I am so sick and tired of shit like this or this happening and almost everyone putting the blame on three parties: The dog (most common), the child, and the parents.
There is one party who in my opinion is the MOST responsible for dog bites, and it doesn't involve any of the normally blamed subjects above.
If you follow my blog, you know I like to keep things simple, unfiltered, and to the point, so let's begin:
This is the most obvious. Everyone wants to freaking jump at the dog's throat and I can see why, after all, it's the dog that did the damage.
But let me be the advocate here, and I would like to begin by saying that I have no problem pointing out a crappy temperament when I see one. I'm not all for the dog or claim that the dog can do no wrong and that "if the dog got more attention it probably wouldn't have done that". Sometimes the dog is just an ASSHOLE!
But let me tell you why the dog should not be the first to blame.
*Do you blame an ant for biting you when you step on its ant hill?
*Do you blame a bee when it stings you? even for no apparent reason?
*Do you blame a cat when it kills a bird even if it was only done as play?
You don't. These animals just do things because they do. You don't blame a lion when a male takes over a pride, kills the males of the pride, chases the youngsters away, and kills the cubs. Yeah it may be horrible but it's just what they do.
Dogs that bite, do so because there is a reason to do so. They may feel their space is being invaded, they may kick into prey drive and bite a person because its drive kicked in and it had no impulse control, it may have bit as a means of communication, etc. etc. etc.
Not all dogs can be adopted out to the average family, or even to the experienced owner. There are dogs that shouldn't even be adopted out ever! Some of you assholes fly off the handle when someone says your dog looks skinny or when someone criticizes the way you train or handle dogs, why would you expect a dog to do and react the way it feels is best to react given it's circumstances?
Yes I've been guilty of that myself. I have made fun of it, and I have no problem holding a child responsible.
But to advocate for the child, how many dumb things did you do as a child? Aren't there things you remember doing that now you ask yourself "How did I make it this far?"
I got scratched by a stray cat once because I went and tried to pick it up.
So yes, we can hold them responsible for sure! but at some point you have to realize it's still a child and it will make mistakes just like most of us have.
I don't blame a child for WANTING to hug a furry animal.
THE PARENTS / ADULTS:
Yes! I do this! I have no reservations when it comes to holding the adults responsible. I'm with you all in this one!
But before you were a dog person, were you always this responsible? You really can't say that you were always an expert in dog language! I mean, think about it! they're dogs, they look friendly more than half the time. Especially if the dog is at an adoption EVENT!!!!!
You have to be able to put yourself in their shoes and realize that when parents or adults let their children be inappropriate to dogs, it's not because they want to put their children at risk! it isn't! No parent gets up thinking "today I feel like putting my child in grave danger".
If I, as an ignorant person adopt a dog and know very little about dogs. I may not know about body language. You can't be mad at a pet person for adopting a dog without taking a dog training or bite prevention class.
No one really goes to a shelter and thinks "How can I add stress to my life and people in my neighborhood?" or "How can I become a liability?"
Yes people need to take responsibility for their dogs' actions! I'm all for that. And this is probably the person that needs to be held accountable out of those three categories.
...But did you know there's one party that NEVER GETS BLAMED?? That in my opinion DESERVE THE MOST BLAME??
THE RESCUE ORGANIZATIONS!! THE DOG SHELTERS!!!
Yes, I said it!! NO ONE looks at the rescues when a child gets mauled, or when a dog tears the neighbors or when it kills a dog.
Why in the fuck would you advertise a dog that is too much to handle even for your staff??
These are supposed to be the professionals. These are the people who CHOSE to volunteer in this field!
And I don't specifically blame the the workers or the average volunteer, they really don't know a whole lot, they just want to help out. But who's in charge???
You as a rescue or shelter, have the HUGE RESPONSIBILITY of matching a dog to a person. That's a big freaking deal!! It's life changing!
Out of everyone, these organizations are to blame the most. I know they're not professional dog trainers. I know they don't have a lot of training in the field. But again, who's CHOOSING to go into this field? I don't really see "ignorance" as an excuse to be honest. As I was saying on a friend's post earlier, I'm not gonna open a wild animal rescue because I love big cats and then wonder what went wrong when someone gets mauled to death.
