Dog chased by other dogs and bolted

ponyparty

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Last Thursday, I had an alarming experience which could have ended very badly. I was out walking F on a public footpath through fields, on our way back, at this point around 15-20 minutes walk from home. It was thick, freezing fog that day. Through the fog appeared a man and his son with a golden retriever and some other retriever type - fox red lab X retriever maybe - who started bounding over. I recalled F, who was just a little ahead of me, but as he came towards me the two retrievers gave chase, and F bolted in fear - disappearing into the fog with the retrievers in pursuit. The man had absolutely no recall whatsoever. He didn't even try at first, just carried on walking as if it were normal. I actually had to tell him to call them (ahem, may have screamed "DO something! Call your effing dogs!" at him... not my finest moment...), but soon realised that the reason he hadn't called them was because it didn't make the blindest bit of difference.

Eventually - I mean minutes later - his dogs came back of their own accord, but F was nowhere to be seen. The man kindly explained to me that "It's because he ran - they're retrievers and when they see something run they will chase it." I wish I could see the look on your faces when you read that, dear AAD members! I had to bite my tongue though (and apologise for swearing at him) because I needed to borrow his phone to call OH. My poxy iPhone battery had gone from 50% to dead within minutes of leaving the house, really must get a new phone.

OH set off immediately in the car and found F running the lanes, but he wouldn't come to OH nor get in the car. He trotted off back towards a crossroads with another lane; further down that other lane was where I was (by now) waiting on the lane for OH. I saw the traffic had come to a halt/very slow crawl and realised it must mean he was there, so ran up and spotted him but he wouldn't come to me either, he was terrified. I managed to get him to follow me into a field so he was off the (very dangerous, windy, fast) lane. It took some time to get him to come to me; he was shaking in fright and was unsettled for the rest of the day. Turns out he'd actually run all the way home (where he was spotted by a neighbour) and then back again to look for me - on busy country lanes, in the fog. He was missing for about 20 minutes in total, I think.

I have reported the incident to the dog warden, particularly in light of the comments from the man that his dogs will just chase anything and he can't call them off. There are sheep in the next field most of the year for goodness sake, god help them if those dogs ever got loose in there! It could have caused a traffic accident or killed F - he's never bolted like that before, he usually comes to me for protection. It's scared me half to death. I walk those footpaths because I'm sick of people in the park letting their dogs bounce all over my dog, knock him over or worse, it's made him really defensive. Now I won't feel safe there either.

Meanwhile I've ordered F a really good harness (practically escape proof) and 10m hi vis long line/tracking lead to clip to it, and a GPS tracker for his collar - although he won't be having any off lead time unless it's very good visibility and I am certain there are no other dogs nearby. I'm seeking advice from a behaviourist too, as I think he's now had so many negative experiences with other dogs, I need to help him before he becomes a complete nervous wreck. He really needs some positive experiences with friendly, well mannered dogs, but that would be difficult enough to orchestrate in normal circumstances - it's impossible in lockdown. Very frustrating.

I've also started him on Dorwest Herbs Scullcap and Valerian just to see if it helps settle him... Think I need some too! Anyone have any experience with this supplement? How long does it take to have a noticeable effect? On their dog, that is ;)

Any other tips on what I could do to help him, while I wait to hear back from the behaviourist I've contacted, gratefully accepted.
 

ponyparty

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Absolutely. I was beside myself. And when we found him but he wouldn't come to us - you hear of that happening with spooked dogs but I had thought that F would ALWAYS come to us, as we're his place of safety! But no - once they're THAT spooked, they really won't. I was expecting to find him dead in the road to be honest.
 

SAujla

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I've no idea why you felt the need to apologise, that's the last thing you should have done. Very sorry to hear about your experience it sounds very frightening for you and your dog.

It's not your dog that was the problem, when two dogs come at him like they were his survival instinct locked in
 

Pearlsasinger

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That sounds like a horrible experience for both of you! I'm sorry I can't really help except to say that I find the best way to socialise pups is to take them out and about where all other dogs will be on-lead, such as country shows. That builds their confidence and lets them know that they are not expected to interact with other dogs. As for getting used to plying with other dogs, that is best done at home, ime. Would he (and you) cope with having another, younger dog in the family?
 

ponyparty

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Ha, let's be clear, I only apologised because I needed his phone and he was quite arsey with me for swearing at him. Possibly because he had his teenage son with him.

