Dog attack video – a must see

This video is by client and friend of K9 Pro, Jen Martin. Jen has been bringing her dog Roscoe to me since he was an 8 week old puppy and this video shows Jen at a social dog event and Roscoe being attacked by another dog.

Roscoe, in my opinion is a very good dog, well bred, trained and raised, he was a star in the video. Jen chose to Neutralise Roscoe as per my Raising a working puppy program which has set his value to other dogs to a low, unrewarding status. To understand more about this program, see my article here.

I also wrote a blog post called “Is your small dog a Target” after a few things occurred in my own life, one of them being Jen’s video. I wanted to describe as a “dog trainer and behaviourist” what I see in this video just so as the general public can understand what is happening and what should have been done.

The video starts out with Jen describing how she came to make the video and then her ranting, I guess I can understand her feelings.

There is a part in Jens description where she describes the owner laughing and excusing their dogs behaviour as being ok because the dog was small. This really is a major problem because when this behaviour is not only present in a dog (any dog), but it is also accepted and excused, it will surely end up with the bigger dog not accepting the “he is small” excuse and dealing the small dog out a beating, resulting in major trauma or death to the small dog. Then somehow, the large dog will be at fault.

The video opens up with Roscoe walking over toward the water bowl, at about 1.30 on the counter. Although the camera is on his chest, you can tell quite a bit about this part of the footage.

First note that Roscoe does not have an elevated head position, in fact he is sniffing the ground on the way over and drinks some water. Totally non engaging the smaller dog.

At 1.33 after having a drink you will see that he calmly scents the other dog, there have been some comments that Roscoe started this by approaching the other dog unwelcome.

Well when a dog wants to identify another, the CORRECT behaviour is to scent it, so this would be like me saying Hello to someone, in a calm, non invasive way.

Roscoe scents the dog
Roscoe scents the dog

As soon as the small dog became aware that Roscoe was there it snapped at him (on video 1.35), now I don’t blame the dog for this really, it may have been startled by Roscoe and this snapping is a perfectly normal reaction to a startled dog.

The problem is that the dog had a second snap, then a third and was displaying stalking and aggressive behaviour.

A few things that become apparent at this point to me: –

1. The small dog has reactivity issues to other (perhaps only large breed?) dogs.
2. There is a youngish boy holding the dog
3. The dog is allowed to continue this behaviour without any useful intervention by the owners.
4. People stand idly by, even the lady at the stall is smiling away.

Here are some thoughts: –

Why would you bring a dog that has a behaviour problem like this to a dog event?

Why would you let a person incapable of handling the dog, handle the dog?

Why not remove the dog from the immediate vicinity?

If Roscoe had of retaliated, I bet there would be a dozen hands on trying to help, but when the small dog attacks the big dog, it doesn’t seem to be an issue?


Jen has added some subtitles as to the conversation that took place, here are some.

Guy?: “He doesn’t like big dogs

Guy: “its always the small ones“.

Jen “that’s not an excuse to attack another dog

Jen: “if he retaliated that dog could be dead

Female owner: “well, he’s a rescue. Alright?

Jen: “No, that is still not an excuse“.

Lady at stall to small dog owners: “just move away, the intensity is…” Good on you lady at stall, spot on.

Focus on the excuses given to excuse the dogs behaviour, because that’s what an excuse is, a reason to excuse the behaviour. Let’s remember that the REASONS that the small dog aggressed toward Roscoe may be all of the above (the “rescue” card doesn’t fly with me though) but they do not EXCUSE this behaviour. In fact all these reasons are perfectly good examples why this dog should have not been brought to a public dog social event.

Look at the pic below and see the small dog, this dog is in major stress driven by fear, even for the small dogs sake, why expose this dog to this environment?

Fearful / stressed dog
Fearful / stressed dog

I want to say that I can understand why the small dogs owners said what they did, they were probably startled, confused and emotional too, but nevertheless, I am 100% positive this dog has displayed this behaviour many times in the past, so it really should come as no surprise.

What should / could have been done?

Leave the small dog at home, why subject the small dog to more trauma? If you wanted to bring the small dog as perhaps therapy, then perhaps consider using harness that says”Give me Space“, (here) or there are companies that make leashes and collars that indicate if a dog is friendly or not.

Be alert, if you are managing a dog with an issue in a “target rich environment“, then be on top of your management.

