Occationally I'll get a complaint about the bitterness of the Dog Training: Fast and Simple page? So Why did I write it? And why did it attack, rather than politely inform?
There was a post in the rec.pets.dogs.behavior group. It went like this:
"I am the proud owner of a German Shepard/Rott... mix and am having some problems with him biting just about everyone in the household. He doesn't bit to be agressive, but mainly as a way to get attention. He is almost 8 months old now, and wieghs in at 90+ pounds, so he is a force to be reckoned with...
He also jumps on people constantly when he meets them...
I would like to first get him over the biting , as it has some of the members of my family scared of him.
I would then like to work on getting him to greet people sitting down instead if jumping.
I guess I should really invest in obedience school, but finding the time is tough.
Any suggestions on how to get him to stop biting?"
Then I went on a therapy dog visit. Our site supervisor was very distressed over a call she received earlier in the day. A young Rottweiler that she had helped raise recently seriously bit a child. The owner of the dog should never have had a Rottweiler. She had little time for the dog, did not keep its training up, and lacked the personality to obtain any kind of respect from the dog. The dog is due to be killed.
Oh, and this one just had my jaw dropped in amazement:
"My brother in law just adopted the dog. He's had it about 3 months. The dog has bitten 4 people - thankfully none were serious. Obviously this is a growing concern. The bites have only occured while the dog was left with my bro-in-law's roommates. He has never witnessed any of the bites - but he has spoke with the "recipients." Each instance seems similar - the dog was laying at the feet or near each person who has been bit. That person will get up and apparently the dog will react by growling then lunging to bite. In each case, the dog has immediately returned to a "down" position and shook visibly - as if to indicate that the dog realized his mistake and was "sorry" for it. The dog has been disciplined for its behavior immediately thereafter. The usual mode for discipline is a "No" and subsequent movement to a "bad dog" zone that has previously been established. There is no desire to euthanize the dog at this point. We're all hoping to correct this behavior before something truly terrible occurs. He is a great dog otherwise. He's intelligent and playful whenever I've been near the dog. Of course he's 105 pounds of puppy and doesn't realize his own strength. Any help will be appreciated..."
Excuse me? Why on earth would anyone not seek help after the first bite? What kind of lame brain allows a dog to bite four times and then asks for freebie help on the usenet newsgroup instead of going to a trainer? Puppy? NOT! It is a dog, and quite certainly a dangerous one. Can it be helped? I hope so. But the lack of intelligent management to date makes me doubtful. A dog like this needs clued in owners, someone willing to commit to working out problems even if they have to spend a few bucks for help.
Finally, there is this piece I received by e-mail:
"how can i get my 9 yr.old mix shepard to stop barking, he is driving the whole family nuts. it's getting to the point where i may have to give him away. have just tried Elavil, but not working."
This dog is 9 years old yet without offering any information about the circumstances or what they have tried they are ready to dump the dog! If they had done the most basic reading, the most basic honest attempt at solving the problem, they would have known to include some information.
These are not isolated incidents. Time and time again people who work with dogs will tell you how people get dogs and expect them to simply behave. They leave the dog alone, for hours and hours, then can't understand why the dog constantly barks, digs or otherwise seeks to gain attention or relieve its stress and boredom. I could go on, but you probably all ready know.
So writing that page is a kind of therapy. I didn't want to inflict it on the entire newsgroup, but I wanted to "yell" at these ignorant careless dog owners. I do occasionally write just to express myself. If someone gets something useful from it, so much the better. I wrote one article after I spent half my drive home crying for the dogs.
One thing that amazed me is the popularity of the page. Intiatially I was not at all sure that I wanted to publish the page. Yet the overwhelming response to the page was positive. The page consistently gets more hits than any other. It is bookmarked by many sites thus circumventing my approach to keeping it low profile by barring robots from indexing the page.The page was selected for review by the authors of "Dogs on the Web". It was certainly not the page I would have selected. The only thing that troubles me about that is that this particular page is so divergent from my usual approach. I suspect it is because I am shouting by proxy. The page speaks to the frustrations of many people who care deeply about the welfare of dogs. Everyone must vent now and then. If you don't like it oh well.
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