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Old July 6th, 2012, 04:23 PM
smoly78 smoly78 is offline
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Dog bite situation

My dog was just attacked by our next door neighbour's dog and I need some advice regarding next steps. Unfortunately, the incident was partly due to negligence on my part. My dog was in my front yard with me and was not leashed. My dog is a small mixed breed that has never shown any signs of aggression. He does tend to get over excited when he sees other dogs and will bark and attempt to get the dog to play a game of "chase" with him, my dog being the one that wants to be chased. My neighbour's dog is a German Shepherd that has shown aggression towards my dog. It barks and lunges at him while growling. The shepherd is generally kept in a fenced area in their yard (where it frequently barks and attempts to jump the fence to get at us) and is leashed on walks but plays off leash in the unsecured front yard. My dog ran into their yard (about two feet in from our driveway and the road) while they were playing with their dog. Their dog immediately lunged for mine, grabbed him and shook him violently. He dropped my dog when his owner hit him but continued to try and attack my dog. My dog did not defend himself and tried to get to me. Eventually the owner was able to grab the shepherd and put him in the fenced area. My dog ran home as soon as he was able. He ended up needing 10 stitches and is being treated with antibiotics.
I recognize that I was stupid to have my dog outside and off leash and understand that the attack was largely due to my dog going into the other dog's territory. I do feel that the owners of the other dog need to take some responsibility for the attack as well as their dog was aggressive and not contained as well as not being responsive to the owners attempts to call off the attack. It seems to me that every precaution possible should be taken when you have a dog with aggressive tendencies. Obviously I have learned the hard way that the same holds true for any dog, aggressive or not, because you cannot control reactions to your animal no matter how well intended the animals behaviour was.
My problem is twofold. Do the neighbours have any liability regarding their dog attacking mine? Should I be reporting their dog? I have no interest in penalizing them as long as they keep their dog leashed at all times (as I will be doing with mine). The owner does not appear remorseful at all and his only comment was that maybe my dog will learn not to go into their yard. I feel that it would be fair of them to offer to pay for half of the vet bill but will not push the matter. I don't want to create conflict but I do want to do the right thing.
My other concern in that my dog will become fearful or defensive around other dogs. How can I ensure he continues to socialize positively with other dogs? We have been working with him on calming greeting other dogs instead of getting so excited and he was making progress.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 08:31 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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First thing you and the other owner need to do is reassure each other of the rabies vaccination status of your dogs.

Sorry, but since the GSD did not leave it's own yard it seems to me that you are responsible for the encounter. It seems to me that you had no more control over your dog than the GSD owner did over his dog. I think it would be nice if the GSD owner offered to help with expenses, it was your smaller dog that got hurt after all, but I cannot see why they should have to and I don't see it being half their fault.

I can see this really backfiring on you if you report them. You knew how your dog acted, you knew the GSD didn't like your dog yet still you allowed your dog out loose and out of control. You both had your dogs loose in your own front yards and your dog was the trespasser, not the GSD.

To help with future GSD encounters, not with that one, can you find a nice friendly GSD? Arrange a playdate? Or some other large breed dog?

Sorry to be negative. I do hope your dog is OK and not traumatized by this. Dogs are pretty resilient. Maybe he learned an important lesson on how to properly approach other dogs?



It was hard to read this without paragraphs to break it up. I hope I got it right. Please take pity on those of us who have a hard time with a big jumble of words.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 09:11 PM
smoly78 smoly78 is offline
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I appreciate your response and opinion. Both dogs are up to date on their vaccinations. Like I said before, I accept responsibility for my part in the incident but I do think the situation could have been easily reversed since their dog was off leash in an open area (regardless of the fact it was on their property, if it had chosen to run it couldn't have been stopped). The key being that the attack showed that they are not able to control their dog 100% and so it should not have been off leash either.

The other difference being that my dog did not bite and theirs did. I place no blame on the dog, it was only defending its territory like it was bred to do. If it had been leashed I think everything would have ended differently. That is why I think the blame is equal: both dogs were off leash, both owners were unable to control their dogs, mine trespassed, theirs was on their property but in an open area adjacent to our yard and the street (no sidewalk as a barrier). Would the story be the same if a kid had run onto their yard and gotten bit?