Perhaps consider a muzzle to protect the other dogs?

If you find yourself in a situation like this, apologise and move away, do not stay in the area in which your dog cannot manage its behaviour.

Take responsibility!

In final the small dog in this video most certainly could be helped, it isn’t the dogs “destiny” to behave this way, there are many alternatives.

There are very few dogs that would stand there and cop this, Roscoe is a large, Working Line German Shepherd with plenty of grunt under the hood, that small dog is very lucky that Jen has Roscoe so well trained.

Many of the dogs I have personally owned whilst would not start a fight, would have ended the small dog and the owner too and went out to lunch after. This is really dangerous and makes the whole “dog owner” world look very bad.

Let’s get our act together!

As always we welcome all comments, just post away below with your thoughts!

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  1. I have seen this time and again. I always have my dogs on a lead unless they are at home in the yard with me, or in their secure yards. If my dog is starting to show signs of stress I move the dog away from what is stressing it and distract the dog. I am not a trainer, but have already contacted Steve for some help with training my younger dog, what I know about dogs I learned from my dad who was good with dogs, never saw a lot of my dad but did a learn a bit when I did see him.
    I had several years back my dogs, a large maremma and a dingo cross on leads and had them attacked by unleashed dogs and the owner of the unleashed dogs, a mini foxie cross kelpie and a jack Russell, stand back and laugh at how her dogs could “have a go” and if I let my dogs loose they would “teach her dogs a lesson”. I walked my dogs away and kept my dogs’ attention on me, her dogs followed and I told her that I hoped they would follow me all the way back home because once my dogs were in their yard at home I would restrain her dogs and call the police and council. She just laughed and said I was over reacting because her little dogs could do no harm to my dogs and if they had harmed them my dogs would respond. No, my dogs did not respond because they knew to listen to me and while on their leads in public they always behaved in an exemplary manner. Knowing the power that was in their possession I took managing my dogs seriously. The dogs did turn away when my dogs continued to ignore them. I rang council but did not get much help only a promise they would go along and have a chat with the ‘lady’.
    To this day that same woman still has unrestrained and untrained dogs, different ones every year or so because, sadly, they all come to grief somehow often skittled by cars, that mean I can not walk my dogs when hers are out in the street. When others have called council on her she has claimed she doesn’t own any dogs and even stood by and let council rangers pick up one of her dogs all the while denying it was her dog.
    I am always amazed at people’s attitudes to dogs, my husband has an attitude that a dog should be tied up all night and let off to roam at will during the day like his dogs were when he was a kid. I own the dogs at our house and that is not what happens. My dogs, the same dingo cross mentioned above and german shepherd cross, are happy on a chain but that is only used for their safety or if work needs to be done in their yard. At night they are in the house, much to my husband’s dismay, though their range is limited to the laundry. During the day they are in separate yards and when taken for a walk they have their harness and lead on, I find it easier to walk big dogs with a harness rather than a lead on a collar, when I play with them it is one at a time in the bigger yard and my concentration is on that dog only.
    I was out one day and my GS cross was on the chain in my absence in the yard with dingo cross as work was happening in his yard and I know he can and will jump the fence of the dingos yard. My husband let him off the chain without putting him in his own yard and he jumped the fence of the dingo cross’ yard and was wandering in our larger front yard when two huge mastiffs came running to him and attacked him nearly $200 at the vet later (he was okay with antibiotics, and letting the wounds heal while he rested) and I called council and reported the matter, the rangers response was they could not locate the mastiffs or the owners of the mastiffs.
    I learnt a saying from my dad, one dog you have a dog, two dogs you have a pack and packs will behave like packs.
    What nut job lets huge dogs like mastiffs loose without a means of control?
    I know my dog and I are both lucky his wounds were little more than superficial and if my husband and another neighbour had not intervened my dog would certainly be dead.

  2. Hi Lynne and K9 Pro Team,

    Totally get where you’re coming from… Very frustrating when people just don’t have any common courtesy and don’t have a clue of their responsibilities as a dog owner.

    And,… yeah, I’m that silly woman smiling at the stall. πŸ˜‰
    Don’t worry. I know what it looks like. Had to do a double take… How stupid do I look huh?!
    Lesson learnt alright.

