My dog took the rap for another dog attacking him.


Ghyll is a Patterdale Terrier who is 3 yrs old. A very loving, loyal and social dog. For the past 3 yrs I have walked with his brother and two other dogs with no issues at all. They are all the best of friends.

Last week, one of the other dog owners gave his dog a treat. She was eating it and bits of the treat fell onto the ground. Ghyll saw this and walked over to hoover up those crumbs. The dog who was eating the treat snapped at him and a fight ensued. He got bitten in his face from this snap, which I discovered later. This was in front of 3 dog owners who all clearly saw what happened.

Sadly the owner of the dog eating the treat who snapped at Ghyll decided that Ghyll was the offender 100%. He was snapped at by the dog with the treat, which in turn started the fight. The owner of the dog quickly laid all the blame on Ghyll. I pointed out what had happened and he just ignored it and continued to lay all the blame on Ghyll.

Anyway the weekend passed and on the following Monday i went back to the park and this owner started again with the blame game. He then threatened me that if Ghyll ever attacked his dog again that i should take a different path when i come into the park. Knowing that Ghyll was totally innocent i decided to walk away and have not walked with him or the other dog walker since.

If my dog does something bad like fight i have no problem owning it. He did nothing wrong - he did NOT start this fight yet he is now to blame. I am so pissed off that my so called friend could do something like this rather than tell the truth. I have no idea why he has blamed Ghyll and feel disgusted that someone who saw clearly who did what can lie like this.

Jo's comments: So sorry for the bad rap and that this happened to you and Ghyll. That is indeed peculiar behavior by that man and the other dog walker, especially
since you had all walked together for three years.

However, people react differently under stress than calm occasions - and dog fights are inherently stressful when more than one owner is involved (per our experience below). Maybe the dog's owner is one of those people who have a very hard time admitting they have any part in a wrong - perhaps this man's default is "offense is the best defense." Maybe he was worried you would ask him to pay your vet bill or that his dog would have to be put down for snapping like that - maybe there had been other incidents you hadn't heard about. Perhaps something else was going on - at any rate, it seems to me there may have been something deeper behind his response than the incident at hand and that it was less to do with you and Ghyll than he indicated.

Years ago, we had a situation where we were in a busy dog park with one of our large dogs. A group of small dogs started fighting. Our dog was bored as we'd been there a while, decided the fight looked like fun, and he raced over to join in. Of course we were horrified and ran over and pulled him off (risking getting bitten) but not before he had shaken a small terrier which resulted in puncture wounds etc. (We did give the owners our phone number and later paid the $150 vet bill).

On our way out of the park, we were raged at by several other dog owners saying we should not have brought our dog there. There was no opportunity for rational discourse or we could have told them that this was the first time he'd ever shown any aggression to other dogs so we couldn't have predicted the behavior. We'd been going to dog parks with him for a while with no problems at all, and he'd never shown any interest in small dogs.

Not too long after that, we found out that they had separated the park into an area for smaller dogs and bigger dogs - apparently ours was not the only incident of this nature. However, we never went back there.

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