Little Monkey Gets Mugged! – A Ten Year Anniversary Post

You Little Monkey

You Little Monkey

Little Monkey gets mugged!

Three Times!

It’s not been a good week for Little Monkey!

If you walk your dog anywhere, you are bound to encounter a few unwelcome interactions now and then. I expect some at dog class, because most of the dogs (and/or owners; OK, mostly owners!) have problems; that’s why they are there in the first place!

When I started going to dog socialisation classes with an eighteen month old Little Monkey the day I got her ten years ago, she was so anxious and unsocialised that all the other dogs attacked her, because she was different and unbalanced. We stayed a good five metres away from the class in our own little bubble for years.

Now, she has learnt enough to fly under the radar. She is still anxious, but she hides it well and the other dogs all leave her alone. To someone who had not seen her ten years ago, they would wonder what I was talking about; she looks fine to them.

However, any new dog suddenly seen in close proximity when out on a walk, still provokes a reaction of instant terror in her. She needs time and lots of space to get to know the other dogs and realise they mean no harm.

Or do they?

 

Face Off!

This brings me to the first incident. Not a big deal really, just so surprising, because, as I said, LM fits in well in class these days and she hasn’t been attacked for years.

At dog class the other week, there was a young woman with a black Belgian Shepherd. She had it on the lead when everyone else’s dogs were free. I always walk right round the field, then round and through the class when I arrive with LM, so she is assimilated and we have both checked out all the dogs. We instantly pick up on the ones to watch; the anxious, dominant or boisterous ones.

So I’d said Hi to the woman and asked if I could stroke her dog. I said a quick hello to the dog and moved on. LM went back to the woman and sat nicely in front of her; or rather in front of the bag of treats she had in a waist pouch!

Next second the black shepherd went straight for LM’s face! Snapping and snarling and trying to rip her face off!

LM leapt away, eyes like saucers and a look of total surprise on her face! She hadn’t been attacked like that for so so long!

I just told LM to lie down, chatted to the woman again and our own dog whisperer came up to tell her what she needed to do and the signals her dog had been giving (staring at LM) that she needed to pick up on.

So, All Good. No blood. And a lesson learnt by both dogs.

 

In For the Kill!

The second incident was by far the most serious of the three and could easily have led to a full blown fight with blood and wounds, had LM and I not known how to react.

We’d had a long walk already, pretty much as in The Dog Walk. We approached the last wooded area in the common, with LM off lead behind me. I noticed two large dogs running between the trees, owned by a young man with a toddler. I figured (wrongly as it turned out) that his dogs must be OK, as he let them roam free and had a small child with him.

However, I knew that LM would run towards the movement, so I put her on the lead and we started down the lovely wooded path, walking on pine needles in the dappled shade.

The two dogs spotted us from a good thirty metres away and came tearing straight for us full speed. They clearly meant business. I dropped LM’s lead and moved in front of her to try to stem the charge. With a strong, dominant energy, I pointed at them and bellowed, “Back Off!”

I did succeed in slowing the dogs slightly, but they were intent on getting to my dog and dodged past me, rushing straight into LM. They were both larger than her and the more aggressive of the two body slammed her, pressing his head on her shoulders as he loomed over her and growled.

For once in her life, LM did exactly the right thing. She cowered. She made herself very small and still; crouching down with her tail between the legs, head low and ears back in extreme submission.

The aggressive dogs were so wound up they only wanted one little wrong move and they’d have attacked her.

I moved in and pushing the most aggressive dog by the neck, guided his head away from LM. Having got between the dogs, with LM now protected behind me and these two large terrors in front of me, I used my energy again and said firmly, “Chill!”

So, between us, LM and I had stopped a full on attack, but now the two aggressors didn’t know what to do. They still wanted to attack her, but there was no way I was letting them near LM and she wasn’t going to fight them.

Finally, the owner called his dogs and they ran back to him. While the man was clipping one dog on its lead, the other came rushing back at us. I was already moving away with LM, but turned and faced him down again. As this dog was not the worst dog, he did stop. The owner called again and the dog ran back to him.

LM and I carried on down the path, but a moment later LM suddenly pooped. She had been very, very scared. (Yes, I know dogs poop on walks, but we all know our dog’s patterns very well and this was definitely a result of the encounter.)

