The Anchorage Adventurers Message Board › Dog Concerns --- If you want to talk about dogs, owner/dog behavior, etc ple

Dog Concerns --- If you want to talk about dogs, owner/dog behavior, etc please post your comments as a "Reply" to this thread so we keep the discussion in one place

Doug Van E.
Fruita, CO
Post #: 81
Dog Concerns

If there is larger need for discussion I hope my thoughts below will serve as a starting point

It is that time of year and I have heard about &/or seen a few canine encounters this summer. Below are some thoughts of MINE. There is plenty of room for discussion. Please use this Message thread to offer your thoughts, yours and your dog?s experiences and any ideas you have for making dog participation in adventures outings a non-issue, with other dog owners and non-dog folks alike.

I hope we do not have to have ?canine police? but we may want to develop a set of dog owner guidelines or research such information on the web and make links available for anyone interested to read. My dogs do not read English so in our family: I have to do the reading, set the rules and monitor the behavior --- the dog?s behavior and mine.

When my wife and I have taken our various dogs to obedience training over the years there is one message that is always made clear the first day of any training session:

Obedience training is 75% for the human and 25% for the dog.

As that relates to the Adventurers MeetUp group, it means that we the dog owning/ dog bringing people need to think about the group interactions we are exposing our pets to.

When dogs come frequently on Adventurers outings and are pretty familiar with group members and group member dogs they seem to usually do OK around each other. But there are exceptions.

When people only bring their dogs infrequently each and every person needs to be very attentive to the dog interactions. We cannot/ do not always see dog encounters coming but . . .

Each person needs to be attentive to the interactions going on between their dog and other animals and humans.

Food can cause problems ---- do not feed dogs near one another and do not let dogs beg for human food or dog treats. Many dogs, even those that have not shown previous aggression get snarly when food is involved.

When you bring a dog then give another dog your attention, think of them like a potentially jealous boy or girl friend. Gee, I did not realize that would make you jealous, my dog. You are not going to bite or snarl at me but I (human) may have created a situation that prompts you biting or snarling at another dog because of something I did, to make you jealous.

I cannot think of ALL the situations or circumstances that may lead to dog-on-dog encounters but they may happen from time to time. Humans ---- YOU work to be aware of possible conflicts and prevent them.

If two dogs light into one another do not jump in the middle of a dog fight. Grab your dog, or a dog, by the tail and try to pull it out of the fray.

Bring a leash; bring a muzzle (I keep one attached to the outside of my pack on EVERY hike) and plan to use them if your dog has a need.

Socialize Socialize Socialize your dog. If you rarely take your dog into social settings then bring them on an Adventurers outing with 17 people and 8 dogs; that is putting the dog in a very unfamiliar environment and potentially a very stressful position.

I suggest you think before bringing your dog ---- how many people and dogs do we expect? What can I do to minimize any inappropriate encounters? Do I take the dog to the dog park for socializing at least once a week and s/he do fine there?

Is being on a leash when other dogs are running free going to make this dog territorial and aggressive?

Does your dog have an injury? Arthritis &/or old age? Was the last time the dog ate dinner time last night and it is 2 PM on a 6 mile hike?

So what is etiquette if there is a dog fight and one dog gets hurt?

My suggestion is that the dog and owner go home and see if the dog heals.

If, after 3 days, the dog truly appears to have a significant injury, it is time for the two dog owners to talk about how they may consider sharing a veterinary bill BEFORE taking the dog to the vet.

I do not, personally, think a second dog owner should be asked to pay any vet bills because a dog?s owner ran directly to the vet the day of a dog snarl(especially after hours for 2x or 3x day time vet visit rates). the exception to this would be an open bleeding major wound.

These are a few of my thoughts; they are not any sort of Adventurers definitive word. If you have thoughts to share, please add them to the Message thread so we can keep all the human/ dog behavior talk in the same place on the web site.

Doug Van Etten
244- 6610
A former member
Post #: 2

So what is etiquette if there is a dog fight and one dog gets hurt?

My suggestion is that the dog and owner go home and see if the dog heals.

I would agree with this point. My dog ended up with a bloody muzzle at during one of the hikes last year, and the injury looked much worse that it really was. A few weeks of healing and everything was fine. Dogs are tough, and a few days to monitor the injuries will also allow you time to relax a bit.

