A short item from the local news last night A couple were walking in a public park with their toddler. A woman walking a large black dog on a leash came down the path. The family with the toddler stood aside to let them pass. The dog lunged, attacked, and did some damage to the baby's ear. The woman then fled with the dog. The local news coverage did the usual interview with the distraught mother and gave close-ups of before and after the reconstructive surgery on the child's ear. I had to lower my eyes for the before shots; I can't stand seeing ripped up children like that.
The news coverage included an appeal for the woman with the dog to step forward because a crime was committed and because knowing the health of the dog could save the child painful medical treatment and tests. Rabies is the biggest concern, but there are others too.I'm curious about one statement in the course of the coverage. It was stated that the dog probably smelled fear and that that was the cause of the attack. I've heard that so often that I've never questioned it before. I've probably used the phrase "smelled fear" myself a few times. Now I'm wondering, huh? Smelled fear? What does that mean? Does it make sense? I do believe that humans can smell different when they're nervous or fearful.

(I never feel like I need a shower after working up a sweat at the gym, but I can't wait to bathe after breaking out in a sweat from being nervous. I'm sure the smells are different.) So I guess it makes sense to say that a dog can smell fear, but does it make sense in that context? That a dog could smell fear on a 2-year old and attack because of it? I'm guessing that something very different was going on.
(Meanwhile, Cubbe was subjected to a patting this afternoon. The neighbor's youngest is 6 now and very interested in dogs. Her grandmother and I were interested in giving her lessons on proper approach of strange dogs. I'm extra nervous because Cubbe is so fearful about being cornered and of quick movements. I know Cubbe can snap in fear. But everyone passed this test with flying colors. Cubbe got patted. Young Courtney, now sporting a gap in her upper teeth, got to do some patting, and Cubbe and I continued on our walk.)
Lia
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A short item from the local news last night A couple were walking in a public park with their toddler. ... smell fear on a 2-year old and attack because of it? I'm guessing that something very different was going on.

Lia

Lia,
This sucks. Even if the dog smelled fear or was afraid of the family or whatever the owner should have been in control. Argh! Yet another nail in the coffin for responsible dog owners.
Beth
This sucks. Even if the dog smelled fear or was afraid of the family or whatever the owner should have been in control. Argh! Yet another nail in the coffin for responsible dog owners.

Yeah, it does suck. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a nail in the coffin, though. That suggests that responsible dog owners are losing the battle or have lost it. I wouldn't say that was the case. There are tons of responsible dog owners, and while there aren't statistics, I'd say their numbers were growing. Look at dog parks. I'd call that a good sign. Look at the way shelters in New England have to import dogs from other states. There's actually a shortage of stray mutts here because so many dog owners have done the responsible thing as far as spay and neuter. Look at the growth of dog sports like agility.
Sure horrible things happen. I'm not about to say a word in defense of the woman with that dog. (There's some doubt as to whether it was her own dog. In the confusion of getting the child emergency care, she said something about its not being her dog.) I am saying that incidents like that are blessedly rare.
Lia
This sucks. Even if the dog smelled fear or was ... Yet another nail in the coffin for responsible dog owners.

Yeah, it does suck. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a nail in the coffin, though. That ... care, she said something about its not being her dog.) I am saying that incidents like that are blessedly rare.

Unfortunately, events like this, being rare and sensational, are the most newsworthy in this age of ratings battles among news programs. It is possible that the woman was walking a dog for someone else, and did not know the dog's potential for viciousness. I hope her identity can be determined and the dog at least tested for disease, but an unprovoked attack like this would IMHO be overwhelming evidence that this dog should be put down. There are too many gentle, deserving mutts being euthed while an apparently unstable beast such as this should be allowed to live and be a danger to others. We don't know the full story, but the woman's behavior in running away should make her criminally liable.

Paul and Muttley
I hope her identity can be determined and the dog at least tested for disease, but an unprovoked attack like ... euthed while an apparently unstable beast such as this should be allowed to live and be a danger to others.

To see you, of all people, post something like this.

Guess it's a lot easier to condemn a dog to death when you aren't the one that has to take the responsibility, isn't it.

Marcel and Moogli
A short item from the local news last night A couple were walking in a public park with their toddler. ... probably used the phrase "smelled fear" myself a few times. Now I'm wondering, huh? Smelled fear? What does that mean?

Probably has nothing to do with this incident, but if we do throw off pheromones, we are communicating fear to dogs or horses. They do, after all, have better sense perception in some areas than we do.
I hope her identity can be determined and the dog ... be allowed to live and be a danger to others.

To see you, of all people, post something like this. Guess it's a lot easier to condemn a dog to death when you aren't the one that has to take the responsibility, isn't it.[/nq]It was not I who wanted Muttley to be put down, and it was mostly through the efforts of those who actually knew him that I stayed his execution and accepted the responsibility of caring for him. He really is a sweet dog and has proven to be gentle and safe in his interactions with other dogs, people, and young children. Much of his earlier aggressive behavior may have been caused by situations stressful to me as well as him, and he may have reacted to my own feelings.

None of his incidents were anywhere nearly as serious as that described here. If so, he would have been euthed almost immediately, and I would have taken full responsibility for it, as I was prepared to do. Of course, there may be another side to this story as well. My remarks are based on what was posted, and your comments are based on what you have chosen to believe from posts here.
Paul and Muttley
It was not I who wanted Muttley to be put down,

Yeah, we got that part. I bet the owner of the dog who attacked the toddler doesn't want her dog put down, either. Your point?
accepted the responsibility of caring for him.

You've done a lot of things, but act responsibly is not one of them.
He really is a sweet dog and has proven to be gentle and safe in his interactions with other dogs, people, and young children.

He's also proven that he will use his teeth on both dogs and humans.
None of his incidents were anywhere nearly as serious as that described here.

I seem to recall a young Lab who needed medical treatment after an unprovoked attack.

Shelly
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To see you, of all people, post something like this. ... the one that has to take the responsibility, isn't it.

It was not I who wanted Muttley to be put down,

And I am sure that this lady doesn't want her dog put down either.
and it was mostly through the efforts of those who actually knew him that I stayed his execution and accepted the responsibility of caring for him.

And maybe this incident will force this lady to accept the responsibility she needs to accept for caring for her dog.
He really is a sweet dog and has proven to be gentle and safe in his interactions with other dogs, people, and young children.

Yet, if I recall correctly, when we first met Muttley, it was after he had made a couple of attacks against other people and dogs.
Much of his earlier aggressive behavior may have been caused by situations stressful to me as well as him, and he may have reacted to my own feelings.

Pehaps the situation of this dog and the baby was stressful to the dog. Perhaps the dog's owner was stressed out because she knows her dog is not good around babies/young kids.
None of his incidents were anywhere nearly as serious as that described here.

In your opinion. However, you care for Muttley, so your viewpoint is biased. I am sure this lady cares for her dog as well, so she is probably doing her best to downplay and rationalize the situation.
If so, he would have been euthed almost immediately, and I would have taken full responsibility for it, as I was prepared to do.

I do not think the phrase "taken full responsibility" means what you seem to think it means.
Of course, there may be another side to this story as well.

And I am quite certain that the other side to this story would look to me remarkably similar to the side you presented when you first started posting about Muttley in rpdb.
My remarks are based on my interpretation of what was posted, and your comments are based on your interpretation of what was posted.

I fixed the above phrase for you.

Marcel and Moogli
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