Want your dog to be safe in a dog park? Protect it!

“I just wanted to give her a quick run at the park”

 

I arrived at Cherry Beach this afternoon to find fellow commercial dog walker Brianna Ade tending to a bite on a doodle while the dog’s “mom”, who was also bitten and waiting for an ambulance, was crying and apologizing to her dog for being attacked.

This broke my heart.

When I first got out of my car I saw a young man leaving the park with two dobermans, my first thought was “what could go wrong here?”  I immediately reprimanded myself for even thinking that, but you know, sometimes a visual image or gut feeling can be a warning.

I was right.

 

This is the Cherry Beach FB post provided by the walker, Brianna Ade, who was helping the woman and her pup:

 

WARNING
*Be on the look out for this man and his 2 dobermans*
Today a nice woman’s dog was bitten by the Dobies and when she screamed and interfered she was BADLY bitten. The man did not get his dogs on leash before the 2 attacked dog walker Jackies three legged charge Sofi. An ambulance was called and both dogs will Ned vet attention. 
THESE DOGS ARE DANGEROUS AND WE WERE GIVEN BOGUS INFORMATION. 
If you know this man or these dogs please let us know.

 

 

Sadly, it’s up to you to protect your dog

As a commercial dog walker since 2004 I’ve seen a lot of shit go down in the dog parks. One issue that keeps reoccurring are dog fights/attacks. We’d all love to see the City implement more structure in the dog community, you know, like people needing to take a course before getting certain dogs, rescues to be regulated and monitored, and better support with stricter penalties in the case of dog attacks. Currently however that’s a bit of a pipe dream.

Sorry to break it to you folks, but some dogs can be assholes (as can their owners) and require the intervention of a trained professional, not advice from a TV show or a layman’s execution of clickers and cookies.

So, the onus now lies on the pet parent to protect their dog. That means being aware of your dog and more importantly the other dogs around you. Learn to read body language, I can’t stress this enough. If you think a dog is a threat to you and your pooch, leash up and move along.

 

What to do if your dog is attacked

When this happens there’s a lot going on. Your instinct will be to help your dog, try to resist reaching in to break up the attack, you will most certainly get bit as well. You’ll want to make sure your dog is OK and you’ll be flustered and freaked out.

Please refer to the resource notes at the end of this post for a link on how to break up a dog fight.

Reasonable, accountable people whose dogs attack will be horrified and stick around to help. Ask them to call your cell phone right then and there so you can be sure to have the correct contact info. They should step up and pay all medical costs, unfortunately this is a social courtesy, not something easily enforced in a court of law, so try to play nice. I’ve known people to have second thoughts after the dust settles. It’s a delicate dance to be sure.

If the offending owners collect their dog and high tail it outta there, there’s a very good chance it’s happened before. If you can, follow them and try to get a licence plate number, pictures, or something to identify them. Enlist a friend or bystander to help if you need to attend to your dog.

I keep a first aid kit in my car, if I had to suggest one thing to have on hand it’s saline spray from the first aid section, not the eye care aisle. Give the wound a good flush and get your pet to the vet, puncture wounds are very serious and can quickly become infected.

Report the incident to Animal Services (311 in Toronto).

Above all, enjoy your time at the dog park but be aware of your surroundings, and if you see someone in need of assistance please help if you can.

Resources:

Report any dog attacks to 311 Toronto

Review of dog behavior and responsible dog ownership Toronto.ca

How to break up a dog fight 

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Want your dog to be safe in a dog park? Protect it!”

  1. Dobermanns are NOT dangerous my family have one and we have 4 young kids and they get along! Don’t call them dangerous because NOT ALL of the them are. It’s the way they’re brought up and some dogs just don’t get along with other dogs..

    1. Hi Leah,
      I did not single out dobermans as dangerous, they just happened to be the breed of dog this idiot chose. Unfortunately people like him go for the big powerful looking breeds and that gives them a bad reputation. Any dog can be dangerous if it’s in the right/wrong environment.
      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Okay article. But I would love to have heard you talk about the number of asshole little dog owners who think because they have a small dog they dont need to do any form of training. I have a 7 month dobe puppy who has been charged at and nearly attacked numerous times by strictly small dogs. They should not be allowed to mingle with large dogs as they and their owners are more often then not untrained. Just because their teeth is smaller doesn’t mean that they aren’t the problem.

    They are often the ones who are instigating fights. In this case yes it was the dobe owners fault but I have seen multiple times, the little yappy thing drive a dog crazy and not listen to its cues until it snaps at it and is considered the “bad dog”

    1. Hi Erica,
      Thanks for your comment. This post was about finding the guy who owned the dobermans and providing some tips on what to do in this situation. Trust me, if I were writing a rant about idiots in the dog park there would be plenty of reference to untrained dogs and clueless owners. Unfortunately bad park etiquette does not discriminate against breed or size.
      I hear ya though.

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