the breed, but it was not the first you would assume (it was not a Pittie). I had to fall and envelope Arty in order to save him from being mauled.  I did not blame the dog, some dogs are prey driven and Arty is an 18 pound black and white furry animal. I DO BLAME THE CAREGIVER.  In this case, it was a dog sitter who had 2 other dogs, NONE of which were leashed. I wish I could say this was not the norm here in our beautiful corner of the world, but sadly it is.  This was the first time something like this had ever happened to me in over ten years of dog ownership (including fostering several large dogs), and it has affected me deeply.




I guess you could say it has affected the pack too, because they rarely go hiking with me anymore.  I am afraid I am putting their lives in danger by taking them out on the trails.  I frequently see dogs off leash, running free and not being watched. I had a feeling that I am turning into one of those "Sissy Dog Mamas" who dotes on her babies (OK...so I may be one of those anyway :-) and won't let them socialize with other pups. But that's just not true. I had no problem bringing Dory to meet Murphy and Stanley, because I knew their parents were responsible dog owners. I have no problem bringing my pups to the BAR this summer for the same reason.  Unfortunately, I had another episode happen yesterday morning, this time with Dory.


Dory and I took a ride to a scenic area to do a photo shoot for what was going to be a lighthearted post today. It was a beautiful day,  and we were both looking forward to getting out for a bit after all the recent rains.  We had a great photo shoot and we had fun sitting and watching the ocean.  While gathering up my gear, a VERY BIG dog (unleashed) came up nearby stairs leading up from the beach and charged at Dory (who was leashed).  I had time to scoop Dory up and quickly walked toward my car while talking soothingly to both Dory and the dog (again, it's not the dog's fault, this breed can be very prey driven). When I was halfway to the car the owner stumbled up the stairs. He was all apologies and "My dog has never done anything like this before".  I got Dory to the car safely and drove away, but again I have been traumatized.

...and here, I guess, lies the problem...

Is it me that has been traumatized?  I still feel safe around big dogs. I have no issues whatsoever loving on big dogs that I know, or even giving head scritchies to the pups I meet while I am out hiking by myself.  But if I have one of my pack out for a walk, I will scoop them up whenever we approach a bigger dog, even if that dog is leashed. Do I stop taking my small dogs out on local "adventures" because I am the one that is scared? Arty has developed "small dog syndrome" since his big dog run in, but then again, could that my anxiety that he senses?


I would never get over it if something happened to one of our pack if one of these type of encounters ended badly. For now, I have settled into taking the dogs for walks only in our neighborhood and occasionally taking Dory or Arty out for photo shoots on location.  Now, after this morning's episode, even these outings are becoming frightening.


Thank you for listening.  I know this is out of character for our blog, but I trust your opinions and any input you may have on the situation. I know that not only is this a community of animal lovers, but a community of responsible dog owners.  I also wonder if some of you may also have little dogs in big dog country.

36 comments:

Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

VERY scary! We meet lots of dogs...we tend to be the smallest, if off-leash, we know how to approach strange dogs, but on the lead, we lunge and bark at dogs of all sizes and act like we're going to tear them to shreds. So far, we've scared everyone off. It is a problem when people just assume that their dogs are going to behave all the time in every situation.

Charliedownunder said...

Why is it that these irresponsible people ALWAYS say their dog has NEVER done anything like that before? Both times Charlie was attacked I got that. Like you I was scared to take Charlie out and for quite some time when I saw another dog, that I didn't know, I would put him on a lead. We mainly walk at leash free beaches so all the dogs are off lead. I wouldn't let him play with dogs I didn't know. Charlie was getting very frustrated with me and I knew it was my problem not his. I do let him play with strange dogs now but I watch the situation very closely and at the first sign of trouble I step in and put him on lead. I did get caught a while back with a Bull Arab and couldn't stop the encounter but luckily he was a gentle giant and Charlie was ok. I also carry a ball and Charlie prefers me throwing the ball to other dogs so I can call him off with the ball. I don't know the answer. It's hard to relax when worrying about whether or not your babies are safe. I'm so sorry this happened to you .... Lynn, Charlie's Mum.

