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Aggressive Dog Play Is Not “Playtime”

I have a husky that me and my fiance decided to get last year and our local pet supply store does an event once a month for low cost health care. Some of the money raised goes to the rescue that does adoption events there every weekend so we decided to take our husky puppy to this event for vaccinations to help them out. At the time our puppy was still small small enough that I could still carry him in one arm.

My fiance was out of state when the event rolled around so I took our puppy by myself. After signing in I decided to go outside and wait with everyone else next to the large veterinary van.

After a while, a little girl and her mom came up and asked if they could pet the puppy so I gave him some slack on his leash and let him wander over to them. She knelt down to pet him right as her father and another man that I guess was her uncle walked up behind her with a large German Shepherd. I have no issues with GSDs but this dog would have made less understanding people terrified of them. It was a male as big as most adult shepherds I had seen, yet I heard him tell one man that it was only 4 months old. The dog ran right up to the little girl, pushing her over on the sidewalk and grabbing my pup by the back of his neck. The girl hadn’t even noticed the dog was near her until then and began screaming for her mom to “make Daddy’s dog go away”. My husky was doing his best to run towards me with the German Shepherd still hanging on and growling loudly and I was completely blanking on what action would be best to do. The mom thankfully stepped in and told the man to take the dog back to the truck. He laughed at her, but pulled his dog back with a hard tug on the leash and walked away across the parking lot.

I grabbed my pup up and checked him over for any bite marks but thankfully he was just coated in drool and shaking. I decided it would be smarter to move in case the men and the GSD came back so I walked in the opposite direction of the men and sat down with my back against the store near some shopping carts. Sure enough, the men came back with the GSD in tow. My husky tried crawling in behind me to hide as the dog lunged forward to the end of his leash, growling aggressively again. By this point my puppy was whimpering behind me and the men laughed, commenting in broken English that he was just “playing” like he did with their Chihuahua at home. They kept on walking though and went in the store to look around. A few of the other people waiting for vaccines came over and told me they would try to help if he came back. One woman went to track down the manager of the store to ask what could be done about the dog since her own child was cowering behind his father’s leg.

After several minutes, my pup had gained some of his normal rambunctious attitude back and was running around as much as his leash would allow and hamming it up for the adults that had come in around us when the men came back out and let the GSD have the full length of his leash. My pup was pinned to the ground with this large dog over him, yelping in fear while they laughed at him and continued to try and tell me the dog was just playing. The dog’s growls got louder and I debated giving him a kick to get him off my pup since the two men were not going to do anything about it and my puppy was actually starting to whine in pain now. Thank God for people like the man that came in then though because he grabbed the dog by the collar and pulled him off my husky long enough for me to grab him up and move out of the dog’s reach. I admit I lost my temper then and told the man that his dog was not playing at all and if that’s how the dog played with the Chihuahua, he’d have one less dog before long. The man just laughed at me and continued to insist the dog was just playing so I gave up, told him I didn’t care what he wanted to call it, I didn’t want him or his dog near mine again or I would call animal control, and took my dog back inside to sit near the registers with the employees until the vet was ready for me.

The dog could have hurt the little girl when he rushed up to her to get to my husky and he could have seriously hurt or even killed my puppy. I can understand if you are there for vaccines or healthcare, but if your dog is that aggressive, it should be crated or muzzled while there. I spoke to the vet while I was there and she said they would talk to the store manager about having the dog banned from any further events held on the property. I didn’t go back to another to find out if they followed through. 0214-13

Some men use aggressive dogs as an extension of their own personal aggression to intimidate others.   When the dog goes too far, the blame is then shifted to the dog being bad rather than the owner.

Where I live, an attack by a dog on another domesticated animal is assault and it is illegal.   The theory is that a dog that is willing to aggressively attack another dog, cat, livestock is dangerous and is not safe around people, especially children.   You, by extension of your dog, were being attacked by two men using a German Shepherd as their main accomplice.   Even if the incidents did not result in bodily harm to the puppy, the act was one of establishing dominance by means of aggression.    After the first incident,  the puppy should have been crated or removed to your vehicle and you call 911 to report an aggressive dog.   I do not normally advocate a knee jerk response to call the police as the answer to every dilemma but in this case, you and your pet were being threatened by a lethal weapon that was being mishandled by its owner.   It’s like someone sloppily waving around a hand gun claiming they are just having “fun”.