Again, I'm not seeking to litigate or pursue the incident with the neighbour. I certainly learned my lesson and my poor little dog is suffering for it. I would have far less guilt if I was the one in pain instead of him. He is improving and will have some battle scars but is a very lucky dog.

I did report the incident to animal control because I was told that all dog bites must be reported regardless of blame or instigating factors. I was very open about my part in the incident. The "bite investigator" will be following up with me next week so we'll see how it goes from there.

I think your advice about finding a friendly German Shepherd for him to socialize with is a good one and I will talk to another neighbour who has a very social shepherd about this.

I hope this post was easier to read. I've been pretty stressed and have rambled on further than I should. It's been hard to watch my little guy and have the neighbours be so callous about the incident. If they had expressed some concern over the aggressiveness of their dog, I would feel more confident about having them next door to me. I don't think it's ok for a dog to go for the kill when it's owners are right there unless the owners lives are in danger.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 09:24 PM
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LavenderRott LavenderRott is offline
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It really doesn't matter if the GSD was aggressive or not - the fact of the matter is YOUR dog left YOUR yard. Now, if the neighbors dog had come into your yard and attacked your dog - then you could assume that the neighbor should be responsible for the attack and any vet bills that you acquired.

Just because the dog attacked your dog does not mean it would attack a child. Many dogs that are dog aggressive (as it sounds your neighbor's dog might be) are perfect safe with people and wonderful with children.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 09:32 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Originally Posted by smoly78 View Post
I appreciate your response and opinion. Both dogs are up to date on their vaccinations. Like I said before, I accept responsibility for my part in the incident but I do think the situation could have been easily reversed since their dog was off leash in an open area (regardless of the fact it was on their property, if it had chosen to run it couldn't have been stopped). The key being that the attack showed that they are not able to control their dog 100% and so it should not have been off leash either.

The other difference being that my dog did not bite and theirs did. I place no blame on the dog, it was only defending its territory like it was bred to do. If it had been leashed I think everything would have ended differently. That is why I think the blame is equal: both dogs were off leash, both owners were unable to control their dogs, mine trespassed, theirs was on their property but in an open area adjacent to our yard and the street (no sidewalk as a barrier). Would the story be the same if a kid had run onto their yard and gotten bit?

Again, I'm not seeking to litigate or pursue the incident with the neighbour. I certainly learned my lesson and my poor little dog is suffering for it. I would have far less guilt if I was the one in pain instead of him. He is improving and will have some battle scars but is a very lucky dog.

I did report the incident to animal control because I was told that all dog bites must be reported regardless of blame or instigating factors. I was very open about my part in the incident. The "bite investigator" will be following up with me next week so we'll see how it goes from there.

I think your advice about finding a friendly German Shepherd for him to socialize with is a good one and I will talk to another neighbour who has a very social shepherd about this.

I hope this post was easier to read. I've been pretty stressed and have rambled on further than I should. It's been hard to watch my little guy and have the neighbours be so callous about the incident. If they had expressed some concern over the aggressiveness of their dog, I would feel more confident about having them next door to me. I don't think it's ok for a dog to go for the kill when it's owners are right there unless the owners lives are in danger.
Some dogs are very territorially no matter now friendly they may seem. I found this out when I took my dog into another dog's yard. Both dogs got along fine when they meet at a park for the first but as soon as my dog was in the other dog's yard he attack my dog. I would keep your dog on his leash and see how the dogs react to one another if you're going into another dog's yard. The dog that attacked my dog was very friendly at the park but it was not in his own yard. I hope your dog will be OK.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 11:21 PM
smoly78 smoly78 is offline
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It doesn't mean that it wouldn't attack a child either. I'd like to think the owners didn't think their dog would attack my dog with the intent to kill and not listen to their commands but it did (again, recognizing my dog instigated the incident). There is no way to know how the dog would react to a strange child running into its territory unless it actually happens and why would you want to take that risk? When you have a large, dominant dog that has shown signs of aggression towards any living creature you should not be playing fetch with it in an open area where many families and animals are close by. The dog might be fine with children in any other situation but what if a child comes in the yard to retrieve a ball and the GSD feels it is his ball and he needs to protect it? I'm quite sure that the dog would have to be put down if it bit the child and that's just unfair to the dog.