Whitley Westie said...

Sorry that happened to you. We've had stuff like that happen to us before too - I was attacked by a big dog who was off-leash years ago (a black Shephard mix) while I was walkin at UCLA. And Finley was attacked in our own front yard by a naybor's pit bull. And we've had other dogs run at us and try to attack us while we've been on walks - whether it being in the nayborhood, in parks, or on a college campus (which for some reason people treat like dog parks even though there were leash signs EVERYWHERE). We're always leashed when outside. It is very frustrating and da mommas feel like they always have to be on alert for off-leash dogs. We just wish people would be responsible.

Julie said...

I finks its the owners not the dogs...nefer bad dogs, always bad owners.
Mum's friend do haf rescue greyhounds, which can be a bit snappy so she takes them out muzzled. But, would you beleaf some other dog owners let their dogs off the lead run up to these dogs, they shout 'don't worry they're friendly' Mum's friend shouts back 'they might be but mine AREN'T, look at the muzzle!!!!' Sum peeps are really stoopid aren't they
Loves and licky kisses
Princess Leah xxx

Mark Muller said...

Therefore Easy stays always on a leash when we take a walk. we have a back yard and we have a fenced meadow where he can run. But I never risk that something happens to Easy nor will I risk that something happens to other dogs. Easy is friendly to nearly all dogs... and his bff is a shi-tzu named Calie, but I never can foresee if this friendship is for a lifetime or what happens when they think something is wrong. I totally dislike it when dogs run free while the owner have a chat or hang on their phone. So I can't understand this dogsitter you met once... a dogsitter has to take extra good care, we have to trust him while he takes a walk with our furfriends....
At the end the dogs have to pay the price when bad things happen... no matter how careless and stupid their owner acted :o(

Mitch and Molly said...

How awful for you! We have never run into this situation before but our mom does wonder sometimes if something like this did ever happen, how she could best protect us. Thank doG Dory and Arty were okay and no ER visit was needed.

Emma said...

Oh man, this is so very sad. No one should ever be afraid to take their dog out. When we used to watch our little friend Buddy who was only about 14 lbs, Mom was always nervous about something happening to him. It is just wrong you are even afraid to do a photo shoot. It is scary enough when a dog comes up to us and we are 40 lbs, but we also worry if you scoop up a small dog the big dog will tackle you to get the dog. Such sad news. We hope you can build up some confidence and try going out again. GBGV hugs to you all.

Reilly-Denny Cowspotdogs said...

it is true - these events often traumatize us humans just as much as our dogs in ways we don't always associate with stress - the tensing up of muscles, that knotted feeling in the stomach at seeing a big dog, that tinge of anger that the dog is running free - it can make going for a walk a lot less enjoyable and although I have never been in such a situation I have seen so many incidents on the news about it that I tend to find places to take the boys where I know there will be no other dogs

Oz theTerrier said...

This is so sad and it is so common that it becomes frustrating. Oz was attacked by a neighborhood dog that he knew - he was on leash and the other dog was not. They greeted each other in their usual, friendly way and then the other dog just turned on him. It was so scary for me and Oz! Now, Oz has a Napoleon complex when he is on leash and another dog is off leash. I try to remain calm (it is so hard sometimes especially when Oz is barking like a lunatic) and yes, sometimes I scoop him up and walk in the other direction. I feel for you and I hope you will not let this scare you away from the places you like to venture with the dogs. I wish more people would realize that dogs can be unpredictable even if "they've never done that before"...

Sandra said...