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  • Jess March 5, 2013, 7:39 pm

    @ Lo–I forgot to mention this, but I don’t think that kicking the Shepard would make the OP “inhumane.” It would be inhumane if the OP just walked up to a random dog and kicked it, or if she took out her fustration on it, but this was an aggressive animal that was threatening the OP, her dog, and other people/pets. As I mentioned in the above post, I kicked an aggressive dog in the nose, which fortunately caused it to run off. I love animals; I hate hurting them (except squirrels–I hate squirrels), but this dog was attacking me and I had no other option. If the dog wasn’t attacking, or if I just wanted to hurt something, then yes, kicking it would be bad. And it’s not like I whaled on it–I bopped it in the nose! The OP wasn’t wrong for thinking about kicking this dog–I might have actually kicked it!

  • Lo March 5, 2013, 7:46 pm


    I agree that it’s very dangerous to put yourself between two dogs. I’m not sure I know better than others how to but not being afraid of dogs at all has helped me to Alpha rambunctious dogs in situations where showing fear or else showing direct challenge would have invited bad behavior.

    The time to physically interact with the dog would have been the first time the dog put it’s mouth on the smaller dog by either pulling the shepherd away or smacking it on the muzzle (I would not recommend the latter unless we are talking a full on attack) As OP mentioned, another stranger grabbed the aggressive dog by the collar and pulled it back, so there’s one course of action to take that the dog is less likely to interpret as an invitation to attack than a kick.

    Growing is aggression but as others have said you do not want to be the one to throw the first punch, so to speak. I suppose I should have added that kicking a growing dog that has not yet attacked (I’m still reading the 2nd situation as the dog bullying her dog but not biting it) is an excellent way to get yourself mauled. It’s also a type of physical reaction that is cruel to the animal. Understandable if the dog is in attack mode because you do anything you can to stop it, but not before and what was being described was not a dog attacking but a dog harassing and threatening.

    If I am misreading the situation I’m sorry, hopefully OP will clean it up.

    But no good dog owner would kick a dog for showing insubordination. This is how dogs go bad in the first place.

  • Ally March 5, 2013, 7:56 pm

    Having been bitten by a dog myself (the people I baby sat for’s pitt bull mix who they refused to neuter or train, I never went back). I understand why people are saying “don’t kick the dog.” To a certain extent, hitting a dog causes them to freak out more, not less, and could actually make the dog more violent (it depends on the type of dog). At this stage a low, firm yell was probably the best option.

  • MaRiley March 5, 2013, 8:43 pm

    Thinking about this post brings a big wave of adrenalin and frustration. I would react aggressively to an attack or threat of an attack on an animal or a child or any vulnerable creature. I would kick, pummel, and bite in defense. The horrifying experience OP’s puppy went through will no doubt be a part of how it views the world and that’s very sad.

    Yesterday a 7 year old was killed by a friendly pit bull in a town 45 miles away from me.

  • Crinklestein March 5, 2013, 9:10 pm

    Bad dog owners make my blood boil. I used to live near a woman whose dog is good with people but not with other dogs. Yet she persists in taking it with her everywhere. She has had to pay vet bills on several occasions and still won’t leave the dog at home because it tears up the place when it’s alone. She also acted surprised when someone told her she had to leave their gathering because her dog was not welcome in their dog’s yard. Special, special snowflakes.

  • Caitlin March 5, 2013, 10:14 pm

    It’s appropriate seeing this as I just had an experience about an hour ago. I had just gotten out of my car and went to go around from passenger side to my home and this teenager was walking his dog (something large but breed I couldn’t tell you for certain, it was dark and the dog was black) and the kid has his headphones on and is chatting on his phone. The dog started growling at me when I wasn’t even near him or her and came off the sidewalk and onto my neighbor’s driveway as if to attack me! I went around the other way to get away from this dog but even when I was on my front steps the dog was still pacing on the sidewalk and growling and the kid was none the wiser and chatting away. I feel that he wouldn’t have even noticed if the dog did attack me in my own front yard.

