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Need some dog advice

Yesterday, Olive (my border collie) and I were finishing our daily walk when she was viciously attacked by another dog. Sadly, this dog will now be put down by the humane society because it attacked a cat and almost killed it a few weeks ago and then attacked Olive, got away from its (idiotic) owner and attacked another dog and bit its owner before the police and the humane society managed to capture it and a second dog. I say sadly because I'm sure the dog is only vicious because the owner is a moron. He sauntered over and dragged the dog off poor Olive and didn't even say he was sorry or ask if she was okay. Luckily, she got off with three puncture wound which were cleaned up by the vet and she has to be on antibiotics as a precaution for two weeks. She was of course quite traumatized by the whole thing, as was I. Anyway, my question to you is: what is the best way to handle an attack like this? I just stood there and screamed and didn't know if I should kick the attacking dog or what I should do. I am so glad the idiotic owner was around to separate this aggressive dog from my poor cowering baby. Any suggestions on what to do when your animal is attacked?

Hi Wendie...I am so sorry that this happened to Olive! That must have been terribly frightening for both of you! I'm glad she will be O.K. though! She reminds me of our Lily. Lily is a border collie/australian shepherd mix...our baby.

I agree with you, it's sad that the attacking dog will be put down when it's the dog's people that should be punished! That ALWAYS makes me angry!

I'm actually not sure what the best course of action is in the case of a dog attack. It can be really dangerous. I would check with your local animal shelter. Often times they will have info like that posted on their website.

I do think I would start carrying some pepper spray and a big stick though...just in case.

Give Olive some lovies!! :)


Thank God Olive is OK and only got off with three puncture wounds.  You and Olive were very lucky.  What type of dog was it that attacked Olive?  Years ago, a dog attacked my very small dog.  I went to kick the dog but at that moment, it saw me about to do that and ran off.

I often do before I think and one day, I am sure I will get hurt.  My first thought is to kick the dog attacking. 

In the past few years we have had a series of Pit Bull attacks and now Ontario has a ban on them.  People could keep their existing ones but they must be neutered and must always wear a muzzle when outside.

A man a couple of years ago was viciously attacked by the two pit bulls he was baby sitting. He was walking them.  One attacked him then the second one joined in.  Someone saw this happening and called the police who had to shoot one of the dogs to get it off him.

I know many very nice and well behaved pit bulls.  They are a strong breed though and I worry when we do without thinking, we could also get very hurt.  Some dogs just don't let go.

So, I have been no help!  My first thought would be to kick the offending dog in the ribs.  I don't think I would put my hands in to grab one or the other.  Even our dogs could hurt us if they were scared and might not realize they were biting us if they were trying to bite the offending dog back.

Horrible situation.  Olive may now be leery of other dogs for awhile. I hope she is OK.

This is one of the main reasons I don't go to leash free parks. I worry about the pack mentality.  I have heard of groups of dogs picking on one.  Cali doesn't like a lot of dogs around her.  We go to a leash free sometimes that is more of a wooded area.  No fence and next to no one knows about the place because I have never seen more than 4 other dogs there at a time.  As it is more of a trail, then a park, you sometimes never bump in to anyone.

I do like the expression, 'There are no bad dogs, just bad owners.'


Oh, Wendie, I am so sorry to hear this! You must have been terrified! Oh, & poor Olive! Special soothing pets for her!

Years ago, before we got together, my husband & his girlfriend were walking his two dogs & they were attacked by two loose Dobermans. Everyone in the neighborhood knew these dogs were mean. This day they had gotten out of their yard & their owners weren't around. As my husband, his girlfriend & the their dogs rounded a corner, there were the Dobermans, about 10 feet away. He told his girlfriend to run & she took off with the dog she was walking. She got to a neighbor's & called the police. My husband tried to fend off the two dogs, but the male dog bit both my husbands dog & my husband. By then, other neighbors came out & the Dobermans ran away. Because my husband was bitten, & because the dogs were lose, it was a more serious matter. The dogs were not put down, but due to numerous other neighbor complaints, the owner was charged with some kind of infraction & it was noted that he had issues with his dogs.  

