Gizmo brutally attacked by German Shepard (warning! a little blood in the pictures).
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  • Well not long ago when Gizmo cut his paw I swore it would be a long time until he was gonna be pumped with drugs again…but then his happened today....

    Before anyone posts a reply, please think through what you are going to say. I am very affected by this, and I keep replaying it in my mind...will most likely get little sleep tonight. I keep thinking what should I of done, what did I do wrong etc etc...it's killing me inside and I don't need to hear it.
    Truth be told, I don't have many friends in my life (one of the reasons I got Gizmo), and I have the need to share/talk to someone, and this just happens to fall on you guys...

    We entered the dogpark today, and everything was fine, Gizmo ran up to the other dogs and had fun. However, this German Shepard kept "bugging" Gizmo. Circling him, and seemed VERY interested in him.

    I really didn't think much of it. Gizmo had met this dog before and they had a great time.

    Gizmo has lately been a bit "rude" to dogs, and growling at them. So I grab him and say "NO!" whenever he does this. Only now I realize that this time it was different, he did this because he was scared...and BOY do I feel bad...it's eating me up inside. And in afterthought I also remember Gizmo was trying to stay close to me...man I feel like I let him down....:(

    Gizmo had his back to the Shepard and was watching me, the Shepard came up behind him and without warning bit down on his lower half. His bite was so hard he actually picked him up and shook him!

    Gizmo screamed like I have never heard him scream, and my heart pounded so hard that it was deafening.
    I quickly managed to get a hold of Gizmos collar when the Shepard "dropped" him and pulled him quickly to me and scooped him up into my arms....

    Now before I go on I am FULLY aware that you should NEVER pick up a dog in a situation like this. Actually Gizmo has been in several "arguments" and I have never had to do this.
    So why did I? Two reasons. 1. Some 2 months ago when in the park with the owner of the German Shepard he told me to be careful when Gizmo was jumping/poking his dog (Gizmo wanted to play), because he didn't like that and would without a doubt KILL him. And he said firmly that he was NOT joking about that.
    2. I remembered when dogs shake something this is a kill instinct\move. This dog clearly wanted Gizmo dead.

    And after meeting this Shepard several times, I believe him. He is very short tempered, and has attacked several dogs. On a good note, the owner is extremely vigilant on keeping an eye on his dog.

    With "he will KILL him" popping in my mind, I picked him up in a half panic. This resulted in the dog getting a quick pull at his tail (I was told after), but no damage done. The owner, and others, then started yelling "Don't pick him up!"
    Realizing what I had done was wrong, I put him down. Also thinking that since some time had passed since the attack that naturally the owner of the Shepard had got a hold of his dog....boy was I wrong. If only I hadn't put him down!!!

    The second I put Gizmo on the ground (yes I know, this too is eating me up inside!), the Shepard went straight for his neck and bit down HARD!
    Gizmo was screaming worse than before, and had panic in his eyes. It was very clear he thought he life was over. I was screaming at the owner, other dog owners in the park where also screaming, what I don't know but it was all chaos!

    The Shepards owner jumped on his dogs back and used all his might to pull the dogs jaws apart. It felt like hours until Gizmo was free.

    There where lots of scratches, but no serious wounds. After taking my time looking him over I left the park.
    It was not until we came home did I see blood, and I found a deep punkture in his neck. I instantly called the vet, and we got an appointment shortly after.

    The wound was deep, the vet could probe 4 cm. Luckily it wasn't straight into him, but a downwards motion. But it was behind his skin, so we had to stitch.

    So only 4-5 days after removing his stitches on his paw, is he drugged down and given new.
    The vet was super kind, and was very understanding. And even helped to take well documented pictures should I need it.

    So what am I going to do? Sadly I don't have the Shepards owners name or phone number. So I am going to have to take trips to the park around the same time in hopes to bump into him again.
    The dogpark has a sign that displays rules that must be followed it you are to use the park. And one of them is, "You are fully responsible for any damage you dog does."

    I hope he is a good man and pays for the bills. If not I will have to file a police report…I really hope it does not come to that.

    What did I learn? Well, for now on Gizmo I swear to you, if you feel scarred we will leave the park in an instant.

    Gizmos rear wounds/scratches. This is where the dog first attacked and shook him.

    Finding the blood and wound.

    The vet helping me take a good picture displaying the depth of the wound.

    The vet showing how deep the prod goes.

    Stitched up. The vet did a great job, she even cut away and made the wound more straight so it would heal better and hopefully not show.

    QUICK UPDATE:

    So it turns out the owner of the Shepard has been home since Thursday 27, and has been on his Facebook page. So he has seen the message about me asking him to contact me.