  • waitress wonderwoman March 5, 2013, 11:08 pm

    This story makes me sad for all the animals involved. I am a HUGE dog lover (don’t know if I am allowed to add this, but if you have the heart for animals, the ASPCA is a wonderful organization to donate to. You can help an abused dog for as little as $18 a month. Even I can afford to squeeze that in my budget. I’m not trying to push my personal favorite charity on anybody but thought it might be worth adding.)
    Just as I believe there are rarely any truly horrible children, just bad parents, the same goes for dogs. People don’t take into consideration how much responsibility having a dog is. Some people just get a dog because it’s the newest celebrity fad breed, and you think they are just soooo cute as puppies (puppies don’t stay puppies forever, BTW). They don’t take into consideration their schedules/living situation/if they actually have the time to properly care for the animal/ect. before getting a pet. It is up to the owner to train, discipline and socialize the animal. If you are not absolutely positive you can handle these things, may I suggest getting a goldfish. People really, really, really need to understand this before making a commitment that can easily last 10+ years!
    OP, I am sorry for what happened to you, but it equally saddens me that the GSD (who I have found, when trained properly, are wonderful, sociable companions) will probably attack the wrong person or another animal and be put down. All because of a selfish, irresponsible owner who has no business with a pet they refuse to control or take any accountability for. Its really heartbreaking when you think about it.

  • momofeveryone March 5, 2013, 11:28 pm

    when we move, my son wants a dog. the ONLY dog i will get is a german shep. i was raised with family who trains them to be K-9 unit dogs, guard dogs for celebs, bomb sniffers and so on. these dogs are so well trained they blow your mind. hand signals, whistles, german/english commands, ect. if you train them right, they will be some of the best dogs you will ever encounter. i trust big dogs (40lbs+) over smaller breeds, usually because of the owners. the owners in my area with smaller breeds tend to not bother with any training above and beyond potty training. i cant speak for everywhere but in our area that seems to be the trend.

  • waitress wonderwoman March 5, 2013, 11:38 pm

    I also think it’s worth noting that it’s not always big dogs that can be aggressive or dangerous. I once knew a small Chihuahua with very, very sharp teeth that was a notorious “ankle biter” that often drew blood. He would snap at adults and children regularly. I once saw him try to bite a child in the face (granted, the child was old enough to have known better than to get up in the dogs face in the first place. He knew he had a tendency to snap and had been warned by several adults). We all tolerated the situation because, if was the owners home we were visiting and she either would put him away or carry him in her arms most of the time. And there was a “Beware of Dog” sign on the outside AND inside of the house. But we definitely knew we had to keep our heads on a swivel when that dog was around!

  • Kate March 6, 2013, 12:20 am

    And some people wonder why others (like me) are afraid of dogs and do not feel comfortable with dogs all up in our personal space. I think the owner, not the dog, is at fault here – but I’d still be absolutely terrified in this situation. Glad to hear your dog is okay, OP!

  • Lauren March 6, 2013, 1:20 am

    I’ve been in 4-H Dog club for many years as a kid, and we were taught various methods of dealing with aggressive dogs (as well as obedience training and care). Step one is to stand still and not make eye contact. Often a dog will lose interest. If you do get attacked, lie belly-down on the ground covering your neck with your hands.

    I’d also like to pass on a tip I heard for runners who encounter aggressive dogs: Carry a drummer’s drumstick and if a dog gets too close for comfort and looks about to bite, a quick bop on the nose often sets them straight. It shouldn’t do any harm. Similar principle to not being afraid to slap a horse, really. Dogs and horses are big, powerful animals that must be taught discipline in order to interact safely with humans.

    And may I just say that a family friend had a German Shepherd that was the sweetest, gentlest animal I had ever met. He actually used to take her into hospitals as a therapy dog and once was there when a child came out of a coma. The “Skeptoid” podcast did a great breakdown on which breeds are actually the most aggressive and likely to attack.

