16 February 2009

Close call for Tyro

I don't frequent the leash-free park on weekends, anticipating excessive crowding. However on Saturday, we spent most of the day driving up to Wickenberg, AZ to reach a 53 mile scenic drive west featuring Joshua Trees, mountains and canyons. By the time we returned home, there wasn't enough time to walk dogs. So I took Tyro, Nova & Diva to the dog park. Miska stayed home because she is in full estrus.

My expectations were right, it was more crowded than I had ever seen it. But no one was bothering Tyro and he was having fun until another Vizsla arrived - a neutered male - which started to show some aggression towards Tyro. (Tyro is intact.) I was able to stave this dog off but he worried me. Then a hefty male Boxer (again, neutered) arrived, ran up to Tyro and immediately jumped up & put his front legs and chest over Tyro's back in a strong display of dominance aggression. The Boxer didn't want to step down and was making increasingly louder growls and threats at Tyro. Tyro wasn't happy to be pinned by the Boxer. I quickly grabbed the hind legs of the Boxer & pulled him off Tyro. He didn't like that but he just wouldn't leave Tyro alone. Who or where was the Boxer's owner? I had no idea. The owner was doing nothing to intervene.

From there, it started to escalate. The Boxer was really upping his growls, circling Tyro and starting to flash teeth. Then the other male Vizsla ran over to join in. (Yes, there are Vizslas that have aggression problems.) Tyro is NOT an aggressive male and he was not the aggressor. It was the neutered Boxer that was preparing to fight. Other dogs ran over and were mobbing Tyro when they heard the increasingly loud growls. I knew it was going to turn into a dog fight if I didn't do something fast. I started screaming, "Call your dogs off!!!" while trying to protect Tyro and to prevent both of us from being bitten. Owners finally came running and an attack on Tyro was avoided. Poor Tyro was clinging to me, very shaken, as I was. We quickly left. I still don't know who owns the Boxer but if I see the owner, I shall give him/her a big piece of my mind, and the same for the Vizsla owner. The park rules state that aggressive dogs are not allowed. Will these dogs return? I suspect so. But we won't be back on a weekend, that's for sure.


  1. Thank goodness Tyro is OK. What a scary situation for him.

  2. I hate dog parks because of this sort of stuff. Dogs aren't usually the root of the problem - it's the owners who are at fault by not dealing with dominance & aggression issues when the dogs are young. Good thing your dog didn't actually get attacked.

  3. Oh Sylvia, so sorry to hear about that. Poor Tyro. Thank heavens it didn't escalate. My Cirrus has been beaten up far too many times in his life and is now inherently suspicious of other dogs. We manage it, but his insecurity is the result of too many incidents like you experienced. We stay away from dog parks whenever we can - luckily there is no need for us to go to them here, plenty nicer places to run the dogs.

  4. Sounds scary, you had a narrow escape there.
    Thankfully we don't have to rely on dog parks here but I always thought that dogs that had no alternative were usually quite sociable. Obviously not.