As I explain in the video, I actually work with dog rescues on a regular basis because of my job. Some of the rescues we work with are good and the volunteers are awesome and willing to listen and learn. Some don't give a shit, it's mostly a numbers thing with them.
Freaking....Learn how to do a temperament test! Stop being so damn biased! "Oh these dogs are just misunderstood" or "It's all in how you raise them", "Oh but look, he's wagging his tail, there's hope" (I actually have heard a rescue worker say this with a straight face). If you put yourself in a position to make connections that will negatively or positively affect two lives or more, you can't say shit like that.
And you notice, no one points the finger at these rescues! ever!
They need to be held accountable, they need to educate themselves.
If we scrutinized these organizations more than we scrutinize breeds, there would be a lot less incidents.
If you volunteer at dog shelters/rescues, please make the effort to educate yourself in TEMPERAMENT! dog training is nice and will certainly help. But I know dog trainers that know the basics and know very little about temperament. Knowing about temperament and how to properly match the right dog to the right family will ensure everyone is happy and reduce any possible issues.
I have three dogs that I know would be put down, would have bit people or never gotten adopted. Two of them are rescues, but they were fortunate enough to be paired up with someone who understands temperament and their needs. I will never put my dogs in situations where they or someone else might fail. And there are many dogs like these in the shelters!
In the immortal lyrics of Andy Williams, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Now, be that as it may, to continue the tithings if good cheer and prevent a possible trip to the veterinary emergency room we’ve got some precautions for you. These are especially important if you are considering a puppy as a gift for a loved one, or have recently adopted/rescued a dog and this will be the first holiday season you’ve had with the dog.
1. Keep the candy dish out of reach of your four-legged family members. Just incase you missed the memo, chocolate is toxic to dogs. Well, no… Not really. There’s a little more to it than that. Let’s get sciencey. Chocolate contains substances known as methylxanthines (specifically caffeine and theobromine), which dogs are far more sensitive to than people. Different types of chocolate contain varying amounts of methylxanthines. So technically, chocolate isn’t toxic to dogs, however, the theobromine in chocolate is. In general, though, the darker and more bitter the chocolate the greater the danger.
For example, Vincent (my 50 lb German Shepherd) could ingest 8 ounces (227g) of milk chocolate before getting sick, but can be poisoned by as little as 1oz (28g) of Baker's chocolate. The first signs of theobromine poisoning are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased urination. These can progress to cardiac arrhythmias, epileptic seizures, internal bleeding, heart attacks, and eventually death.
I’ve talked to several people in the past who have bragged that they’ve given their dog chocolate and that Fido is just fine. Well, personally I’m not willing to take that chance. Need I go over the complications brought on by theobromine poisoning again? The afore mentioned are horrible ways to die. Do your dog a favor and just keep the human candy out of reach.
2. That Christmas tree sure does look nice there in the corner of the Livingroom. Keep an eye on your dog around it though. There are a few dangers herein that you may not be aware of.
Needles: Don’t let him chew or swallow fallen Christmas tree needles. They are not digestible and can be mildly toxic depending upon your dog’s size and how much he ingests. The pine tree oils can irritate your dog’s mouth and stomach and cause him to vomit or drool excessively. Tree needles can also cause a small bowel obstruction or perforation. It’s important to point out that both of these conditions will require surgical corrective intervention.
Water: Pine water can poison your dog. Preservatives, pesticides, fertilizers and other agents, such as aspirin, are commonly added to tree water to keep the tree fresh. Treated water can be harmful to a thirsty dog, so use a covered tree water dish to be safe.
Lights: Don’t string the bottom of your tree with lights unless your dog is conditioned to leave the lights alone; some types can get very hot and burn the dog. Firmly tape cords to the wall or floor and check them frequently for chew marks or punctures. Dogs who gnaw on electrical cords and lights could end up with serious electrical burns. An electrical burn cause by chewing on wire also can cause pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) which can be fatal.
Ornaments: If you decorate the tree with glass ornaments, your dog (especially puppies) may knock over the tree trying to get to one, or injure itself trying to play with a broken one. Swallowing an ornament also can cause a gastrointestinal blockage. Some ornaments may be lethal depending upon the materials or chemicals used to create them.
Hooks: Use ribbon, yarn or lightweight twine to hang your ornaments avoid use of traditional wire hooks which can snag an ear or wagging tail. If swallowed, they can lodge in your dog’s throat or intestines.
