Help! I was attacked by a dog & now my puppy is acting out

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ddurocher's picture
Joined: 2014-03-15

Pet Profiles

I have an amazing 10 month old puppy that I adopted at 4 1/2 months. His name is Snoopy and has been great. We rescued him from my brother's neighbhor when we learned they moved out of the country and abondoned him in the home. I haven't had a dog since I lived with my parents awhile back so I immeditately took him to a Behavior Specialist to be evaluted and set him up in puppy training classes. I was told he has a great disposition and shouldn't have any problems with him outside of regular puppy behavior as long as I train and exercise him. I went through the AKC Puppy Training and he passed. He did doggy daycare 3 times a week and dog park 4 times week. We go to a 20 acre dog park for 2 hours. He runs and plays with all dogs. He has a Boxer, a Vizsla, two poodles and a small mut that he plays with the most. All he wants to do is play. 

Two weeks ago we were at the dog park towards the end of the day - not our usual time and a Great Dane 8 monht puppy went to town on leg. I have 10 puncture wounds from my ankle to my knee with two areas the dog ripped skin off the size of a sugar packet. My dog was on leash on the left side of me when the Great Dane come over on my right slowly followed by his owner. The dog started sniffing my dog and started hovering over him. I was in the process of unleashing Snoopy when all of the sudden the Great Dane starting growling and barking at Snoopy. Looking back I think I might have pushed my dogs neck forward to get to the leash and the other dog took that as a challenge. Next thing I know the Great Dane tried to attack Snoopy but got my leg instead. Snoopy tried to attack back but I was able to hold him. Unfortunately the other couldn't say the same and he came after us again after he broke out of his harness. I was bite once again.

Since then I have a seen a change in Snoopy. I don't know what to do. I would love any advice. Now when he is on a leash 75% of the time he will aggressively bark and growl at a person or dog. I can't figure out what makes him do this to some and not others. Also, when we are in the car he will do the samething half the time. Now he has decided he doesn't like certain big dogs. I have a feeling it's male non-neutered dogs.  I am at a lost. Is this permenant? Can I train him to be the happy go-lucky dog again. Now he has me nervous when I take him out because I don't know how he will react and I know that isn't good.

Has anyone encountered this behavior and if so how did you correct it.

Tannaidhe's picture
Joined: 2013-02-25

I am so sorry this happened to you!  :(  I hope your leg is healing well.  Unfortunately, the leg may be easier to deal with than the behavioral damage.


6-8 or 9 months is a pretty critical formative age in terms of socialization and experiences, so getting him past this will take a lot of work.  It would probably be a good idea to go back to the behavior specialist and get in person impressions and advice... no matter how much information you give, it's always easier to solve these things in person.

Mostly I would say just keep exposing him to dogs etc. from a safe distance and shower him with praise and treats if he stays calm.


I am sure there are plenty of people on here that can offer more specific advice who know how to deal with fear reactions like this.

talisin's picture
Joined: 2011-02-25

Oh my so sorry this happened I can't be the voice of positivity I have not been involved in a dog biting me but Ben, not sure if you knew him, he was a rescue rottie at 7 years old he was called Gentle Ben cause he loved other animals and was so laid back and social that he was a breeze to take ANYWHERE around ANY dogs whether the other dogs were hyper, barky etc. but then he saw his collie buddy get attacked by a yorkie, and later two beagles stuck their heads through my fence and snapped at his face, he was still ok - but I could see him getting a bit irritated by dogs at our fence, then the last straw was another rottie, a youngster yanked Ben's treat out the woman's hand at the checkout register at the petstore; that did it, Ben went beserk barking and yelling about it; from that moment on we could not take him out to see any other dogs, he just decided they were all satan incarnate, he didn't try to hurt them but he would stiffen and get barky and it was a voice that screamed I don't like you, I don't trust you, and I want you to go away - so at his age it was just not worth frustrating him and raising his blood pressure to that degree.....
we did try in the beginning of this behavioral change to help him through it and he made some progress until that dog snatched his treat, that's when Ben drew the line in the sand and we couldn't convince him otherwise.

I know some dogs can be retrained with enough work but with Ben it just wasn't worth stressing him with all his medical issues we just let him chill at home unless it was a car ride or a vet trip; so I can say at his age you should be able to work him through it unless he is like Ben and has his own boundary lines that you can't shift no matter what.....dobermans being so smart and taking their cue from you instantly he should be able to get through this, you may not realize that you are instantly reacting to these people and dogs it could just be a split millisecond that changes your body temp/odor that Snoopy is picking up on and then reacts cause it reminds him of how you were in the attack.....I would really think it is something like that, it's you and not might just look at them a second longer or turn and look at the same time an energy is running down the leash all that your dog will pick up on.

I know for Ben it wasn't our reaction cause most times we didn't see it till ben was barking at it....but for you, you are probably very aware of the people coming up and the dogs being around...

ddurocher's picture
Joined: 2014-03-15

Pet Profiles

Thank you so much for your input. I am going to have him see a behavior specialist. Unfortunately the one I took Snoopy to is no longer in Houston.

I am hoping the fact that he is so young and Doberman's are intelligent that I will be able to train it out of him.

I have continued to take him to the dog bark but only during times with other "regular" dogs. He has been doing great. He is playing with them and sometimes other new dogs that might trickle in.

I fully agree that there is a little nervousness on my part. I am working really hard to minimize it. However, my fear is not about me getting bit again but about him getting into a dog fight that would harm him and another dog. I do think he picks up on that.

Hopefully, a trainer and/or behavior specialist will be able to help me too. Until that happens I have been redirecting his focus. Now when we are in a car his growl has become shorter and not as loud. 


Max's Dad's picture
Joined: 2013-01-16

Yeah, sorry to hear that you had to go through that! Hope all is well!

Sounds like Snoopy made a "mental note" of big dogs. It basically scarred him with bigger dogs. Granted, a Great Dane shouldn't be owned by just anyone either, which there is nothing to blame Snoopy for. His protective instincts are on, and he just doesn't want to see you hurt again.

Hope everything gets smoothed over, and you get your happy pup back!