I can't believe the entire situation.. Ignorant owners.. Regrets, and sorrow.

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 11:29am PST 
To me, and I know it's hard for you Charlie, the onus here is on your friend, rather than her FIL. It doesn't sound to me like the best of socialization, perhaps ignorance got her to manage her dog less well, but the last moments of her dog's life? I don't think any of us here would have let it play that way. We would have laid our body over the dog if need be.

The FIL is who he is. Perfect outcome here would of course have been the dog get rehomed, or they'd move with him, etc., but it sounds as if this dog was going to be put down one way or another. A good shot on a still target is quick. Some don't see a humane difference. Frankly, in this case, and this may be controversial but I am simply making a point, it's apples and oranges. Taken to the vet to have it done, feeling all the shock and terror of people around who earlier in the day were happy with her and now so disturbed, taking a tense car ride, put on a cold steel table with a hysterically crying owner and an upset vet. That's not so pretty either. This wasn't going to be anything but a bad experience for Sierra either way.

And another point I feel obligated to make, just for a point of enlightenment. We all see dog spats. That's mostly all we see. There is something extremely unnerving about seeing a bad assault. It is very hard to recenter from. I've seen it twice. First to my Hatteras, who was attacked by a Saint Bernard (multiple dog killer), who pinned him in an overt attempt to kill him, tore his neck open, blood was shooting up in feet high burst like shot from a water pistol with every beat of his heart, and this vibrant young dog too weak to even stand. The other happened at a farm where I was a stallion manager, also the home to one of the coolest dogs I've ever known, a Coonie/GSP/Pit mix, who was badly assaulted by a rogue male dog. That's the worst I've seen. Every part of his body was swollen. They took him to a vet, a country vet, who patched him up as best he could then sent him home on a wing and a prayer. He was almost too painful and misshapen to look at. Gimped under a porch to fight for his life. It was ghastly.

I was actually confronted by the people there....we had had our debates about shooting wildlife and I have always been an animals voice - far from a wallflower....and was told, almost in a democracy sense, that the vote had been cast and that when the male came back, he would be shot. And he was. I was very against it, but also resigned to it. I had the first arguments, but eventually said to myself, it is what it is. Finding the owner of the blonde shepherd in the rural south would have been hard, and even if so, culturally knocking on someone's door and telling them how to manage their affairs is not going to go down well. Calling the sherriff? I don't think so - bad result no matter what way that got sliced. I was the first to have seen that dog, when I was out in the broodmare pasture and saw this striking figure of a dog staring at me. Moderately friendly, looked hard, and like he had stuff to do. You saw loose dogs there. He was another, but so beautiful and so confident. The next week would be the first of three attacks on the farm's male, who was the antithesis of a fighter. First one split up fast, which is when they described the dog to me. Second one a little worse and they were angry. The third, no one was around, and the result was catastrophic. I leaned my head under that porch and looked at that sweet farm dog, too weak to even thump his tail, looking at me wisely. By then, I'd had my turn with Hatteras, who in time did turn extremely aggressive himself, but looking at the farm dog....those results I couldn't fathom. So I got up, actually threw a little respect to the southern boys. Their culture, this special dog, another out there who shouldn't have been. It was very sad, I was emotionally wiped. There was a vigil on that farm, and like a wolf back to the sheep it took him another week to show up.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 12:19pm PST 
A good shot on a still target is quick.

Very true Tiller, and I feel a need to point out I have been witness to a few 'humane' euths that have gone horribly wrong. Most recently my feral, vicious GSD pup who took 2 HOURS to go down, with me fighting to stay calm the whole time while trying to calm a young healthy and very large dog intent on savaging the vet. I have to be honest, at some point I would have welcomed a quick, clean bullet.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 1:52pm PST 
When I was in my early twenties, our little kitty was sleeping under a wall hung cast iron bird cage when it's wall bearing collapsed and fell on her. She immediately went into convulsions. I freaked, for maybe the first half minute yelling at Dennis that we needed to get her to the vet, but you couldn't look at this for long and see it was futile. She was dying hard and fast. I haplessly yelled at him, "do something!," and a split second later hit reality that he's a Long Island boy....what's he going to do? I left the room, pacing, peeking in. Waiting for it to be over, praying to God to just please end this. Like four minutes, but it was the longest, most pelting four minutes of my life. I felt like such a failure for letting it go on so long, but what was I going to do?

I have done wildlife rehab, and a few times since have found an animal where a quick kill....I wish I had the know how or courage, just to end it.

