My dog was attacked tonight

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Postby EtherealJane » June 20th, 2010, 10:06 pm

I know I'm relatively new here, but I could really use some advice. I was walking my dog this evening and he got attacked by a German Shepard. My dog was on a leash, but the German Shepard was loose in the front yard. I didn't realize he was loose, but as soon as he saw Wesley, he ran straight for him. I didn't have time to pick him up before the GS got there, but who knows what would have happened to me if I had him in my arms.

Luckily, there is a vet that lives 4 houses down. I had never met her before, but she was kind enough to come and take a look at my dog. It's mostly puncture wounds, and she said he would probably be in a lot of pain. I gave him a baby aspirin per her instructions, and he's currently resting by me. He's stopped bleeding, but I think he'll need stitches/stapes tomorrow when we go to the vet first thing in the morning.

My dog is normally friendly, confident, and very playful. I have no idea what this attack will do to him. I fed him a little bit of his dinner, and he seemed to eat that and a few treats just fine.

My husband and I called the police, and they filed a report. I have no idea what will happen as a result, but we wanted to make sure it was documented. The dog owner seems clueless. She had the gall to tell me that he looked ok and that it wasn't life threatening. At least she gave my dog and I a ride home, but she mented that her two male dogs fight all the time. Wonderful.

What can I do to comfort my dog? He's sleeping in bed cuddled up with me, and we'll go to the vet tomorrow. He was supposed to start training this week, but I have no idea how he'll react to other dogs now. Should I try some private lessons, and then perhaps have the trainer introduce him to a bigger dog in a controlled environment? Also, what should I do about the owner and her dog? Obviously, I am expecting her to pay his vet bills, but if this incident has really traumatized my dog, should I expect her to help pay for the rehabilitation too? I don't necessarily want her dog to be put down, but I also don't think she should be allowed to keep it, since she clearly cannot handle him.

I'm supposed to go back to work on Wednesday, and now I'm thinking I shouldn't. He already got hurt on Wednesday (he knocked over a mirror and it shattered and cut his leg, resulting in the need for 7 stitches). I just don't want to leave him if he's hurt & scared.

I'm sure this post is scattered, but I'm still pretty shaken up, and now terrified to walk alone in my neighborhood. Any advice would be wonderfully appreciated.
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Postby Malli » June 20th, 2010, 11:28 pm

I think you will be much more traumatized by this then your dog ;) Dogs don't hold on to incidents like this nearly as much as we do, IMO.
I think its fair to ask the authorities to have this lady build a secure fence for her yard, which is what I did when my dog had a scuffle with a dog that ran out of his yard and on to the street. I do agree that she should be covering any veterinary bills relating to this attack.
I think the best thing you can do for your dog is to pretend like this never happened. If you are anxious and afraid when you are out with him in the world, he will sense it and it could very well make HIM become aggressive. Its fair to be prepared, and there are a few threads here about how people handle off-leash dogs or how people handle aggressive dogs.

Like I said, I really think the deciding factor in this situation will be how YOU handle it and handle future encounters with all types of dogs - big, small, friendly, or not ;)
Probably the best way to get your confidence back is to come up with a plan for what you would do if something like this happens again.

I know I didn't answer most of your questions but I hope that was helpful!

My angle on handling other dogs is watching for the ones that I know my dog won't get along with(he's a bit of an ass), I think any diligent dog owner sort of comes up with their own tecnique of handling stuff like this.
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Postby Hoyden » June 21st, 2010, 12:21 am

Samantha - Ugh! That sucks.

Malli is right. How you handle it will greatly affect how Wesley handles reacts to other dogs. Remember that the leash is like an umbilical cord.

Birdie & were attacked by an off leash golden retriever back in November 2007 while we were training in the park. The thread is here: http://www.pitbulltalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=18275&start=0&hilit=jamal

You need to get YOUR emotions under control and act like nothing happened. I wasn't able to do that at first & it impacted Birdie because she started reacting to golden retrievers and irish setters. After making an ass out of me in a working demonstration by showing that Birdie didn't react to golden retrievers when someone else had the leash, my dog trainer had me take an agility class with several golden retrievers and had me use another client's golden in the class.

The other dog owner should pay for your vet bills as her dog attacked yours and was off leash. Make sure you have all the documentation in order so that if you have to go to court to get reimbursed, you'll be ready.
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Postby EtherealJane » June 21st, 2010, 7:38 am

Thank you for the kind words. Wesley is still laying next to me this morning. He seems to be very stiff/sore, but otherwise seems to be in relatively good spirits, despite all that happened. Hopefully the vet will call us back soon so that we can get in relatively early this morning.

The police said that they were going to talk to the owner last night after talking to us, and that the report will be forwarded to the animal control officer this morning. My husband took photos to document the injuries, and I plan on having the vet write out a detailed report as well. The police report should be available for me to pick up later this afternoon or tomorrow.

