Dog attacks - how to help your dog after such event
A dog attack can happen very quickly, in a matter of seconds and it's not always avoidable as I have witnessed during 1 of my daily walks during COVID-19 period.
I was passing by a house and out of the blue a German Sheppard dashes out of the backyard while owner was coming home from work, opened the garage roller door and was about to bring rubbish bin back in from the kerb. The German Sheppard saw a Maltese x dog off leash a few meters away in front of its own house with its owner and in a matter of seconds dashed to this little dog, approaching it in a fretful manner and made contact with this dog that wimped and coward. There was a minimal mouth contact as the Maltese displayed passive and submissive behaviour while the German Sheppard owner shouted her dog's name and it returned to her for a moment. But the big dog did try to get back to the little dog once more. A 2 of cars drove down that street and my husband and I offered some distraction to the big dog and we came slightly in between the big dog and the little one - that by now was running scared towards the wetlands with the owner after him. So there was few good distractions and this gave a bit extra time for the German Sheppard's owner to call the dog's name again and to run towards him. He finally went to her and she restrained him. Once the big dog was locked away in the backyard, its owner came towards the little dog's owner to apologise for its bad behaviour. She told us the Sheppard hated little dogs because 1 has attacked him in the past while he was young.
So after she went back home, I went to talk to the Maltese x dog's owner to see how it was and if it was hurt or only scared. Luckily the dog was only very scared and he didn't get hurt.
So what would be the ideal thing to do in situation like this?
- To have both dogs trained professionally by a dog trainer. The Maltese x could develop fear of all dogs or of bigger dogs only, without proper guidance the Maltese x owner could start doing the wrong thing such as: every time its owner was walking her dog and another dog came in their direction, she could start tightening the leash. This would affect the little dog -as the leash is a line of communication in between dog and handler - and he could think that every time he sees a dog, Mum gets worried and tense, leash tightens and he should be worried about the dog. And the Maltese x will need straight away good positive experiences around calm and well socialised dogs so he can relax and enjoy other dogs' company.
While the German Sheppard needs to learn to accept and enjoy well socialised little dogs' company in a controlled and well managed environment - with on lead supervised exercises with its owner and a dog trainer. Like Parallel walking with quite a bit of distance in between the dogs. So he learns that little dogs are ok to be around.
As he obviously has never had done any exercises since the time he was attacked by a little dog and he 'goes' for whatever little dog he can get to. he hasn't forgotten his past bad experiences with them.
That's why is so important to help with your dog straight after a dog attack, otherwise if nothing gets done to change that negative experience it could develop into a really traumatic experience and your dog could start generalising that all dogs are bad to be around. The owners need proper guidance too as without noticing they could be rewarding their dog wrong behaviour, like patting a dog that is scared of the other coming along.
So please if a similar event happened to your dog recently or in the past, do something about it and look for professional help. It could prevent a dog attack from happening in the future.
We provide home consultations for these situations.