Friday, November 28, 2008

Barking Mad... The Continuing Saga

A former TV executive has confessed to shooting dead his neighbour's dog after becoming annoyed at its early-morning barking.

I have blogged on this topic before. Some people go absolutely insane when they hear a dog barking. Sometimes it can be just a little woof that sets them off. Might be a complaint to animal control, might be a lawsuit, might be them killing your dog, might be them purposely getting your dog to bark in order to get you in trouble... Whatever the situation: Beware of these goofy people... they are nuts and they are coming for you and your dog.

I have worked with numerous dog owners to help them with their barking dogs. Sometimes the owner's dogs are at fault... but sometimes it is the goofy old man next door, or the crazy woman down the street who have a psychological problem and the idea of a dog barking is enough to set them off... Not all dog barking is a nuisance or illegal or unwarranted, and not all dog barking is worthy of what these cretins will do if they start to target you and your dog.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Puggles - The Verdict

When Puggles (Pug / Beagle cross) first came out as a breed, I was quite skeptical. After working with a number of them, and watching them in action, I have come to the conclusion that it is a success as a breed. I wasn't quick to jump on the bandwagon, because not all new breeds are a good combination.

I like the breed. They typically play well with other dogs, are pretty happy go lucky in temperament, are friendly, seem pretty healthy, not overly yappy or troublesome, and their owners love them, too.

So, if you want a Puggle, go get one!
Rescue Gone Amuck?

UPDATE: I received a call from Dan Irish yesterday (10/28/15), saying there is more to this story... an alternative account. As I stated when I first saw and commented on this story, there is a lot of silly stuff that happens in rescue. Many times, you really can't know the inside story unless you know the people involved. And the public, folks like me, can only know what the press reports. My opinions can only be formed by what is known. Yet, even the first article left me, and I'm sure the readers of the paper, with a lot of unanswered questions. Things didn't add up, and I could see that reading between the lines.

There is a second report, by Scott Anderson in the Amador Ledger Dispatch, entitled "Haunted by 'Rescue'", on 06/20/2012. You SHOULD read this account.

"Yet, as the longtime dog behaviorist stood in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Martell and waved goodbye to Buddy, something caught his attention - the woman's car had no license plates. Suspicious, Irish quickly attempted to call the phone number she'd left him. It was fake. He looked into the address she had given. It didn't exist. Irish was overtaken by a horrible feeling. Several hours later Buddy was dead - euthanized by an active member of Northern California Golden Retriever Rescue, a nonprofit organization that claims to save dogs."

I don't know the parties involved, didn't witness the events. But in all fairness, now that I know there are two sides to this story, I feel it is important for my readers to see both and then do their own research and form their own opinions. Further, if you wish more information, please contact the parties involved, including the papers and the reporters.

My opinion is still the same: Once again, another rescue mess.


Dog rescue volunteer Jill Morgan has received death threats and angry e-mail messages, and her property has been damaged, she says in retribution to her controversial call to euthanize a golden retriever she deemed too aggressive for society. Morgan, who has rescued and placed hundreds of dogs for eight years, in October answered an ad on for a dog she previously handled and knew had aggression problems toward other dogs. She gave a false name to adopt him and had him euthanized. The dog initially was rescued by Norcal Golden Retriever Rescue, where Morgan volunteers, and was adopted out to dog trainer Dan Irish after a number of failed attempts to modify the dog's behavior. Irish, of West Point, said he rehabilitated the dog and then put him online for re-adoption, violating his agreement with the rescue group to keep the dog. According to Irish, he made no such threats but did call her foul names when he learned she falsely represented another group to gain access into his facility for an investigation... officers went to his home one time more than five years ago because he exceeded the limit of dogs on his property. Irish, who last week said he has 10 dogs, is allowed only three dogs and four cats because he doesn't have a kennel license.

What a bunch of silliness! I have worked with rescue groups for years, and sometimes the members will do some pretty stupid things. Sigh, the stories I could tell... and don't because there's no reason to get sued for libel and slander... questionable dogs adopted out; money spent foolishly on dogs that were too old and too sick and should have been put down; inter-organizational squabbles; people overstepping their authority on behalf of the organizations and costing them tens of thousands of dollars; people who shouldn't be rescuing dogs at all setting up their own private shelters, oftentimes severely underfunded and therefore inflicting more abuse upon the dogs in their care; people with mental problems adopting dogs that should be put down; and on and on.

This story doesn't surprise me at all. My opinion of what happened here? First, the adoptee apparently had an agreement with the rescue group to keep the dog and not give it to someone else. Second, the organization could have enforced this agreement. Third, dogs that are dangerous to other dogs don't need to be put down, they can be managed in a variety of ways by people. Forth, you don't go and play James Bond, put a fake name on an application and then put a dog down outside the authority of the organization you apparently represent... looks bad, puts them in a liability conundrum, its got to be some kind of fraudulent thing, and lying is just plain wrong. Fifth, this trainer, if he did what they say, and if there was an agreement to keep the dog, was wrong to not just turn the dog back to the rescue organzation if he had fixed the dog. If there was no agreement, and he had fixed the dog, then he had every right to give it to another person. And if he hadn't fixed the dog, then something is wrong with this situation... and I'd like to know his reasoning for doing what he did. Apparently a lot of assumptions were made by everyone involved, and no one apparently just talked to one another before all this happened. Sixth, wasn't there another way? Did the rescue group do a good job of evaluating and placing this dog? And seventh... death threats? Who is nutty enough to issue death threats to others? This takes things to the level of a felony, most likely, and none of this is worth that.

