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Old 04-06-2008, 12:05 PM   #1
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Default Large breed recommendation, and a rant

I've just been to a local park with Zack (my cavalier) and had another annoying encounter. Zack is scared of other dogs since he got attacked as a pup, and today a very large bouncy black lab ran at him with no word from the owner (who was about 50 yards away) and then proceeded to chase him round. I was a little way away filming at this point (Zack's first encounter with snow) and Zack was in the care of my sister. He was yelping and whimpering so she picked him up, at which point the lab ran at my foster brother, an autistic boy who is wary of dogs. It ended up with Zack in Frances's arms and Andrew curled up on the floor sheilding his head whilst the lab bounded all over him, terrifying him. Eventually the owner lazily called the lab away and it went, but I was left furious, Andrew was crying and Zack completely shaken up, barking and whimpering all the way home.

I'm looking into buying a walking stick or something to defend Zack with in future, as this has happened too many times now.

Now... I'm already wanting a big dog (the larger the better!) as I think they're so beautiful and soppy most of them, and OH has now said if I'm going to be walking Zack in the dark (which I have to in Winter) then he'd be happier if I had an impressive-looking dog as a deterrent. Is there a breed that would perhaps protect Zack too? Put him/herself between Zack and an overly boistrous or outright aggressive dog?

So I need a breed recommendation! I didn't think he'd allow another dog for years, let alone something other than another cavalier!

Criteria:
Good with other dogs. I have to think of Zacky, so nothing known to be dog-aggressive. Which is a shame because bullmastiffs are beautiful.
Biddable. I don't want an uncontrollable huge dog.
Can be okay with about 40-60 minutes walk a day. There'll sometimes be more, but that's all on a regular day-to-day basis.
Not aggressive (I can't afford the law-suits! and the thought of having the dog put down under the DDA is upsetting), but I'd probably train her to bark on command. I want a deterrent, perhaps a dog that would put herself between me and a potential assailant, but not bite.

I have a fenced in small-to-medium-sized back garden.
I'm home all day, pretty much. OH works outside the home bringing in the money, I do everything else lol.

Thanks to those who have stuck with this long thread to the end! Any suggestions welcome.

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Old 04-06-2008, 12:25 PM   #2
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Sorry about the bad experience at the dog park!
It sounds like one of those 'oh he just wants to play' type of owners.
Maybe you could find out of the park could have separate play areas for large and small dogs?
I'm not sure what to recommend about protective dogs for Zack. Zircon will protect Sophia, but I think this has something to do with him being male and her being female. Dogs will sometimes dive in to protect any of their 'pack' who are being threatened, but if you get a large dog whose idea of play is similar to the black Lab in the park, that dog might recognize it as playing.
Good luck at any rate!
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Old 04-06-2008, 01:53 PM   #3
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Agree totally with Jean.
I would recommend that you get a walking pole a.s.a.p. I use a walking pole all the time here as I need one in scotland - however I notice when I'm walking along that many strange dogs do not come near. So it might be an idea - i stress I've never had to use it on a dog - and its a useful marker for Jake walking to heel - he always stays within a few inches of my walking pole until i tell him to go on.

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Old 04-06-2008, 02:34 PM   #4
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With the ammount of exercise and dog aggression I'd rule out any of the molosses, with proper socialisation they usually DON'T go agressive but there is always a slight risk, also they are often somewhat of working dogs which means that an hour would prolly be too little. It is natural for dogs TO protect their packmates, HOWEVER, if YOU do not handle the situation it might turn rather nasty with your bigger dog ATTACKING to protect the little one if that is a behavior u would encourage it is a fine line and with the wrong trigger a defense might turn into a BAD accident. Better would be to retrain Zack with CALM big dogs and take long leashed walks with them so HE grows his confidence back (it is fully trainable if you treat it the right way) then you can enjoy TWO calm dogs. Meanwhile Zacks phobia of other dogs MIGHT infect any new pup you take home so you get two dogs with lack of trust for other dogs which again can lead to REALLY bad situations. My big dog is weary of other dogs and she killed one recently in an act of self defence she has ALWAYS known the limit and the boundiries but one bad bite on a smaller dog and it was a fact. So I'd say retrain zack before you get a second dog. Then on which breed, I would suggest Great Dane, they are very lazy indoors, 1-2 hour walks will not kill them (once they have grown up) but if you would be very busy for a week a dane will lounge on the couch meanwhile a rottwieler would be more of destroying stuff cause they don't get the mental exercise they need. and you said the bigger the better so I think a dane would suit you well

and that walking stick is also a good idea, so Zack learn that you can control the situation, it will help calming him. However, for his sake, retrain his trust for dogs and dog language you will earn on it tenfold in the long run.

Good luck!
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Old 04-06-2008, 03:37 PM   #5
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How about using one of those compressed air squriter affairs you can buy in a pet shop. I think they are Correcto sprays. The noise of the air coming out stops dogs in their tracks..

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Old 04-07-2008, 12:56 AM   #6
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I would recommend an older Great Dane too. I have a little puppy that is about 2 pounds and she has a really bad heart murmur and my dane is usually the alpha dog with the other ones, but she really babies that puppy. Its so adorable to see the pup sleeping on the Danes neck . In the meantime, the only thing you can really do is pick up your dog if another threatening big one comes along. I wouldn't get a dog to "protect" unless you want an agressive dog. I would also work on socializing the little guy. If he only knows a dog that attacked him, how do you expect him to act around other dogs. After all, you don't want HIM attacking another little dog at the dog park. Plus if you introduce another puppy, your dog is just going to shy to you instead of bonding with the other dog.

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Old 04-07-2008, 04:44 AM   #7
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Skunkstripe, it wasn't a dog park, we don't have those over here, it's just a regular park. So no chance of seperate spaces for big and little dogs.

Luvmypooches, he knows nice dogs, and we bust a gut to socialise him. But he seems to attract over-boistrous dogs whose owners don't ask if they can let their dogs approach us.

Monkey and Luvmypooches, I've worked constantly since he first got attacked as a youngish pup to retrain him, it's hard when I don't know more than a few people with calm dogs. We meet up, and he's okay with their dogs, but he doesn't generalise that to all dogs we meet and we keep getting set back months by idiots with out of control dogs.

Dusty, those sound like a good idea. I'll look into them, along with the walking stick.

Any suggestions then of dogs that look imposing to act as a deterrant for people harrassing me and fit my other criteria?

I thought danes required lots of exercise?

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Old 04-07-2008, 06:07 AM   #8
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Kaida go to a local training group, ask if you are allowed to train around them with him for a small fee or so. all these safe encounters with a whole lot of strange dogs will help calming him after a while.

And about danes, no, they require almost LEAST exercise of all the big dogs. More than 1-2 hours a day and you might break the dog due to size. Their hips and bodies are not made to walk that much. They are made to protect and lounge around the house just like English Mastiffs, Presas etc..

I took care of an older dane that was misstreated, so I did my reading..

Ask a good breeder and youw ill see

and Im sorry about your unluck with all the stupid people, sometimes I wonder why some humans have a dog..
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:58 PM   #9
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Nope they don't need that much. My dane had sprained knees when I got her cuz they let her run free on a farm. They need short walks, if they take long walks, it might hurt their hips and knees. And they don't eat as much as you would think either

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Old 06-04-2008, 06:46 PM   #10
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I would think an English Mastiff might have the size and temperament you want.
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