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Out of the Blue

I had another unfortunate incident walking our pooches yesterday, though the outcome could have been far worse. Hudson the wonder dog, the Gunnar-man, and I were approaching a corner when a neighbor's toy poodle came rushing up, barking his head off. His owner ran up and re-secured the leash he'd lost, as somehow he had more trouble with one dog weighing six pounds than I did with two totaling 120. Just as I started to joke that his dog has been trying to teach my guys a lesson for years (as he always barks at us as we pass his house) Hudson's remarkable telekinetic abilities kicked in, as she managed to get her leash to unclasp with a simple shake of her head. In a flash that defies her age she covered the five or six yards between us and grabbed the poodle in her mouth. As I reached the scene and grabbed Hudson's jaws to save the dog, my genius neighbor decided to help by kicking her in the face, which was one of the surest ways to escalate this into a situation that would result in his dog's death. I shouted at him to stop kicking and freed his pooch from her grasp. As he stormed off I called after him to ask if his dog was okay and he just repeated my command to "stop kicking her" to indicate he didn't like how I handed this. I tried to explain that this just was for his dog's protection, but he was just pissed. I stopped by their house and apologized to his wife and got reassurances that no injuries were suffered, so hopefully this won't result in any ill will.

There is a lesson here: There are right ways and wrong ways to deal with dog fights, and a surprising number of dog owners don't do any research on how to deal with such problems before they occur, something I would strongly recommend.

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39. Re: Out of the Blue Jan 10, 2013, 01:28 xmb1121
 
Just over a decade ago in Albuquerque, I worked on a news story where a family had a baby and the dog didn't like the baby and snapped at it. The owners didn't know what to do, so they took the dog to the shelter to be adopted. They thought better of it a few days later only to find out that the shelter had euthanized the dog ("We had to tell whomever was interested that the dog snaps at children. No one would have adopted it," they said.) The couple was horribly upset at what had happened. If there was a silver lining to this story, it was that part of our story when to a local dog psychologist, a profession I had no idea existed as this is years before Cesar Milan burst onto the scene (but I did see the real horse whisperer about a year earlier). The advice the psychologist gave made such good sense that it caused me to rethink how I thought about dogs.

The psychologist talked about the order of the pack and how to retrain the dog to understand that people packs are different and people babies go above them. This included stopping doing submissive behavior around the dog (no laying on your back with your belly up on the sofa, for example). The ending was that this was a tragedy that could have been avoided, but in 2001, who would have thought to find a pet psychologist?
 
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