    I have attempted to call him but no answer. I left a message on his phone. I let one day pass. Nothing.

    I then sent a text message. Let one day pass. Nothing.

    I contacted the witness lady whom knows him. She is going to talk to him today. If I hear nothing today I will file a police report.

    It's obvious he is avoiding the whole situation. Sadly I am now forced to send in Gizmos bills to Gizmos insurance. Bummer.

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  • I do not like dog parks for precisely this reason. The owner of this Shepherd clearly is aware that his dog has a problem and yet he continues to place other dogs at risk by bringing his dog.

    Moving forward there are some things to think about.

    Have you seen The Language of Dogs or another DVD on dog body language? I really think this is a must see, especially if you are taking your dog places like the dog park. It can really help you to learn to read what the dogs are saying to each other and possibly head off issues.

    Don't punish Gizmo for growling, if he is growling at another dog at the park then it is time to leave. It is very likely that he will be very uncomfortable around other dogs after this attack and if he is growling, it is a signal to take him home. You may want to find dogs that he has been good friends with since puppyhood and arrange play dates with them to help build positive experiences for him.

    Sometimes the best policy with the dog park is to just leave. Even if it is not your dog that is the problem, better to cut the visit short then have problems if you stay.

    Hindsight is always 20/20 so don't beat yourself up, spend that energy making Gizmo comfortable.

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  • I think in those situations, you are simply going to react to what's going on. I wouldn't blame yourself for anything really, I'm just surprised someone would bring their dog to a dog park when they fully know their dog is capable of such acts. I mean, I know it's helpful to allow them to socialize with other dogs but it's just such a big risk in my mind.

    Hopefully Gizmo recovers ok and doesn't get too traumatized by that event. I can only imagine how awful his screaming was…

    But I'm truly glad that he walked away without anything too serious, in regards to injuries. At least those types of wounds can heal alright...

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  • OMG, poor Gizmo, poor you! Nerdy, my heart goes out to you - I don't know what I would do if I had everyone yelling at me to not pick up my dog.

    My instinct naturally is to pick up my dog - I've done that before and been bit, but rather I be bit than my dog. I am no way passing judgement, I don't know what I would do if I had people yelling at me to do opposite of what my instinct tells me. Everyone reacts differently in an emergency situation so you can't feel bad about how you responded.

    Thankfully you got to Gizmo, but honestly I don't know what the shepard's owner is thinking if his dog has those sorts of socialization problems. He shouldn't bring his dog to the park or should have stepped in sooner IMHO.

    The only advice I would give - Personally, if it were me, I would file the police report immediately - that way you aren't waiting to see if he mans up and takes responsibility - the facts will be reported and it will be on record. I'm sure if the person frequents the park there won't be too much trouble finding him. Did the owner say anything to you - did he at least apologize?

    Trust me I know you will play this over in your mind a thousand times. When Brando broke his leg - I did the same. I'm thinking of you - I know this all must be so difficult. I'm so sorry! :(

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  • @lvoss:

    I do not like dog parks for precisely this reason. The owner of this Shepherd clearly is aware that his dog has a problem and yet he continues to place other dogs at risk by bringing his dog.

    My thoughts exactly. It's tough to keep watch on Kananga when I bring him to the dog park (the one I've gone to has wooded areas around a pond, easy places for him to vanish) and I always worry about other dogs.

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  • Nerdy i am so sorry to hear abour poor Gizmo. The man with the Shepherd shouldn't be letting his Dog of leash if he behaves aggressively like that. You picked him up as an instinct, don't beat yourself up, we can only do the best we can.
    Gizmo has a good owner who makes sure he gets the best.

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  • Houston

    Oh..poor Gizmo..and you too. I feel so bad for both of y'all. He must be so confused, and hurt too.

    I would've done the exact same thing, picked him up and protected him with all my might..do not feel bad, not now not ever. Now focus on him getting better, and stay away from that park, at least while that dog and owner is there…He is much better off going for a long walk then getting bitten and potentially killed while having fun at the park.

    Otis never really like the park, he was very skiddish when we went there, his new owner knows this and she said she would not take him as her last basenji, Neil got beat up twice while at the park..
    I like to see the dogs run and have a good time, but I rather do it with friends dogs in someones backyard, then at the park with stranger dogs.

    Nerdy, you have a friend in me, in all of us, feel free to vent on us..we are here.

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  • So sorry to hear about Gizmo. Dog parks visits are unpredictable. One day it's great and one day it's crap and you leave feeling "why did I come here today"!. I agree with Lisa in her advice. We're all hoping he get's better fast. Please keep us updated.