Anyway I've just seen him again in almost the same place, would you believe! With a younger son in tow as well this time. I had F decked out in hi vis, on a hi vis biothane long line, and clipped him back onto his short lead as soon as I saw them (lead attached to his collar AND harness just to be on the safe side), got off to the (hedge/stream) side of the footpath to let them pass. As he approached he said "Ooh is that Frank again?!" as if he were expecting me to start a friendly chat. I said "Yes and he's absolutely terrified!". That's all I could think of, I'm so slow in the moment :rolleyes: anyway, Frank was indeed terrified; as he realised it was them I could see him looking to escape again. I had already put myself in between him and them, and put him in a sit, focused on me (ok, the treats, let's be realistic!). He growled at them as they went past. Years of training and socialisation all undone by a few stupid owners in the park over the last 12 months and then this, the icing on the cake :(

He's sat in his bed in the office with me just growling intermittently now..!
 

ponyparty

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That sounds like a horrible experience for both of you! I'm sorry I can't really help except to say that I find the best way to socialise pups is to take them out and about where all other dogs will be on-lead, such as country shows. That builds their confidence and lets them know that they are not expected to interact with other dogs. As for getting used to plying with other dogs, that is best done at home, ime. Would he (and you) cope with having another, younger dog in the family?
Yes he's ace at country shows, loves them. Hopefully they can start up again this year and we can get out to a few.

I'd love another but OH isn't massively keen. He seems to think it'll mean twice the work, but it doesn't really. I think he's thinking back to George and all the issues he caused; but the whole point would be to find a good match - it'd need to be a bitch for starters. I do look half heartedly now and again but never seem to see anything suitable for us up for rehoming, as we've got a toddler. F wouldn't tolerate a puppy.
 

ponyparty

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Oh no, poor F and poor you! Hope you both get an easier time on your nerves for the next few weeks.

No idea on the supplement, but little Dee dog can be used for friendly experiences once lockdown eases a bit.
Thank you! Will def take you up on that :)
 

BBP

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I really feel for you. After a few attacks at the start of lock down (mine on lead attacked by off lead dogs on 3 different occasions) and then no regular dog interactions through lockdown and my lovely dog has changed completely in his attitude to other dogs. He always used to interact beautifully with others when allowed, not over dominant with submissive ones but happy to wrestle and race with more bouncy ones. Now he will have a go at anything that comes within a couple of meters. It’s really sad. His confidence is so dented. I’m constantly monitoring for other dogs. I hope you get a better outcome with Frank.
Sonetimes I wonder if a second dog in the household would help, but as a catastrophiser im always thinking the worst might happen and I have double trouble and they wouldn’t get on. Especially as I’m alone so managing two would be hard.
 

FinnishLapphund

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I'm still in disbelief over what he said about Retrievers the first time you met him. How convenient for him to just go around telling himself, and others, what he told you, instead of actually doing something about his untrained dogs. Behaving as if nothing bad happened the second time you met them, only adds to the disbelief.

I can't help but wonder if the weather had something to do with that F reacted with bolting, since you say that he usually comes to you for protection. Either way, I'm so glad you found him in one piece, and eventually also managed to catch him.

Sorry that I can't offer suggestions about how to help F. The best way I know of to make a dog more socially confident around other dogs, is letting them meet as many well-behaved other dogs as possible. Trouble is where to find such dogs, and how to meet them in these Coronavirus restricted times.
If you'd been in Sweden, near me, and if not for the Coronavirus, I would gladly have let F meet my 3 ladies in a dog enclosure. They're well-behaved, not pushy, makes play invites, but if the other dog isn't interested they wander off minding their own business. You could have brought your OH as well, to let him see how easy it is having more than one dog, when they get along with each other.
 

ponyparty

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I wonder if he'll try and be friendly with me once he's had his phone call from the dog warden... he'll know damned well it's me that's reported him. and he has both mine and OH's phone numbers; and lives on the same "village" (housing estate that likes to pretend it's a village) as us. Any funny business and he'll find himself reported to the police as well.

BBP, that's horrible for your dog too :( it's so stressful having a reactive dog. I've ordered a book that's been recommended on a Manchester Terrier group on FB, I'll let you know if it's any good, it might help you too!

FL, thank you, that is so kind of you. Maybe if we ever make it to Sweden eh ;) your dogs sound like the exact sort of dogs Frank needs to meet! He loves a good play, but he's not the most confident - and even less so now of course.