And when visiting the vet (especially the emergency clinic), I've noticed a trend in adding on charges that are largely unnecessary. Double check your bill just in case.
A former member
Post #: 1
I'm still pretty new to the group- Buck(my Australian Cattle Dog) and I have only been to one meet-up before I messed up my knee (which is finally healed up), but I thought I'd chime in.

I especially agree with Doug's comment about owners being attentive to their dogs. On our outing, everyone had excellent control of their dogs and I think that's the key. Even if you think your dog is the friendliest dog in the world, they should still be under your control at all times, be that verbal or otherwise.

Buck is extremely social and has been in day care since he was 4 months old. He has good 'dog manners' but in the way of many puppies and high energy dogs, he can get a little too bouncy and hyper for some dogs. This article clued me in on making sure he properly approaches other dogs and I encourage every dog owner to read it- http://www.flyingdogp...­

Even if your dog is well socialized, I think the most important thing to do is have control of them when they first greet the other dogs. It doesn't have to be on leash, but I always have Buck at my side rather than letting him run ahead to meet the other dog. This keeps him calm and shows him that I'm in control. It also helps because when we walk up to the other dog and owner, I am very close and can grab Buck if the other dog snaps or acts dominant or if Buck is being hyper and jumpy.

Also, dominant behavior is unacceptable in my world, ie if your dog tries to 'hump' or control my dog, I will correct him if you don't, and if you aren't in control, we'll simply leave. I can't tell you how many altercations I've seen happen because a dog was trying to dominate another one, and that includes well socialized dogs. Buck had one of these encounters with a dog five times his size and I won't let that happen again.

I've also been told that grabbing a dog by the top of the hind legs (right by the body) is the best place to pull them apart (assuming they aren't latched on). The reasoning being that you can get a better grip and the worst that can happen is a dislocated hip (which may sound bad, but this is assuming an escalation that should be rare and if my dog is trying to do harm to another, I'd rather dislocate his hip and have him out of the fight). But be careful because if jaws are locked, you can actually cause more harm to the dog being bitten by pulling.

I've also heard that a loud whistle (think safety whistle) will hurt dogs ears enough to get them to pause in the altercation long enough for owners to grab collars.

But if everyone is paying attention to their dogs, this shouldn't happen. If your dog isn't socialized or has only been with other dogs in your family, you need to have a more controlled environment when they first meet other dogs. This can still be at a meet-up, but I don't think it's crazy to politely ask the other owners if they mind leashing up their dogs until you (as the unknown dog owner) are sure there aren't going to be any problems. If an owner has a dog that acts aggressive on leash, that owner can just hold their dog off to the side while the others introduce themselves and the all-clear is given. Buck has no issues being on leash when others aren't and I tend to keep him leashed most of the time when hiking.

Doug said, 'When you bring a dog then give another dog your attention, think of them like a potentially jealous boy or girl friend.'

Absolutely. It can also be a way of them guarding their 'resources' or being protective of you. Buck is great with dogs, but he still does this occasionally when a dog comes running up and jumps on me, so be aware of how your dog acts to other owners and all owners need to pay attention to themselves. Just because your dog is fine with one or two dogs greeting you and you petting them, doesn't mean he won't see the next one as a threat to you.
Ted A.
user 4273444
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 9
We often limit the number of hikers on certain outings because you just can't have such a huge group. Has anyone given thought about limiting dog numbers? If we have 12 hikers and 8 dogs, that is getting to be quite a large group "pack" of dogs. Dogs revert to their wild origins when they are strange and grouped up. I am not a dog owner but on at least three hikes some that I initiated there was a new sled chewed up and destroyed, and on two trips dog bites to another dog that required stitches. These situations caused hard feelings and I am certain that some of those feeling like that are no longer adventuring with us. I don't know what the answer is, but I could see this coming.

Final thought: although I'm not currently a dog owner, I do love dogs. I had so much fun on the last two Wednesday hikes with my new dog friends Emma, Kip, and Lucy. Dogs are like people in many ways and some can get grumpy and argue just like people do sometimes.
Doug Van E.
Fruita, CO
Post #: 82
The article that Laura refers to above is EXCELLENT though a bit long. You can scroll to the end of it and there is a link taking you to a shorter version. I suggest that if you bring a dog on an Adventurers outing --- your dog, your Mom's dog, a dog you are caring for for a friend, any dog ----- read AND INTERNALIZE the FUL LENGTH article.

If you are a person who does not have a dog but is going to form an opinion or cast a stone about dog behavior, I suggest you read, at the least, the shorter version of the article.