I can totally relate and all of 4 of our dogs have weighed 50 to 60 pounds. we have a leash law here, which states they must always be ON LEASH if not in their own yard or in an off leash park. we have 3 off leash parks. our dogs and our selves over 30 years have been attacked or tried to attack by dogs running free. we stopped walking Jake in our neighbor hood because people who have fenced back yards let their dogs out to potty in the unfenced front yard. we carry walking canes and an ax handle when we walk, even alone. people say my dog will NOT leave our yard, he is trained to stay in the yard. any dog off leash and free will run at another dog sometimes and we never know when.
that said on leash can be fun to. bob was waiting at the truck with Max on leash while i paid the bill. i stepped out and behind me came a woman with two giant huskies, holding the two leashes in one hand. the male husky jerked the leash out of her hand and went and attacked bob and Max, bob got bit, Max bit the husky, lots of blood involved. the woman stood with the dog leash in her hand screaming. i said to her put your damn dog in your car and get the leash of the other one. bob was holding Max and fighting her dog. we never know what a dog will do. they are like people and have buttons to push.
once my friend and i were hiking in a state park. on a tight path in the woods. no where to get off the path. i said Diane listen... something is coming and it was a dog off leash, a giant dog running and growling.. lucky for us he ran past us and we could hear the owner, a man screaming at the dog to come back.... i am a firm believer to keep dogs on leash in public places.

Madi and Mom said...

Beth I 100% know what you are talking about...and I agree with you. I have often heard it said there are no bad dogs, just bad owners. Of course having a cat I haven't experienced any of this until I started walking my neighbor's dog Kasi. I know Kasi she is sweet. She never ever barks at anything. Even all the barking dogs from yards and houses where we walk. She will stop, turn and her ears pop up. There was an incident last week as we past a house. A beagle mix was on his porch some distance from the sidewalk. So I put Kasi on my left as we went by...Dang dog came charging at us. Kasi weighs about 50 lbs. No way I could have picked her up. Thank goodness the dog stopped about a foot from the side walk. We continued on I was definitely rattled. Kasi was NOT. bless her heart. The route we take has us passing that house since it is just off from out main street. Next time we passed we walked on the street. I noticed one of those 'our dog is protected by Invisible Fence' signs. All well and good for us until the owner forgets to put a new battery in the collar.
So now I'm very selective where we walk and I hope there are no more dog charges from any of the other houses. I carry my cell phone even a block away from home. Many of our dog friends have posted about their pups being attacked by larger dogs.
I don't blame you one bit about staying close to home.

My hubby and I are having the same issue with our own safety. The other day we were talking about wanting to see Grease on Staged at a downtown venue for Valentine's. But we had a frighting experience a year or so ago after dining at night downtown. Parking near the restaurants is not available so it is always a remote parking deck. As we were walking toward the deck with another couple we noticed approaching 'big dogs of the human species". The lady and I were together the men behind us about 1/2 a block. All of a sudden we heard the hubbies calling us to 'come look at a window'. Seems they noticed the 'approaching big dogs' as possible danger and wanted us to stay in a better lite area. So now we do not go downtown after dark to attend any of the wonderful venues offered. We might go in a large group but never alone.

Bullies are lurking and we have to change our ways to feel safe and that is just not right...I'm so sorry you can't go to the beach with your sweet pack...
Hugs Cecilia

Bacon Thompson said...

I so feel you! As a parent to a miniature pot bellied pig and a 6 pound Yorkie Terrier, I have to think first about walking them anywhere because of this same problem. We usually stick to our backyard where I feel somewhat safe for them which is so unfair on getting them out for adventures. I can hold Houdini (the Yorkie) but I can't Bacon (the piggy). And it takes just *ONE* time regardless if the owner thinks their dog is nice or friendly. I can't take the chance with *ONE* time for an accident. I so feel you my friend. XOXO - Bacon's MOM

Two French Bulldogs said...

Mom has HBO words for anything that's off the leash including a guinea pig
Lily & Edward

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

WE are turning this one over to our MOM....