Anyway, since then, he has always carried a stick with him -- an old broom handle, cut off to a decent length. You want something that isn't too long, but long enough that any approaching dog will see that they will encounter the stick before they reach you or Olive. As for kicking or hurting the other dog, I know that I would hate to have to kick a dog, if it were coming after me or my dog, I would.

Where I live there is an epidemic of more & more people ignoring the leash laws. Two days ago, someone walking by our house had their dog off a leash. Well, he saw Booyah, inside our house by the living room window, & the dog ran across our front lawn & was up by our front window. Both dogs were barking wildly at each other & there was only a screen between them. Jeff grabbed Booyah & I ran out front & yelled at the moron that there was a leash law for a reason & he was in violation.

Grrrrrrrr......... don't you just *%&@#* some dog owners??


Wow, so sorry that happened to Olive!!! That's awful. Poor Olive.  :(

My dog is a pitbull mix. Since the day she was brought home, I have tried my best to make sure she is trained (both by myself and through obedience classes) and socialized and given the best, loving home possible. She has never bitten or attacked another dog, ever. She is so sweet. She truly lives up to her name--Angel. The irony is that she was attacked and bitten up badly twice by other dogs (she never bit back). Once by an Airedale whose owner was a jerk and didn't care. And then again by a small unsocialized dog at the dog park. Dog owners MUST take responsibility for their dogs. It is NEVER a dog's fault for a dog attack. It's such an absolute shame and tragedy that there are dogs put down for attacks, when this could be prevented if the dog owner simply cared more about the dogs.

In any case, I have read that if a dog is biting another dog (latching onto it with its jaws), you want to find a stick or something equivalent and pretty much jam it into the dog's mouth and pry it open. Now, if it's a dog that is also threatening to humans, this might not be a good idea, because the dog might turn around, obviously, and bite you. It tends to work with pit bulls, because though pit bulls were trained to fight other dogs, they were bred to be human friendly. So that when the dogs are in the pit (this is not pleasant to talk about, I know), the owner needed to be able to step in and pull the dogs apart at any time, without the dogs turning on them.

The other thing I think I would do is pull the back legs of the attacking dog up in the air and pull them away from my dog. Dogs tend to lose balance and control when you do this. This is just something that my husband and I thought of, and not something I read from professionals. I don't know how effective it would be in reality. When Angel was attacked by the Airedale, I too panicked and didn't know what to do. I just tried to pull her away by grabbing her haunches. You know what's sad...Angel didn't even realize the dog was attacking her. She just wanted to play. And continued to play as the dog attacked/bit her (she has a high tolerance for pain), until I managed to get her away. As the owner walked away, he was coddling his dog (which was off leash the entire time--dogs like that should not be off leash), "Oh, was that dog bothering you?"  >:(


My first instinct was to kick at this dog but the owner was (slowly) on his way so I didn't. I'm sure I would have been bitten if I had kicked him. I have never seen such an aggressive dog. I'm sure he was trying to kill Olive. I could hardly sleep last night thinking about what could have happened. Olive seems okay today. Yesterday she was definitely not herself - and then to make it worse, we had some thunder! My one friend said "Could her day have been any worse?" We went for a walk today and she still enjoyed herself. I'm sure she will be nervous when she sees other dogs though. Carrying a stick seems like a good idea. The dog that attacked her was a shepherd-akita mix. The owner is a creepy guy who looks like a skinhead and probably is not as smart as the dogs he owns. The other dog that he owns (that approached us first) is a rottweiller mix. He's just a puppy so right now is not aggressive but as the police officer who took the report from me said, what will he be like when he's older?


