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yoda900_ca February 23rd, 2006 10:43 AM

Need objective opinion on incident last night
Last night i was walking my 8month old malamute puppy(goku)when a guy i know down the street popped out from behind his truck. It was dark and i never saw him. This man is about 6"4 and has a very gruff smokers voice. He said Hey long time no see(which the dog and i haven't seen him in about 4months) and proceeeded to walk up and grab my dogs neck on both sides. This happened so fast that I barely had said hi. Well needless to say he startled the hell out of the dog who growled and nipped his hand hard and then bolted backwards. I could tell by the dogs reaction that he had scared him and that the dog felt threatened. The I instantly corrected goku, and he instantly had that guilty look, and put him in sit stay and looked at the mans hand. He never broke the skin but did leave a red mark.
The man was understanding that he probably shouldn't have grabbed his neck but he did it "incase he tried to jump up as puppies do" He was pretty upset where he gave me a lecture about how I should becareful w/him how it's not normal for a dog to act like this,etc. I nicely explain that he probably should let the dog sniff his hand first and not pop out and approach like that and he really shouldn't have grabbed his neck.I gave the man a cookie and let him sniff, and goku was then fine w/him and we parted on good terms. When I got home and explained what happened to hubby he was concerened and felt that the dog shouldn't have nipped either. I felt hey u startled me and a 8month pup and then grabbed his neck, If someone I didn't know grabbed my neck I'd slug him.

So question is should i be concerned or do you all think this is a fairly normal reaction and the guy was kind stupid in his approach?

Rottielover February 23rd, 2006 10:50 AM

I would not be concerned, the dog felt threatend by a strange person, then the dummy chose to challenge him by grabbing his neck and stare at him. You have a perfctly normal dog. But you were right to have corrected him.
Even though he was startled, he should not have snapped. A low growl would have been fine.
You will now have to be more on your toes now knowing he does not take things lightly. Back to training so you have full control over that dog.

Inverness February 23rd, 2006 10:52 AM

I'd say normal reaction from your dog ! Although you want to teach him not to do that, if he was startled and felt he was in danger, he just had a normal defensive behaviour ! You can't expect a dog not to defend himself if he feels threatened ? Especially since your pup also felt you were taken by surprise. Goku probably thought you were scared too !

I'd say the man was at fault there... (my opinion though...)

Lucky Rescue February 23rd, 2006 11:15 AM

Agree with the others. Not many dogs are going to stand there and let a stranger grab them that way. I would certainly never do such a thing and I believe most people would have better sense..

This man should rethink his method of greeting dogs. Next time he may really get hurt.

[QUOTE]If someone I didn't know grabbed my neck I'd slug him.

Exactly, and we have reasoning on our side, which dogs do not.

jessi76 February 23rd, 2006 11:16 AM

you'd think a grown man would have at least some common sense...

IMO, Goku's reaction was totally normal... however... when my dog displays appauling behavior I think to myself, "what if that were a kid?" - this time it wasn't, but next time he's grabbed unexpectedly, it could be a kid. It's atonishing how many kids aren't taught how to approach a dog.

I don't blame your dog for one second for the nip - but a simple and even provoked nip, can have drastic consequences.

I think it's a blessing in disguise - no one got hurt - and you learned something important about your dog - now you can watch for it, and prevent it.

yoda900_ca February 23rd, 2006 11:58 AM

thank's all for your imput. I thought it was normal too. My only concern was what if it had been a kid as well. Normally,however, goku adores people he's always giving kisses and tolerates most anything from children(he's a big hit when we walk to school) I really think it was becasue it was dark(goku is always alittle more aprehensive when walked in the dark) and he was startled then grabbed on the neck(he's kinda senstive there). I just wanted to make sure i wasn't being bias cause he's my"baby". I hate to do it but I guess i'll walk him heel at all times at night and let him stop intermitently for a sniff and pee.

shannon1233A February 23rd, 2006 12:32 PM

I agree with the others, a normal reaction from being grabbed by the neck. But with that being said, Goku's hearing is much better than ours, so he must have heard the man approaching and wasn't so much startled because he came from behind a truck, but rather from being grabbed. You want him to be trusted as others said, with kids UNEXPECTEDLY grabbing him, no matter where. I've heard of a Mal recently put down by a Rescue because he had bitten a child when the kid fell on his back while he was asleep. Unfortunately, the dog never got over being afraid of kids and acted agressively towards them afterwards. You also mention he's sensitive around his neck area. I'd also be working on that. You want to be able to grab Goku on any part of his body without being afraid he may not like it and retaliate. I'd love to see pics of him, it's been too long :) Also how's his coat doing?
Edited to add: I remember you said you may show him, the judges will feel his testicles, so you may want to test him there too, lol!

