We see so many dogs here at the Dog Hotel throughout each year. All lovely, some energetic others more relaxed, some big and some small, some love their neighbors and some not so much so. The point is that what you see on the outside is not always an indication of what is going on on the inside. Still waters run deep and all that. We all have heard many a horrible story of the dog that was going quietly about his business on a walk with his pet parent on the other end of his lead. The viscous dog comes along and dog, pet parent, anybody who trys to get in the way and break it up, is seriously injured if not killed.
After many attempts to find information on the exact incidence of dogs attacking other dogs, it really is impossible to say. Everything I say from here forward about frequency is purely anecdotal. But remember that we speak to over 2000 pet families a year, so we hear a lot.
The recent attack in the Wasaga area has brought to light a community awareness campaign called Operation Yellow Dog. Whilst from what I have heard on the radio, Operation Yellow Dog may not have prevented this recent awful attack, I can think of hundreds others it would have and therefore the countless in the future that it will prevent.
We know the tale recounted above. But-t have we ever considered the plight of the pet parent with the known unsociable dog who is trying to do the right thing. I share with you the tale of a young golden retriever. As a pup she had an unfortunate incident on a trail with her mum. They were walking along when she was jumped by an overenthusiastic shepherd. In fact it went wrong quickly. Whilst there were no physical scars, Miley bore the emotional scars. Her human pet parent in an effort to get back on that proverbial horse continued to walk Miley. She did so always on a leash, but everyone she met had their dogs off leash and would not either assess the situation before letting their dog proceed or call them off until it went bad. And it did go bad every time because Miley was leashed and felt vulnerable and quite literally was having flashbacks. As is so often the case the victim was becoming the bully. Miley’s mom would struggle to communicate to other parents in advance that her dog was learning and if their dogs were bouncy and tried to play, it may not go well in the early stages etc… Its a rather in depth conversation to yell across a park as someone is approaching or as you round the corner in the trail and you bump into the other family. The issue being that she had her dog controlled on a leash but other friendly dogs were not controlled and allowed to run up to her dog uncensored.
Operation Yellow Dog endeavors to put everybody quickly and simply on the same page. If you have a dog that you are unsure of either with other dogs or with people, wear a yellow ribbon on the leash or bandanna around the neck. The ides is not red light stop, but rather proceed with caution. Allow both pet parents to maintain control of the situation and positively correct the behaviour. It makes everyone slow down and provides an opportunity for the parent with the ribbon to communicate the issue and provide appropriate direction. Such as she’s scared of big dogs, doesn’t like children, had a bad experience, or she just isn’t interested in playing. Whatever the reason may be, yellow means slow. Potentially with the right balance both parties may decide to continue the approach. But essentially everyone now understands.
For the rest of us, the leash is a safety device that helps to keep your and others dogs safe. Approved off leash dog parks are a wonderful thing if everyone who uses them understands how their dog behaves in group and new situations. If you are anywhere where you and your dog could bump into another dog who has had made the choice to not go into the approved off-leash area, then please keep them leashed, no matter how friendly yours is. Preventing your social dog from approaching another dog is as important in preventing attacks as those with unsociable dogs keeping theirs under control.
There are a lot of reasons a dog can become unsociable. A pet parent who is exercising good control of their unsociable dog and making every effort to provide the best life for their pet should be allowed to walk them without the fear of another dog violating their space. Operation Yellow Dog provides the perfect opportunity for us all to work together to achieve this safely for everyone, especially our pets.
To the dog owner who did not keep control of his dogs and then fled the horrible scene. Shame on you (shame isn’t enough, but I cant think of what else I can write). A good Samaritan has offered a reward through Kicx106 FM radio. A thousand dollars for information that helps track down the dogs and their negligent owner.
If anyone has any information please contact the John and Carey show at www.kicx106.com. We’ll update with further information as it becomes readily available.
In the meantime if you think your dog needs it please wear a yellow ribbon. If you see a yellow ribbon, give the dog some room and thank their pet parent for being responsible and still providing a happy healthy life to their dog – whatever their issues may be.
..Jenn Dahinten has been involved in Healthcare and subsequently the care and training of Dogs for over 20 years. She is currently part of the caring tram at The Royal Pets Hotel and Spa located just north of Toronto in Barrie, Ontario. Providing Dog Boarding, Dog Day Care, Dog Grooming, Residential Dog Training and Pet Taxi.