Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

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neilends
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Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by neilends » Jun 02 2015 6:14 pm

I'm a new dog-owner who hikes with an 18-pound cutie pie named Trixie. In the two months since I adopted her, I've had two near-miss encounters:

* A female hiker was walking her large dog, on leash. Her dog saw my dog and lunged aggressively toward us while barking, and she got very close to losing control of him and fell to the ground while tackling him. She did not have the ability to control her large dog.

* Last weekend while helping with a wilderness search for a lost dog, Trixie and I hopped out of a car, on-leash, only to be greeted by two off-leash, large dogs that included a pit bull. A fellow volunteer with me saw the way they were approaching and snapped at me, "Get her back in the car!" At the exact moment I turned to handle Trixie, the pit bull lunged while snarling. I instinctively yanked Trix up in the air (she was on a harness), and moved us back into the car, while the pit bull kept lunging. At one point I grabbed the pit's collar to keep her away. I managed to get us back inside and closed the door, without a mark on either her or myself, but my dog was shaken up enough that she'd urinated on the ground during the incident. I'm surprised I didn't.

There was no acknowledgement or apology for this incident by the owners, who were some campers who seemed to have looks on their faces like this was all pretty funny.

Apparently, this new world of dog-owners I've waded into is lawless, and governed by chaos and anarchy. The first time this happened, I commented here on HAZ that I'm going to start packing heat. Now I'm really thinking about it, except I think a Taser might be both more effective and less likely to result in my getting shot or arrested.

Any thoughts on all this?
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams

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mazatzal
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by mazatzal » Jun 02 2015 6:25 pm

@neilends Have you read about the Pine trailhead incident? Search "Harold Fish"
A few related threads on HAZ, here is one starter:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1992

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neilends
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by neilends » Jun 02 2015 6:35 pm

Yeah, I know all about Harold Fish for various reasons.

The Fish case was about a homicide to which the defendant argued self-defense, so I see that as a little different than my curiosity here. If someone wants to pick a fight with me, I'm calling law enforcement. And if I run into a serial killer in the woods and have no cell coverage... oh well. That's not a risk I'm sufficiently scared of to do anything about.

What I wonder about is the responsible and common sense way to handle irresponsible jerks with aggressive off-leash dogs.
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams

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chumley
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by chumley » Jun 02 2015 6:43 pm

You will encounter all kinds of people. Some are dog owners and some aren't. I'm not sure that has any influence on how irresponsible they might be.

Not to open too large a can of worms, but all breeds of dogs can be aggressive. And all breeds can be docile. Even pits. In today's current media climate, Pit Bulls have the worst reputation. It used to be German Shepherds, Rottweilers, etc. Dog du jour... Some of the worst attacks I've heard about actually come from those little yipper dogs that I would personally score 3 points with from the 45 yard line.

One thing that I've learned is that your attitude is key to the interaction. If you are timid and uncomfortable or uneasy around a dog, you may set off a different reaction than if you are confident and happy (while still exercising caution) around a new dog.

Most people who own dogs don't let them off leash when other people or dogs are around if their dog isn't well behaved. There are obviously exceptions and you should be aware. Learn to read body language. Look at the position of the tail. Are hackles up? etc.

I personally think that more often than not, a "stranger" is more frightened than he needs to be and overreacts to an off-leash encounter. Then again, just one bad encounter can strongly influence that person for a long long time. As a dog owner, I always felt it was my responsibility to assume that the new person would be deathly afraid of my dog and act accordingly.

I don't know if you've been to the dog park, but it's a great place to watch dogs interact, play, and even fight a little. It's a natural behavior and isn't always a bad thing. You'd be surprised how well a little dog can hold it's own against something multiple times larger and can help put you at more ease about future encounters.
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gummo
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by gummo » Jun 02 2015 6:52 pm

Wow sir, that's pretty ruff. (pun intended)

No seriously, you'll never have a world with disciplined dogs. Most dog owners are not very good at disciplining or controlling their dogs. Most dogs that I see are overly anxious and/or stressed for being idle, isolated, and bored. Usually, they don't walk them enough or give the dogs a job to do. Dogs love to have a job. There's no such thing as a lazy dog.