    But, let me try and provide a little more context based on my memory of the events:
    It was a beautiful, hot, sunny day at the Oval. Lots of people with their dogs looking happy and having fun. I was working at one of the stalls (I’m a Veterinary Receptionist), when I spotted an absolutely stunning dog; clearly well trained and in perfect condition. I rushed over to say hello to the owner (Jen) and have a little chat and meet-and-greet with this gorgious boy (Roscoe).
    As I’m currently studying to become a professional dog trainer and am very keen to get a good dog to work with, I was interested in what breeder he came from and where he’d done his training etc. Jen told me the breeder’s name and told me she had trained him herself. We had a water bowl for the doggies at our stall, and I decided to give it a refill for Roscoe.
    As you can clearly see from the video, he moved over to the bowl and then decided to have a friendly greeting sniff at the dog nearby. Jen and I were still talking, and we were both caught by surprise when the little dog suddenly lunged at Roscoe. As Steve mentioned above, probably just startled by the attention of a bigger dog. But… the little one kept lunging at Roscoe repeatedly.
    I sat there, watching Roscoe and Jen, totally amazed and in awe at how well they both handled the situation. I did not want to interfere initially, because I own neither of the dogs and simply did not want to escalate the issue.
    A boy was still holding the little dog at the time. A man standing nearby simply laughed it off saying: “It’s always the little one’s isn’t it.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I had to breathe… and bite my tongue not to respond… Remember I was working that day, so I had to be very mindful not to escalate the situation and cause a riot by opening my big mouth and letting him have it! (Which,… trust me, had that little one attacked my dog on a day off… Oh boy! Let’s just say I would not have been as polite as Jen.) Then I remember the lady stepping in and taking the lead from the boy and giving the excuse that it was a rescue dog… She tried to make the little dog do some obedience to change it’s mindset; tried to make it sit (not patting it!) to distract him from Roscoe… But, clearly that wasn’t working, so I then decided to tell her to move away because the intensity was too high for her dog, so she needed to increase the distance to help it calm down.
    I was so impressed with Roscoe that you hear me yawling: “Good dog!” a couple of times, and I also told Jen she had an amazing dog… I remarked on the GoPro came and how cool it was to record the day, and I remember Jen saying something like: “Yeah, let’s see how that looks on video…”. And, we all went our separate ways…
    And then, yesterday, being a regular reader of Steve’s blog and subscriber of the K9 Pro newsletter, I read Steve’s latest post, clicked the link to watch the video… and realised it was the incident at Pet’s Day Out. Wow! And yeah, … I also noticed I look like a smiling fool. πŸ˜‰ So, I felt the need to clarify what happened and why I looked so bloody stupid – as if I didn’t care: No, I was not smiling because I thought the little dog attacking the big dog was funny… Absolutely not!!! Please don’t be so quick to judge a situation based on a snippet of video footage…
    Bottom line: Roscoe did not initiate this at all, and was absolutely perfect, and did not act aggressively in any way, shape or form! And the owners of the little rescue dog urgently need help to have their pooch trained properly, so he feels comfortable out and about, around bigger dogs and is not so reactive. It’s not good for anybody to excuse or ignore this behaviour.

  3. I can relate to this…. I could list them and fill a A4 page so I won’t do that but I will mention two that I take Charlie swimming (at a pool to do laps). The pool is at a Vet clinic. He was swimming – enclosed pool – when one of the vets brought a chihuahua looking dog out to the grassed area next to the pool, and the dog rushed at the fence yapping and growling… the vet stood there an laughed! THE VET!! I suggested that it wasn’t appropriate and that size is no excuse for this behaviour, that if the roles were reversed that it would be a different story! She didn’t say anything and wandered off.
    Just two days ago, I got home quite late from work so took Charlie to the local (very large) park for some exercise and a bit of training. A very fat (Labrador?) wobbled its way willingly towards us (Charlie is on lead). Charlie is sometimes reactive. He arced up a little bit but was controllable. I suggested to the woman who was following the dog (following, not with!) that it wasn’t a good idea to let her dog rush in on Charlie (as much as it could rush cos it was so fat!). She called the dog who ignored her so she had to run after her dog. When she walked past me I explained that he doesn’t like dogs rushing in on him. Her answer was that its a lead free park to which I explained that yes as long as the dog is under control AT ALL TIMES which clearly her dog isn’t as she had to run after it to catch it! She then yelled that ‘My dog says hello to all the other dogs here and its not a problem’ … I reminded her that not all dogs enjoy this and she continued to complain so I suggested we call the ranger if she wanted to get the facts. She made a gesture of frustration with her arms and stormed off. Some people should not have dogs!!!
    This is a regular occurrence… either the dogs rushing around out of control, or the little dogs whose owners think it is perfectly ok for them to yap and snap at bigger dogs. Would they let their children yap and snap and an adult or a larger child (probably!)??
    I’m not sure what the answer is. When Charlie responds to a dog rushing in he is then labelled vicious and/or aggressive… its never their fault for allowing their dog to impinge on our space.
    Steve knows Charlie… he has the heart of an angel… a gorgeous nature but he doesn’t like dogs rushing him and he now doesn’t like small dogs because they regularly do!
    I’m not sure what the answer is but it is definitely a problem – with the owners – rarely the dogs!
    I note in this video that the yappy snappy little dog (the offender) is being patted (rewarded) for its crappy behaviour! they truly have no idea!! and what is that silly woman close by smiling about!!??

