Dog Forum banner

1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

So here's the situation and I'd like some feedback to help decide what to do - or if there is anything to do.
I've been walking every late afternoon in a park area with a fair number of people, kids, dogs on leash.
I keep seeing this woman and her dog, and have plenty of time to observe and ponder the situation.
She has a border collie mix, and he (or she) is really aggressive towards most humans.
It may be fear motivated, it may be past trauma, I just don't know.
But this woman is constantly in a state of alertness and has to look around and hold tight on the leash when she passes most people/kids (doesn't seem to matter age, gender, color, etc)
This dog barks aggressively every time and I know from my experience, and from her concern, that he wants to attack every one of them.
Thing is I haven't actually seen a case because she is very alert and protective and manages to avoid the scenario - at least from what I've seen.
And people also quickly get the message not to approach.
The problem is, it is only a matter of time before some kid runs up to the dog when she's not looking, or she loses grip of the leash, and there will be a serious incident.
I will add that she is not the right owner for a dog like this - her fear and stress, the way she handles the dog - like kind of choking it on the leash at times for example.

So..........
The question is, is there any grounds for reporting her and the dog to the police in the hope of preventing a serious incident (or more likely a repeat incident)?
And if there are grounds to do so, is it the right thing to do?
I'm quite conflicted about the whole thing tbh.

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,712 Posts
What are you going to tell the police? That some woman you don't know has a dog that, to your knowledge, has never attacked anyone?

Should she be using a harness and avoiding heavily populated areas while engaging in LAT training? Well, yes. Is what she's doing now illegal or likely to result in an incident? No, and maybe not. It's entirely possible the dog is leash reactive and, if let off leash, would be unmotivated to attack anyone. There's no saying the owner will definitely drop the leash. I've done that once my life, I'm 39.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,820 Posts
She's not doing anything illegal, not breaking any laws. The dog is on leash, and under her control, you may not like the way it's acting, or the way she's handling the dog, but unless the dog has a past history and she's under orders to have it muzzled when out in public, then there's nothing you or the police can do.

If you knew her personally then I'd say your best option would be to suggest that she get in touch with a certified behaviorist that uses positive reinforcement to change the way the dog feels, and to suggest that she condition the dog to wear a muzzle so that if the worse does happen he cannot actually bite a person.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,903 Posts
Or, it's possible she knows her dog has issues and just doesn't know how to go about handling it.

Personally, I think it's kind of relieving that she's alert and aware - there are plenty of owners who would let a reactive dog do whatever and THAT is where real problems happen. Like @amaryllis said, she should probably be in a less populated area - but then maybe she thinks she's doing the right thing by exposing the dog to these things.

IF you aren't shy and have experience with reactive dogs, maybe you could approach her and offer some advice. It's always easier to hear advice if it comes from personal experience, as in, "I had a dog who was like that too - it's frustrating, isn't it? I did ______ and/or talked to ____ trainer and it really helped a lot, but it's nice to see someone who is aware of their dog's limitations instead of letting them run wild........"

I have an anxious/reactive dog, and I suffer from anxiety myself, so I understand just how hard it can be. I don't think there's anything that can be reported here and doing so would probably make the problem worse -- this dog is likely loved and well cared for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I'm reading up now and it appears that in my city, there are regulations that allow for reporting aggressive dogs that are regularly in public spaces.
I also called and they will take down the information if I want to report it.
I assume that they will go check on her since she's there most days at a certain time.
Which brings us back to the question of whether there is a responsibility, given the circumstances, to at least have someone of authority check out the details and possible history. For example, she may have had previous complaints and/or incidents. In which case, I think it would be the right thing. And if there is no history, and the police don't find any reason to pursue things further, then it's no harm done - just a quick check-in while she's on her walk.

Someone said the dog is under her control. I would say that's debatable. She doesn't have the handling skills, she can't always be super vigilant, and the dog is fast and strong enough that I can foresee her losing control if she hasn't already.

To the other comment, I don't know her and I don't want to approach her. Neither she nor the dog appear to be approachable - literally and figuratively.
What the cops check-in could do is serve as a wake-up call for her to take necessary measures to work on behavior, perhaps muzzle train, etc. Whereas if anyone has approached her with this advice, she clearly hasn't heeded it.

So putting aside the illegal question, would you place the call or not, and why. Thanks to the few that have weighed-in already. We can agree or disagree, I just think it's healthy to discuss these things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,652 Posts
Well she is not doing anything forbidden.
I'd try to talk to her, if I'd feel concerned about it, but perhaps it looks worse than it it is.
perhaps the dog is just loud and actually harmless when the leash would be dropped. it could be that the dog is frustrated, because it wants to be it the people or other dogs. Perhaps it is also just leash aggressive or (which i think after hat you described) it thinks it has to protect its master.
As long as she doesn't let her dog hurt anyone and makes sure the dog is staying with her, I don't see why she shouldn't walk there.

EDIT:
i wouldn't call the police. it feels like denoucing a person who obviously hasn't done anything wrong yet.
Barking is, in my opinion, not something that you can call necessarily aggressive behaviour and when i had reported every dog that ever "aggressively" barked at me, there wouldn't be any chihuahuas or Australian Shepherds left in our town.
A barking dog is not the same as an aggressive dog...the seldom really aggressive cases i met, where actually very quiet.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gossamerrolo

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,911 Posts
Personally I wouldn't approach or try to talk with her... not with the dog there...
More than likely a person approaching even with good intent is going to be unwelcomed. It's just likely to trigger a reaction and is potentially dangerous.