As I picked up the poop I became really angry. Those dogs were extremely dog aggressive. If LM or I had not known how to react, there could have been a really bad fight. Luckily, LM did not squeal or run away, which would have goaded the dogs into chasing and attacking her.

But it made me think: what if it had been my neighbour, a first time dog owner who is still learning, and his little Maltese, which would have done both those things (squealed and run away)? What if it had been an elderly person, who could have been knocked over and certainly very shaken up?

That’s why I was so angry. I hadn’t been scared, because I had been in control of the situation (just), but I was livid that this man was letting his aggressive dogs run out of control and attack others. And the worst thing about all this?

No apology from the man.

I repeat; no apology from the man whatsoever. Not one word from him.

 

Assault Team!

The third incident wasn’t so aggressive, but still very dominant and ‘in your face’ anti-social behaviour. LM and I were approaching the soccer field, when I saw an oldish woman sitting on a fallen tree trunk up on the field, with three large dogs running around her off lead. LM and I stopped for a moment in the shade of the trees, while we assessed the dogs’ behaviour. The woman cheerfully waved to me and I thought maybe we knew each other. (It was too far for me to see her clearly.) So, LM and I carried on our walk, which was off to one side, but also slightly towards the dogs.

Suddenly, all three dogs came running up to us. A pack of three very large dogs running straight at you is an Assault Team indeed. This is the anti-social behaviour; to approach another dog too quickly, without giving it a chance to read body language.

I dropped LM’s lead and stepped forward in front of her to stem the onrush of this pack. I did slow them down a little, but LM had made up her own mind about them and sprang forward past me a few steps, stopped and barked at them twice. She could see they were behaving badly and she was telling them to stop it!

Then all three dogs were all over LM sniffing her and being pushy. Obviously, they were just very dominant and not actually aggressive, but none-the-less, they were intimidating. I made sure to be right in there, shoving the bossy ones out of the way. Often just a tap to the shoulder or rump will distract the dog and calm the situation.

Typically, the one dog closest to me that I did manage to tap lightly on the rump with my cap, whirled round with wide eyes. It was anxious and only following the rest of the pack!

Still, I hung around and touched all the dogs, with heavy pats on the rump and shoulder of the most dominant, while saying “Hi there, big boy” for the benefit of the feeble owner. I walked onto the field with all the dogs, which were behaving better now, and started talking to the woman (who was, after all, a complete stranger!) When owners chat like this it shows the dogs that everyone is friendly here and we can all get along just fine. They’ll remember this the next time they meet.

However, the woman seemed all flustered and just wanted to go. I really have to wonder why on earth a physically weak woman with such a low energy was there on the field with three very large dogs, all off lead, when clearly she was incapable of controlling them at all. (Note, if you are physically weak, you can still control your dog by being mentally strong.)

I patted all the dogs and LM again, then we continued on our walk, patting ourselves on the back for dealing with the situation!

 

Why am I going on about energies? Dogs read your body language and energy. They are very, very good at this. They know if you are scared, weak or injured and will take full advantage of it. It’s how they hunt after all. If you stay calm, strong and fearless you have a much better chance of controlling the situation. Basically, you learn how to communicate in Dog. I have been learning this, alongside LM, for the past ten years. 

 

This post is a sort of celebration for Little Monkey, who has been attending dog socialisation classes every week for ten years. We took dog biscuits to our class the other day and gave them to all the dogs there, from dachshunds and tiny puppies, (we got there just at the end of puppy class), to the large dogs; German Shepherds, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, Giant Schnauzers and of course, many mutts like LM. I could say that, judging from LM’s excellent reactions detailed here, she has finally graduated dog school!

But we’re still going to dog class!

 

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41 thoughts on “Little Monkey Gets Mugged! – A Ten Year Anniversary Post

  1. A Curious Introvert

    Congratulations on graduating dog school! I found myself reacting while reading the mugging stories and I congratulate you on remaining calm during the exchanges. I still remember the fear of seeing two dogs charging us while out on a walk a few years ago, but thankfully the animals stopped a short distance away and left. My 12 pound Yorkie has no fear of larger animals and is always on a leash when we are out, just in case a deer decides to stop by for a visit.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you very much 🙂 I’m glad you were not attacked. Some dog owners have no control over their pets.
      I love your spunky Yorkie! 🙂 I know one at dog class that, small tho it is, is an Alpha male, and certainly dominates the much bigger dogs!
      I’d love to see deer on a walk – but with LM on a lead for sure! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. samanthamurdochblog

    Well done-you handled those awful situations confidently and responsibly like a considerate dog owner. Totally shocked by that man-not even as much as a sorry. What a fright for LM, but what a good job you had the better all-round energy and understanding 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. mistermuse

    Because I haven’t had a dog since I was a kid ____ years ago, I was just going to click LIKE without commenting, but for some reason, there’s no place beneath this post (or your previous one) to click LIKE. Do you know why this omission has happened?