If owners do try to correct the dog's behavior, they do it verbally. Saying, "shut up! or be quiet" to a barking dog is not going to stop the dog from barking unless you train it to stop. Same goes for telling a dog to STOP when it's running. Dogs don't speak our language.

The problem is that dogs out in public don't know how to act. Owners don't want to spend time teaching their dogs or walking their dogs. Often dogs will think they are dominate in the household and will do what they want. Remember, most puppies were taken from their siblings and mothers at an early age, so most don't learn how to be dogs from other dogs.

My advice (free of charge of course) is to get a weapon, maybe pepper spray, so you can protect your dog from other dogs, AND get your dog a spiked collar to protect it against dogs and coyotes (plus it looks cool).

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mazatzal
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by mazatzal » Jun 02 2015 6:54 pm

@neilends I completely agree it is a little different. I thought it had some relevance since it involved dogs, dog behavior, dog owner behavior and guns. It was a long drawn out incident over the years.

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johnny88
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by johnny88 » Jun 02 2015 8:03 pm

I've had more incidents with dogs in the city than on the trail. Arizona seems to be a lot better than Oregon. People in Oregon don't seem to know what a leash is. Those retractable leashes are one of man's worst inventions.

I think packing a taser or pepper spray is essentially useless - could not use it in time, especially how fast things can happen or struggling with your dog on a leash. A trekking pole is good. I was hiking Eagle Creek in Oregon when a woman's dog came running up aggressively. A big stance, a quick swing of the trekking pole, and a firm "STAY" worked for me.

Best thing is to avoid people.

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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by CannondaleKid » Jun 02 2015 8:30 pm

johnny88 wrote:Best thing is to avoid people.
... the reason I hike as far away from people as possible, as often as possible.
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BrunoP
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by BrunoP » Jun 02 2015 10:23 pm

I like smelling butts. :y:

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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by Tough_Boots » Jun 02 2015 11:39 pm

@neilends


Don't taze or shoot someone's dog in the wilderness. Based on your reaction of yanking your dog and rushing her into the car, its obvious that you don't understand the proper way to act in this situation. You probably made the other dog worse and scared your own dog more than the other dog did. Dogs will feed off of your response. Take your dog to the dog park (the big side) and get some experience with how dogs interact and then re-assess the situation. Your response is pretty textbook for new dog owners. Please don't take this response as rude-- its not meant to be.
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SpiderLegs
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by SpiderLegs » Jun 03 2015 7:51 am

A little off topic, remember in college during my bike racing days our team's Saturday morning training ride went up Mission Road in Tucson. Went through the reservation for a little bit. Every weekend we would encounter a pack of mutant Rez dogs that would give chase while their owners sat in their front yard laughing. You just learned to pick up the pace and do your best to avoid them.
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chumley
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by chumley » Jun 03 2015 8:02 am

@SpiderLegs Mutant!? Like half dog, half bear?
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Jim_H
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by Jim_H » Jun 03 2015 9:07 am

@chumley
Between that joke, and last week's Al Gore allusion, I think a Man-Bear-Pig hybrid is more likely.
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neilends
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by neilends » Jun 03 2015 10:28 am

I appreciate all of these responses and comments. They're what I was looking for. I am a new dog-owner and do not have the perspective of many years that most if not all of you do.