I will also call the woman in charge of the group class and see if we can set something up special for Wesley. I want to ensure that his next dog encounter is a positive one. He's made friends with pretty much every dog in the neighborhood, so I'm hoping there won't be many fear issues associated with this incident.

My husband will be walking with us from now on, as well as purchasing some pepper spray today on his way home from work. He also has to pick up a halter, because the largest injury site is right where a collar would rub :( I'm not even sure how to take him outside right now, seeing as I can't put a collar on him.
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Postby ArtGypsy » June 21st, 2010, 7:46 am

:o :cuss: :cuss: :o

I'm so sorry, Samantha.........

HOLY COW, how scary!!

These gals are right though.......as hard as it may be to not go over board and 'baby' your baby... :wink:

To me, it sounds as if they're using the same ole adage I use with parents or foster parents of kids that have behavioral/trauma acting out::::::::::: BE the Calm YOU need THEM to Be.

Hang in there.....
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Postby katiek0417 » June 21st, 2010, 8:38 am

If there is a leash law in your area, then that woman is clearly at fault UNLESS you and Wesley were on her property. You did the right thing by calling the police, but you may want to also called animal control this morning, as well. With it being documented, she will be held accountable for your vet bills. Don't be surprised, however, unless there are tears of huge flaps of skin, if no stitches are put in. Most vets will leave punctures as they are so then can drain properly. He will be sore for a couple of days...when two of our males went at it about a month ago, Apache was nearly degloved, and he had 3 stitches, Cy only had punctures, but was very sore for a couple of days...you may want to ask the vet for some rimadyl or deramaxx for a couple of days to help with that...it will also reduce any inflammation...

Like everyone said, you will likely be more traumatized by this than Wesley will...however, bear in mind that in some cases, if your dog already has some propensity towards dog aggression that this could bring it out a little more...it's not definite, nor is it likely, but it could happen...

Make sure that your husband buys the pepper spray that comes out as a stream. It's easier to aim, and less likely to get in your or Wesley's eyes. Also, MOST dogs will run at a loud noise - an air horn for example. You can also carry a walking stick.

Also, even though I know it will be very hard, TRY to be calm on your walks. You don't want to be nervous, and have that nervousness go down the line to Wesley who will feel your uneasiness, but may not know the cause, so it puts him on guard towards everything...
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Postby EtherealJane » June 21st, 2010, 9:19 am

ArtGypsy wrote::o :cuss: :cuss: :o

I'm so sorry, Samantha.........

HOLY COW, how scary!!

These gals are right though.......as hard as it may be to not go over board and 'baby' your baby... :wink:

To me, it sounds as if they're using the same ole adage I use with parents or foster parents of kids that have behavioral/trauma acting out::::::::::: BE the Calm YOU need THEM to Be.

Hang in there.....


Thanks! We're doing our best. Still waiting for the vet to get in this morning, but we'll be heading there shortly. I'm definitely doing my best to strive for normalcy around here.

katiek0417 wrote:If there is a leash law in your area, then that woman is clearly at fault UNLESS you and Wesley were on her property. You did the right thing by calling the police, but you may want to also called animal control this morning, as well. With it being documented, she will be held accountable for your vet bills. Don't be surprised, however, unless there are tears of huge flaps of skin, if no stitches are put in. Most vets will leave punctures as they are so then can drain properly. He will be sore for a couple of days...when two of our males went at it about a month ago, Apache was nearly degloved, and he had 3 stitches, Cy only had punctures, but was very sore for a couple of days...you may want to ask the vet for some rimadyl or deramaxx for a couple of days to help with that...it will also reduce any inflammation...


I'll definitely follw up with animal control this morning. The police were supposed to send the report to them, but I'll make sure they have it. He's definitely stiff this morning, but he got out his rag bone and wanted to play a bit, so I think he's tougher than I am! We were across the street from her property when it happened, and he was leashed and the German Shepard was not, so it should be a pretty clear cut case, unless she tries to lie.

Like everyone said, you will likely be more traumatized by this than Wesley will...however, bear in mind that in some cases, if your dog already has some propensity towards dog aggression that this could bring it out a little more...it's not definite, nor is it likely, but it could happen...


He's never shown any signs of dog agression, but he's always been really excited by other dogs. When walking, he starts whining if we see another dog and he doesn't get to say hello. I'm hopeful that he still has that playful attitude towards other dogs, but we'll see what happens as he heals.

Make sure that your husband buys the pepper spray that comes out as a stream. It's easier to aim, and less likely to get in your or Wesley's eyes. Also, MOST dogs will run at a loud noise - an air horn for example. You can also carry a walking stick.


Thanks for that tip, I'll be sure to tell him to get the proper kind! An air horn or a walking stick is a good idea too.