Yes very convenient for him to tell himself that it's because they're retrievers, not because he hasn't bothered to train them. Last I heard, retrievers are known for fetching things, not chasing other dogs into the distance... If I see him again I'll have a good line ready.
 

Blazingsaddles

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Last Thursday, I had an alarming experience which could have ended very badly. I was out walking F on a public footpath through fields, on our way back, at this point around 15-20 minutes walk from home. It was thick, freezing fog that day. Through the fog appeared a man and his son with a golden retriever and some other retriever type - fox red lab X retriever maybe - who started bounding over. I recalled F, who was just a little ahead of me, but as he came towards me the two retrievers gave chase, and F bolted in fear - disappearing into the fog with the retrievers in pursuit. The man had absolutely no recall whatsoever. He didn't even try at first, just carried on walking as if it were normal. I actually had to tell him to call them (ahem, may have screamed "DO something! Call your effing dogs!" at him... not my finest moment...), but soon realised that the reason he hadn't called them was because it didn't make the blindest bit of difference.

Eventually - I mean minutes later - his dogs came back of their own accord, but F was nowhere to be seen. The man kindly explained to me that "It's because he ran - they're retrievers and when they see something run they will chase it." I wish I could see the look on your faces when you read that, dear AAD members! I had to bite my tongue though (and apologise for swearing at him) because I needed to borrow his phone to call OH. My poxy iPhone battery had gone from 50% to dead within minutes of leaving the house, really must get a new phone.

OH set off immediately in the car and found F running the lanes, but he wouldn't come to OH nor get in the car. He trotted off back towards a crossroads with another lane; further down that other lane was where I was (by now) waiting on the lane for OH. I saw the traffic had come to a halt/very slow crawl and realised it must mean he was there, so ran up and spotted him but he wouldn't come to me either, he was terrified. I managed to get him to follow me into a field so he was off the (very dangerous, windy, fast) lane. It took some time to get him to come to me; he was shaking in fright and was unsettled for the rest of the day. Turns out he'd actually run all the way home (where he was spotted by a neighbour) and then back again to look for me - on busy country lanes, in the fog. He was missing for about 20 minutes in total, I think.

I have reported the incident to the dog warden, particularly in light of the comments from the man that his dogs will just chase anything and he can't call them off. There are sheep in the next field most of the year for goodness sake, god help them if those dogs ever got loose in there! It could have caused a traffic accident or killed F - he's never bolted like that before, he usually comes to me for protection. It's scared me half to death. I walk those footpaths because I'm sick of people in the park letting their dogs bounce all over my dog, knock him over or worse, it's made him really defensive. Now I won't feel safe there either.

Meanwhile I've ordered F a really good harness (practically escape proof) and 10m hi vis long line/tracking lead to clip to it, and a GPS tracker for his collar - although he won't be having any off lead time unless it's very good visibility and I am certain there are no other dogs nearby. I'm seeking advice from a behaviourist too, as I think he's now had so many negative experiences with other dogs, I need to help him before he becomes a complete nervous wreck. He really needs some positive experiences with friendly, well mannered dogs, but that would be difficult enough to orchestrate in normal circumstances - it's impossible in lockdown. Very frustrating.

I've also started him on Dorwest Herbs Scullcap and Valerian just to see if it helps settle him... Think I need some too! Anyone have any experience with this supplement? How long does it take to have a noticeable effect? On their dog, that is ;)

Any other tips on what I could do to help him, while I wait to hear back from the behaviourist I've contacted, gratefully accepted.
Awful. I had a similar experience several years ago. Walking my lurchers in a nearby country park and happened across a ‘greyhound gang’ 😉 About eight dogs in total. All off lead. They spot my little whippet Lurcher & take chase across the country park. She was petrified. No panic to the greyhound owners. They did FA. Little whippety Lurcher was lost for four days and found eventually five miles from where she disappeared. So glad you managed to find yours fairly quickly - although I suspect you aged a few years!
 