About this comment (which I do not take as rude, and which I do also appreciate):
Tough_Boots wrote:@neilends


Don't taze or shoot someone's dog in the wilderness. Based on your reaction of yanking your dog and rushing her into the car, its obvious that you don't understand the proper way to act in this situation. You probably made the other dog worse and scared your own dog more than the other dog did. Dogs will feed off of your response. Take your dog to the dog park (the big side) and get some experience with how dogs interact and then re-assess the situation. Your response is pretty textbook for new dog owners. Please don't take this response as rude-- its not meant to be.
What was the appropriate response to this? I was standing right next to the car with its door open. Removing my dog and myself to safety was just my instinctive reaction, but if you'd handle it differently I'd like to know what I'm over-looking or not thinking about.

You're right that shooting or tasing is probably ridiculous. Someone else pointed out that a hiking stick or my hiking poles are probably the most equipment I should consider to deal with these situations.
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams

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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by Tough_Boots » Jun 03 2015 11:27 am

My point is that often these situations are not as serious as they appear to be after you have more experience with them. Of course its natural to follow whatever your first instinct is to protect your animal. For instance, at the dog park I see people will pick up their dog and hold it as high as they can to get it out of a situation which is a terrible idea though it seems like a good one. They have just made their dog bait and now they have multiple dogs jumping at them.

Some dogs (especially bully breeds) can be naturally loud and appear more aggressive than they really are. Yanking on your dog and showing that much stress in front of a strange dog is only going to aggravate the situation and also make it harder to socialize your dog to other dogs in the future. If you need to, yell at the dog with your best deep alpha voice-- confident but not frantic. Own the situation-- you'll be surprised how easily some of the meanest acting dogs back down when you pull rank on them. It will actually also enforce your own dog's confidence and trust in you which is priceless especially with a new dog. If you have a hiking pole or stick, hold it out to force some distance. If that response doesn't work then totally do what you need to do to keep yourself and your dog safe-- no one will ever fault you for that.

Seriously, though-- spend some time at the dog park with your dog. Watch the big dogs and their owners. You'll see some real nasty looking moments every now and then that are quickly resolved and every now and then some that aren't. You'll see what works for the dog owners and what doesn't work and why. It helps to witness these situations when your own dog isn't immediately at risk and you can remove your emotions and instincts.

Of course there are those moments that just suck and you just have to get out any way possible and I don't mean to totally doubt your situations. I just know that most of the time those situations with dogs can be diffused in a way where no dogs or owners are traumatized. It sounds like you've had two really bad experiences in a very short amount of time. Maybe months from now you"ll look back and agree with me-- maybe not. Either way, don't let a couple bad experiences define your whole attitude about it.
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
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The_N
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by The_N » Jun 03 2015 12:51 pm

Maybe worry less about how others raise their animals and worry more about defending yourself or your dog. Call law enforcement? Be a man and defend yourself. Always carry.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

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hikeaz
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by hikeaz » Jun 03 2015 12:57 pm

kurt

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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by Tough_Boots » Jun 03 2015 12:59 pm

@The N

I believe this is your second push for violent solutions on HAZ this month and we're not even past the first week. Way to go, bro!
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
--bill callahan

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The_N
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by The_N » Jun 03 2015 1:03 pm

Sometimes the dog that gets lunged at is the trouble maker. Yet we as pet owners always stick up for them and defend them naturally. Unless you speak dog, you don't know exactly what was going on. The dog that acts aggressive and lunges may bee feeding off bad vibes from your dog and is being proactive in his defense. It's like a kid who goes around with a bad attitude and starts fights only to have his parents stand in front of him and blame everyone who wants to beat the kid up. I wish everyone could raise perfect dogs but it'll never happen. All u can do is be prepared to defend your family/pets.
Last edited by The_N on Jun 03 2015 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The_N
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Re: Aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners

Post by The_N » Jun 03 2015 1:04 pm

@Tough_Boots defending yourself is call to violence? Pull your skirt down man. You go ahead and wait for law enforcement to arrive in the middle of nowhere on a trail. The nanny will be there to help you eventually. Oh and I said always carry because the author mentioned he was considering carrying a firearm.
Last edited by The_N on Jun 03 2015 1:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

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