Tinsel: If you trim your tree with tinsel beware that your dog may be attracted to it due to its shiny and reflective nature. If they can get it into their mouth it can become an air way obstruction, or a blockage of the GI tract. Surgery is often necessary to remove the tinsel from the GI system. In the unfortunate event that your dog is choking on the tinsel and you see it hanging out of their mouth, DO NOT try to pull it out. Because you don’t know what’s on the other end of the tinsel pulling it out could make the injury far worse. The same goes if the dog is defecating and you see tinsel hanging from the rectum.
It may seem like a lot, but rest assured it really isn’t. Some basic obedience training for the dog will mitigate many of the holiday risks prevalent around the winter holidays. Otherwise, just keep an eye on the dog(s) when they’re in the living room with the tree and when you cannot realistically watch the dog, crate him until you can.
Written by: Jason Sigler. Canine Training and Behavior Specialist, and blog contributor.
This is a common question out there among dog trainers and people interested in a career in dog training. Having gone to two different dog training schools and working as an instructor at one, I will give you my perspective on the subject and help you decide if it's even the right thing for you.
I wont advertise for the schools I went to. This will be unbiased, partially because one of the schools I went to and work for don't want to be directly associated on social media with a degenerate like me. And I don't blame them, I do post some pretty inappropriate and unfiltered content between my Instagram and Facebook page. ;) If you follow my page, you're going to hell too. Jesus is watching you, just saying.
So you want to be a dog trainer and don't know how to get started? Read this first! This article I wrote a while back will help you see if dog training is what you think it's going to be.
Let's assume you've already done your research and are ready to embark on this journey. I will break it down into categories to help you decide what school would be good.
WHAT TRAINING METHODOLOGY ARE YOU MOST COMFORTABLE WITH?
"Well I don't know, I hoped school was going to help me with that."
We have students that come to our school, which is a school that teaches all 4 of the quadrants of operant conditioning, meaning we teach the proper use of Reinforcement, Punishment and how to properly use all training tools. In our school, many times we get students who are not comfortable with prong collars or electronic collars because they have some bias. Most of them change their opinion of these tools and approaches because they learn how to properly use them. Many of them even become very pro-ecollar and prong collar, not because they love to hurt dogs but because they learn how these tools can be life savers.
We also have a student here and there that never really made that change in their opinion. And it doesn't matter what information is presented to them, they just don't buy into it. And hey, that's perfectly OK. These are the students that would probably be happier at a dog training school that matches their belief system.
I can tell you I would have learned a lot from going to a purely positive dog training school but I would also have been frustrated later as I worked with cases where I needed different approaches. So I'm happy I went to school where I did.
So to conclude this section, research the schools, read their curriculum and talk to an instructor if possible. Don't talk their ear off as they are very busy, but call with a list of questions they can answer.
CAN YOU AFFORD TO GO TO A DOG TRAINING SCHOOL?
Don't be surprised to find out some of these schools range from a few thousand to over $10,000.
These are very specialized schools that have to follow state regulations to be qualified as continuing education institutions. There is a lot work involved in teaching you, and this wont come for next to nothing.
If you're a veteran and can have the VA pay for your schooling, be on the lookout for schools that take the GI Bill and /or Voc. Rehab.
***Please be warned that you need to successfully complete the course if you have the GI Bill pay for it, because if you don't, the VA will be coming after you to get ALL their money back, from tuition to BAH!***
I have to stress this because I've had students that were not aware of this and thought they could just slack and get their $1000 + in BAH just for showing up. Nope! if you don't successfully complete, you'll get to see a different side of the VA, one that is speedy and responsive!!
Additionally, you'll be out of work for whatever amount of time this school lasts, it could be 4 weeks or over 4 months. That's difficult because there's no income while you're going to school, unless of course you have a source of passive income.
DO YOU DO WELL UNDER PRESSURE?
Don't come to school thinking that it'll be "fun". If you have fun in the process, great!
But these schools are very intense, there are deadlines! There are academic and attendance standards. You know why? because they have to abide by their state's post secondary educational regulations. This allows them to call themselves schools and makes the nice certificate you get at the end a valid document.
So these schools wont hold your hands, they'll help you if you want to help yourself. But it's not one on one coaching. You're signing up for a school. I have worked with trainers who've attended other schools and their experience was very similar to mine. Work, work, study, study, maybe an hour here and there to eat and poop, but that's about it.
