Francis is not a fighter, but sometimes, he’s not a lover either
Last week, I was walking Francis when something a little out of the ordinary happened. From about five houses away, a neighbourhood dog (a medium-sized dog that weighed 50 lbs) made a B-line towards us. It did not look friendly. The first thing it did was hip check Francis and then it turned around and decided to attack. Francis, who, at first was bewildered by this angry dog, decided that the only thing he could do was defend himself (and maybe me, too). Both dogs were snarling, growling and pawing at each other. It was ugly. I was worried for Francis because this other dog was so aggressive and mean. However, within 10 seconds, Francis had the dog pinned down and had his jaws over top of the other dog’s neck. Then I was scared for the other dog because Francis has very strong teeth (they’ve ripped open plastic bags with treats, shoes, his blanket, plastic milk jugs, olive oil jars, mayonnaise jars, tin cans, whittled down deer antlers and much more–it’s a good thing that he doesn’t have an appetite for blood). Francis did not bite down on the other dog’s neck, just pinned him down. I was still holding onto Francis’ leash so I pulled him off of the other dog who was at his mercy and crying uncle. The dog proceeded to run big circles around us. Francis started barking hysterically at the dog–not his usual scary deep bark, but several high-pitched freak-out barks. The dog ran back to his house and the owner, who did not bother coming over to get her dog during the fight, put the dog in her house. She was gardening outside and when the fight broke out, I think she went into the house to get someone or maybe to get a leash. But, I don’t know for certain—I was busy trying to handle the situation happening right in front of me. After the dog left, Francis and I were both a bit frazzled.
Another neighbour, who had watched the whole event from her car, stopped to make sure that I was OK. Both Francis and I were fine (other than a minor bruise on my shin from the scuffle). She expressed her dismay about irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs run wild in the neighbourhood (she of course, was referring to the gardening woman). She said that she was glad that I wasn’t hurt.
Francis and I approached the house with the terror dog and the owner came down the driveway to make sure that I was OK. I told her that I was fine. She explained that her dog just likes to play (“Whatever!” I thought, in my mind). Then she stuck her hand out and tried to pet Francis who let out a deep bark as if to say, “Back off!” The woman retracted her hand quickly and let out a surprised and frightened cry (I don’t know why she even tried; Francis could smell her dog’s scent on her hands). I told her that Francis was still wound up. And that was that.
Fast forward 5 days…
Francis and I went for a walk in another part of our neighbourhood and we were about to walk past his arch-enemy, Ruby. I don’t know why Francis hates this dog so much, but he does. I suspect that it’s because this dog did not like him first. She is always skulking and looking mean when Francis is nearby. Now they always growl and bark at each other whenever they see one another. This time, Ruby was in the yard and Francis saw her and went crazy and slipped from his leash (this has happened a couple of times when he pulls on the leash and causes the latch to unbuckle). Francis ran across the street and into the driveway and they went at it. If I thought the other day was bad, this was terrifying. Francis had his teeth in Ruby’s neck, but that only made her mad and she started dominating Francis. I ran over, but did not want to get bitten. All I could do was scream at Francis to stop and the owners of the other dog came outside and screamed at Ruby. The dogs stopped on their own, but Francis was already done and looked like he was cowering. The whole fight lasted less than a minute and both dogs were OK, but there was a little bit of blood. It turns out that it was Francis who drew blood, but it was Ruby who ultimately won the fight (his only saving grace is that he has a lot of fur and a turkey neck with lots of loose skin). I took Francis home and told B.B. what happened. B.B. went over to the house to make sure that Ruby was OK. (It turns out that Ruby is a senior citizen dog–she’s a tough 12 year-old boxer). I was so mad at Francis, but I’m also glad that he lost and I’m glad that none of the dogs were seriously injured.
Generally, Francis likes most dogs (there are a few that he’s not so fond of). He interacts with all sorts of dogs at his day camp. He is generally fine on walks, but we’re going to have to work on some of his leash aggression issues. I am hoping that Francis will be avoiding any future dog fights with Ruby and any other dogs that he dislikes.