Whippet Boy and I survive a dog attack!
Each evening this particular dog, similar to the one pictured, barks relentlessly as we walk past. On Thursday it rushed out of the house and immediately turned into a ferocious monster biting at poor Whippet Boy, who was cowering in submission, unused to unsocialised ferocious dogs flying at him unrelentingly. When I attempted to scare it off Whippet Boy it went for me!
Now, whippets are a gentle breed. When under attack their instinct is to run, not fight back.
I yelled at the dog and yelled for the owner to "get your dog".
Perhaps even worse than the dog attack, which left both of us in shock, shaking and bruised, was the attitude of the young man, grandson of the dog's owners, who abused me for walking my dog along the street in front of their house. With not so much as an apology or enquiry as to whether we were alright he yelled, "If you don't like it, (being attacked by the dog) then don't walk your bloody dog past here everynight!"
My response was "My dog is on a leash, yours is not and is on the street. We have every right to walk along the street"!
I was irrate at the young man's attitude and further verbal assault, on top of being savaged by the dog. Legally Whippet Boy and I were in the right, he was in the wrong. Clearly a dog barking, as this white fluffy does, at anyone or anything that passes the house must annoy its humans, but he should not be projecting any anger for the dog's behaviour on anyone but the dog's owners, who have failed to curb the dogs guarding or fear instinct. The animal's owners have responsibility for setting acceptable boundaries for their dog. Such barking left unchecked, is the fault of the humans, not of the dog, just as restraining the dog and keeping it within the bounds of their property is the responsibility of the dog's owners.
Dog owners must take responsibility for their dogs, regardless of their size or breed. It seems however, that those of us who have large dogs, or dogs originally bred as working dogs, take far greater responsibility for training and socialising our dogs, than many owners of small white fluffy dogs, who regard them as cute lap dogs, whose only place in the dog world is to be their companions.
These poor white fluffy animals are allowed to get away with murder and often denied regular socialising with members of their own species.
Caroline, trainer from Beta Dogs, observed this same phenomenon when she was working with Whippet Boy and I last year and someone arrived with a small white fluffy dog that was clearly aggressive with other dogs and humans. I had called in a Caroline, when Whippet Boy was being resistent and unreliable with some of my commands. I recognised we needed help and correction, or our relationship and options for outings beyond our home range would be limited. Whippet Boy was not a food orientated dog and food rewards alone, were failing dismally in Whippet Boy's training. Nor did I want to resort to violent punishments. The thought of spending the next fifteen years with a naughty ill-mannered dog was unthinkable. I did not want to rehome him, or have to keep him restrained within my property. Walking gently at heel was a non negotiable as far as I was concerned. Yet Whippet Boy's behavioural flaws were not related to aggression, guarding or fear responses. The owner of the small white fluffy could not bare the thought of this dog being humanely corrected.
Caroline observed many owners of small white fluffy dogs whose behaviour was way more dominant and undisciplined than Whippet Boy, deny their dog, or more importantly the relationship they have with their dog is anything but perfect. Owners of these dogs often reward cute behaviour with treats; cute behaviour can turn into aggressive and dominant behaviour as a puppy matures and owners of these breeds don't believe their dog's aggressive or dominant behaviour will ever be a problem, because their dog is "only small". What's more, they believe it is "cute"!
Even the smallest, cutest of dogs needs to know "sit", "drop", "stay" and "leave it"!
Indiscriminate persistent barking should not be left unchecked.
Responsible dog owners expose their dog to regular and friendly interactions with other dogs and humans and correct aggressive and dominant behaviour.
No doubt some owners of small white fluffy dogs do train and socialise their animals, but, sadly way too many of these dogs seem to have been selected as a "toy fashion item". No dog deserves that. Every dog deserves the best and the best involves training and knowing its place!
Any dog attack that is the result of an unrestricted dog attacking another animal or human should be reported to the local authorities. While Whippet Boy and I were left bruised and shaken, this dog and its owners live at the convergence of entrances to two primary schools. Next time it could be a small child this cute little white fluffy dog attacks.
Since the attack, poor Whippet Boy whimpers as we approach the house where the white fluffy lives. That attack has breached his trust, not only in other dogs, but also in me, as the human who is supposed to keep him safe.
If you are an owner of a small white fluffy dog that is well trained and socialised congratulations and thankyou. If you are a small white fluffy dog owner that has neglected to nurture acceptable behaviour in your dog, it is never too late to enlist the professional help of a good trainer. Your relationship with your dog and your dog's relationship with the world beyond your home, can only be improved!