What I would like is for the owners to recognize that their dog should be controlled on a leash at all times when it is not in a contained area whereas they seem to have shrugged it off and passed the blame entirely onto me. Obviously the same goes for my dog but I have recognized and acknowledged that fact. I think a lesson should be learned on both sides, neither of our dogs should be allowed anywhere off leash that is not a contained area.

I have given up on getting any help with the vet bill. I know that if the situation were reversed, I would be offering to help with the cost but I have no interest in turning this into some kind of legal battle. I know small dogs can hurt people too but I do feel you have an increased responsibility if you choose to own a large dog who's breed is known to have aggressive or territorial tendencies. You should not assume that animals or children are never going to enter the dog's territory and so you should never allow your dog to be able to react freely in those situations.

As a side note, German Shepherds are beautiful, intelligent animals and I don't have a prejudice against any specific breed. I just believe that certain breeds come with increased risk of aggression and require extra vigilance from the owners.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 01:16 PM
HuntleysMom HuntleysMom is offline
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I don't know if the owners would be willing to check it out but most homeowner insurance policies include voluntary damage coverage, our previous dog was attacked in a dog park and upon my recommendation (I'm an insurance broker) the owner filed a claim through their insurance and covered the vet bill.

There is no deductible and it won't affect their insurance rates, the only catch might be if the insurance company decides they had no negligence because the incident happened on their property.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 04:11 PM
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glasslass glasslass is offline
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My main concern is about the "violent shaking". When my poodle was attacked by two large dogs about 7 years ago, he was also shaken. The vet ran drainage tubes under the skin, explaining that the shaking causes the skin to be pulled loose and there is damage that is not visible from the surface, causing swelling from fluids under the wound. The tubes drain this off so that the wound can heal from the inside out. If you see any swelling, please check with your vet.

I'm afraid I do have to say that Den-Den lost his wonderful self confidence. He's now 14 years old and is just experiencing his first dog park that was recently developed near here. The large dogs are in a separate area from the small ones. It's been wonderful for him. He still stays close to me but is interacting with the others more and more, even touching noses with the large dogs through the chain link fence. He seems so happy. I encourage you to take your dog to a dog park to let him socialize with others at his own pace to help him regain his mojo.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 11:12 PM
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Goldfields Goldfields is offline
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smoly78. I would be most concerned that this dog could attack yours again. All this talk about bounderies and territory makes me laugh because that dog would not know exactly where the properties are separated unless there is a fenceline, or an invisible fence. Next time it could cross the line in a flash, especially if it's wanting a fight. The neighbors don't seem to have the control necessary, that's for sure.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 12:25 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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smoly78. I would be most concerned that this dog could attack yours again. All this talk about bounderies and territory makes me laugh because that dog would not know exactly where the properties are separated unless there is a fenceline, or an invisible fence. Next time it could cross the line in a flash, especially if it's wanting a fight. The neighbors don't seem to have the control necessary, that's for sure.
You have brought up a very good point, the dogs need to be kept on a leash when in their own yard if there is nothing to keep them from getting into one another yard. The next time is could be a child that get bitten.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 06:55 PM
dogs dogs is offline
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Sorry to hear this

Its always horrible when a dog bites anyone.
It is not uncommon, as that are defensive and territorial animals.

after reading your story i feel that it will be difficult for you to pass
liability to the owners as it was in there yard, there private property.

Its a shame the owner was not remorseful, tough luck getting them to pay
half the vet bill. In this case i think it is best you are aware of the next door
neighbours dangerous dog. Yes i think you should report the incident if you want some relief this is probably your only out let.

Hope this helps.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 11:06 AM
smoly78 smoly78 is offline
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Thank you everyone,

Huntlyesmom - It never would have even occured to me to ask about their insurance covering it. It's interesting that a deductible wouldn't even be charged. I'm not going to pursue this (I've decided just to deal with the vet bill myself) but it's good to know for the future.

Glasslas - That is very good to know about the swelling. He did have some swelling but it appears to be draining out through the wounds. There has been clear fluid mixed with blood (I know, gross!) draining slowly for the last day or so. No signs of infection but we're watching him closely.