Also, even though I know it will be very hard, TRY to be calm on your walks. You don't want to be nervous, and have that nervousness go down the line to Wesley who will feel your uneasiness, but may not know the cause, so it puts him on guard towards everything...


I know you're right. I think with the pepper spray/air horn/walking stick and walking with my husband, I'll feel better. I hate that I feel like we can't walk our usual loop around the lake though, for fear of running into this woman or her dogs again. It's not worth the risk or the stress though.
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Postby PetieMarie22 » June 21st, 2010, 10:00 am

I'm so sorry to hear that happened to you! It's good that you are taking pictures and documenting what happened. You definatly need to ask them to pay the bill. And if they don't, bring them to court. You'll win! (I watch People's Court a lot :| )

EtherealJane wrote: know you're right. I think with the pepper spray/air horn/walking stick and walking with my husband, I'll feel better. I hate that I feel like we can't walk our usual loop around the lake though, for fear of running into this woman or her dogs again. It's not worth the risk or the stress though.


Search around in the forum a bit, I know we had this discussion before. Pepper spray may tick and angry/determined dog off even more (I was carrying it too!) An air horn may do the same. I think popular consensus was the walking stick. But hey, bring all three - one has to get 'em away!

It really sucks that you have to feel you can't walk your dog because others can't be responsible! :mad2:
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Postby TheRedQueen » June 22nd, 2010, 2:25 pm

Sorry...this sort of thing sucks.

If he does start showing fear/aggression around other dogs, definitely get a trainer to help you through it. Score was bitten by a golden retriever when he was 6 months old...right in the muzzle (punctures...lots of blood and screaming). He recovered physically, but was a bit scared of goldens...so we took him into training and made sure he had lots of good, positive interactions with really bomb-proof, safe goldens...and he got over it quickly. But I know lots of people that DON'T make sure they get their dog around similar types of dogs to work through it...and they have dogs that are uncomfortable/aggressive around those types of dogs.
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Postby EtherealJane » June 22nd, 2010, 5:37 pm

Thanks again for all the words of wisdom and comfort. Wesley and I went to the vet, and his wounds looked a lot worse than they actually were, thank goodness! By the time the vet shaved the hair and got a good look, there were 3 puncture wounds that needed to be closed up. The one that I thought needed stitches was actually a puncture wound, it just bled a lot more than the others. The vet glued those spots and gave him an antibiotic shot, as well as some oral antibiotics.

I have to say that my dog continues to impress me. He's so darn resilient! I was sure that he'd at least be a little wary of dogs. Nope. There were two welsh corgis at the office, and he just wanted to play! Then, we went to a local pet store to get a harness, since his collar rubs where some of the punctures are. There was a huge, 100 pound + golden there, and Wesley didn't bat an eye!

The only thing that appears to be different is that he's sleeping a bit more than usual. I think he's still stiff & sore. I can see some bruising around the puncture sites and elsewhere on his body, so that makes sense. He's also even more affectionate--which I'm not complaining about! I'm so happy he's going to be ok, and I feel so lucky that i have such a wonderful dog in my life. I really can't imagine life without him!

As far as the owner of the GSD, I followed up with animal control this morning. She has two tickets--one for failing to register her dog with the city, and one for allowing her dog to roam loose. I live in NC, and according to NC's strict liability laws, she's responsible for paying Wesley's vet bill. That's not something that animal control enforces though, so I'll have to go show her the bill and if she pays it, great. If not, we have to sue her I'm about to go pick up a copy of the report at the animal control office, and I've got all the documentation from the vet, as well as photos from when it happened. I have no doubt that if we had to sue her, we'd win, but it'd be annoying to have to do.

TheRedQueen wrote:Sorry...this sort of thing sucks.

If he does start showing fear/aggression around other dogs, definitely get a trainer to help you through it. Score was bitten by a golden retriever when he was 6 months old...right in the muzzle (punctures...lots of blood and screaming). He recovered physically, but was a bit scared of goldens...so we took him into training and made sure he had lots of good, positive interactions with really bomb-proof, safe goldens...and he got over it quickly. But I know lots of people that DON'T make sure they get their dog around similar types of dogs to work through it...and they have dogs that are uncomfortable/aggressive around those types of dogs.


So far he seems ok with dogs in general, as well as big dogs. He hasn't been near any sort of German Shepard yet, and I know we're definitely not out of the woods. I'm waiting for him to heal a bit before we start training (ugh--I was really looking forward to it, but with his injuries, he can't go to puppy play, and my work & the training location is about 45 minutes from my house--since I work till 5 and the class starts at 6, I can't go home and bring him back for training, nor can I pick him up from puppy play like I was planning on). Hopefully the trainer will be willing to set up some sort of interaction with a german shepard that's pretty "bomb proof" as you say, just so I can make sure he's not going to freak out the next time we see one. I'm hoping to get to the point with training Wesley that he can be a certified therapy dog. He loves people and especially kids, and I think that would be wonderful for him.
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