Lucky Rescue February 23rd, 2006 01:47 PM

Most dogs do not care for being grabbed or hugged around the neck. Neck grabbing is a very aggressive action to a dog and lots of them will try to defend themselves. Many may tolerate it, but it's not something they enjoy, especially when it's done suddenly by a stranger.

My last dog didn't like it either, and when little kids would run up to us wanting to hug or pet him, I took the opportunity to educate them on how to approach a strange dog.:)

Prin February 23rd, 2006 02:20 PM

I tend to disagree. If anybody did that to our dogs, most likely, they wouldn't bite. Especially not Boo. So many people are afraid of our dogs from the get go so we always desensitized them to the point where anybody can run up and step on them or boot them and the doggies know the person's intentions are not bad and if they are, we'll handle it. We've had people try to get Boo to bite them already, just to start a fight and to get Boo put down (we were in a neighborhood of serious dog haters). We had to be able to be sure without a doubt that he didn't do it and would never do it.

If we aren't there, that's a different story. If the guy went after me, that's a different story too. But my dogs know, if I'm there, I'll defend them from anything, so they don't have to.

It makes it a bit uncomfortable if I need defending, but I'd somehow rather my dogs not defend me than bite people for no reason and get "destroyed".

Just my opinion, of course, but I was always raised that the scarier/bigger/more uncommon the dog breed, the more docile they have to be in public. (I grew up with dobies...:rolleyes: )

BernerLver February 23rd, 2006 02:49 PM

[QUOTE=Prin]We've had people try to get Boo to bite them already, just to start a fight and to get Boo put down (we were in a neighborhood of serious dog haters). [/QUOTE]

Seriously! :confused: I can't beleive this. It sounds like you've since moved. Can't say I blame you. *shakes head*

BMDLuver February 23rd, 2006 05:14 PM

Here's my opinion... I would not have corrected my dog if he nipped under those circumstances. Quite frankly I would hope he would do it again. He was protecting himself and you. The guy's an idiot and deserved what he got. I'm pretty sure the cops would have agreed had he made a fuss about it. What he did borders on intimidation and I would steer very clear of this guy. No right minded person would do that. My old gal Berner is a pussycat but if you tried that with her and she felt I was threatened or she was, you bet she would most likely nail the person.

Peeves me to no end when people do dumb things.:o

Lucky Rescue February 23rd, 2006 05:37 PM

[QUOTE=BMDLuver]Here's my opinion... I would not have corrected my dog if he nipped under those circumstances. Quite frankly I would hope he would do it again. He was protecting himself and you. The guy's an idiot and deserved what he got. I'm pretty sure the cops would have agreed had he made a fuss about it. What he did borders on intimidation and I would steer very clear of this guy. No right minded person would do that. My old gal Berner is a pussycat but if you tried that with her and she felt I was threatened or she was, you bet she would most likely nail the person.

Peeves me to no end when people do dumb things.:o[/QUOTE]

:thumbs up

glasslass February 23rd, 2006 10:12 PM

What if your dog wasn't with you? What if a guy jumped out at you without warning and put his hands on your neck? Put yourself in your dog's place and it was self-defense as well as protecting you. The guys an idiot and can't accept responsibility for his actions.

Shaykeija February 24th, 2006 01:20 AM

Hell if anyone jumped out and grabbed my dog by the neck. I would have bit him myself.

Prin February 24th, 2006 01:24 AM

[QUOTE=BernerLver]Seriously! :confused: I can't beleive this. It sounds like you've since moved. Can't say I blame you. *shakes head*[/QUOTE]
Yep, got the hey out of there. :thumbs up

tenderfoot February 24th, 2006 01:49 PM

Not all dogs roll over and play submissive puppy when attacked assertively. He felt he needed to defend himself and frankly if your description is accurate then I don't blame him one bit. However, this does mean that you have to be extra diligent about your socialization of this pup. Male Mals can get cranky - so now that he has been scared you need to do 'double time' on helping him feel safe. This scenario possibly undermined his trust in you. In his mind you let a strange man attack him. So now he might feel the need to defend himself first before letting something like that happen again and he might start defending you too because he doesn't think you can 'read' people quickly enough to make a safe decision.
I am not saying you did anything wrong - but its all about whose in charge of keeping the pack safe in his doggy brain. And this incident did nothing to build his confidence in your leadership. It might have even shown him that snapping works to keep the world away and he 'might' try it again if he is nervous enough. I am not trying to scare you but you need to heighten your awareness for the future. Take charge, read his body language and be ready to correct him for a bad choice and reward a good choice.
This man was out of line and totally at fault.

snapperblue February 26th, 2006 09:15 PM

I'm sorry your young dog had this experience. It is just more proof that the world is full of idiots!