As far as calling the police...
Idk that I would do that either. I would likely just frequent a different location or go at a different time if she's pretty reliable. But I haven't seen the dog so your call really.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,437 Posts
No, I wouldn't report her to the police. As much as you may feel you're doing the public a service, you are simply observing behavior that at this point that has not caused any harm, to your knowledge.

Children shouldn't be allowed to approach a dog they don't know. Loose dogs either. Since I own a reactive dog, I'm well aware of the many nuances of the behavior that they can display. My dog can look like she would kill an oncoming dog. In fact, she would not. She has leash frustration. Making judgements about behavior is tricky whether it's dogs or people. I understand where you're coming from but I don't think you have probable cause to report this woman and her dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
mathilda:
You will just have to take my word having a bunch of experience with fostering, owning, and handling dogs, that it is none of what you or others here have suggested. This is serious aggression - not leash aggressive, not protective, not frustrated.
And I agree about dogs that bark in general. But this is not that.
You say that as long as she doesn't let the dog hurt anyone, but under the circumstances (public place, no harness/muzzle, clear lack of handling ability (including borderline abusive tactics imo) are you sure that should be the only criteria? And if you accept, for argument's sake, that this is serious aggression, do you leave it to the one time she loses control of the leash or a kid runs up to the dog when she's not looking?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Grabby:
2 questions.
How often have you had your dog close up to another dog in a leash aggressive episode and let your dog have it's way with the other dog?
Also, dog on dog aggression, while a legitimate problem, is not at all the same as dog on human aggression.
In the first, there is a lot more leeway to experiment with things, training, exposure, etc.
With the second, you simply should not take any risks. For example, we don't say my human aggressive dog might be ok next to that child.
So it's a totally different question imo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Grabby:
I tend to stir the pot in order to flesh out ideas and eventually come to a more informed opinion.
It might not seem like I'm listening, but I am.
But to be fair, you're certainly not the first to make this observation : )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,652 Posts
Well, I think we also have to some point trust the parents judgement, that when a dog is loudly showing his hate for people, they don't let their toddler run up to a leashed dog.
Not to forget that at least then, the woman will probably ask the parents to keep the child away from her and the dog. hen she's watching her surroundings so closely, as you decriebed in your post.
Of course i don't want anyone to get hurt, but this is in my opinion a bit far fetched.
which adult person, that is right in their mind, would let their child run up to a human and an animal that both show clearly that they don't want to be approached. why would you do that?

I can understand your point of view, but I still think it is not in your position to change something about the woman's and the dog's situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
mathilda:
I think you're giving too much control to the parents.
On a park road with bikes, walkers, runners, tourist groups.
other dogs, kids, there is closer proximity and more going on.
I think a dog like this in that environment is an accident
waiting to happen.
We can say well that adult or kid approached the dog, or got too close, but we both know that's not going to cut it when the incident (let's say bite (s) is reported and the dog is likely put down.
By frequenting there daily, and clearly not having the proper checks in place, isn't it just asking for trouble?
Whether or not there are legal grounds to force her to take certain measures (let's say harness/muzzle and walk less populated areas).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,437 Posts
I'm not convinced that this dog would cause harm to a person if it got away from the owner. You say you're sure this is true aggression. How do you know that? The behavior that you're describing could very well be distance increasing behavior. The dog is doing what it feels it must to keep "whatever" away from it. If the dog got loose, there's no way for you to know that his dog would attack someone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Grabby:
You're right. I can't know for sure unless I did some tests with the dog.
But after observing a lot, I'd say I'm like 85% sure it is.
Only the woman knows the truth of that.
Only other way is if there is a previous recorded incident.
And that is something the cops could check.
But I agree, I don't like the idea of calling the cops, or of trying to predict what might happen.
Who knows, I might just approach her next time and try to get a better sense of it.
Will report back if I do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,437 Posts
I'm not a shy person and I would probably approach the woman. You may be rudely rebuffed or you may be able to get some sense of what's going on. Being the dog nerd that I am, I'd have some sort of printed info on reactive dogs and on muzzle conditioning handy. :) Worst that could happen is she tosses it in the trash or at your quickly retreating back. Naturally, you'd want to keep yourself safe, just in case the dog feels the need to protect itself or the owner from the crazy dog person waving handouts. :)

Seriously, it's a hard call to make from behind a monitor. Best of luck with whatever you decide on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,652 Posts
Well, it is a dog owner job to look after their dog and keep it in their control, so that it can't hurt anyone (which is this woman doing by keeping an eye on her surroundings and having her dog on a leash) and it is the parents job to teach their children to respect the personal space of strangers, may they be humans or dogs.
the only children that shouldn't have learned yet, are very small toddlers, which should be too far from their parents anyway.We live in a street with a lot of children (a lot of families with 3 and more children) and all of the children know very early that when a stranger, may it be a dog or a person, is very loud and angry, they probably shouldn't go and hug them.
We had a young girl as a night guest this weekend...she's 18 months old...she already kept a good distance from our dog, even though he wasn't barking or showing aggression.
Of course we kept an eye on both, but a child in this age can already learn to not pester strangers...they usually do it instinctively. A raging dog is not exactly very inviting, so the chance that a toddler runs up to it is actually pretty small in my opinion.

Whether or not there are legal grounds to force her to take certain measures (let's say harness/muzzle and walk less populated areas).
You know how this ends.
they won't "check" on her, if they believe you that the dog is aggressive and the owner can't control it, they'll just take the dog away from her and it will rot for the rest of its sad days in a 2x2m kennel in a shelter. the chance to rehome such a dog, when it is really as aggressive as you say, is pretty small, especially when it is a border collie mix...at least here in my country. and in your country, it'll probably just be killed anyway.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top