This is a grizzly subject, I know. But I think there is culture at play both sides. This dog was going to die. Really sad it came to that, but only a few minutes removed from an era where she was a member of a family, just ending it fast, it is up for debate, this subject of humane-ness, if the alternative was to bring her to the vet's to be put down. It still would have been killing a dog, the stress dragged out, dealing with all these people who now were so different, going to a vet's office with hysterical people. Nothing Charlie has said seems to me like the FIL was in a state of blind rage. He just felt it had to be done. This is his family. Some people are that way, and IMO it's not entirely fair to judge, as you have not been in that position and it is not like Sierra's owner was begging that option any way. There in the carnage, she may have been unnerved herself. You don't know how you'd feel. I doubt any of us would have said "can anyone shoot my dog?" But with the characters at play, I don't think one ending was preferable over another. It was just a very sad situation that didn't need to be.

The fault here is on the friend. At the end of the day I respect her tears as true, but she really failed her dog here. If your dog's life is precious to you, you need to be able to lay it all on the line for that dog. It would be very hard as her friend to deal with this subject, as it would be hurtful, to ask someone suffering major trauma and loss to now look at their own failings in a time of crisis. Not sure if you could even go there.

But ultimately, somewhere, Charlie's friend put her dog's life on the line and didn't rise to Sierra's defense when the consequences were brought to bear. The FIL did what he felt he had to do. I don't condone it, but I can understand. You can't really argue with that man how a medical PTS would have been better, because the voice of that owner didn't even offer that option. It just let the axe fall. The onus here, on several levels, is on the friend frown She was the dog's mommy, and in the end her actions or lack thereof stacked the dominos to fall as they did.

IMO, I would let it settle, let the friend heal a bit, and then talk to her about this. You can't ignore behavior, leave your dog in a prone position, and then be unwilling to fight for the consequences of these failings. Same thing if we ignored aggression, proned our dog and then law enforcement got involved. We would have put our dogs in a position where we could not be their voice.

When we surrender those rights through some level of apathy, we need to look at that some day, in some way. Now is not the time....everything is too raw. But even for the sake of her kids, eventually being able to tell them how she failed and promises never to let that happen again will be better for them then having to digest a scene blown this out of control. That's a really bad experience for a child. They will come out so much better if mom is human, admits her failings and promises to do better. Then the world balances back to something they can grasp. Very sad, but learning the lessons of growth, admitting one's failings, and vowing to be better. Those are things that make the world a better place.

Edited by author Tue Jan 29, '13 1:58pm PST


Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 2:40pm PST 
Missy - Yes, it's the same Irish Setter pup. She wanted to play and being the mouthy puppy she was, she nipped at the young baby in moms arms. Didn't do much damage. A tiny nick and she never touched that baby again with her mouth, but all the same. Much and the same dog. I've tried MULTIPLE times to convince them to rehome her, or send her back to her breeder, or SOMEWHERE where someone better understands Irish Setters, but it's gone in one ear and out the other, much like my advice with Sierra did.

Lupi - That would be Ria, lol, I think you're thinking of Mulder's pup Ridley. That said, Ria is by all accounts, his. We got her because he had never had his own dog before and she was ultimately, a farm accident litter that needed to be rescued or they were going to be killed. They just wanted them gone. He adores his puppy, loves Charlie, even loved Maya for the time he knew her. He certainly LOVES the dogs, and he certainly views them as family. He does take part in their care, yes. Quite a large part of it now that I'm pregnant too. He's the one that gets up earlier to let them out, and lets them out before bed, and he often helps with feeding, some training(although I do the majority of it and he just follows through with what I do as he's never trained a dog before), and often even takes Ria out on a long line to play in the field with her.

Sabi - I have my doubts too.. But s'long as he respects where I stand and understands why I feel the way I do about it, there's really not much more I can do. He does have to realize though that he lives in a city now, where guns aren't necessarily as welcome as they are on farms and shooting dogs is NOT the norm anymore, nor is it as welcome.