At a holiday get-together, one of the guests pinned my dog to the floor and blew on her face. She struggled to escape, which he found amusing, so he kept doing it. Finally, she swung her muzzle crossways across his face, hitting him with her teeth. (I saw only the end of this.) Though she was not closing her mouth, this jerk's girlfriend went around telling everyone "That dog bit Gary in the face!" Both these people were in graduate school, specializing in animal behavior (ethology)!

Since Goku has had this encounter, I'd suggest a deliberate program of socialization. Have as many strangers as possible meet and pat her (after proper approach!) to dilute this bad experience. One of my friends who trains search and rescue dogs takes her pups everywhere to give them lots of experience. One had a weird fear of kids wearing winter hats, so my friend worked on getting her lots of positive experiences with children.

Best of luck!

mastifflover February 26th, 2006 11:55 PM

I agree your dog was protecting himself and you the guy deserved what he got. I don't think your hubby would have been happy if the dog did nothing if someone tried to get to you. Just keep up socializing with men so this does not have a lasting affect on him

Prin February 26th, 2006 11:56 PM

[QUOTE=mastifflover]Just keep up socializing with men so this does not have a lasting affect on him[/QUOTE]I don't think the hubby would like that either.:D :clown:

tenderfoot February 27th, 2006 09:39 AM

Quick note - not to pick on your words Snapper but "patting" a dog has no effect on a dog. I thought it might be a good opportunity to clarify this point. Again - not trying to pick on you Snapper.
Nothing in the natural world 'pats' them. People love to pat dogs and horses - horses only get a 'pat' when they are being kicked by another horse. Some dogs will enjoy a soft patting at the base of the tail, but the best way to win a dog over is to 'stroke' them with a firm long stroke. This actually brings out the 'alpha' brain wave (which is not the dominant brain wave), which is calming and soothing to a dog. It is just like momma licking them. It is comforting, calming and soothing. I often focus over the eyes and between the eyes to get the greatest connection.
Sorry to be so obsessive about the 'patting' thing, but we see people do it all of the time and it would be good for people to understand the difference.

Prin February 27th, 2006 11:31 AM

I always wondered about that. None of my dogs have ever liked patting and I wondered what the big deal was. Now I know.:)

snapperblue February 28th, 2006 11:22 AM

Maybe I should have said "touch." The point was not that the dog would like the touch, but that it would be become accustomed to other people touching it and less likely to have its dominant memory be the frightening "assault" of being grabbed from behind. True, the dog will learn this is OK not from the "pat," but from how its owner behaves.

The concern is that Goku might react with inappropriate aggression in the future. I'd think that the more that her owner praises her for a friendly or impassive response, the less likely that would be.

I read a magazine article that said dogs don't like to be patted- I agree if by that you mean "thumped repeatedly on the head with short stokes." I never used the word in that way specific way... To me, I guess it included stroking and scratching. My dogs seem to like that, though only in limited amounts. It functions more like a greeting or the initiation of an interaction- like a smile and eyebrow lift to a person. You'd do it on meeting or starting a conversation, but not continuously all day!!

littlesister February 28th, 2006 11:31 AM

in response to situation & specifically to "Prin"
If my dog were encountered like this, I'm sure something negative would have happened. She's just not trusting of strangers, something common in her breed.
Prin - you said you've desensitized your dogs to the point that they wouldn't react to that. What kind of dogs are those and how did you desensitize. I'd love to train my dog to be less sensitive, though I'm not sure I'm able. Also, Prin, what part of Montreal was very difficult, and what parts are better? I've just moved to the region, so I'm very curious to know.

Prin February 28th, 2006 02:24 PM

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My dogs aren't overly fearful though, so I don't know if that makes a huge difference. Basically, if we found something or a situation that made them uncomfortable, we exposed them to it a little bit at a time while keeping it positive. Like Jemma hates being blown on, but if every time somebody does that to her she gets a cookie or something positive happens, she becomes more tolerant. You have to start so gradually though.

