We are the proud parents of 2 dobermans, and 2 children, (well 3 children, but one's an adult now) My dobes are a 2yr old male (Mason) and a 5yr old female (Petra). Our son is 8(Jake) and our daughter is 6(Taylor).
Our neighbor also has 2 children aged 10(boy) and 7(girl) and one labrador/golden mix female age 3(Maddie). The 3 dogs have always been great friends, so much so that they try to pull each other over, around, or under our fence so they can play together.
Today, my son decided to take our female, Petra, for a walk, which he has done many times before. The neighbor boy decided he would get his dog, Maddie (also female) and walk with them. (they have never walked together before) My son was sitting on a boulder in our front yard with Petra on her leash waiting for the neighbor boy and his dog. Maddie came running into our yard on a leash, with the 10yr old boy chasing behind her. Our dog FREAKED OUT and attacked Maddie....and I mean ATTACKED. She jerked so hard that my son was thrown on his stomach and dragged before he could let go of the leash. Maddie broker free and tried to run and get into her back yard and Petra jumped her from behind and pinned her to the ground and continued biting and growling and would NOT let go of the front of her neck. My husband ran and separated the dogs. Maddie ended up needing stitches in the back of her neck. Petra had a puncture wound on the top of her head, but didn't require stitching.
This has NEVER happened. Our dogs are known in the neighborhood for being cats trapped in dogs bodies. They are extremely docile, and we've often wondered if they would even be able to protect us if we needed it. They'll bark at squirels but then run away if one moves toward them.
SIDE NOTE: Our male dog was in the house and had JUST gotten neutered the day before! Petra MAY be about to come into heat again in the next month or so. I don't know if any of that has to do with anything.
ALSO...When our dogs and the neighbor's dog play, it has always been in the back yard without the kids, and without leashes. Today the 2 females were in the front yard, on leashes and ONLY with the kids. The adults were in the house.
I don't know if any of these details have anything to do with anything, I just want you "DOBE PROFESSIONALS" to have all the facts so you can hopefully offer me some advise, input, perspective, etc.
I am scared to death now because I don't know if I should be concerned to let my kids be alone with my dogs. They have always been such a huge part of each other's lives, but I dont' want to be naive and assume nothing could ever happen my kids, but I don't want to over re-act if it's nothing to be concerned about. Should I worry that my female is now "unstable" after 5 years of being nothing but a loving wonderful dog. I don't want to live in fear of something happening to the kids. I feel that now that I know Petra has the ability to attack, I wonder if it's a good thing or a bad thing. My heart tells me she thought she was protecting my son....am I being naive here???
PLEASE HELP US!!!