Never get between 2 fighting dogs. If you can, grab the other dog from behind - but, unless you have experience in this, I don't recommend it as if you do it wrong, the dog will turn around and bite you.

Best thing for the average person is to carry a can of pepper spray or equivalent. I think they make something especially for dogs. Then - spray. Aim for the face.

The sad truth is that the MAJORITY of dogs are not agressive nor are they born vicious. There are exceptions in the case of a mental problem. But, otherwise, all dogs are born with a clean slate. It is the OWNER who molds them and their character into what they become. When I see incidents like this, it makes me want to strangle the owner. Because they ruined a perfectly good dog.

I have grown up around the so-called "agressive" breeds. Not a single dog in my family - and we had dobies, german shepherds, and pit bulls was ever agressive to a human, nor did they ever bite one. Pit bulls ARE dog agressive, but that does not translate over to human agression.

I hate it when people get a breed about which they know nothing, and can't handle. Then this dog winds up either destroyed in character or in a shelter because the owner didn't know how to train him properly. Really makes me sick.  >:(


Hi Wendie,
I do hope that Olive is doing OK. I have been around dog fights and have been attacked myself. They are very fast, very frightening, and you do end up feeling almost helpless. One thing I never do personally is blame a specific breed as being aggressive. I have come across Cocker Spaniels that are mean and will bite any hand that approaches, and have net Pit Bulls that are sweet, loving, and affectionate. One that comes to mind is Juliet. She was tied up to a stop sign in the Bronx, set on fire and beaten with chains and pipes. My friends that adopted her spent so much money on non stop surgeries, and medications for her burns. To this day, she is a sweet heart...after all that happened to her, she loves all people and all animals. If there is a dog out there that has a right to want to kill is she. (Note

My dog King was used as "fighting dog bait" at the age of just a few months. I did tell of his story in a post a few months ago. He too suffered horrible wounds that nearly killed him and he still suffers from problems related to his being "torn apart" and nearly killed. HE can not really run. He can not get on a bed himself, he too has a right to be aggressive to other dogs...yet he loves all that come into his world.

My personal experience with a horrible dog fight is when my beautiful Kara was attacked. A few years ago I took Kara and her sister Sheeba to a local school yard to let them run out in a flat field and chase some tennis balls (too wooded where I reside). We were only there a few minutes when a pack of four mixed breed dogs came out of the woods there and started to chase them. Sheeba took off and is so very fast that they never had a chance to get her. Kara ran to me from protection. The stray dogs just all lept on her and started ripping her apart in front of my own two eyes. She is my baby that I rescued, and I do love all animals...BUT....I did what any father would do to protect their child...I started to kick the shit out of them as hard as I could. They would not let go....I actually saw the life coming out of her eyes. they where playing tug of war with her and I could see her intestines. I kept kicking them as hard as I could and pulling on their tails...I punched them until my fists where bleeding. I finally was able to pick Kara up with them hanging on to her and since we were near the school yard fence, I just threw her over it...she limped away into the woods...I did not even know if I would ever see her again. I lost my sense of time and had no idea if this had lasted 1 minute or 20. Sheeba was gone in the woods in one direction...Kara was now gone...and I looked down and had blood all over me. I got back to my car..and Sheeba was there. I put her on a leash and we found Kara in the woods after a few minutes. She could not even walk. I picked her up and carried her to my car and drove straight to my vet. When I looked in the mirror, I realized where the blood had come from. I somehow got bit in the face (on my chin) and never felt it. It required 14 stitches. I have no idea to this day which dog did it, or when it happened. I do know that dogs can get into a frenzy mode. Something just clicks in their brain...and they will not stop attacking. I have read about it, and I saw it. I am positive to this day that if the fence was not there (or we were not close to it) Kara would not be alive. I felt the "frenzy" in myself as I tried to save her. She has never really fully recovered from the attack. She spent a long time at my vet's house being nursed back to health. Her sister Sheeba just used to lie on my bed and cry for her...all day and all night....not knowing if her sister was alive.