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  • Oh I am so sorry to read about this. I think your actions just sort of go on auto pilot when things like this happen. So don't be too hard on yourself. Maybe someone here will have some great advice on what you should have done, not to kick you while you're down, but to give you some ideas if something like this should happen again. Dogparks, at least the ones I've been to, vary greatly, but I'm not a big fan of them. Of course that's easy for me to say because I have several acres for my pups. But I have used them when DH and I were living in an RV with 3 dogs (2 adult basenjis and a lab). I'd rather had access to a private yard, but that just wasn't available to me. (well there was a place for me to do some agility but that was an hour's drive, so not practicle for regular exercise.) And so, we all try to do what we feel is best for our pups.

    I would put in a police report on the GSD. There needs to be a record of what has happened because I think it will happen again. I'd bet this dog has a history of this type of behavior and it's unfortunate if it has not been reported before.

    There is no doubt that you love Giz, be kind to yourself too. Aloff's book on dog language is a great book to add to your collection. AND I'd suggest getting a copy of Control Unleashed. The author's dog, Snap, had real issues with other dogs and she was able to help him overcome it. The Look At That game is so helpful for dogs that are nervous about something. Who could blame Giz if he decides all dogs are now out to get him. Poor boy. Do you have a good chiropractor vet? I think that would be helpful after some of the swelling goes down. I like arnica (homeopathic) for this sort of thing.

    Take a few deep breaths. It's over with now although the adrenaline rush may take some time to come down from, but it's over with and you are okay. Gizmo will be okay.

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  • First Basenji's

    As a frequent dog park visitor myself, I am shaken and near tears reading this. I'm so, so sorry that this had to happen. I wish you both a speedy path to recovery. Please keep us updated.

    I agree with others who say to file the police report now. Yes, scuffles at dog parks are a risk you take whenever you go, but most of the time it's just noise and posturing (at least based on my experience). However, a dog (and his owner) who crosses the line to this degree should no longer be welcome, in my opinion. It doesn't matter if the other person "warned" you before – he is still responsible.

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  • Oh, poor Gizmo, that looks like a nasty wound on his neck, I hope it heals up very quickly and he has no lasting damage, physically or mentally!

    I dont think you should be so hard on yourself. You did what you thought was right at the time, hindsight is a wonderful thing but it can drive you mad! I was in a similar position to you a few months ago (though thankfully no one got so badly injured!!), Maya was attacked by a much larger, very aggressive dog. I did exactly what you did and picked her up. I know you're not "supposed" to but it is the natural instinct when you're dog is being attacked to get them out of danger. Dont beat yourself up about that!

    If you can get any info on the GSD owner I would definately contact the police. If the dog has done it before it should not be going to the dog park and should not be allowed off-lead around other dogs, the owner is being incredibly irresponsible by doing that, if he will freely admit that his dog will kill another dog (indicates it maybe has before???) then it has no business playing with other dogs in a public park, that might sound harsh but a dog that big could easily kill a smaller dog by picking it up and shaking it, if the owner is not willing to control his dog then the police need to get involved.

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  • For what it's worth, I have come across aggressive dogs at the dog park, but usually the owner has that dog on a leash and controlled. A lot of times they even go the lengths to get a muzzle or guard so that they can't attack another dog.

    I respect those that still want their dog to get some socialization but know the risks, but if someone thinks they can allow an aggressive (potentially unstable) dog off leash w/o any control to wander around a dog park, they need to be kept out. It's too much of a risk to other dogs.

    And small scuffle is one thing, but if another dog's life is taken, it's not something that can be fixed.

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  • Leashing a dog at an off leash park is only going to increase frustration and escalate aggression. Muzzling can do the same thing.

    Dogs don't need dog parks and running around with other dogs to have a fulfilled life. Though some enjoy it, many do not and some of the bad behavior seen is the dog trying to communicate that it is not enjoying the situation. When the owners and the other dogs don't take the lower level cues that the dog has had enough, it escalates to higher and higher level behaviors to get its point across.

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  • Oh, I am so sorry…poor Giz....I don't really have any words of advice..only comfort. I always pick up my dogs if I am in doubt......I know it isn't supposed to be the 'right' thing to do...but, it has worked so far.

    I can't believe that someone would bring a dog known to be aggressive to a dog park...accident waiting to happen...

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  • I am a huge dog park advocate, usually. We leave if there is an aggressive dog, retreat is the better part of valor sometimes ! And as the Shepherd's owner basically stated that his dog might KILL another dog, I think this attack should be reported. One dog annoying another is usually stopped by the dogs with posturing and soft-mouthed biting/snarking…not really serious.