Tiller - They got Sierra at over a year old, had her for approx. a year and a half, and did nothing in that time with her. The dog-dog socialization she got? Charlie. I introduced them and Charlie quickly taught her that rude behavior and playing rough would make him go away until she calmed down, taught her how to be gentle with him, and more relaxed and taught her not to jump on him, or bite too hard, etc. Sadly, most other dogs that came over to her(usually uncontrolled by their owners and off leash), ended up with her right in their face, very rude, posturing and basically threatening them and if they made ONE move, she would be on top of them in moments. Mostly larger female dogs and unfixed dogs, but all the same, it was dangerous. She also got very territorial too, as in these town homes there aren't yards. Which means they threw her on a thirty foot tie out and she would charge, lunge and try to nip at any strange person that would walk by. Again, also dangerous and something that would escalate. Before they moved, my friend was looking into dog training classes that we were going to go into together, but she moved less than a month later. She's the one with the Irish Setter puppy, in fact, who did no research prior to getting him and even though she said no, her husband got the dog anyway. I dread seeing how that puppy turns out as an adult... I fear for her and I've tried countless times to get them to rehome her, but again, in one ear and out the other, and there's not much more I can do about it - bylaw won't do anything because the dog has adequate shelter, food/water, toys, etc.

I do agree though. I would have blocked my dog with my very body. I KNOW dogs. I KNOW that when my(if I had a dog do so) dog tears into another like that, it's MY fault, and that it was likely a provoked reaction in a dog that was being harassed by that little dog. I would not allow my dog to be shot over that and I'm not even sure I would euthanize my dog either. I'd take that as a slap of reality that I was doing something wrong and would seek proper, professional help to work on the issues. It's the very REASON I do not leave my dogs unsupervised together - ever. What if Charlie goes into one of his seizures and Ria reacts badly to it? She could do anything from check him out and stress him during a seizure, only to make that seizure last twice as long, to actually attacking him. I don't take risks like that and if I see Ria hounding Charlie, I make a point of calling her off and getting Charlie to come relax by me. Because of this, Charlie always looks at me as if to say, "Can you please get her to stop? She's driving me insane." and waits for me to do something about it.

I can't imagine being in that situation, but then, I wouldn't ALLOW that situation to happen and it breaks my heart that EVERYTHING I tried to do to make them see was absolutely ignored, that they were in such blatant denial. Yes, she was great with the kids. Yes, she was excellent in the house and well-trained in the house. But she was DANGEROUS, escalating and she was definitely on the verge of biting someone or something if they didn't seek professional help, which was what I was trying to accomplish and it tears me up that I couldn't do anything about it, even if it wasn't my responsibility.

I think the only way and time to bring it up... would be if she asked for help with Jersey, the Irish Setter puppy. They're moving back due to their sons specialist being here anyway, but she said to her husband, "Nothing good has come of this..". Her mom pointed out that if Sierra had done that here, Bylaw would have taken her and likely PTS, so either way, her dog was bound to die because of her failure as an owner. Ultimately, if she asked for help with Jersey, my first instinct would be to point out where she went wrong with Sierra, and what she NEEDS to do better to BE better for this puppy, or find her a new home. She's an incredibly smart puppy, yet I hear them always putting her down intellectually when I KNOW for a fact that it's THEM giving this poor pup mixed signals on right from wrong and not SHOWING or TEACHING her properly. I HATE that they own another dog still... It tears me up, watching, waiting, knowing there's so little I can do. How do you deal with that?

I'm SURROUNDED by ignorant dog owners.

My parents, who ultimately, I rescued Maya from, and who now only own one dog, but finally SAW where they were going wrong and are doing an excellent job with him now.

My friends, who all own dogs, and don't MEET the very needs of their dogs, the very basic needs - whether it's training, or proper health, or vet care, or exercise.. Sierra and Jersey being vast examples...

My fiance's family, who all own dogs, and don't do ANYTHING with them! My SIL whose Irish Wolfhound, I NEVER see out of his kennel(which is too small for him to begin with!) and is never walked. My MIL/FIL whose two dogs are so pent up with energy, they VIBRATE whenever I see them, lack ANY manners or training whatsoever, aren't exercised, and you can't eat there because their Bichon/Shih-tzu is practically on top of you or your plate, or the back of the couch with her nose in your dang face.

It disgusts me, to see these dogs owned in such a way.

Edited by author Tue Jan 29, '13 2:47pm PST


When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 2:51pm PST 
and it tears me up that I couldn't do anything about it, even if it wasn't my responsibility. I'm SURROUNDED by idiot dog owners.

I hear you, I know where you are coming from. You CANNOT hold yourself responsible for other people, you can only do your best to educate. You are leading by example and if they refuse to be led shrug You can't carry their burdens.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 3:32pm PST 
Not sure where you live. Charlie, but it seems you are one of the few against the many. That makes these conversations really hard. Around here, the average dog owner is ok. I am not saying they are model, but they are responsible with basic care standards, tend to seek out a trainer when in over their heads. So when you are having educational conversations, it is easier for them to see the point. There are just more examples. In areas where you are one of the few decent owners, you get written off pretty much as a little loco, obsessive, whatever.