And for everyone --- dog person or not ---- here is a Cliff Notes summary from that article of the DO's and DON'Ts of human and dog behavior in Adventurers-type settings. There are some real eye-openers about "appropriate" behavior and who is considered the aggressor and who is the recipient of dog aggression.

DOs & DON'Ts

DON'T bring an intolerant or undersocialized dog to a puppy kindergarten or other concentrations of rudeness & stupidity when you know he can't handle puppies, stupidity, or rudeness! <<< In our case read - an outing with lots of unknown dogs and humans >>>>
DON'T put your dog in a situation you or he are not prepared to handle.
DON'T turn a rude puppy or dog loose with an intolerant adult.
DON'T expect your dog to like every dog he meets (at least until you like every person you meet.)
DON'T allow your dog to become overexcited or rude - help him find a more appropriate behavior or remove him briefly from the triggering situation
DON'T allow other people to allow their dogs to be rude to your dog.
DON'T ignore your dog or what your dog tells you about his feelings.
DON'T punish a dog for telling another dog to get the hell out of his face. << Occasionally on our outings this has happened>>
DON'T punish an adult for reminding a puppy to mind his manners.
DON'T let your training or competition goals overwhelm your good sense - always be fair to your dog.

DO respect the fact that your dog has a need for & a right to his personal space. << Just as we, as humans, do >>>
DO socialize your dog so that he's wise in the ways of other dogs.
DO accept the inexplicable disliking that your dog may have for another dog.
DO build your dog's tolerance levels through repeated, positive experiences.<< Bring your dog on more not less Adventures>>
DO continually educate yourself regarding normal and appropriate canine behavior in any given situation.
DO plan ahead to how you will handle difficult situations, people or dogs.
DO earn your dog's trust by keeping your promise to protect him.
DO pay attention to your dog when you are with him.
DO insist that your dog behave politely.
DO respect that your dog's individual needs may or may not be in line with your training or competition goals.
DO put your dog first - all your hopes, dreams, titles & goals all mean nothing if you ignore the needs, fears and realities of who your dog is.
DO honor & respect your dog's concerns, whether or not you share them. (Remember how your mom left the light in the hall on at night when you were a kid? It probably wasn't because she was afraid of the dark.)
A former member
Post #: 1
I want to thank Doug and the other Meetup members for addressing an important part of our shared outdoor experience. Granted I haven't been on many outings but I do know that I've always walked or hiked or snowshoed with dogs-mine or not- on our Meetup outings, so I applaud the attention given to our own manners and responsibilities. Fortunately, my experiences have always been positive but I do know of another member who opts not to bring her dog because of a past episode.

Good timing, especially for the 4-legged mammals who join us.
A former member
Post #: 7
Hi all, As I e-mailed to Doug yesterday, this is all good advice. Another concern is the potential for bear encounters. After seeing Caesar chasing a huge grizzly and realizing he might be tackling something he can't handle I also thought of all the times a dog brought a bear (or moose) back to the owner. Not sure what to do in those cases but owners and hikers should be aware of the potential. If there are any bear awareness classes that address those issues it might be a good idea to attend. Might be a good idea for all of us that hike with dogs or dog owners to attend so we can find out what to do in those situations. I don't have dogs and enjoy hiking with well behaved dogs (or even those we have to search for occasionally) Bean, Rufus, Topaz, Chillie and Caesar are all tops on my list. I just tend to stay back from them because of allergies.
A former member
Post #: 1
Last week my dog and another dog (similair size and breed) got into an altercation after an hour of hiking. My dog ended up biting the other dog on top of the head. Later that day, the dog owner (who was not on the hike) took her dog to the vet and informed me that after the vet shaved her head, a puncture wound was found and they gave the dog some antibiotics and sent her home. I?m wondering what financial responsibility others in the group think that I have toward this vet bill. My dog has had no history of aggression, other than normal dog stuff, and hikes often, meeting many dogs along the way. If the tables were turned I would not have taken my dog to the vet that day. I would have gone home and put some ointment on him. I would appreciate any thoughts on this matter as I want to do the right thing, but don?t want to be bullied into paying for unnecessary vet bills.
A former member
Post #: 2

I'm not much of one to tell others what to do- I can only tell you what I would do myself. I tend to be pretty nervy about my dog's health, mainly because I'm a worrier and I've seen things untreated go wrong when my folks didn't take our family pets to the vet soon enough. I've also seen puncture wounds get infected. Now, if it was my dog that got bit (and he has before), I'd have given it a couple days and kept an eye on it and only taken him if it wasn't healing. If it was a decent size, I may have taken him the next day to the vet, but since he's my dog and I know that taking him where there are other dogs could possibly lead to this kind of an issue, I would have paid the bill myself, grumbled about it and moved on, more wary about other encounters (and I have done all these things in the past, too).