  • Ashley March 6, 2013, 2:06 am

    There was a comment somewhere about how growling is not play and is aggressive. That’s not true. It’s much more than that. My brother and his wife have three dogs, one of which is a therapy dog that happily goes to work in a nursing home with my sister in law 3 or 4 days a week. The ONLY time he growls is when he has a toy in his mouth and wants to play tug of war, as it’s the only noise he can make while the toy is in his mouth. So here he is, growling, but every other bit of his body indicates play. Tail wagging, eyes lit up happy as can be, even “smiling” if the toy doesn’t prevent him from doing so.

  • michelle March 6, 2013, 7:58 am

    @Here Be Dragons – Grendel was a Lady. Period.

  • Julia March 6, 2013, 9:06 am

    OP I think you reacted far calmer than I ever would have. I’m a huge dog lover, but if someone was attacking my dog, I wouldn’t hesitate to kick him off. And you could bet that I would raise such a ruckus that the store managers would kick those people out of the store. I don’t begrudge them getting their dog medical attention, but if their dog isn’t trained to be around others, it’s their responsibility to figure something out. I’m an owner of a small, but poorly behaved dog. I would never take him somewhere with other dogs unless I know I could fully control him. Now since he’s small, I can just hold him when we go somewhere, but this big dog should have been muzzled and kept on a short leash. I’m sorry you and your puppy were scared!

  • MichelleP March 6, 2013, 11:03 am

    @Lo, kicking a dog who is attacking your child or dog is not inhumane. Yes, that dog in the OP’s story was attacking her dog. Just because it hadn’t literally physically attacked doesn’t mean she shouldn’t do whatever it takes to stop it.

    My neighbors have a huge Great Dane. They have not had him neutered and do not control him in any way. Usually he’s fine, he’ll lick you to death but that’s it. Once, he came running toward us. I thought he was fine as usual, but then noticed he was baring his teeth. Once he came up to me and my eight year old daughter, I heard him growling. I kicked him as hard as I could as soon as he lunged toward my daughter. I have had dogs and am an animal lover, but I will NOT tolerate an animal attacking my child.

    My parents have a dog that they let jump up on people constantly, including my daughter when she was a toddler. I had enough and told them that if they won’t control her I will, only the won’t like the method I will use.

    As far as your suggestion to “get between the dogs” that is foolish. Same situation happened to my mother. She was walking her dog, on a leash, another neighbor’s dog came up and attacked her dog. She reached between them and got bitten, resulting in stitches.

  • Gabriele March 6, 2013, 11:09 am

    It’s been almost ten years since I’ve had a dog but I do remember taking him to a clinic for low-cost shots.
    Couple things:
    If it was a clinic the OP went to then there’s a good chance there was no vet in attendance, only vet technicions qualified to give shots
    Think of it like a policeman and a meter-reader. One has full authority, one just does their (limited) job. So I don’t know that the person/people running the clinic would be properly prepared to handle the situation.
    The location. Since they are ‘sponsoring’ the event, I think they’d be liable for any damage (to a dog or to a person) that happened during the event.
    I know when I’d take my dog, there were very specific instructions as to what you had to do. Cats and small dogs had to be in carriers. Large animals had to be under control at all times and larger dogs had to be muzzled–for the protection of the shot givers as much as other people and their animals.
    No exceptions and certainly no misbehaving or out they went, no refunds

    Loving animals is a great joy but animal guardians have a responsibility to their companions. I think the OP should have learned more about how to take care of the puppy either before or as soon as she got it. If you know what the right thing is then it’s easier to do it and not waffle about ‘should I do this or this’.
    And one thing in addition: There are shot clinics which are advertised in newspapers (well, maybe not so much anymore!). They’re sponsored by what appears to be a good organization, they have low cost and it’s usually in a public location like a park, etc.
    Their techs don’t always know what they’re doing, they usually don’t have a vet to answer questions and in some cases to advise against shots. A friend had a dog, took her for shots and an aware tech or vet would have noticed the dog was running a fever or something. Should not have been given innoculations, let alone the whole specturm. Dog got very sick, took a lot of care and the vet who treated the dog had nothing but scorn and criticism for the people who put on the shot clinics.