Through the horses and working in deeper country, I've rubbed elbows with a different logic. "Good dog/bad dog," or "smart dog/stupid dog." Or also puppies....nothing unnatural about a girl dog having a litter. What's the point of a pen....if some run out and get hit, those were the stupid puppies. They are, and I am not condoning, just a little closer to nature, where there is some sort of a natural cull.

That's actually been a little obsession of mine. When I lived in the south (NC, Blue Ridge region), the majority of owned dogs there were fantastic. Road savvy, easygoing, never roamed, great behavior with people and other dogs. That's basically because those who weren't that way ranged off, got hit, etc. More like a natural cull. That male I referenced, who got torn up so bad, was my obsession, as he knew not one command, but was the most biddable dog I have ever known in my life. As in, read your mind. When you needed him out of the barn aisle, he'd just look at you and leave. If I had a gentle horse on crossties in the aisle, he'd be by my feet. Something more rank, a distance away. Every time I was going for a walk down the drive to check the mail and would have appreciated his company, he was there. But taking the same walk down to fetch one of the broodmares, never underfoot.

He's was one of those perfect dogs, southern style. He was a really good dog and had a really good life....everyone loved him like a person, he was the greeter at the farm and everyone would recognize him first. For as expendable as every other dog seemed to be to them....lived or died, another day at the farm.....he was a superstar. Because he was a good dog.

It is really hard in environments such as that to work on people understanding that if the other dogs were worked on, they could be good dogs, too. You get looked on as if you have a screw loose. Why on earth are you going to go fussin' on "one of those." Until other standards increase, I don't even look at it as ignorance. It's a cultural difference. I don't know if I hadn't known that male would I have the insight to say that. But he was just an example of a great southern dog. Vaulted, due to being just a smart, insightful and well balanced dog, that coupled with their "nature's laws" ways of survival of the fittest, into some iconic stature. If someone had shot him, they seriously would have needed to leave town. He was that revered. That's where I don't think education is always successful. Even if they UNDERSTOOD how far management and work can go, it will still seem to them like so much bother over a dog who just wasn't cutting it. They earn the heart and respect, and when they do are the pride and joy of the family. It's a HUGE contrast. The haves and have nots amongst rural dogs.

I do think at some point, you will need a talking to with your friend. With all that you have said, I see that sort of logic. Good dogs just ARE. So there are a lot of failures and disasters until they happen upon a dog who can survive their lackings and turn out ok. An Irish Setter is far from a good candidate. They also roam something terrible when given the choice. Lots of bad potential there. So good luck to you, but your friend needs to turn a corner and owes it to her kids to put the blame on herself. Her own child is trying to reassure and bring some sort of closure to the death of their own pet by saying she's in heaven now. She owes it to them to understand more, that this wasn't Sierra's fault and that mommy is sorry and will be sure in the future to do better.

It's an uphill climb, but if you are to continue this friendship, you are going to lose your mind over her future behaviors and selections if you can't crack through somehow frown

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 4:19pm PST 
Sorry Charlie. I thought Ria, but typed Ridley! It's been...one of those days.

Anyway, I'm glad your Fiancé loves your dogs and views them as his own. It would be super hard to manage everything by yourself while you're pregnant.

As for the incident about which you posted; ugh, I just didn't even know how to respond because it sounded so sad and terrible. hug

~Hyper yet as- smart as can be~-
Barked: Thu Jan 31, '13 5:36pm PST 
I agree that there are so many stupid people out there. Like my neighbors who tie their small black do out all day, no food that I can see anywhere, no water, and no shelter. Their previous dogbwas kept in a kennel all day and night. Not once did I ever see that dog out of her cage.

My friend who's German Shepherd would 'play' with their cat. She was shocked when one day she found her dog killing her cat.

Or that woman who got her child a kitten and when the kid came up to her with blood all over his shirt, the mother furiously went looking for the kitten. She soon found out that the kid had broken the cat's jaw.

And the parents that allowed their toddler to bounce up and down on a boxer's back. Eventually the dog, who was showing every sign of discomfort short of growling or hitting, got up and walked away. The parents then encourage the girl to follow the dog and laughed while the girl once again jumps on his back. They were lucky that dog did not attack the girl.

My parents, although not quite that stupid, are ready to rehome our huskey because he has a marking problem. I am going to do all I can to prevent that but I can only do so much alone...
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