I will also say, though, if Buck ever does bite someone else's dog and they go to the vet, I would likely pay half the bill, but that's just my opinion on it. Dogs will be dogs, but we are responsible for their behavior. I'm not sure though that I would think it was *necessary* or that I would take it well if I thought someone was strong-arming me into doing it, though.

I also think the nature of the altercation would have made a big difference in the situation. If Buck was minding his own business, aka having good dog manners, and a dog that the owner didn't have good recall on or control of bit him, I would have possibly expected a bit more than an apology out of the owner. If Buck was being overenthusiastic and a dog he was playing with nipped him a bit too hard either to teach him to mind his boundaries or because they were playing rough, then I wouldn't have been upset with anyone but myself for not curbing Buck's behavior. That's something else we work on- Buck has been a spaz before at the dog park, chasing another dog and the owner said it was fine, but Buck didn't respond to me when I called him off and therefore it was the end of the day when he did finally come to me. Nothing bad happened and the other people there thought I was being unreasonable, but frankly, I think if you don't have that level of control over your dog, then you need to work on them in different situations until you do.

I'm not saying any of these applies to your situation- I'm just holding up examples of what has happened to me as possible learning experiences for others. Buck also got in a fight at a dog park because a dog that the owner had no control over tore into Buck after Buck barked at the dog when the other dog tried to dominate him by humping him. That was it- just one sharp bark from Buck and the other dog started in on him, and this dog outweighed Buck by at least 80 lbs. Luckily for us, a friend's boxer/Lab mix jumped into the fray and got the dog off Buck fast enough for me to get him out of there. The result of that was the uncontrolled dog getting a nick on his eyelid from my friend's boxer/Lab mix (and my friend's dog got a hurt paw). In that case, I thought the owner of the uncontrolled dog should have paid all the vet bills because the dog had previously been to the park and started fights before *and* the owner hadn't warned me of this when her dog started messing with Buck (they were playing for a few minutes before the fight started). So, as I say, I think a lot of how I would handle these things depends on the situation.

The short story is that you have to do what *you* feel is right and not let someone bully you into their version of what should be done.
Bernice and C.
user 7388562
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 3
After much thought, I decided I have posted this comment. I've been on two hikes this month where there have been altercations resulting in some blood shed. I have experience with dogs, kids and the medical profession. My experience has been 2 is company and 3 is a crowd. When there are more than 2 dogs playing I try to grab mine. My two dogs have different tolerance levels for other dogs. One likes lots of other dogs and the other will not attack other dogs, but if they are constantly in her face she will bear her pearly whites to warn them to back off. This is usually quite effective and I rarely intervene. If the other dog doesn't back off I grab her. I don't bring other dogs to hikes because I don't know them. The only exception to this was my next door neighbor when she was terminally ill and her dog needed walks. I knew his personality and could control him readily otherwise I would not have done so. Now as for the medical part, if you go to any medical establishment you will get some kind of care even if it is unnecessary. If you don't get any treatment when you have taken the time and effort the establishment will get a "uncaring reputation" and besides they have to make some money or not stay in business if they do not charge for care. Animals like people have sensitive spots that bleed profusely but are not serious. Areas around the head are notorious, after all you have important organs such as the brain and eyes there. Have you ever seen how much the nose can bleed? Yet with time and firm pressure it stops. If I went to the doctor every time my daughter's bled I'd be in there several times a week. So I guess what this all boils down to is taking a deep breath and using a little common sense when one is calm enough to do so. Try not to bring dogs that are not your own, avoid the pack mentality, and evaluate the seriousness of injuries. If your dog is involved in an major altercation, it would be best if both owners take a deep breath and work out whether one should leave. If your dog is involved in more than one altercation involving different dogs then it may be time to seek out help from a dog trainer or possibly a shock collar (I know their are varying opinions on them). My one neighbor found this was the only way she could take her dog to the off leash parks, since the event occurred when the dog was not within reach. Hopefully, we can all learn from this and be responsible enough so that we don't have to make too many rules after all, we are all in this for exercise, to enjoy the outdoors and to have fun in the company of others!
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