GLEN ROCK, NJ - In a third dog on dog incident during late summer, all unrelated, a dog was bitten by another dog in the fenced in area of the Glen Rock Dog Park, according to Glen Rock Police. The borough's animal control expert said all three reported incidents this summer were "so avoidable."
"A little bit of responsibility and a little bit of common sense," said Carol Tyler of Tyco Animal Control. Tyler has spent years investigating aggressive dog behavior. She said there has been an uptick in incidents in more recent years.
The first two incidents resulted in two smaller dogs dying after tussling with larger dogs. In both incidents, Tyler said, it was a matter of control.
"It's not the dog's fault," she said. "Dogs follow a pack mentality, they're not people. When we treat them like people, they take control, they act like the leader of the pack."
Another issue, she said, is when people buy their dogs squeaky toys. They expect to run up to a smaller dog, and they're looking to make them squeal. Unfortunately, that has serious ramifications.
The latest incident occurred on Sept. 18 at approximately 3 p.m. when a woman reported her dog was bitten inside the fenced area of the Glen Rock Dog Park, police said. She transported her dog to the veterinarian but did not get information about the other dog and the owner. Such incidents with animals spurs TYCO Animal Control to step in and begin an investigation with Bergen County Health Services.
"One of the issues I find is that these are not usually isolated incidents with dogs that are aggressive," she said. "I find out the dog has done it before. When people don't report it, it leaves it open to happen again."
Years ago, Tyler said, people treated their dog like a dog. "It sounds simple, but it works," she said. "You have to be the leader, you have to teach the dog their place in the pack. The dog sees the family as a pack."
"If you see behavior when they're puppies that's not social, like jumping or growling at inappropriate times, you have to correct it and continue to correct it."
Tyler said many people think they can hand their dog over to a trainer and then have the dog come back perfectly mannered. "If the owner does not follow up, all the time, the dog will go back to being the pack leader and resume the bad behavior," she said.
Tyler said trainers are good, but only if the owner follows-up.
"You have to be the alpha," she said. "In dog world, when you take control, ignore an excited dog, train them how to walk on a leash and not pull, you're giving the dog boundaries. Otherwise, the dog thinks he's the leader."
In other words, Tyler said, "let dogs be dogs."