Some schools don't actually have state regulated curriculum. So their attendance and academic requirements might be a bit more flexible, but you will still grind from sun up to sun down.
If you don't do well with pressure, maybe a dog training school is not for you. Maybe you'll need to look at workshops and seminars to get your education. In no way am I trying to sound like a snob here. Workshops and seminars are very helpful and you will learn a lot! But having gone to seminars and workshops myself, I can assure you the road is a bit lengthier than emerging yourself in a full-time school.
Another thing to consider, is that school is never over. Once you graduate, you've gotten a huge foundation! but it's still just a foundation. There's no replacement for experience and getting your hands dirty. You have to recognize you need to keep training, reading, studying and going to seminars. Dog training is a career long journey, not a ride.
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH SCHOOL TO GO TO?
It's very likely that you've already done your homework and now you have a few choices. You will keep hearing about other dog training schools. Make sure you keep the same criteria to screen your choices.
So now you're torn. Is it a matter of finances? You may have to compromise a bit.
One thing you can do is contact the schools and talk to them to get a list of graduates you can get in touch with. You can also ask on dog training groups and forums. Odds are you'll hear from a graduate of one of your choices.
When you get to talk to the students of those schools, make sure you talk to actual graduates, not people who went to the school and got kicked out or were unable to graduate as this more than likely wont be a fair review.
When you talk to graduates of these schools, be careful with the cheerleaders too. They loved the school but their outlook in life is so positive and optimistic that they will literally have nothing negative to say about the school. Chances are you're not this optimistic, and your outlook in life is not that bright, where you see opportunity in every disadvantage. Their feed back is great! but you're also missing some negative things about the school.
Be careful with disgruntled graduates too. Unlike the cheerleaders, these people have an incredibly negative outlook on things or HAD an incredible outlook on things at the time. They'll tell you all the negative things about the school without any positive feedback. It's virtually impossible that a school doesn't have a handful of positives about it, unless every time you talk to a graduate of the school, they all have similar horrid complaints. This may be an indication of an issue with the school, not the perception of its former graduates.
Lastly, don't take feedback from a person who didn't actually go to the school. I can't tell you about a dog training school I haven't gone to, yet people feel very comfortable giving you feedback on a school they never once stepped in. So take their feedback with a grain of salt.
Do you even need to go to a dog training school? There's an alternative. Look, you don't HAVE to go to a dog training school. Many of the dog training giants in our industry never went to a formal school.
This doesn't mean they didn't study though!! Some of the best dog trainers out there are thinkers! they're creative! and make a conscious effort to be better with the next dog. They didn't just go through the motions.
You can do something for 15 years or more and still be bad at it! So it's not just about "Time" and "Experience". Learning is a process, it's a daily choice.
So you don't have to go to a dog training school. You can learn on your own by volunteering, reading, going to seminars every chance you can. It takes consistent studying! you can do internships (If you do, I recommend doing multiple internships under different trainers). There is a vast amount of information out there. A dog training school just puts it together in an organized and linear format.
Just because you don't have the budget to pursue your dreams doesn't mean you can't pursue your dreams.
One of my instructors in the first dog training school I went to, worked for free for the first year. He approached the company he now works at a while ago and begged the owner to give him a chance to prove himself, that all he wanted to do was clean kennels and do whatever needed to be done to learn what now he's very proficient at.
ONE LAST WORD ON DOG TRAINING SCHOOLS:
In closing, I want to remind you that no amount of schooling or signed certificates can replace hard work and dedication. Dog training schools are hard and very rewarding, why? Because being a dog trainer can be hard work. A dog training school is not going to guarantee success. Your journey is not over at graduation, all that means is that you do well on tests. No one is going to hold your hand while you're in school. No one cares about your feelings when you're in school.
My boy Jaxx serving as a distraction for a 2017 class
Back in 1985 I lived in Susterseel, Germany. I was but a child. New to the area; I didn’t know anyone and thus had no friends. The owner of the hotel that we stayed in for the first few months had a German Shepherd (GSD). He looked pretty old and seemed to have low energy but he was very friendly. That dog became my only friend for weeks. He was the reason I fell in love with the GSD breed. He walked with me every morning to the bus stop and was waiting to greet me every afternoon when I got back from school. He was an amazingly sweet dog. But at the time even at the young age of six years old, I could tell that something wasn’t quite right with him. Walking looked painful. My parents thought it may have just been because the dog was old. It turned out, this sweet dog was only five-years old. Looking back on it now some thirty-ish years later, I believe the pain was from hip dysplasia. And mankind is to blame for it.