OKAY... here is the thing.... EVERY dog can Attack... EVERY BREED ... even the small ones...and they ALL need to be kept LEASHED or Fenced for EVERYONE's Safety... ALWAYS..
THAT IS JUST HOW IT IS...
We who have SMALL dogs... know that they can be intimidated by LARGE dogs... but can ALSO be intimidated by dogs of the Same size... ERNIE is that way... He has been socialized from the very day we got him... but STILL... when he sees other dogs... he becomes REACTIVE... THAT is why we always keep him Fenced or Leashed... or in his no walkin Wagon.. or his "OFFICE" which is actually a BABY Play Pen... THAT will be coming to BAR with us...
DOGS CAN and WILL Attack and or Become Reactive... it is a FACT and those who say... MY DOG NEVER DOES THAT... does NOT know DOGS... Those who say... My dog has NEVER done that BEFORE... may be telling the TRUTH... but it only takes ONCE to traumatize some other dog or Person. They should remember that there is a FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING... and take steps to PREVENT it from happening.
SIZE does NOT MATTER... BREED does NOT Matter... DOGS CAN and DO react. We may not know what Caused it ...at that moment... but it DOES happen... and the results can be SCARY if not DEADLY.
No Matter the Breed or the Size... DOGS are DOGS and they need to be LEASHED to Prevent an Attack and to PROTECT from an attack... A Leashed dog that is being attacked or stalked prior to an attack... is MUCH EASIER to PROTECT from harm... than one who is Running Free and Too Far from their human to be rescued.
We don't UNDERSTAND why folks don't look at dog ownership as a RESPONSIBILITY to both Prevent and Protect THEIR beloved pet... and every other Person's Pet that their dog WILL be encountering.
OMG I have written a BOOK here... and I still have MORE falling from my fingertips...
BUT I am being HONEST and REALISTIC... as I said... my ERNIE will be contained or restrained at BAR... THAT is MY responsibility to the OTHERS that will be attending and to ERNIE and Frankie to protect them, as well...
WHEN (and it WILL happen) Ernie becomes Reactive... he will be restrained and contained because THAT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY.
WHY OTHERS don't do that is BEYOND my Understanding. THOSE are the same folks that don't Pick up the POOPS.
To try to end this TIRADE on a lighter note... I always want to say to people... OH your dog has never Charged/Attacked/Reacted to another dog before?????? I'll bet it has NEVER POOPED before EITHER. Here is a POOP Bag... and another Rock to go along with the others that you have in your head and are also Living Under.
OKAY... Stick a fork in me, I'm Done !

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
... I just wrote a lengthy response full of common sense and soothing words along with a 'wider picture' perspective. Blogger refused to publish it! Bottom line - you're both safe. Refuse to live in fear. If you think that is a repeat offender, call the authorities. Get some Bach's Rescue Remedy to take the raw edge off the shock for yourself - and for Dory if you feel she needs it. Huggies, YAM xx

speedyrabbit said...

I understand your fear but the problem is pets pick up on those fears and anxieties from you,Remember you protected your dogs in those times of need,you and your quick thinking did that.But dogs live in the now they really don't dwell on things that have happened in the past ,they move on from these moments so quickly.Be confident in yourself you take care of your dogs and keep them safe when it is needed,I'm not saying to forget that these happen with other dogs but you need to push it from your mind when its over and carry on as normal.Its a shame that your fears and anxiety is stopping you and your dogs from going out and having the best times.So be confident but also aware of other dogs but continue to enjoy going out with your dogs and your dogs will pick up on that and enjoy those moments too.
I have to be aware of dogs when I take Speedy out on his walks,being a rabbit dogs get more excitable over him so all I do is pick him up if its a mild mannered dog he does get to socialise with them but only in my arms unless its leashed and lives with rabbits and guinea pigs,and when they are gone i put him back down and off we go Speedy doesn't worry about these things because I don't worry because I know that I am quick to pick him up before any dog gets close.Be well you are a great doggy mum just believe and trust in your self,Huggs xx Rachel

stellaroselong said...

