Duchess, the bully


My sweet baby girl

I have been taking Analaigh to the Montgomeryville BarkPark since she was inoculated enough to go. My baby girl is a pretty shy thing. She is so sweet and so timid. The first time she passed through that gate she submitted to the toy poodle greeter, Henry, then to her first violater, Jake. Since then she’s gained confidence and loves the park and her puppy friends. She has never met a dog she didn’t immediately figure out, except for one: Duchess, the bully.

Duchess started coming to our park last September. She was up for adoption through an animal rescue and living with a foster. She was introduced to us as a pitbull mix because of her blockhead and muscular build. The first day Duchess came into the park, she stalked and stared down Analaigh and then lit into her. It was the first time, I had seen Analaigh defend herself instead of submit. No one made much of it at the time because it’s a dog thing.

Within a month, Duchess had a prospective adopter except he wasn’t interested if she had any bit of pitbull in her. My thought was that her foster-mother should flat-out refuse to let her go to anyone with such a stipulation. Instead, Duchess became a “corgie mix” because she had pointed ears and short legs. I began to think this might not go well.

"Hello, Layla" says Echo.

Since this rocky beginning, Duchess has been in an altercation with a dog every single time she has come to the dogpark. A few months ago, there was an altercation (shocker!) and someone breaking it up got bit by Duchess and went to the hospital for stitches. Duchess was back to the park that evening. The response of her foster-mother? “Duchess plays rough, the other dogs just don’t know what to make of her.” Really? Dogs, who read each other by sniffing the essence of butts, somehow can’t figure it out? I call bullshit.

The foster-mother has been talked to a lot about Duchess’s behavior and aggressive nature. Every time, we are met with another excuse as to why the altercation was not Duchess’s fault.

Duchess isn’t a bad dog but she needs help. How can she get it if her caretaker refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem? Who is trusting this woman with the care and placement of this dog when she refuses to accept and chooses to remain blind to a potential threat of safety?

Duchess was just adopted by her foster-mother due to policy changes at her housing development – so at least, we don’t have to worry about Duchess quietly passed off as “enthusiastic” to some unsuspecting person . But now, the chances of her getting help are even worse than before. There was another fight yesterday. Henry’s dad (the toy poodle greeter) suggested Duchess not come to the park when dogs are around since they just don’t play well together. Nothing changed. The fight wasn’t Duchess’s fault. She just plays rough. Dogs just don’t understand.

I’m at my wit’s end but I’m not sure what I can do.

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About Anonymous Burn

I'm just a girl who has a blog. But I'm kinda groovy, too.

5 thoughts on “Duchess, the bully

  1. Caroline says:

    I fear the day we start having these problems at Playgroup…

    Unfortunately, if Duchess’ mom refuses to acknowledge the problem, and isn’t interested in seeking help and training, all you can really do is avoid her. Which is sad, because your girls deserve that park.

    • It’s not just a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum. It is the child that pushes your kid off the teeter-totter or pushes him off the swing. So do you stop going? Do you go and hope the kids can avoid each other? Do you hope it’s someone else’s kid that gets the boo-boo that sends him to the ER for stitches?

      For me, for now, Analaigh and Duchess are kept away from each other or we’ll just leave but lots of people are fed up and talking about calling the police. It is not a happy future for pets of irresponsible owners that have histories of being aggressive.

  2. pennypup says:

    Arg, I know how you feel. How many others are not happy with Dutchess’ behaviour?
    You could always approach and request she keep a muzzle on Dutchess for the safety of other dogs and humans.
    It’S a very simple request to which she should comply. If she refuses, try calling your local by-law and report her behaviour. The more people that call and report, the more likely something will be done.

    • I would say that all of the regulars at the park know who Duchess is and are frustrated with her inability to play nice and her mother’s abject refusal to admit there may be a problem. I don’t think requesting her to be muzzled would be considered since any conversation that involves the word “aggressive” is immediately dismissed. I’m so hesitant to report her because I’m afraid of what could end up happening to Duchess. However, at the end of the day, my concern is my girls. I would do anything to keep them safe.

  3. […] I have been taking the girls to the dogpark to socialize since they were inoculated enough to go. Analaigh was 6 months old her first time and has always been submissive. Her entrance to the park was crouched low to the ground quickly rolling to her back as soon as anyone louder than her demanded it. Never had I seen her bare her teeth defensively, except with one overbearing, unchecked, aggressive dog (Duchess). […]

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