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Canine Behavior/I need help!!!

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Question
So I have a 6 year old Rottie and a 1 year old Great Dane. They are both amazing dogs and so friendly. They are both well trained and obedient. Ok so here is where I need help I took them for a walk as I normally do at the park, about half way around there was a toy poodle a man was walking on one of those pull cord leashes. This poodle came running at me and my dogs barking and growling the man never even tried to stop the dog and my dogs attacked it being a137 pound woman walking 130 lb Rottie and a 110 lb Great Dane I didn't have a chance they were working together to try and eat this dog. The man ran and picked the dog up and put it on his shoulders with it still growling and walked away I had a heart attack trying to get my dogs back in order but as soon as he left they were fine never did anything else and they walk by kids and other dogs all the time they have never done this. Here is where I need help I don't know what to .

Answer
The Toy Poodle came RUNNING toward THEM, not the other way around.  Since you don't seem to report either of your dogs has ever demonstrated any active aggression on leash toward other dogs, I assume this is a "first encounter".  Despite the noise and terrifying visuals that Toy Poodle must not have been harmed in any way or you would have known it (seen it, blood, lots of it, a Toy Poodle with massive injury).  SO: Your dogs "packed up" against another dog that was making a social statement (the "toy dog syndrome", lack of appropriate socialization, etc.)  They apparently did not actually HARM that dog.  The man was (frankly) an IDIOT to allow his Toy dog to:  1, be on an extending leash (I hate those things), 2, approach growling and boldly two very large dogs on leash with a petite woman!

I am unsure if you need to do ANYTHING right now except keep your eyes peeled for this idiot who is putting his dog at risk.  If your dogs are not exhibiting ANY signs of unusual aggression toward ANY approaching dogs (watch their hackles, ear sets, tail set - well not on the Rottie but definitely the Dane), then you have no problem, MAYBE.

IF, however, they should exhibit even the SLIGHTEST reaction that disturbs you, you will need instruction on how to use head collars for both dogs (very difficult with one, let alone two), worst case scenario; best case scenario, a certified applied animal behaviorist (NOT a dog trainer) to observe, outdoors and indoors, evaluate dogs and your emotional upset (at this point you have one!  I don't blame you) and make a plan to counter condition all three of you.  You can find one, hopefully, within your reasonable driving distance:

http://certifiedanimalbehaviorist.com/page6.html
http://www.animalbehavior.org/ABSAppliedBehavior/caab-directory

Now, having said the above: walking two large, powerful dogs whom you KNOW you cannot fully control in a sudden situation (such as this one) is most likely not the best idea unless both dogs are perfectly responsive to your verbal cues/commands and can be re-directed (walk in circles, sit when told).  This sort of thing may never happen again but you are clearly not truly in control, so I suggest you find a CAAB to help you determine a better method of cruising the neighborhood.  For your sake,  and most importantly, for the sake of your dogs who are not there to protect YOU, rather the other way around.  :o)  

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.

Expertise

I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.

Experience

30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for ThePetChannel.com for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, K9Shrinks@egroups.com. Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Organizations
Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Publications
Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Education/Credentials
Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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