We are so sorry Beth that you had to go through this. Your pictures with the dogs are always so beautiful and calming and I would hate to see you give them up. and I bet the dogs would miss it also. We live in a village where there is a leash law...well of course that does not always happen. Several times when I walk mags and gussie a unleashed dog will come up to us, and of course they are always bigger. This last time I had my little granddaughter with me. I get nervous so I am sure the pugs pick up on that, but the big dog didn't do anything, we just hurried away so I felt like our walk was not pleasant at all. That is why I tend to go to places where no one else is, which is good in one way, but then does not help with their socialization. It surprised me that the dog walker would let them off leash, I feel that was very irresponsible. I am sorry this happened to you.
deb

Sully said...

This post hurts my heart, I am so sorry that you had to go through this not once but twice. People need to understand we are animals and sometimes we have unpredictable behaviors and need to be closely supervised. Anytime you visit a public place, you need to be mindful of others cause sometimes bad things happen. My mom is a probation officer and she hates it when she approaches an offenders house and the owner of the dog (mostly vicious breeds) says it won't bite. Mom says maybe not you but I don't want to take that chance, secure your dog. Unfortunately, mom deals with a lot of irresponsible dog owners, just last week mom went to a house to find an offender had packed up in the middle of the night or more like 5 nights and left their dog chained to a tree without food or water. Mom called animal control for help. She loves all dogs big, small, and even if they are trained to eat her alive. Again, I'm sorry that you had to deal with this scary situation but don't let it stop you from doing what you love. Always be aware of your surroundings.

Aroo to you,
Sully

Marg said...

Oh gosh, that is so sad. You should not feel badly about being afraid. There is plenty to be afraid of when big dogs come after your little dogs. Poor Arty. The worst part is that you have to change your life to accommodate those dogs that are not on leash. I know how you feel since the dogs next door come after the cats here but luckily they can get away by getting in our fenced in yard. We sure feel for you and for those cute little dogs. I was scared silly for years but in the meantime, I have taught those darn big dogs to go home every time they get anywhere near our yard. Sure am glad that you were brave enough to pick up the dogs and get them to the car. And the dogs know they can trust you to take care of them. Do not feel bad abut being afraid.

Quinn and Angel brandi said...

Oh, dear, we are so sorry for you. Where we live they only allow little dogs. And most cats come "little". Since it is a big building and attached parking lot most dog owners (and "the Walkers" Club) only walk around our block. There are so many parks in this city, and doggie parks! Last time I was at a park I saw lots of dogs BEING WALKED ON LEASH and that made me happy. German Shepherd meet miniature poodle SAFELY!
Still, I wish there were small dog parks.
This is a friendly building, and the dogs and cats have no problems with each other. They are all about the same size, anyway! And we have a retired professional dog trainer here who lends his help to anyone who needs it! (and his little dog Lyla is the only dog allowed off leash IN the building).
Lyla sees me and knows she will get petted and her belly scratched. She smells Quinn on me. And when I get back home, Quinn smells me and asks to get petted, too.

Idaho PugRanch said...

Oh my precious Dory, I wish I could have been there to help your mom protect you. Off leash dogs make our mom nervous too. xxoo Mr Bailey
Mom here - Greta was attacked by an australian shepard when we were leaving training class
We had stopped to talk to someone and suddenly this dog lunged at Greta. I got her away and Greta screamed in pain. We could not see anything initially but then I found a tear at the base of her ear. Not to long after this same dog attacked a little papillon while on the agility practic area and the little dog required stitches in her face. Unbelievably the owner of the Aussie would take no responsiblity - she blamed it on the little dogs. Even more unbelievable it caused a rift among trainers when the training director required the dog to be leashed or crated when not running the course. HUH? I am lucky that it did not seem to have a long term affect on Greta. After that we kept a wide berth from that dog.
I hope you can stll get out with your pack - we love the pictures you take
hugs
Linda

Bouncing Bertie said...

