Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Abusive Dog Training

Dear Sir,

Last week I took my Aussie mix to a dog obedience class. This pup is 6 months old, a very loving dog, he loves everyone and all other dogs.. His biggest problem is being restrained and threw a fit at the vet's when he was about to be x-rayed So, anyway the first thing the trainer asked everyone to do was to lay their dog down and hold him down. I was having a problem getting Luke down and suddenly the trainer was there, roughly trying to hold down Luke. Luke nipped him, he did draw some blood, but in a second the trainer had him in the air on a choke collar, till he went limp, almost passed out, pooped himself and his lips were blue. I was SICK!!! And in shock, because I couldn't move, I just kept looking at Luke who was drooling like crazy. And was scared to death of the trainer and tryed to get up on the seat with me. Oh, and for the next 2 days, all Luke did was lay around.

I did take him to the vet, she said, his neck was tight and probably very stiff. Some people have told me hanging a dog is an accepted way of training, I DO NOT feel this is correct, am I wrong? And if the trainer is wrong, is there anything I can do about it? I am not taking him back to that class, many of the people there were also shocked at what happened, and one of them even said she won't bring her dog back. Well, anyway, thank you for your time, XXXXX


I think it is animal abuse. The dog was cornered by a stranger and reacted by defending itself. Then the dog strung up. Don't go back to that class.

This kind of garbage still happens in classes, as your letter demonstrates. The problem with going to the police is if a.) your dog isn't materially injured; b.) the trainer fights you back in court with a defamation / libel / slander lawsuit, YOU could be the one that ends up losing here. If you decide to proceed with making a complaint to law enforcement, you need to talk to your attorney first. "Hanging" would only be justified if the dog was actively trying to attack a human and there was no way of defending oneself except to hold onto the leash for dear life. Hanging is not a training method. It is solely a last resort way of defending yourself from being mauled. This clearly doesn't qualify. Your dog was afraid. The solution would have been to slow things down and build the trust between you and your dog. That has to come before you consider dominating a dog, especially one that was already showing signs of fighting restraint at the vet's office. Even the vets were wrong to pin the dog down for x-rays, unless it was a life or death type of procedure. I always attend to x-rays with my dog, if at all possible, and if I suspect my dog wouldn't take to being pinned down by a stranger... not an unlikely scenario when you get the types of dogs that I prefer such as a Bouvier, Doberman, etc. In your case, a typical Aussie would normally allow x-rays by strangers, but if the dog is worried about the procedure, then it would have been better to stop the x-rays, go home and work on getting your dog comfortable being placed on its back, and then going to the vet at a later date and helping them do the x-rays. A good vet would work with you and your dog to make sure the experience was a positive one. Now, this dog has twice been pinned down by strangers, which is going to make it harder and harder in the future to get this dog to trust certain procedures. I have no idea if the hanging your dog experienced will cause brain damage or lasting behavioral problems, but it is a concern.

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot "correct" aggression this way. The "correction" your dog received isn't a behaviorally sound way of dealing with biting. It won't prevent a repeat of the same situation in the future.

I wish you and your dog well. Find another trainer. Get references!

Sam Basso

1 comment:

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