This incident happened at our neighborhood park when Neko was about 5 1/2 months old. The park is where everyone goes to walk their dogs. Neko has met several "friends" there that he regularly plays with.
Well, we were at the neighborhood park a little earlier than usual and ran into a pair of dogs we have only seen once before. The older dog (BIG black lab/mal mix) came blasting over with the "I'm so&so, who are you?" attitude. OK, no big deal, Neko did his "I'm ok if you're ok, 'cuz I'm still a puppy. Wanna' play?" routine and everything was fine. Then comes the second dog, a yellow mix about Neko's size. Right up into Neko's face, his ruff up, stiff legged and seriously growling! Neko did his best "Honest, I'm a pup and I'm ok". The owner hollers, the dogs run back and have their leashes put on. I think "Ok, we survived, no harm done.." and Neko & I start to walk on.
Well, now the man wants to talk... so we stop (hard to walk away from someone who KNOWS a Malamute from a Husky from a wolf...). He comes just within "leash reach" of us and the yellow dog jumps in Neko's face again and growls even more. Neko gives up and lays down in front of him "Hey, look, I am NOT a threat". I'm ready to say "Hey, look, we're outta' here", when the dog growls worse and snaps the air in Neko's face! Neko apparently had enough and immediately responded in kind. The guy is now quickly reeling in his dog...
This brought the big Mal/Mix back to see what is going on. The yellow dog is almost on his heels as the owner is trying to control both dogs now. (This is happening just as I give Neko a tug on the leash and tell him to come.) Too many dogs for Neko, he jumps up, backs off (tightening the leash) and SLIPS HIS COLLAR! Instant panic.... there is a main neighborhood cut-through between here & home and I KNOW he will not be stopping at the intersection to check for cars! The man is still grappling with his dogs and now shouting at Neko to come back (I'm thinking Dumb S***, not in a MAD tone of voice!). I hollered "Neko, come" in my best "Hey, I've got a biscuit!" tone - and I'm still amazed I could keep that tone of voice... Neko turns around, makes a big circle around the guy and his dogs (who are finally under control), and plants himself on my left side! GOOD BOY! Thank you to whoever watches over stupid owners and their poor dogs!!!
While I put on Neko's leash and collar (tighter this time!), I'm getting blather about the whole thing just being pack order (Duh, I have a Mal and never knew about this?) and how I will need a prong collar to control him as an adult - that's the only way he & his wife can control their dogs (Huh?) and so forth. I told him they were only good if used correctly (I realize now that was probably an insult! Oh, well...) and wouldn't use one unless ABSOLUTELY neccessary. I say goodbye and off we go. I was too relieved that Neko was ok to be irritated at the time.
Thoughts on the incident:I do understand BEHAVIORLY most of what happened. In defence of the yellow dog, he was somewhere between 18mos and 2yrs old and feeling his "oats". Neko certainly felt the dog had stepped over the "rules of park introduction" when he did not accept Neko's submission. (BTW, Neko met a very dominate GSD the day before who also growled upon approach, but the submission was accepted and all was fine.) And I don't blame Neko for choosing to run away when confronted with both dogs simutanously.
Obviously I should have not stopped to talk, but the dogs recalled readily and I thought the situation was under control. I did not correct Neko for his growl and snap as I felt it was somewhat justified dog-behavior and the man was now pulling his dog away. After mulling over the whole episode in my head, I was more than just irritated by the time we got home that day.