So very sorry you had such a horrid incident today. I can't offer a solution, but I do have some thoughts on the broader issues involved. One thing that has become very obvious to me after several years of reading blogs about dogs living in the North America is that cultural differences between the UK and the USA are not limited to attitudes on gun control or 'socialised' medicine! Our attitudes to "off leash" dogs are also very different. The park where I walk Bertie every day is a typical city park, used by all comers. Dogs are not required to be on a leash (or, as we would call it, a lead) and most people including me, go there specifically because their dogs will get the chance for a good run around. People are generally encouraged to bring new puppies out to meet and socialise with the other dogs, and mostly they seem to learn how to behave.There seems to be much less anxiety in general here about the issue of off-leash dogs. You could probably write a PhD thesis about why these different attitudes exist and whether they are a good thing. I'm certainly not saying that dog fights never happen, but I am also sure that dogs enjoy far more freedom in this country and this is surely is, on balance, for the general good of the dog population.
Hope you continue to enjoy (safe) outings with your darling pups, and don't become too anxious.
Cheers,
Gail.

Sketching with Dogs said...

Many years ago my first Chihuahua was almost savaged to death by a greyhound. I love greyhounds but once again, as you said, it was not leashed and the greyhound just followed it's instinct when it saw a tiny fluffy white animal in the distance.
Since then I always err on the side of caution and if a big dog comes charging towards us I always pick Elliot up. Most of the time it is unnecessary and the dog just wants to say hello but I am not going to give the benefit of the doubt to something that could easily kill Elliot unless I am sure it is okay.
Unortunately, like your beach, owners here think it is perfectly alright to let their dog run off and do what it likes while they are 300 yards away.
Lynne x

Casey said...

Those sound like some skeery incidents, and we can't blame you a bit for getting worried over them! Momma lives in fear of the same thing. We're bigger, but that also means she can't just pick us up if something goes wrong. We've had unleashed dogs charge us on walks, and Momma has her hands full trying to get us safely away and not have US react badly too. People think they can just shout "oh, he's friendly" as their dog charges us as if that makes it all okay. (Momma will say that too, but only WHILE she's restraining us to reassure people, because Jessie can growl kinda skeery sometimes but she wouldn't actually go after anyone.) We stopped going to dog parks because of all the irresponsible owners, and Momma's not taking me back to Wags & Waves anymore after I got attacked last year. It's a shame those owners have to ruin so much for the rest of us!

Murphy said...

We know EXACTLY where you are coming from! You are not out of line at all. There are so many people who are not being responsible and the rest of us are paying the price! We run into these "voice controlled" dogs all the time when we are running. When we are running with the Doods, this becomes a very dangerous situation as leashes quickly wrap our legs mid-run. I can't count how many time I have quickly picked up Murphy! We have also reduced the number of places we take the boys in order to lessen the contact with these jerks. We feel like carrying pepper spray to use on the OWNERS because when you have an encounter with their dog they act all put out that you have to take quick action to rescue your dog. Sheesh . . . don't get me started! So sorry you and Dory (who is about as sweet of a dog as any dog could be) had a bad experience. Maybe peer pressure is the answer since leash lows aren't effective?

C

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

We are so sorry this has happened to you not once but so many times. We have similar problems in our neighborhood. Even though we are not small dogs, if we are out walking with Mom and on leash as we should be, we get very upset when a loose dog, big or small, come racing at us. And the answer is always the same, oh, she/he won't harm you, she/he is very friendly. Even it that is true, it makes it very hard for the leash holder to explain that to her dogs who think an attack is imminent. Because of that, we typically don't walk in our development but stick to the main road along side it.

Now we ARE a breed with high prey instincts. Rabbits, squirrels, birds, cats - they are not always safe around us. But if we are on leash outside of our yard, Mom is a very responsible owner. She knows that small dogs can sometimes bug us with their barking, so she always crosses the street or puts us in a sit-stay at a distance off the pathway until the other dogs pass by. It just makes sense for her to do that. It is sad that there are so many dog owners who do not really understand the nature of dogs or their own responsibility to make them behave.

We hope you can find some safe way to take your dogs for more walks. We would strongly encourage you to call animal control on every person you meet who is not being a responsible dog owner. It won't make you a lot of friends but it will keep you and your dogs safe. Keep that number at the ready on your cell phone and use it.