    If you’re going to take your dog/cat to a clinic at a non-veterinary location, make certain the people providing the shots are qualified and have a good track records. Where I live, I go to the Animal Control website where they list the various clinics (which have earned their recommendation) and such.

    Where I live there are a number of people who run their dogs off the leash (against the law) One very close neighbor has three lab/mix dogs and they love to chase other animals…they chased some cats up my stairs and I was ready to take after his dogs because 1) he wouldn’t call them back (‘they won’t hurt them’, ‘they’re just being dogs’) and 2) the dogs were uncontrollable. I love dogs…but they do need to know that the big people (humans) are in charge. Striking a large stick on the ground can get their attention and pointing it at them and saying “No” loudly often gets their attention. Sticking the stick between the dog and the victim animal creates a space and helps the smaller animal move away (sometimes). Contine to say “No” loudly and you can put pressure against the dog’s chest with the stick without making it appear (to the dog) that you are trying to fight with them. The stick is a barrier, it’s not attacking them.
    I kept calling the owner to get his dogs and told him it was against the law to let them off the leash.
    I said if the dogs came in my yard again I would notify Animal Control (I know there had been other complaints about his dogs). He insisted his dogs weren’t hurting anything. I repeated it was against the law. His response: “You’re against the law”. I asked him (and I have to comment that we are at least 50 feet apart and yelling so all the neighbors knew what was going on, which was fine with me). He said ” Yes, you’re against the law for being so ugly and bit-chy”.
    Evidently enough complaints were filed as he started keeping his dogs inside a fenced yard and even had to get his mailbox moved to outside the fence or the USPS wouldn’t deliver. Fortunately he moved away. But because my front yard isn’t completely enclosed (I don’t own) I keep a rake next to a tree so it’s immediately available. It’s the kind with a wide set of flexible teeth—won’t do much harm but it’s very visible. I chased a coyote off with it one time and when the raccoons come around during mating season (very, very noise and waking up to hear the noise can be frightening the first couple times), a couple swats with the broad side of the rake is enough to make them take their courting into another yard or down to the street.

  • PrettySticks March 6, 2013, 1:55 pm

    At Christmas, my brother and I were visiting my parents (we’re both adults in our 30s) and he brought along his new puppy. Said puppy was a six month old, very cute dachshund. He would run around constantly and bite everyone. It didn’t hurt (he wanted attention, not to hurt anyone), but it was annoying. But every time I told me brother he needed to stop the biting he would say… wait for it… “he’s just playing.” But what made me angriest was that he would do this to my parents’ much older dog. Dog was about ten or eleven (a mutt from the pound, so they don’t know her actual age), and medium-sized, so bigger than the dachshund. But she would be trying to sleep and this puppy would come up and bite the scruff of her neck to get her attention. And my brother insisted that this was the appropriate way to socialize puppies – that they will learn when it’s inappropriate to bite because the other dog will growl or bite back. Which is possibly true, in the jungle or whatever, but not when the rest of us are here trying to have a society. And it’s especially dumb to do this because his puppy was so little and would always be little, so this method could get him seriously hurt. But even if it were standard issue to have other dogs teach your dog manners, I maintain that my parents’ poor dog did not sign up for this enterprise. She’s used to being able to nap when she wants IN HER OWN HOME. She was twitchy for a whole week after my brother and the puppy left, and that made me sad. Even more annoying, when I mentioned this to my mom, she sighed and said I was right, and that the puppy was going to grow up to be a terror. When I asked why she didn’t back me up when I said something to my brother, she said it was Christmastime and didn’t want to start an argument. Totally sold out her dog! The way I see it, their dog has always been nice to me and my brother, clearly, is kind of jerkwad, so I’d side with the dog any day.

    On a separate note, when I was six, my best friend’s family had a purebred German Shepherd. It terrified me at first, until I realized he had no idea how big he was. He loved to sit on my lap. Sweetest dog ever.

  • Bre March 6, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Agreed that it’s entirely the owner’s fault; it almost always is, in this kind of situation, and this guy doesn’t seem like someone who just got in over his head with a dog he’s incapable of controlling. Just one he refuses to control.