My suggestions? These don't seem to be the right people to be involved in rescue or adoption. Time for a top to bottom re-evaluation by this rescue group of what they are doing, their procedures, and so forth. There is no way I'd want to be contributing to any organization with these types of problems.
First World Solutions In A Third World Country?

An animal rights group is urging Iraqi authorities to better ways to eliminate stray dogs after 200 of them were killed in Baghdad this week by poisoned meat and rifles. Humane Society International wants to work with Baghdad officials because their methods to curb the stray dog population are "neither humane nor have been found to provide long-term solutions to the overpopulation program,"... Baghdad authorities killed more than 200 stray dogs on Sunday, the opening day of a campaign to cull dog packs roaming the capital that was prompted by a spate of fatal attacks on residents. In its letter, the group suggests a "holistic approach" to the problem, including surgical spaying and neutering, education on the subject, legislation, dog registration and licensing programs for owned animals, and euthanasia "using humane methods and agents."

Well, whatever works. You can't have packs of dogs roaming a city. They are dangerous, and one reason we have leash laws here in the West. On the other hand, are conditions in Baghdad such that these suggestions can be implemented? First off, you'd need to fund an animal control department. Catching dogs, licensing, and so forth is a full time business. Second, you are dealing with an Islamic country where dogs are oftentimes considered unclean... at least that is true in Iran... I don't know about Iraq. Is Iraq sufficiently "westernized" to accept the changes in law and investment of money for animal welfare? I think it is worth attempting these changes and speaking up. Third world countries don't have to operate like the trash heaps of the world, especially a country like Iraq with it's huge oil reserves and buckets of money coming in.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving... Safety For Your Dog

Here are my tips for a safe Thanksgiving for your dogs...

1. Consider enrolling your dog in a doggie daycare for the day, or at least for the day before. A tired dog is a good dog, and by wearing your dog out a bit prior to guests arriving, your dog will be calmer and less likely to be a nuisance or be harmed. Or, if you can't manage your dog and guests simultaneously, then do the daycare during the day and board your dog overnight. Same with your guest's dogs.

2. Too late to train your dog... so SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE. It is also too late to train your kids and relatives. Put your dog in a crate or kennel when you can't supervise your dog, make sure everyone knows the rules for the dog, watch the doorways, watch the potentially poisonous foods, keep dangerous human toys away from the dog, and watch any family members that arent' good with dogs. Don't leave dogs unattended in hotel rooms, either.

3. Don't give your dog a ton of table scraps. You can kill a dog by giving it turkey bones. You can kill a dog by giving it chocolate, or the entire skin off a turkey, or feeding the dog a variety of other people foods. If you aren't sure if it is safe, then ask your vet, or better yet, don't feed it to your dog at all.

4. Lock the side gates of your back yard to prevent escapes.

5. Get your dog some extra toys to enjoy. If your dog's toys are old, or if your dog doesn't have anything to do... then no wonder your dog is getting into trouble.

6. Don't mix dogs. Guests bring their dogs to town. They might fight with your dog. And they take them to the local park and let them run loose, and these strange dogs might not have been out of the house since last year... unsocialized, wary, unruly and ready to get in a fight with your dog.

7. Kids and Dogs... can be a recipe for a disaster. Watch 'em, don't let them pester one another, don't leave kids unattended with dogs, and the rest of the usual advice.

Enjoy the holiday... and make sure it is going to be an enjoyable holiday instead of a mess.
Get Help

Two North Wales Police officers have been given community sentences after being filmed kicking and throwing their pet dogs around their back yard. Anja Mason, 29, and Craig Macleod, 34, were filmed by a neighbour who watched the abuse at a house in Prestatyn. They had admitted causing suffering to the dogs. They were also banned from keeping animals for five years.

I see a lot of "do it yourself" dog training out there. Many people have no clue whatsoever regarding dog behavior. Some harm their dogs physically, some do it psychologically, some do both. If you asked most of them if they liked dogs, they'd say yes. Weird, huh? In some of these instances, these people would be just as in trouble with the law as this couple mentioned above. Heck, these people could be your next door neighbors, or even extended family members, or even someone in your own home.

Simple solution: Hire a dog trainer!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tough Times

With tough economic times, people get in pretty difficult situations when their pets need medical care. Do you spend $500 to save the cat, or should you not spend the money because finances are tight and you might need that money for rent?

If you are in that type of situation, call your local humane society and ask for assistance. They probably won't provide you with the medical care or money, but they can oftentimes refer you to a low cost veterinary service in your area. It's also a good idea to spend a few bucks now on a first aid book for your pets. Read it from cover to cover, and make up a first aid kit for your pets. Heading off medical problems early on can save you a lot of money.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why Do You Have A Dog?

I have a dog because they make me happy, and I like making them happy.

What about you? Why do you have a dog?