The OP Pack and Mom

Cole said...

I am so sorry that you, Dory and Arty have had to endure this trauma. I totally understand - I haven't talked about it on my blog (maybe I will some day) but after encountering a similar situation a few years ago ended up rushing an Italian Greyhound to the vet with life threatening injuries and a bite on my face that required many stitches and a plastic surgeon to fix. To this day - I am afraid of the breed of dog that did that damage to me and another dog. As a rescuer, it shames me to admit it.

As the mom of four babies who are a breed with high prey instincts - I understand the predator/prey relationship. But it doesn't make it any easier to swallow when things get scary, and my babies or yours are the prey.

FinleytheWestie said...

We knows what you mean... I think you're smart to be careful. Not only was I attacked while on leash in our own front yard by a loose pit bull-- I wuz saved cuz Daddy kicked it off me... dat dog sailed 10 feet. Daddy wuz really skeered cuz I let out a skreem worse than anything he evfur heard. His fast ackshun saved me frum dat dog killin' me. No warnin, it charged straight at me. A naybor lady and her mini dachshund were attacked by a loose pit dat almost killed da pup and ripped da lady up sumthin' bad. So yeah, we gits nervuss evfurry time we sees a pit bull--most of dem are pulling and pulling and da owners can't control 'em. Why do you want a pup ya can't control? 'Specially one dat is capable of doin' so much damage?? I's still real skeered of 'em-- dey's da onliest dogs I bark at....I knows dey have a breed ban on dem in da UK-- part of da problem wiff dem is dat dey don't give warnin' signs before attackin'-- dey'll evfun give a play bow furst.. and dey don't seem to git submission signals frum anuther dog... or just don't care. So not only can't people "read them" but us uther dogs can't, either.
A loose pit rushed us anuther time, too-- very skerry. Uther breeds has been loose and rushed us, too, includin' a dobie... but my Momma shouted at it to STOP and it did.... and went back home. A boxer ran up and tried to snap at Whit when her Momma lifted her up. We always has harnesses on so's we can be picked up quick if a loose dog runs at us. We have leash laws here but there are so many people who think the laws don't apply to dem-- like they're sumthin' special.
We sympathize wiff ya... people who break da leash laws and let der dogs run loose are so durn inconsiderate. And dey is clueless, too-- always protestin' dat der dog is sweet, etc... yeah, well, it snapped, growled, rushed at us so pardon me if we don't agree. Leash yer durn dog like da law requires.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

I am sorry this happened to you and your doggys. We understand because the same thing has happened in my family many times..
We so understand
love
tweedles

Jans Funny Farm said...

I am so sorry this has been happening. I, too, am frustrated with dog owners who do not have any sense of responsibility. My dogs are larger than yours, although Merci is still a small dog. She was once attacked by 3 dogs on a walk.

But even having larger dogs does not resolve the problem. We have a leash law here but I can not count the number of dogs that are not leashed. Nor can I count the number of times we have been charged and/or attacked by territorial loose dogs. I have written a number of posts on some of these encounters. Marcus is a pit bull mix. He was attacked in the face barely off our own property. I do not walk with them any more without carrying a big (psychedelic colors)water pistol. I don't care how strange people think it looks. It is sometimes the only thing between us and a charging dog. Squirting one in the face when he gets close generally causes the dog to stop, turn around, or at least rethink.

Such things do not just frighten or traumatize the dogs. They have a negative affect on us and our dogs pick up our fear.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

I'm an off leash advocate. The leash does create an imbalance. I've seen a rott who hikes with and takes orders from a chi chi, go ballistic meeting an ON Leasher. But I've had my own rott attacked...and it's hard to lose the fear after that. And I KNOW they sense our fear. I've always had dogs go after horses. The horse women around here are scared, nasty beeeatches who scream and make it worse. With Macy, I've decided I don't want .my fear to be HER problem. I've always leashed around the horses but, with Macy, I put her in a sit talk soothingly to her. The side benefit is this calms ME.