For decades the GSD was among the most popular breeds in the world, but their numbers have started to decline. New research suggests the decreasing demand for GSDs may have something to do with the breed’s propensity for health problems which is likely the result of selective breeding for cosmetic traits.
A relatively recent shift in the way GSDs are bred has been linked to the breed’s current predisposition to an array of health conditions, according to research published in July of 2017 on Canine Genetics and Epidemiology. Compared to other breeds, GSDs are now disproportionately prone to musculoskeletal disorders, osteoarthritis, diarrhea, EPI, obesity, and behavioral problems. These findings should raise some red flags among breeders, but as long as people are still willing to fork out $2,500.00 and more experts are skeptical that anything will be done to remedy the problem.
Contrary to popular belief the GSD didn’t show up until the first part of the 1900’s. Shortly after their first appearance they became one of the worlds’ most popular breeds. Historically, these dogs were bred for work such as herding, military, guard duty, police, guide-dog and service work. Originally a medium sized dog topping out at about 50lbs, their popularity as guard dogs resulted in them being bred for a larger size (85lbs-120lbs) and a more confident temperament. In recent decades, however, breeders have focused on the breed’s aesthetics rather than their overall functional health. This is especially true regarding the “show lines.” The resulting changes to the breed’s physical characteristics due to selective breeding has now impacted the health of GSDs as a whole.
GSDs being predisposed to many health conditions is well documented. In 2013 researchers collected data on approximately 500,000 dogs from veterinary clinics across the UK. This study included data going back to 2005, along with data from dogs who were under veterinary care at the time of the study.
Disturbingly, out of roughly 500,000 dogs (12,146 being GSDs) nearly 300,000 of them (7,652 GSDs) had at least one disorder recorded in 2013. And according to this research, most are most likely to be euthanized due to complications arising from musculoskeletal disorders such as hip and elbow dysplasia. An astonishing 263 different health conditions were documented in the breed, the most common being inflammation of the ear canal, osteoarthritis, diarrhea, obesity, and aggression. The average GSDs typically live to be between 9 and 13 years old, which is actually pretty good, but its quality of life may be diminished because of the breed’s susceptibility to so many health complications.
Bearing all of this in mind, it isn’t difficult to see why the GSDs popularity has declined over the past decade. Who in their right mind would make the conscious decision to purchase, adopt or rescue a breed with such an abundance of serious health issues? Dr. Dan O’Neill of the Royal Veterinary College stated, “Our results highlight the power of primary-care veterinary clinical records to help understand breed health in dogs and to support evidence-based approaches towards improved health and welfare in dogs; interestingly, we found osteoarthritis to be one of the most common conditions reported, which may be caused, in part, by breeding for cosmetic traits such as lower hindquarters or a sloping back.”
With all of the selective breeding aimed toward sloping the back of the GSD I can’t help but wonder, how has that become the breed standard in conformation? “The withers are higher than and sloping into the level back. The back is straight, very strongly developed without sag or roach, and relatively short. The whole structure of the body gives an impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness." This is the “SV” standard originally set up by Max Von Stephanitz (the “architect” of the German shepherd), which near as I can tell is the mandating authority on all things GSD. Yet, looking at the past years prize winners for conformation it seems to me that this standard has been grossly ignored and in doing so the GSD breed as a whole is suffering because of it.
Not long ago I adopted a GSD that had to be euthanized three years later due to complications perpetuated by a genetic disorder caused by bad breeding. I have since had two other GSDs and every time they defecate I breath a sigh of relief when I see that it’s a healthy dump. No dog owner should ever have to worry that their dogs’ health will turn on a dime due to man interfering in genetics through selective breeding.
Jason is a friend of mine and contributor to this blog. He's a certified Canine Training and behavior specialist and is currently training his GSD in PSA (Protection Sports Association)
If you're into martial arts please give his FB page a visit. He's a Karate and Tae Kwon Do instructor as well.