    In my apartment building, one of the gentlemen down the hall has a very ill-behaved, neurotic dachshund. He never has it on a leash, but one word from him generally stops its barking and growling. Annoying, but alright, I respect that you can control your dog’s ill behaviour, even if you’re not stopping it. Not my problem.

    Except for a couple weeks ago, when his girlfriend took the dog out — she was terrified of it. I was walking up the street, and the dog started running towards me, so she dropped the leash and warned me that the dog bites. Thanks. I kicked it, and in the same situation, I’d probably just kick it harder.

    I left a note on the guy’s door informing him of what had happened (and leaving my phone number in case he had an issue with me kicking his dog), and haven’t actually seen him or the dog since. I hear it barking all the time, though, whenever he’s not home and someone dares to make any sort of noise in the hallway.

  • Drawberry March 6, 2013, 8:02 pm

    Inappropriate handling of dogs, particularly large dogs who are specifically breed for purposes like guarding and assisting law enforcement, leads to nothing but sorrow.

    My sister owns a pure breed German Shepard that’s an enormous creature and could harm anyone in a second if it chose to. But she’s a skilled dog owner, and a responsible one, who has trained him well. She knows everything about him and understands that training him isn’t the same as training her other dog; a border collie. She also instructs everyone who comes over how to handle him and what not to do, such as no loud voices to ‘punish’ him or finger waving in his face. It takes a responsible and dedicated owner to train and handle dogs like my sisters, regardless of breed but particularly with large dogs.

    Owners like the one’s you encountered are why many property owners would not allow German Shepard’s on their property or in apartments. They’re raising that dog to be aggressive and one day it will be beyond their capabilities to control and if it does not kill their dog it will harm a human and be euthanized. It won’t be the fault of the dog, it will be the fault of the men who trained him to be this way. But it will be the poor dog who suffers for the ignorance of it’s owners.

  • Bonbon March 6, 2013, 9:10 pm

    While I agree that the dog’s behavior was inappropriate and the owner’s even more so, I would want to caution that there is a definite difference between “aggressive” and “inappropriate”, although it can be difficult to spot for the inexperienced.
    I have worked with my dogs for nearly my entire adult life, in grooming, training, and doggie daycare- which has been the most educational of the three for me for learning the way dogs communicate, both correctly and incorrectly. I also was in Dog 4-H from age fourteen until I aged out and spent a good few years in the obedience and show rings. You could say that dogs are my thing. One thing that I can tell you is that I am extremely opinionated about dog breeds – probably annoyingly so to my friends- because I have spent a lot of time becoming familiar with the various quirks of each breed. For instance, terriers are easily overexcited and can have difficulty controlling themselves in high energy situations; beagles are capable of projecting their voices like opera singers and do so often; very small dogs are prone to being protective of their space to both humans and other dogs; and a lot of GSDs I’ve met seem to think that playing means “sneaking up behind a dog and growling and biting it on the back of the neck”. Also, a lot of GSDs I’ve met have an unhealthy interest in small dogs and don’t always seem to differentiate between “small dog” and “interesting animated toy”. Also, a lot of four-month-old puppies have not yet learned how to regulate themselves with other dogs well and haven’t learned the cardinal rule of “ALWAYS be careful with small humans”, even if you’ve been especially working on it with them (as, it seems, this owner was not).
    All these factors, combined with the description of the “attack”, make me inclined to believe that the dog was, in its mind, “just playing” and not necessarily being aggressive. I’m not saying what it was doing was okay, but I would react to it very differently than if it was actually trying to hurt the puppy…which it could have easily done if it wanted to.
    I would have very firmly told the owner that his dog was playing too roughly with my puppy and to take it away. If my leash wasn’t tangled, I would pull my puppy away and walk it out of reach. I wouldn’t necessarily pick it up unless I really had to. If the other dog persisted in heading toward my dog I would put myself between them and loudly say BACK OFF to the dog, and then keep telling the owner to take it away, talking over his “it’s just playing!” if necessary. If he really refuses to keep his dog away from you, I would go directly to the management of the store I was at and inform them that a patron was not controlling his dog and you were afraid yours would be injured.
    When you are out with your dog, it is completely your responsibility to keep them safe. You have a right to protect them from anything you view as a threat, even if it’s just another dog playing too roughly.