In the end you have to do what works for you...but I hate to see your kids denied a beautiful hike! When someone gives me that "my dog is friendly" line, I always yell, "MINE ISN'T!"

The Army of Four said...

First, let me say how terribly sorry I am to hear all of this. It's just not right.
Loose dogs are a problem to everyone -- regardless of the size of their own dog. My girls will NEVER be off leash. Ever. We do a lot of walking, as you know - and have had some very bad experiences with off-lead dogs. Yes, we have a local ordinance making that illegal, but I guess some people don't think the rules apply to them. If they don't care about me and my dogs, they should at least care about their own - I've seen a couple run at us, almost getting hit by cars. That is a horrible sight!
I understand and I'm sorry that it has happened. It really wouldn't be different if you had larger dogs. :( There are a few areas I won't walk in around here anymore - or at least not without my husband being there, too.
Hugs to you - and the pups
KZK

KB Bear said...

I can feel your fear as you write this, and I feel terrible that you've been traumatized by bad owners. I have bigger dogs (Shyla is 44 lbs) but I am still hyperprotective of her. Believe it or not, her worst nemesis is a group of miniature Doxies who we see on the trails sometimes. The woman runs with 9 dogs off-leash with her. Her 4 big dogs (shepherds, shelties) are reliable but her mini's are out of control. In the first year that Shyla was living with us, I got bitten by one of the miniature doxies when I tried to stand between them and Shyla (who was frozen with terror).

I believe that some people feel "entitled" to let their dogs do whatever they want, and I don't know what to do about bad owners like that. On the other hand, it is true that a well-trained dog will sometimes do something totally unexpected (not all owners are liars about that). A good owner will apologize profusely and then try to make it right (and try to train their dog so they won't do it again). I'm saying this because Shyla jumped on a hiker, totally out of the blue, a couple of months ago. She jumped "gently" (didn't knock the man over or hurt him at all - in fact, he laughed). It all turned out fine because the man was glad to help me work with Shyla in teaching her approach him politely. She now does - and she really likes that guy.

Anyway, I am so sorry that you've been through these incidents. I'd be as protective as you are, and I have small Labs who probably wouldn't be badly hurt unless an entire pack of dogs went after them. I can't imagine the worry with small dogs like yours. Hugs to you and your sweet pups.

M. K. Clinton said...

Sorry, I had to backtrack to find out what happened. Dogs being off-leash is my biggest pet peeve. Pierre is small and we can grab him up. Bentley is short but he is a big dog and it isn't easy to pick up a 56 lb. Basset when some ignorant human lets their dog charge us. It has definitely made me apprehensive to walk in the evenings. Many of our neighbors sit in the yard with their dogs loose. They always come out on the street to stand their ground. I don't think you should have to lose out because of irresponsible dog owners. You just have to be careful.

Dennis the Vizsla said...

hello dory its dennis the vizsla dog hay i am sorry yoo got chardjd by that big off leesh dog!!! i do not no wot is rong with peepul hoo kannot or wil not kontrol there dogs or think leesh laws dont apply to there dog becuz there dog is so well behayvd and speshul!!! i agree with kb bear that peepul think they ar entitled to do wotever they want eeven in owr nayborhud their ar so menny peepul wot just let there dogs run arownd loose in the street that it is like living in an off leesh park and that is why i do not eeven git to go on wawks on my own sidewawk ennymore it is verry frustrayting for shoor!!! ok bye

Collie222 said...

I can understand your worry, a little toy dog is no match for a large dog. But I know many large dogs who are great with little dogs. My guys, especially Abby, enjoy playing with little dogs. I am not sure why, but my Abby is drawn to little dogs, she would rather play with them than her own collie family. And little dogs, who are usually afraid of big dogs, seem to know Abby is no threat. I guess one thing you can do is try to read the approaching dogs' body language, and how your own dogs are responding. It would be a shame if you weren't able to take your guys for walks or hiking...