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you very much for telling me. I noticed this last night and have no idea why the Like button has suddenly disappeared from under my posts in my blog. I still have that option ‘on’ in my settings. I found that if you click the title of the post, the Likes appear. The Like button is still there in the WP Reader.
      I have no idea how to ask WP for help either! Any suggestions?
      Thanks again. 🙂

      Like

      Reply
    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you so much Tom 🙂 I feel a bit like a dog whisperer – for LM. 🙂
      It’s funny you say that about the non-verbal communication, because I am more aware of that in humans now too. You’re right; so much is said silently!
      Thank you for reading my long post. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. dobetteralways

    I’ve never understood pet owners who have no intention of being responsible about their pets. Why get a pet if you aren’t willing to spend time with them, set healthy boundaries/expectations, and make sure they don’t pose a threat to others? I’m glad none of these encounters got violent but the 2 owners letting their untrained dogs run free is so irresponsible.

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      I totally agree! Often I think people (here) get a dog as a sort of status symbol, because it looks good or as a guard dog, without ever socialising it or training it properly.
      I’m also very relieved these encounters weren’t worse!
      And Thank you for reading. 🙂

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  5. Garfield Hug

    Wow!! Scary stuff! You are so brave to stand in front and protect LM each time. Plus your committment to LM to dog classes for 10 years and still attending is a big achievement! I cannot understand why owners who cannot control their take them out and pose unnecessary dangers or risks to others! Irresponsible and not a word of apology!! Grr!! I feel for you and LM.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Aw Thank you so much GH – and for reading my long post! 🙂 I needed to vent! 😀
      You are so right; it is the owners who should control their dog’s behaviour!
      LM is a special case in that she just wasn’t socialised before I got her, plus being anxious. All I can do for her is to keep going to class where she mixes with all sorts of dogs and learns how dogs behave. It is finally paying off! 🙂

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      1. Garfield Hug

        My pleasure! What you have shared is real and in lil red dot our local laws have tightened as big dogs attack humans in park and owners are lax. Now all large breeds must be muzzled in public and leashed. In parks too. Unless zoned. Co-existence is what we enforce here and now we are tackling mobility devices as all it took was a death and several injuries to weigh in. You be careful of those devices too as it can knock pets or seniors or kids.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. scifihammy Post author

        I agree on tightening the laws, to make us safe from those irresponsible dog owners.
        Good to know about watching out for mobility devices – we are surrounded by old age homes here! 😀

        Like

  6. Amy

    First, congratulations to LM for graduating from the school, Yay!!! ❤
    I'm surprised and disappointed with the owners of their dogs. They are responsible for their dog's behavior.
    Thank you, Scifi for sharing the tips of how to treat dogs and stay in control. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you very much Amy – and for reading the long post! 🙂
      This is the problem I have – the owners should keep their dog on a lead if they behave like this!

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      Reply
  7. colinandray

    I can relate so well to your experiences, and get so annoyed (totally pissed off to be more precise) when that happens. To start with, all dogs around here are supposed to be leashed. Then, after working with Ray for 2 years to get him relatively social with other dogs, an incident (like you describe) can put him back 6 months or more.
    It tends to be the smaller dogs that feel it necessary to attack Ray, and he now just turns away from them but, not too long ago, an apparently friendly bull dog (of sorts) went from a friendly close encounter to attack, and broke the skin on Ray’s nose.
    It is very sad that there are so many delinquent/clueless dog owners, such that taking your own dog for a walk involves being exceptionally alert; strategic planning as necessary; putting yourself at risk by blocking an incoming dog, and, of course, putting yourself at risk of being attacked by the other dog’s idiot owner. It really takes some of the pleasure away from just enjoying time with your own dog!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you Colin, and for reading. 🙂
      I thought you’d appreciate the difficulties of a dog walk and no, I never relax but am always on the look out for loose dogs such as these. I agree that dogs should be leashed if they are unsocial or even slightly aggressive. Like you say, it takes a lot of time and effort to build up our own dog’s confidence, only to have it destroyed in seconds by incidents such as these.