Lintel

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Poor boy that must have been confidence crushing for both of you X
Howow about finding a reputable dog walker or doggy day care in the area, most tend to only take on the friendly sort and perhaps you could take the little man along a group dog walk with the walker or to day care for a wee bit?
Of course make sure they are reputable and explain abit about your situation - just trying to think outside the box a bit with COVID restrictions just now.
 

ponyparty

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It's a good idea Lintel, but I'm not sure it would be suitable. If they only take the friendly sort... F holds grudges against dogs he's had negative experiences with; so far he hates all chocolate and black labs (and probably now yellow and fox red retrievers!), GSDs, all brachycephalic breeds (that's not because one has done anything to him - he just hates them, it's quite common as dogs cannot read their facial expressions due to them being so deformed)... he probably also hates collies too now (see below). It's like... he wants to get in there first so they don't get chance to go for him? This is why I want to get a behaviourist involved, it's beyond my level of experience. I've also ordered BAT 2.0 by Grisha Stewart in the hope it gives me some tips.

He did used to go to a dog walker, who was very good with him and he adored - he was also fine with all other dogs he came across with him, apparently! Which makes me think it's something I'm doing wrong maybe? Or he's trying to protect me? Or he doesn't trust that I will keep him safe due to past experiences (e.g. getting bitten by a dog whilst on the lead)!

We had ANOTHER negative experience yesterday, where an owner could not call their large collie X (looked like a Romanian rescue type - large herding breed, bigger than a Border collie) away from us. It ran half way across a very large field to get to us; we'd stopped, and I'd put him in a sit, to allow them to get out of the field and not have any interaction with them...! It barked and barked at Frank, I shouted at it in a growly voice - a risk as F might think I'm shouting at him - and tried to keep myself in between him and the dog, but it kept circling until eventually it got to him so he went for it. I don't blame him but I'd rather he didn't feel as if he had to protect himself like this - I should be the one protecting him! The dog's name, ironically, was "Angel" :rolleyes: the owners eventually caught it; they let it off again in the next field though, I could see it running all over someone's crop. I am seriously sick and tired of other dog walkers! The useless woman just kept saying "It's ok, it's ok, she just likes to say hello" I said "It's NOT ok, my dog is terrified, he DOESN'T want to say hello, so please catch your dog!". I managed to string a proper sentence together through the rage, go me!
 

Pearlsasinger

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I think if I were you I would take a good thick walking stick on my dog walks and if necessary make it obvious that you are prepared to use it to keep other dog away. That imght concentrate some owners' minds. But equally, I wouldn't hold my breath, as I have known idiots allow their loose dogs to run up to 2 on-lead Rottweilers, with 2 leads each, one a fig-8, which can be mistaken for a muzzle. Fortunately the Rotters are very amiable but honestly who would risk it?
 

CorvusCorax

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I'd definitely keep him moving rather than keeping him in a static position (increases frustration and makes them feel more exposed...he's expected to stay in the same place while the threat comes closer and closer/moves at will), but you're right to take the lead in terms of you protecting him.

If you can, use your body to physically block the other dog as that's a big visual to Frank that you are literally between him and the threat so he will be less worried.
Try to remain calm, businesslike and authoritative, even if you wouldn't dream of it, have the mindset that you are prepared to punt an attacking dog into the next county before it reaches him, and that confidence will transfer down the lead. If you're nervous, that will go down the line to him.
Not that you should have to do any of this, but people are idiots.
I say threat as that is what he will perceive the other dog as.

I've had years years and many incidences of my (30kg) dog on a short lead, under control, getting barked at, snapped at, humped, ragged/drooled on, heads stuck up his arse, with me trying to protect A) him B) the other dog. If I let him defend himself it wouldn't end well and he and I would be the worst in the world....
 

Andie02

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We have said for years that there should be a law prohibiting dogs being let loose in a public place, anything could happen with disastrous consequences, even with a good re-call. One of our JRT's occasionally can put the anchors on and pull backwards, by doing this it would be so easy to slip his collar however tight it is, so he has an extra soft choker with lead , with that lead always left a bit slack unless needed. We made up our own leads with soft webb (the proper webb for the job) with a fixed loop that the collar slips through, then several inches up the lead we fitted a swivel (as used on a lunge line), therefore no need for a trigger clip, we have had one of those come undone on a lead, even though it was a new strong clip. We both always carry a whip when out walking, you never know these days when you might need one, as well as dogs not on a lead there are so many stories of dogs being taken from their owners when out walking them.

So sorry to hear of your awful experience ponyparty.
 

