Friday, July 29, 2011

Buffy Gets Attacked Part 3 - Agression

Below is part three of a six part series about a recent incident when Buffy was attacked by another dog. Buffy fortunately got through this experience without any permanent physical or mental damage. Click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

Dogs evolved from wolves and while most dogs are clearly domesticated, there are some dogs that hold onto instincts from their more wild days. With Buffy it’s her herding instincts and with others it’s a more aggressive attack instinct.

Now this wasn’t the first time Buffy and I had every encountered an aggressive dog. In our condo there’s at least two who I would categorize as aggressive. These dogs see Buffy from across the street or down the sidewalk and will start barking. While these dogs can be a little annoying, I appreciate that the dogs are giving a clear message to Buffy to keep away.

This reaction is out of fear and often stems from lack of socialization as a puppy or a trauma experience earlier in life. Of course if you stick a dog in a corner and hit it with a newspaper it will eventually get fearful and try to fight back. This is a natural and logical survival technique.

There was something different about Molly. The fact that she didn’t bark at Buffy as she approached showed a transformation of fear into something darker. She saw Buffy as prey. I’ve seen this with one other dog. It’s a stare, a stillness in a dog’s body right when it’s about to pounce. There’s no fear involved here, it’s something deeper more animalistic and that is something this is something to be feared.

What do you do with a dog that has this instinct inside of them? This is a potential to not only hurt another dog or person but to kill. I have no idea.

Some of these dogs’ behavior can be prevented if we as a society treat dogs better but some dogs, just like people are simply jerks.

This is a question Amy had to ask herself as she dealt with the after effects of Molly attacking Buffy:

The evening of the attack we received this e-mail from Amy:
I cannot apologize enough for what happened in class today. I got Molly from a shelter a year and a half ago. I knew she was not a fan of other dogs but I have never seen the aggression she displayed today when she attacked Buffy and I'm mortified. I have no idea how she got away from me and I just feel so awful and irresponsible. I am so sorry for the trauma this has caused you guys, and sweet Buffy. Please let me know if you guys need anything. I will gladly pay for any vet bills.

Again, I am just so incredibly sorry and please let me know how I can help.
While we appreciated her sentiment and the e-mail, Diana and I were in no mood to be empathetic with Amy.  As time went on my feeling about Amy changed as well as the way I felt about Molly as learned about the true consequences of Molly's actions.

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