  4. Hi Steve,

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and have found lots of nuggets of great advice for novice dog trainers (I’m currently doing my NDTF Cert. III) and dog owners alike. In fact, when I first stumbled onto your website a few months ago, I voraciously started reading every article you ever posted (I don’t think my browser ever had that many tabs open πŸ˜‰ so your web server responded by blocking me out – must have concluded I was some kind of robot crawler?! Go figure.
    I have a confession to make… I am that “smiling” lady at the stall. I was sitting next to Roscoe when it happened. Let me clarify why I had that stupendous smile on my face though: I was in total awe of how Roscoe and Jen handled the situation. I saw she had it under control and he was just perfect, so I didn’t want to interfere initially. I observed and learned… and then finally decided it was time to open my mouth. They are such a crack team! I can only hope… and work my butt off, to try and reach that level some day.
    I totally understand Jen’s frustration, and couldn’t agree more with her statements and your analysis above.
    We shouldn’t make excuses for our dog’s unacceptable behaviour. We should do something about it. A dog getting so worked up and stressed out is both physically and mentally not healthy for that dog… You’re not doing them any favours by excusing it or ignoring it. Dog owners have responsibilities towards their dog(s) and the community at large. In NSW there are state laws and guidelines that clearly define these responsibilities (, but I doubt many new dog owners are ever pointed in that direction by breeders, vets, rescue organisations, local council, trainers or anyone else they seek advice from. There’s still a lot of education to be done out there. I’m also hoping we get our own version of the Calgary dog owner license model in Australia soon. Because quite frankly, some people should just not be allowed to own a dog… Almost lost a beautiful German Shepherd pup at work today, due to sheer owner ignorance and negligence. I’m sure they mean well and love him and believe they are doing the right thing etc. … but sadly, they haven’t got a clue… and he’s gonna cop it… soon. But what can I do? I tried to give them sound advice before, but they just don’t get it. Having a large glass of Chardy at midnight while I write this, trying to wash away the days emotions. Pff…

    Warm Regards,

  5. Well Jen can definately ” give her dog a bone” Go Roscoe & Jen!
    It is a wonderful thing to own a “V12” dog with “plenty under the hood” that doesn’t take on the invitation when a Peewee- 50 revs his engine at the lights.
    Nevertheless it sure can be frustrating as hell for the owner who has put in the time & major effort to ensure her large dog leave his arrows in his/her quiver to CONTINUOUSLY put up with the BS from both owners and BBD’s (badly behaved dogs).

    The sad thing is that as Steve said these people will defend there dog with blah blah blah add nausium but do nothing to help the poor little bugger…….including allowing it 3 goes at being “shut down permenantly” like WTF people??

    Perhaps we ( the proactive thinking owners) need to do some PR …. When “out and about” include some K9Pro business cards in our kit with a nicely worded message from Steve saying…..
    “You could fix this….do you realize your dog needs help? Here is where you could start”
    and hand it to the BBD’s owner with a smile and a wave.

    Yeh well that or carry a cattle prod (for when the owner starts to spout off) LOL

    • I find that the owners “sprouting off” offends me more than the dog carrying on at mine offends her. I admire Jen’s stance: “take responsibility for your dogs behaviour”. It is truly reflective of many in our midst today- it’s not their fault that their dog behaves like this. I just wish someone could tell me whose fault it is and then I could have a chat with that person:-)

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