    Incidentally, if it WAS being aggressive, I would have absolutely kicked it. Never ever reach toward a strange dog with your hands; dogs are more likely to interpret that as a biting attack and respond in kind.

  • Barbarian March 6, 2013, 9:55 pm

    These mobile clinics provide needed shots but little else. We spend a little more to take all our housecats to the vet each yr where they can get their shots in a calm environment with as little stress as posssible. We don’t have to worry about other people’s unrestrained pets hurting them. I took a cat once to a mobile clinic at a feed store in her carrier. She got really stressed out and scared so I did not do that again.

    And I do confess I have trapped and neutered a neighborhood cat that seemed to belong to no one. The stealth surgery changed his life for the better. We did not have to put up with his yowling and fighting. He became calm, ate well, and his coat was sleek and luxuriant. He stopped visiting us for food and petting for a while. A few weeks ago he came to our driveway, greeted us happily, ate a snack, and then hurried off to a yard on another street. He visited us a few more times but it looks like he found a happy home in our neighborhood that he is content to stay at.

  • Jess March 7, 2013, 1:44 am

    I have had a pit bull literally bust through the back screen door and bail up my kids (ages 4 and 5 at the time) in their own bedroom once and had to call the police. We had to call the police again when the same dog trapped my husband and I inside when my kids were in the car and we couldnt get to them, it was trying to headbutt its way through our front glass window. The owners? they said “meh he is just trying to be friendly’ they eventually got rid of the dog and got another pup… another pit bull ‘to try again, the other one was bad’ yup you guessed it, it was the same. They could not understand it was THEM not the dog that needed to change.

  • NostalgicGal March 7, 2013, 6:02 pm

    Reasons why dog breeds get a bad name:


    Gist, woman and son were attacked in their yard by a pair of pitbulls, both were mauled… she managed to call 911. The 20 month old son died. The dogs were removed from the yard and euthanized.

  • Lexie March 7, 2013, 10:33 pm

    Appalling. As a toddler, I was bailed up in our yard by a large dog (aggressive since she’d just had a litter of pups, apparently). We could do nothing about it since the dog belonged to our small town’s police chief. People need to remember that large dogs are quite intimidating to many others, and control them appropriately.

    My only advice would be that knowing the man did not care what the dog did, I wouldn’t have returned the puppy to the ground. And I would have given the GS a good kick the second time around, with a loud ‘bad dog!’ for good measure. My sister recently adopted a Malshi (Maltese-Shih Tzu cross) that was tiny, and is still very much ‘miniature’ (I think currently 30cm from nose to tail, and around 2.5kg?) Everyone we meet allows their larger dogs to bowl straight up to her; meanwhile, poor little Mabel is shaking and trying to hide because this Giant is upon her. So many times, we’ve scooped her up protectively, but owners complain ‘he/she just wanted to make friends’ and we’re interfering.

    I feel terribly sorry for the Chihauhua that lives day-to-day with owners that clearly don’t protect it. I’m afraid one day, the poor thing might be the victim of the GS, all because the owners don’t care enough to train and discipline their dog.

  • Twik March 8, 2013, 11:27 am

    German shepherds are highly intelligent dogs, and can be trained to be wonderful companion animals.

    However, I suspect that this man is (intentionally or not) actually training the dog to behave aggressively. This is likely to end badly for everyone, including the dog.

  • Mutant March 8, 2013, 5:59 pm

    I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ but am I the only one who finds the ‘some men…’ Comment a little offensive? I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way but I think it should be clarified that being a poor dog owner isn’t gender specific.

  • Melalucci March 9, 2013, 2:21 am

    Barbarian, good job. My mom and I have our three kitties because they came into our yard hungry. The two girls never left. One was already spayed, and the other one was mating on the fence with the boy, so we got her spayed as well. We were nervous about the boy, so we used a trap from the local Animal Control to bring him to the vet and have him neutered. He disappeared for a month, then came back and was a total sweetheart! Now he’s my baby and the other two are my princesses. Whoever had them before sure didn’t take care of them.