My advice and point.....Do whatever you need to do to protect your child. Treat her/him as if they are your child. I have heard that you should shoot water, spray pepper spray, etc. I also know that if a strong dog gets into it's "attack and kill" mode....there is almost nothing you can do to stop it. They do not listen. Most of the time when it will not be carrying anything with you. I will never take my dogs to a dog park. Most dogs are very friendly there...but, they do want to sometimes challenge one another to see who will become "Alpha" of the pack....that Alpha needs to be you.

It was one of the scariest days of my life. I still have the scar on my chin as a reminder when I look in the mirror everyday of what happened. If it ever happens to your dog have a right to protect your dog.....Wendie, I know you must have been as frightened as I glad she is safe and with you (that's for all of you that have had similar events to your children).



oh my God Dave...I cant see my monitor because of the tears in my eyes.( Both what happened to you and your little girl and to that poor animal in the Bronx...I cant imagine how a person would do that to a helpless animal. I guess it just makes me think that maybe I DO believe in capital punishment, after all but not only for serial killers....) I'm glad she is survived the ordeal. Did the offending animals ever get caught?

As for Olive, I hope that she is feeling better soon. Physically, but mentally too. Dogs can become very skiddish after such an attack. I know that you are probally scared out of your mind about other dogs now...but its really important for Olive to get some exposure to other dogs soon so that she wont remain in fear of all dogs, which often happens after these things. Start off with "safe dogs." That is, dogs whose behaviors you know are not going to be too dominant. Maybe even dogs she has met before if that is possible. Then slowly get some exposure to other dogs. I don't mean you have to take her to the dog park if you are not comfortable with that, but you are never going to be able to keep her from meet all dogs all the time. She will meet them on walks, in the vets office, etc. and we just don't want her to be scared of them when that happens.

Something I have heard helps is the pepper spray, or else aerosol hairspray (is it even legal to sell that stuff any more?) get one of the key chain pepper sprays maybe and have it attached to your lead with a caribeener style key chain or something. If its a dog that bites and just holds on (as opposed to biting multiple times) I have heard that shoving something at their nostrils (like a stick) will make them let go.

I don't know if this is a good suggestion (Dave maybe you have some advice on this componet) but I have let go of the lead in the past so that my dog at least wont get tangled up in the lead and so that they at least have a chance to out run the other dogs (like Dave's other dog did.) But this presents certain problems, such as the animal being hard to find especially if it is injured and also the animal running into traffic if you are near traffic...

I used to have a few dairy goats as companions that I would walk on a lead through my neighborhood. I was probally 13 at the time. We never had a problem until one day a golden lab mix tore out and started chasing us. I was sick a lot as a child an could never run...but that day I had just stopped raining and my goat slipped on the sidewalk. She normally weighed about 80 lbs, but she was 5 months pregnant with twin bucks (about a week or two away form delivery) She probally weighed as much as I did at that point. Somehow, I managed to PICK HER UP mid stride in my run and carry her into a nearby field. Unfortunately, we got stuck between a wash and the dog. Just as I was about to jump into the wash with my goat (knowing the dog would follow but that my goat could climb up the steep 6 foot dirt walls and that I WOULD be stuck with the raging animal but that my goat was about to be safe my 9 year old brother ripped a branch of a tree and prepared to bludgeon it (I suppose.) But my sister who was 11, is an admirere of house pets (I refuse to call an non-veg an "animal lover") couldn't see the dog beat and managed to grab it by the collar where the two of my siblings tackled it and it instantly submitted...It became so submissive infact, that we were able to put it on my goats lead and walk it back to its house...This is probally the rarest thing in the world...I'm not sure why it worked...But what I mostly remember was the ABSALUT terror I felt. Delight (my goat) was my best friend, who yes, I would have let the dog kill me instead of her...It was easily one of the most frightening experiences of my life and never again have I received such an adrenaline boost as I did that day, in that situation.