    I would have picked up my dog too, and kicked the crap out of the shepherd if he got close. I guess the alternative would have been to grab the shepherd after the first attack, but there is a risk of being bitten yourself.

    Dog parks are great when they are great, but there are dangers. We have been known to drive right past the park when we see a certain car we recognize, just not worth the risk.
    I am glad that it was a deep skin wound, without muscle damage. And you are a loving and caring owner to dive in and rescue Gizmo!

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  • Thanks for the replies.

    I called the police and they said it was not worth the paper it was written on without a name. So I will do a police report once I manage to find out his name. I am going to have to take frequent trips to the park in hopes I see him.

    As for the DVD on the language of dogs, yes I know about it. And I remember a lot from the dog class I went on, but in a situation like this everything is blanked out, your Adrenalin is pumping and all you want is to save your dog…books/dvds be damned! lol! ;) But point taken on stopping him to growl, I'll stop doing that.

    I don't think it's a good idea for me to stay away from the park. I don't want Gizmo to develop a fear of big dogs, but I will be writing a letter to the city to ask about splitting the park so we can have a section for big dogs. Far too often do the small ones get picked on and have to leave the park.

    But I will be leaving the park whenever I see that dog enter.

    If it wasn't for the fact that the owner was on top of his dog I think I might have taken my foot and slammed down on that dogs torso with the one goal of killing it...I really think I would of. The desire to kick that dog was rushing trough my mind.

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  • Oh my, NerdyDogOwner - I can't tell you how awful I felt reading about the horrible incident you and Gizmo had. For what it's worth, I would have done pretty much the same thing. So much goes through your head so quickly when such a thing happens. You wind up doing your best and then you try to put as much of the incident behind you. Guilt will be a natural feeling, but don't beat up on yourself. In what was probably one of the most horrible times in your life you checked Gizmo out carefully and got him vet care when he needed it. Gizmo is going to be okay. You? Don't worry if it takes a bit of time for you to get over this. We are all here for you and will listen to all of your feelings as you heal. And make sure to keep us updated on how Gizmo heals. Biggest hugs to both of you.

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  • I think you've done all you could - until you get the owner's name there's nothing the city or police can do. I would also post a note at the dog park describing the shepherd and what he did to your dog to warn other dogs. Maybe that owner will even see it and come forward.

    Now a question to the group - why should you not pick up the dog in such a situation? Is it just because you put yourself in danger? I have found myself in this situation a couple of times and have always grabbed my dog and often held above my head. But usually I've been able to read the other dog's signals before a real fight started. I have had other dogs try to jump on me to get to mine. I just couldn't bear seeing a true fight break out and there's no way I'm just going to let mine work the fight out with the other and not try to intervene.

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  • P

    My heart goes out to Gizmo and you Nerdydogowner. Never beat yourself up - we all act automatically, I think, (I know I do) to protect our beloved basenjis. I do hope that Gizmo won't be traumatised and I think you are doing just the right thing to try and prevent this dog ever again attacking another. The owner is totally to blame.

    I feel particularly sore about this as one of the dogs I bred was actually killed by a German Shepherd who was totally out of control, despite the owner having been warned many times by the police to keep it muzzled and under control.

    Re picking up dogs under attack. I think the warning may be because of the danger of being bitten, although I'm not sure. I don't advocate it because unless you are able to hold the attacked dog very high, the other dog can jump up and do the captive dog a lot of damage.

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  • Yepp, that's it. The main reason is you are endangering yourself. The attacking dog might get a hold of you and do some serious damage.

    And if the attacker manages to get a good hold/bite, then gravity will pretty much do the rest and rip/pull…which can result in a nasty sight.

    I didn't notice till today that I had several claw scratches on my legs from the Shepard trying to get at Gizmo when I picked him up.

    Again guys, I want to thank you for the kind and supporting words. It has helped me from feeling so bad.

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  • My experience is that picking the dog up can escalate aggression. You see it happen when two dogs are posturing, the standing over each other, stiff legs, hard eyes, etc and then someone picks one of the dogs up the other will pounce in that moment and try to attack the dog. Most of the time they will stay focused on the dog as they leap up to bite at it but can occassionally bite you.

    It is one reason why learning body language is so important and practicing recall in many situations. As soon as the posturing starts, the best course of action is to call your dog to you and then you can pick them up and leave. The earlier you can spot the behavior and redirect, the better. It is really important to also realize that many people punish out the middle signals in the escalation so there are many of dogs who go from low level signals like stiff legs skip the growling and tooth displays and go straight to biting.

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