We have been going to the dog park with Smooch 2-3 times a week since we got back from the beach. Everyone in our family loves to go, especially the kiddos. They know the dogs that come when we do, Aidan throws balls with the fetching dogs, and we get to chat with other dog owners. We went this morning because it was finally going to be sunny, but not our usual time to go. First bad decision.
Things were fine, and Smooch was playing with another active puppy when things got dangerous super fast. The other dog went from play wrestling with Smooch to full on attack in seconds. I screamed for Rahul to get Smooch (second bad decision) and he was bitten trying to break up the fight. To make it worse, the owner of the other dog let the aggressive dog off leash so he went after Smooch again. We left the park immediately so that Rahul could deal with his dog bite.
I felt so awful. I was the one who told Rahul to get Smooch…. I just did not know what else to do. And I feel so conflicted about the dog park… do we stop going because of this?
After some research, here is our plan:
1) Go to the dog park at consistent times so that we know the dogs that come at that time.
2) Watch for changes in play behavior. Most puppies enjoy wrestling and playing rough. But look out for posture changes, mouthy biting becoming snarling and growling. If this happens, the dogs need to be separated.
3) If things get worse, throw water on the dogs, use a blow horn, or pepper spray.
4) End the dog park visit immediately. Never let the dogs play together again if aggression occurs.
We talked to the kids tonight about our plan, and I need to figure out where to get a blow horn and pepper spray. I stressed to the kids that they should *never* under any circumstance get in the middle of a dog fight. They can scream, yell, run, but look at daddy’s leg….and this was an incident that ended well in terms of an aggressive dog.
I know hindsight is always 20/20, but I wish we had come up with a plan before we experienced an aggressive dog. We are going to go back to the dog park, but only after we are prepared to deal with an aggressive dog. My hope is that today’s incident is an isolated one. Keep your fingers crossed.