Her babies were born quite safely and healthy about two weeks later. Jolly and Skipper.

Dog fights are really scarey. Definatly make a plan in your head as to what you want to do int eh future, cause its almost impossible to think right then. Im really sorry you went through that- but you guys will be feeling much better soon.  ;)


Hey, Dave,
Your story makes me realize how lucky Olive was to have come through with really minor injuries. How horrible that must have been for you. Olive is doing well. Her injuries are healing well and we walked again this morning with no problems. We walk at just after 6 in the morning so we rarely see other dogs then. The day she was attacked was a Saturday so we were out an hour or so later than we are on weekdays. I will definitely be getting some pepper spray to carry with me. As I said in an earlier post my first instinct was to kick the dog but it was a warm morning and I was wearing shorts and sandals so I don't know how much damage I would have done. Olive's fur protected her but my bare legs certainly wouldn't have been any match for that vicious dog. It was a horrible experience but it's over and we were very fortunate.


I'm with Dave. Do whatever you have to when protecting your child. Your dog looks to you for protection.You never know when something like that could happen, and so it's hard to prepare. I was bitten once when a wacko dog came out of nowhere and attacked Lana. Luckily she is small and I whisked her into my arms before the other dog had a chance to do any real damage. But it was frightening and when I pushed the other dog away it took a chunk out of my hand. I can imagine how horrified you must have been.


Someone mentioned letting go of the lead. I think this is generally a good idea as it gives the dog a chance to get away. On the other hand, in some instances it depends on the situation and the type of dog involved. I have a GSD with whom I train in Schutzhund. So, if some dog comes at him - yea, I'm letting go of the lead. Hanging onto the lead would only hinder his escape. At the same time, though, I'm getting that can of pepper spray out. Water will sometimes work well in breaking up dog fights ... but then, on a walk, you don't carry around a hose or bucket of water.

The worst that has ever happened with my GSD are those small chiuaha (sp?) dogs. For some reason, they all want to run up to my dog, grown and attempt nipping at ankles. While the owners think it's somehow amusing to watch their small dogs attack my 100 pound dog.

I'd like to see how amusing they'd find it if my dog inhaled their small dog. ;) Unfortunately, I can't do that, and my dog has impeccable manners. Plus, my dog would be immedietly blamed for being vicious should he try to protect himself from a small breed. Usually, I just scare the owners a bit and tell them my dog has been known to eat small dogs like that. Yes, I'm evil.

That's my other pet peeve: owners with small dogs who think that just because the dog is small, he/she does not need to be taught any manners.

Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Glad your dog is doing well.  :)


I wanted to add some pics of Kara and her sister Sheeba to this thread. Kara has been having some problems lately. There is a very strong virus and infection battling her immune system right now. Since she was attacked she has always had problems creeping up from time to time.  I know that she is a fighter in spirit and her good gentle heart will let her beat back what is going on inside of her. She is getting the best treatment and care possible and between my ex wife (who knows so much more about dogs and pet nutrition then I) and our vet, I know Kara is getting better, and will be back to her old self in no time. Send her some puppy love!

PS: if you look at the first picture closely, you can see her left leg, and the damage caused to it as those stray dogs played tug of war with her.

PPS: It would only allow me to add 2 pics, so you can see her sister Sheeba in my gallery here...d!


I'm glad Kara is getting better - the poor baby. After talking to the owners of the other dog who was attacked by the shepherd/akita mix on the same day as Olive, I realize we got off very lucky. Their dog, a 10-year-old Afghan, had to be sedated to have stitches in his leg. The vet was worried because of his age it might be dangerous for him but he's doing okay. It cost the owners $600. Even worse, the husband, who tried to break up the dogfight and was bit, had to start a round of rabies shots. He can't seem to find out whether the dog who attacked him has had his shots. I really doubt the moron owner ever took his dogs to the vet.

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