Goldfields & BarkingDog - That was exactly my concern as well. Thank you for posting your opinions. It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one who sees this as a hazard.

dogs - I think you're correct in trying to pass off liability. I was asking more for my own peace of mind than anything else. I have reported the bite (as I was told that it was law in Ontario to report any bite) but will not be pursuing any follow-up. I now look for the other dog before we leave the house and my dog is leashed anytime we're near the door.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 11:27 AM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Originally Posted by smoly78 View Post
Thank you everyone,

Huntlyesmom - It never would have even occured to me to ask about their insurance covering it. It's interesting that a deductible wouldn't even be charged. I'm not going to pursue this (I've decided just to deal with the vet bill myself) but it's good to know for the future.

Glasslas - That is very good to know about the swelling. He did have some swelling but it appears to be draining out through the wounds. There has been clear fluid mixed with blood (I know, gross!) draining slowly for the last day or so. No signs of infection but we're watching him closely.

Goldfields & BarkingDog - That was exactly my concern as well. Thank you for posting your opinions. It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one who sees this as a hazard.

dogs - I think you're correct in trying to pass off liability. I was asking more for my own peace of mind than anything else. I have reported the bite (as I was told that it was law in Ontario to report any bite) but will not be pursuing any follow-up. I now look for the other dog before we leave the house and my dog is leashed anytime we're near the door.
I wanted to get a German Shepherd mix but I was told my insurance would go up. Is this the same with insurance companies in Canada , I live in Massachusetts.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 12:02 PM
Choochi Choochi is offline
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Are you suggesting they should be responsible for this incident simply because of the fact that your dog, the instigator and the one that was out of control, has suffered injury?

Their dog was off leash but it was on their private property and it remained there. It didn't take off to attack your dog as soon as he saw him approach, in fact he didn't attack until your dog was on their property. You and your dog initiated this incident, you and your dog have placed the other dog in a position where it felt it had to defend his property and children from the intruder, and you feel like you are owed some thing?

I think you should be more concerned about what has happened and not the what ifs. As far as I'm concerned, the dog reacted fairly and it's unfortunate that your dog was hurt, but this is 100% on your shoulders. Especially if you knew ahead of time that the GSD does not like your dog.

It is incidents like this that give small dog owners a bad name for being always the one at fault and then expecting the bigger dog to bare responsibility simply because they're bigger.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 12:11 PM
smoly78 smoly78 is offline
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I think if you read my previous responses carefully, you'll note that I never said the other dog/owners are entirely to blame. I fully recognize my dog instigated the incident by trespassing on their dog's property. I don't think that an attack-to-kill response is fair on the part of the other dog. A dog should not be given the right to kill just anything that enters it's perceived territory. If the other dog had even gone as far as pinning mine to the ground until it was commanded to release it, I wouldn't have an issue and would have felt that it was an appropriate response. Immediately going for the kill by biting and shaking is not an appropriate first response for a dog to be allowed to have. It doesn't have as much to do with the size of the dog as it does with how aggressive it is.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 12:34 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Originally Posted by smoly78 View Post
Thank you everyone,

Huntlyesmom - It never would have even occured to me to ask about their insurance covering it. It's interesting that a deductible wouldn't even be charged. I'm not going to pursue this (I've decided just to deal with the vet bill myself) but it's good to know for the future.

Glasslas - That is very good to know about the swelling. He did have some swelling but it appears to be draining out through the wounds. There has been clear fluid mixed with blood (I know, gross!) draining slowly for the last day or so. No signs of infection but we're watching him closely.

Goldfields & BarkingDog - That was exactly my concern as well. Thank you for posting your opinions. It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one who sees this as a hazard.

dogs - I think you're correct in trying to pass off liability. I was asking more for my own peace of mind than anything else. I have reported the bite (as I was told that it was law in Ontario to report any bite) but will not be pursuing any follow-up. I now look for the other dog before we leave the house and my dog is leashed anytime we're near the door.
Quote:
Ontario holds dog owners strictly liable for dog bites.