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you very much Laura and for reading this long post. 🙂 I think the problem with many dogs is being cooped up in the home without enough social contact. If they lived in the wild, they’d know how to behave! 🙂

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  8. Midwestern Plant Girl

    Congratulations Little Monkey! You’ve made Mom very proud 😍

    Like Blosslyn, I once had an aggressive Akita. She was friendly until she was attacked by a pit bull at age 5. After that, even a little dog was a threat. Luckily, nothing happened to any pets in the rest of her 14 years. Wild animals did not fair as well tho…
    Just like you’ve said.. you never know when something can happen. Just like how dogs are good with body language, so should the human. I knew seconds before Breck got attacked… I was 50 ft from them (in my own yard) and saw the look in the pit bull’s eyes. Then CHOMP, he grabbed ahold of Breck’s head. I ran out of my shoes towards them and grabbed the pit’s mouth to release. Thankful, he did.
    Many folks would call us crazy for getting in between dog fights.. especially big dogs. Ironically, dogs don’t really scare me. Yes, bites can hurt, but I don’t think they can kill me. Maybe that is why we’re able to ‘stand up’ to dogs and they know we’re not scared.
    I’m glad you were able to stop the attacks before they happened. Every dog owner should learn these steps! And or learn to control their dogs!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you for reading my long post! – Yes I am proud of my old LM; it’s not her fault she missed out on so much in her early life. 🙂
      I remember reading about Breck’s attack – poor boy – and your valiant rescue of him. I think you’re totally right about standing up to dogs. Still a pitbull (or any large dog) can be scary. But you’re the leader of your pack and you will protect your dogs. 🙂

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  9. C. C. Cedras

    I read this post with bated breath and so much admiration for you. Fergus is always going toward other dogs thinking they want to be friends. I’ve read that Cavaliers don’t understand Dog that well, and it’s true. Recently, we were at the vet — one of Fergus’ favorite places — and there was a pug and his owner checking out. As Fergus approached the pug with nose out for a friendly kiss, the pug growled as the owner said, “He’s aggressive with other dogs.” Don’t tell me twice. I stopped Fergus on his lead and scooped him up, thanking the man for the warning. But I felt like I had failed Fergus. He and I are both so used to him receiving universal love that I got complacent. I need some classes!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Aw I’m sure Fergus is fine really. 🙂 It’s How they approach another dog. Going slowly and all friendly is OK as it gives the other dog chance to say No Thanks (as at your vets, by growling.) An all out aggressive charge – Never OK!
      Thank you for reading – I know this one was long! 🙂

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  10. blosslyn

    Oh, that second story takes me back, to when we had a very aggressive shepherd, to all other dogs, apart from his soul mate, a yorkie. I use to walk him on a lead and hopefully around the lake, where we lived, when there there was no one else about. Until one day, 2 medium size dogs came running like those you mention, at full speed. With that the shepherd went in to full attack mode, he was a big dog, I had a stick and kept them back, as well as hanging on to my dog. I shouted at the owner, who was there with a small child, to call the dogs back. He shouted back they just want to play….I shouted back, mine does not want to play, he wants kill. He still did not call them off, so I then screamed, ok, I’ll him off, but pick your child up…….with that he called them back, once back on their leads and with my dog still very aggressive, I walked over and said when I say call them I mean call them for their own sakes……I think he got the message in the end. But it was very scary, my dog was ok if dogs took no notice of him, but that was just to much for him. LM did very well and you too, but it is horrible…….my little dogs, run through aggressive dogs legs and move to fast for them to catch ha ha,

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you for reading this long post! 🙂
      This is it exactly. It doesn’t matter if a dog is friendly or not, when they run straight at another dog it causes lots of problems. Other people should control their own dogs and respect if another dog does not want to interact. You had your dog controlled and on the lead. You weren’t the issue here. Still, it is scary.
      And Go Fast Little Dogs! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. blosslyn

        The trouble is, it happens a lot more now, most are ok, but theres the odd couple. I’m not happy when dogs coming running up and I haven’t even got a dog. Anyway I forgot to say well done on sticking to the dogs classes for all those years 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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