  • whoop March 13, 2013, 11:11 pm

    I used to work at a dog groomer’s, and also used to be an owner of an aggressive dog (due to genetically-inherited psychological problems, not training), so I have a good deal of experience with aggressive dogs. It is amazing how some people completely refuse to acknowledge that their dog has issues. With our dog, we were very careful. We kept him on a tight leash, avoided other dogs and young children, and warned would-be petters to keep their distance. (By the way, ALWAYS ask before approaching someone else’s dog, even if they look friendly). When it came time to take him to the groomer’s (he was a long-haired dog, so this was an unavoidable thing), we gave him special medication that we got from his vet in order to “knock him out” and keep the employees safe. We also were sure to warn the groomer of his issues and authorize whatever steps were necessary. Due to all of these precautions, we never had a situation where someone outside of our immediate family was bit. The admin’s relation of aggressive dogs to a gun is a good one. If the owner chooses to have them, it is up to the owner to take the necessary precautions and be responsible.

  • Misty April 12, 2013, 10:31 pm

    Sounds like a guy I ran into at the store. He had two HUGE rottweilers in the back of his SUV. It had a back that was designed where you could open the top half or the bottom half. The top half of the car was open and the dogs didn’t appear to be restrained so they were more than capable of getting out if they wanted. I parked next to him (not realizing the dogs were there) and got out to walk into the store. As I walked past the car both dogs LUNGED out the opening, snarling, barking, hackles raised and trying to get at me. To this day I don’t know what stopped them from actually coming out. I kept my head down and was too terrified to look back – I ran the entire way into the store convinced they were about to attack me (I actually thought they’d come out and were right behind me) and then burst into tears once I got inside.

    It took a LONG time to convince myself to leave and go back to my car and, as luck would have it, the owner of the car was there as well. I told him what happened (and it was very obvious I’d been crying) to which he responded by laughing and telling me they were just trying to say hello. Seriously, some people don’t deserve to have animals.

  • Janet Marie June 30, 2013, 2:52 pm

    My sister and her boyfriend have 4 GSDs. My cousin and her husband have 3 Dobermans. All of the dogs are well trained and behave themselves in public & private settings.

    My sister’s boyfriend took 1 of the GSDs out to a public park about a month ago. The dog was well behaved the whole time including the ride to and from the park. I could not say that about a little dog who was trying to aggravate a larger dog that could have had her for a meal and her owners took a while to get their dog away. The GSD did not bite at the larger dog, she may have growled a bit to get that dog’s attention to go away!

  • EchoGirl July 7, 2013, 10:53 pm

    Definitely get it. I have no pets of my own (someday!) but my roommate has a little papillon. For anyone not familiar with the breed, the males usually top out around 10 pounds and the females around 8; this one is 4. They’re also as a whole incredibly docile and non-aggressive for a small breed (great to have in an apartment because they’re not inclined to bark their heads off at the drop of a hat). This one is constantly being attacked and pushed around by dogs at the dog park. Even at the “small dog” park, the limit is 30 pounds, so there are plenty of dogs who can overpower her. It’s always my roommate and her family trying to break up the fights, not the families who own the dogs doing the bullying. This is a dog who was socialized with a Golden Pyrenees and a full-size border collie, so big dogs in and of themselves are not the issue.

  • Meg August 3, 2014, 2:42 am

    I hate people like that GSD owner. Its not cute! Someone can get hurt. I worry for that Chihuahua and the little girl. Op I know how scary it is to have your dog attacked by another dog. My dad and I were walking our dog on this trail at the local park ((our town requires all dogs on a leash) when this unleashed dog attacked mine. My dog was yelping. My dad got the dog off our dog. Then here comes the owners. My dad asked if it was their dog and they told him yes. He told them what happened and the owner acted offended, “Coco would never do that!” My dad and I took our dog home. In the parking lot we ran into an animal control officer. My dad explained what happened and that the attacking dog was off leash. The officer said he’ll talk to them.