SAujla

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As someone relatively new to dogs in parks, the phrase "its okay he/she is friendly" gets said so often its ridiculous. My dog likes Labradors and GSD but anything else she doesn't want any part of, but when I've got her on a long lead and another dog is coming she won't move so it looks like I'm the one with an untrained dog. I feel bad for the op, it's other dogs that are the big problem
 

SusieT

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Just a piece of advice, I know you were tryingt o protect him but sitting him still then being a bit stressed and using a fierce voice is probably going to make things worse.
I would probably have kept walking, potentially back towards other owners. Is there anywhere you can walk without many other people or times as sounds stressful atm? I would get a behaviourist involved to help.
 

ponyparty

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Yes, I think I should have kept him moving in retrospect. When I stopped and put him in a sit, they were far away and at that point the dog hadn't seen us/locked onto us. To give you an idea, they were half a (huge) field away, walking along the bottom boundary from right to left; we were crossing it (on a footpath) diagonally, from top right to bottom left; we were all travelling towards to the same point - a gate at the bottom left corner of the field. I stopped walking as soon as I realised we were likely going to meet at the pinch point, half the field away, and put him in a sit to just wait for them to get out of the field before continuing, to avoid a pinch point. Unfortunately their dog then saw us and took off in our direction. Not moving seemed the least bad option at the time; bearing in mind he got chased last week, I wasn't going to retreat and let him feel like he was being chased again. I did keep myself between him and the dog as much as I could, but it was circling us quite fast - so between manoeuvring around Frank, not getting tangled up in the lead and keeping an eye on the dog, it managed to get through. I'll definitely try and keep him moving next time.

I'm already walking in the only local place that has less dogs than the park :( pre-covid/lockdown the public footpaths were always deserted (lovely!), now I see people every time I go. I'd hoped the winter might get rid of most of them, but clearly not now that we're back in lockdown.

I've already contacted a behaviourist; they haven't replied to me yet, if they don't respond within the next few days I shall contact another.

I'll carry a whip or stick with me if I need to - I couldn't care less what other owners think, I cannot keep having this happen. It's making walking stressful for us both - it used to be my stress relief from the day, now I'm just constantly on the lookout for other dogs. And will shout out that he'll attack another dog; but it seems unfair when in actual fact he loves to have a play and a (fun) chase with other well mannered dogs. I feel so bad for him that he basically can't have any interactions with other dogs now "just in case". Hope I can help boost his confidence with this book and behaviourist and we can one day get a bit of normality back.
 

HorseyTee

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This too is why i avoid places with other walkers now.
I'm just sick at the lack of respect from other people and their poorly trained dogs.
Thank God you got him back safely.

Is there any friends who have calm quiet dogs you can walk with?
If you are anywhere near me, I have 3 (1 is a retriever who surprisingly doesnt chase things just because they run) tend to have a sniff then just ignore other dogs for the most part. He needs to have some good experiences to help his confidence again.
 

Odyssey

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So sorry that you've both had these horrible experiences. These type of ignorant owners make my blood boil. Most of them never change their ways when their dogs have attacked/threatened/spooked others, and the dogs carry on injuring/terrifying dogs and owners. 😡

You really shouldn't have to, but can you do road walks where you live instead of country walks? That's what I've had to resort to, so we hopefully won't meet any loose dogs. I tried to overcome my fears of walking in the countryside, but was terrified every time a loose dog ran up to mine, just seeing one at a distance was bad enough. I'm really annoyed that we have to do this, and miss out on lovely country walks because of these idiots. I was always on tenderhooks walking mine in open spaces after he was attacked and injured while on lead, it just wasn't worth the stress. I also carry a walking stick so I have some protection if necessary, should we encounter a loose, aggressive dog. I'm not prepared to let him be a sitting duck again. There are 4 or 5 aggressive dogs that I know of in my village, one has been attacking for years. 😡
 
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DabDab

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Gosh, what a pita. It's horrible having to feel on guard every walk, assessing every owner's ignorance level as you approach.

Fwiw I have often copped hold of other people's dogs and held them until the owner gets their backside over to retrieve them. It means trusting mine to stay where I leave them but they are generally pretty good and I would rather that than let a strange dog who's owner has no control over it get too close. Plus it puts the owner out because they have to come fetch rather than just being able to let their dog run amok and take a laissez-faire attitude to it all.

I can't bear the "he's friendly and only wants to say hello". I do get much amusement from my not unsubstantial, tattoo-clad OH barking "well mine isn't" at them when he is out with the westie. Amazing how quickly some owners can suddenly regain control of their dogs.
 
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