Home > Dog Behavior, Dog Training, Pet News > Dog Attacks – What to know

Dog Attacks – What to know

Last night our local station, Fox 9 News, aired a great piece on dog attacks. I highly recommend watching it.

There were so many things I liked about this piece, it:

– Recognized that dog attacks happen with all dog breeds (they even mentioned the small breeds)

– Included an animal behaviorist from the U of M

– Discussed the dangers of letting leashed dogs greet one another (as a professional dog walker, I never let my client’s dogs greet other leashed dogs for this very reason).

– Spoke with veterinarians and a professional Twin Cities dog walker about the dangers of dog attacks

– Included information on why dogs who get out of fenced yards may be more dangerous

– Concluded with tips on what to do in case of an attack and linked to two videos on Dr. Sophia Yins’ website on dog aggression

Kudos to this news organization for doing a well-rounded discussion on the issue! I have rarely seen a news organization do a piece on dogs that was as well-informed and educational as this one was last night.

One of the things I most worry about are dog attacks. I have been in the middle of one between a client’s two dogs and it was one of the most frightening things I have ever experienced (by the way, pouring a bucket of water on them is what finally worked to break them up). I have also been charged by dogs who have escaped from yards before (in both cases, yelling “GO HOME!” is what worked). Even at the dog park, I am constantly watching other dog’s behavior to see what signs they are giving off.

One of the areas I avoid at my dog park, is the front area. Why? Because that is where (I know this will sound condescending) the uneducated and unknowledgeable dog owners hang out. It’s where I find the most frustrated and over-hyped dogs too. The owners who stand around while the dogs play are not helping their dogs. They are not exercising them either. They are are waiting for trouble to happen – they just don’t know it.

I keep my dogs moving when we are at the dog park. We don’t stand around. When I see trouble coming our way, I change directions or leave.

I know dog attacks will happen. They just will. But I don’t have to be a willing participant nor a sitting duck.

I hope people will watch this piece and learn from it. It was one worth sharing.


  1. May 3, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Education is the key, the more we can educate people the safer our dogs (and we) will be.

    Sometimes I wonder if people are just too caught up in themselves, are uneducated or just plain stupid.

    I have a dog that can be reactive to other dogs, when I go to training class I sit her on side in an effort to avoid confrontations. I can’t tell you how many times someone walks out with their dog…..la dee dah not paying attention and then their dog is in my dog’s face and she won’t tolerate it. I have a name for it, but I won’t state it here. 🙂

    Great post Mel and you are right so very often the news will focus on the bad, instead this group did a great job all around.

  2. Mel
    May 3, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Thanks Jodi. I agree. Education is key. I think more people are learning, but it takes time. One of the benefits of social media is the ability to share and pass along information and education more easily.

    I can only imagine how frustrated you must get when people walk by without thinking of the dangers or avoiding making your dog react.

  3. May 3, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    I will definitely check out the link! I don’t think you are being condescending at all. It’s very rare for news coverage of such a volatile issue to be so well-researched. All coverage of dog attacks in my city always contain the words “pit bull”, and more than once. They never bother to consult dog trainers, not even local ones, just re-hash the same old stereotypical crap and start yammering about how BSL may solve all. This piece sounds terrific and I hope it’s a sign of changing attitudes, if only in your area for now. I also hope even one person takes the presented information to heart. Dog attacks are almost always preventable.

    • Mel
      May 3, 2012 at 11:09 PM

      Thanks Kristine. I appreciate the vote of confidence. I guess I have seen too many news reports that didn’t involve the experts. It was refreshing to see a piece that was so thorough and so informative.

  4. Jen
    May 3, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    It’s refreshing to hear about a news station posting so well and thoroughly on a dog topic, especially a “negative” one like dog attacks and dogs fighting. Kudos to them, truly! Especially for the use of Dr. Sophia Yin.

    • Mel
      May 3, 2012 at 11:07 PM

      I SO agree Jen. I thought they did a terrific job.

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