•Overview
•Litigation forms and other materials for attorneys
•If your case involves injury to a dog, see What To Do If Your Dog Is Injured or Killed
Overview
The Dog Owners Liability Act (Dog Owners' Liability Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. D.16) provides:

Liability of owner

2. (1) The owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person or domestic animal. R.S.O. 1990, c. D.16, s. 2 (1).

Where more than one owner

(2) Where there is more than one owner of a dog, they are jointly and severally liable under this section. R.S.O. 1990, c. D.16, s. 2 (2).

Extent of liability

(3) The liability of the owner does not depend upon knowledge of the propensity of the dog or fault or negligence on the part of the owner, but the court shall reduce the damages awarded in proportion to the degree, if any, to which the fault or negligence of the plaintiff caused or contributed to the damages. R.S.O. 1990, c. D.16, s. 2 (3).Contribution by person at fault

(4) An owner who is liable to pay damages under this section is entitled to recover contribution and indemnity from any other person in proportion to the degree to which the other person
From: http://dogbitelaw.com/canada/ontario.html

ETA: Sorry it seems a part is missing at the end but that's how it came from the URL provided.

ETA: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/sta...es_90d16_e.htm Here is a better link. Note that a dog bite falls under the Dog Owners Liability Act, not the Occupiers Liabiblity Act.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 03:28 PM
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LavenderRott LavenderRott is offline
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Originally Posted by smoly78 View Post
I don't think that an attack-to-kill response is fair on the part of the other dog. A dog should not be given the right to kill just anything that enters it's perceived territory. If the other dog had even gone as far as pinning mine to the ground until it was commanded to release it, I wouldn't have an issue and would have felt that it was an appropriate response. Immediately going for the kill by biting and shaking is not an appropriate first response for a dog to be allowed to have. It doesn't have as much to do with the size of the dog as it does with how aggressive it is.
What do you think it should do? Invite the intruder in for a drink at the water bowl?

This is a DOG. It doesn't think like a person, doesn't rationalize, doesn't think about the social ramifications of what it does. Your dog probably would have been more seriously injured had the shepherd "played" with him a bit before "going in for the kill".

Personally - I think you need to worry less about the dog next door and worry more about your own.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 03:46 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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I was going to edit my last post but I think a brand new post is warranted. I can't find Ontario law stating that a dog bite must be reported. The links are IF a dog bite is reported.

If the links are followed it is quite clear the OP risks being charged with allowing his animal to roam at large whereas the GSD owner does not. Hopefully the GSD owner will not have the OP charged.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 03:59 PM
Choochi Choochi is offline
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Originally Posted by smoly78 View Post
I don't think that an attack-to-kill response is fair on the part of the other dog. A dog should not be given the right to kill just anything that enters it's perceived territory. If the other dog had even gone as far as pinning mine to the ground until it was commanded to release it, I wouldn't have an issue and would have felt that it was an appropriate response. Immediately going for the kill by biting and shaking is not an appropriate first response for a dog to be allowed to have. It doesn't have as much to do with the size of the dog as it does with how aggressive it is.
It's a dog!!! What did you want it to do? Sit down and write a letter to your dog asking him to leave???? Aggression is how dogs communicate.

Pinning him to the ground until he was ordered to release??? Do you think you're dealing with a trained judo fighter?

I think you need a reality check. That dog acted absolutely appropriately for the situation for who he is. That dog and his reaction is not the problem. The problem is you allowing your dog to instigate this situation. For all you know that dog was attacked by another dog when he was a puppy and has a very heightened defence response to seeing any dog especially one rushing towards his family on his territory. Responding to a perceived fear has nothing to do with rational thoughts, not to mention human principals and morality do not even remotely apply to the behavioural laws that govern dog behaviour. Dogs like him can be in behavioural modification training for months and years and it only takes one stupid incident like what you did by an irresponsible little dog owner yahoo to set such a dog back in his progress years!! You don't have the slightest clue about how irresponsible what you have allowed to happen is and just how ignorant you sound by trying to complain about the other dog's response. You don't think they're concerned enough about your dog? You're obviously not concerned at all about theirs! If I was in that dog owner's shoes I would be considering sending you the bill for my dog's behavioural sessions which I assure you can easily amount to more then your vet bill when working on long term cases.
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