The area I'm talking about is in Ahuntsic, but even then, within Ahuntsic, there are dog friendly areas.. My neighbors would scream at me if I walked by with my dogs, saying that I don't pick up (when we picked up after other people's dogs all the time). I would tell them if my two big doggies dumped on their lawn 3 times a day, they would know it really quickly. But it wasn't just one neighbor, it was about a half a dozen on our block. You basically had to sneak around with your dog. It was so stressful.

I was serious though, one guy sort of jingled his fingers to get Boo to bite them (we thought he was just being friendly with Boo at first) but Boo licked them instead and the guy started screaming that he was bitten- this was a middle-aged man in a business suit. There were also a lot of drunks coming out of the metro, and a few of them ran up to Jemma and Boo, meaning well, but being scary nonetheless. My babies never did anything. I would get them to come to me and sit between my legs where they feel protected and tell the drunks to bugger off. (heh heh, I read too many of Mel's posts..)

That's the main thing, I think, that has made a difference. I don't depend on my dogs to defend me, but the other way around. My dogs know that be it a dog or a human or whatever else, I'm there to protect my dogs from it. I get between them and the threat, and it allows them to feel safe enough to know that if I'm not stepping in and I'm not apprehensive, it's ok. Then again, after having had a lab who wanted to kill everything that moved, I might have become more aware of my surroundings...

After being up nights with both on different occasions, Jemma with horrible nightmares and Boo with anxiety attacks, they understand the words I use too. If I say "It's ok" or "It's finished", my dogs know what they mean. I'm sort of spoiled that way, in that I can communicate pretty well with my babies because I've been using the same words and phrases for 4 years now. Right off the bat, I used sentences to explain things to them- hey, if they have the capacity of a 2 year old, we should all be using sentences, IMO... It's hard to reassure a dog when they don't understand what you're saying without coddling it, and encouraging the fearfulness...

It's hard to explain over the internet, I guess. But if you run up to my dogs out of nowhere, they won't assume you have bad intentions.

Oh, what kind of doggies are they? Mutts... Jemma's lab husky and we think Boo is either pointer/newf or lab/dane. Big black scary dogs.:D

littlesister February 28th, 2006 09:10 PM

Thanks Prin -
What a beautiful photo!!! That's excellent.
I've only been in Montreal for a week, actually Pierrefonds, and feel a culture shock to see all of the parks here have signs up with no dogs allowed on them. Sheesh. We moved from Toronto, where I recall only seeing one such sign in a tiny little park. Now I feel like I have to sneak around. I don't know if we just chose the worst suburb or if it's all like that. Good thing we have a good backyard, but right now I'm walking in the street because there are no real sidewalks and the parks are off limits. I feel like a walking menace here. Things sure have changed with regards to dogs it seems, nowadays the dog should be trained to allow a kid to cut it's ear off with a pair of scissors without biting. When I was a kid, the dogs barked and bit if we did something stupid, then we learned our lesson. However, a kid these days can get away with murder. Interesting world.
Thanks for your response, it's very good.

Prin March 1st, 2006 12:10 AM


Not all the parks are off limits. Usually they only put up signs after one person (or a couple of people) never pick up and ruin it for everybody. Wherever you buy your dog license, you can ask for a pamphlet on the bylaws and regulations about dogs in your area. St-Laurent is the worst, IMO. If you read their laws, dogs aren't allowed in parks or on lawns, so basically, they expect your dog to "go" on the sidewalk.:confused: Montreal is fairly bad for dogs as a whole. Last I heard, 20% of Montrealers had a dog, compared to 1/3 of Canadians.

Up here in Laval, it's so much more relaxed. Everybody on my street has a dog, and we all tolerate each other and respect each other pretty well. So far, we haven't had any dogs left outside barking all night here, but in the city it happened all the time (even though there were less dogs there).

Anyway, enough hijacking.

It sucks that the laws are so against dogs in every way. It is true that no matter what the reason a dog bites, it's the dog's fault. Even if I don't like it, I never want to lose my babies.

littlesister March 1st, 2006 09:18 AM

Sounds good,
we're right over the river, maybe I'll cross the bridge on my walks!
Literally all the parks surrounding us in Pierrefonds are no dogs allowed.

Rottielover March 1st, 2006 09:43 AM

I am in dollard, I go to centnial park, there is a dog park, or a nice place for your dogs to walk on leash. I no longer take Harley to dog parks, but I love it there. Everyone there has a dog. pm me if you would like more info

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