OK I have not read every last post here but I found it all very fascinating. If I repeat what someone else has already said please feel free to ignore it lol.
Firstly, I am a dog trainer and have completed 3 courses in dog psychology (which works on the theory of pack leaders and energies etc, like Cesar Millan) but that does not make me an expert and I hate when dog trainers speak to dog owners as though they know nothing and the trainer thinks they know everything. I am not one of these trainers I love to learn and I am a huge fan of positive thinking and like to put it into practice as often as possible.
I have six dogs. My first 3 dogs were very small dogs, and I learnt from them immensely. I now own a whippet, a labrador, a Great Dane, a Staghound Great Dane Cross, a jack russel and a German Shepherd and they are all very well socialized. I made ZILCH bears whilst each was a puppy LOL. They have all completed puppy school and obedience training and I attend dog agility and obedience trials every week ~ however I once owned a Bulldog who attacked my three day old calf (baby cow). I don't want to go into details too much but I could not get the dog off the calf. I called my father to come and take drastic measures which years ago I would have vowed I'd NEVER do to a dog ~ but later when I could calm down (months later) I realised that the calf could have been someone's child and that would have been worse. I am a psychologist for dogs and work with the leader theory however sometimes there is no other option but to ...... (sorry to be so blunt) kill the dog.
I actually have nothing against pitbulls or staffies or similar breeds, I don't believe it's the fault of the breed I believe it's the fault of the owner.
This dog that attacked your precious yorkie (which by the way are such cute lil dogs!!!) was probably out in front of it's owner, tail held high and totally in control and in charge of his "pack." Given this mind-set, there is no way you could have changed his mind about attacking your dog. Not in a few seconds, anyway. Pepper spray is a great idea!!! I had never thought of that but will have to get hold of some. I walk all six of my dogs together and often fellow dog-walkers walking passed see me coming with my five huge dogs and one tiny dog lol, and they are so afraid that this energy passes through the lead to their dog. I have only ever had one instance of another's dog attacking mine in which I could not fix in the moment (usually I can stop the attack before it escalates). Thankfully in this instance my dogs did not react to the mastiff who attacked and waited for my command or action ~ and I could trust my dogs enough to drop all six leads and stop the on-coming mastiff.
Without a doubt, it is ALWAYS about the owner, not the dog. This does not in the slightest mean that the owners are "bad" it just means they need to learn more about their dogs and the way they think and how what you do can effect the dog's thoughts and actions.
It's horrible that this dog attacked your yorkie and it is wrong that the owner obviously doesn't care. The dog and the owner need help. I find that mostly it is men who own these big "tough" dogs lol, and they only like to walk it around the town and show it off. The dog suffers from the owner's ignorance.
Again what a great idea is Pepper Spray!!!! I will have to have some, however well behaved my own dogs are I can't account for other owner's dogs so pepper spray is great.
You should definitely let the police know about the staffy as it needs some help. I don't know if a muzzle is a good idea though. My German Shepherd is the best behaved dog I own until a muzzle comes near him. He wore one alot when he was young as my neighbours didn't trust him, and he's good at wearing it even now. The only problem is when we come across another dog he feels threatened and as though he is not able to defend himself even if he wants to, and all of a sudden he will bark and growl (which he never does). So I don't know if a muzzle is the best idea, perhaps the owner of the staffy worked this out too and left it off his dog just when you saw him.
Please let us know how you get on with this whole situation as I'd like to know how things go.
Also, if you'd like any tips or hints on dogs and behaviour in general feel free to PM me. I would like to please point out to you all that although I studied dog psychology for about 4 years and spent alot of money on learning it, I don't EVER charge for my professional consultations ~ if I charge people don't let me help, so my bears are paying back the courses I took and I help owner's to train their dogs for FREE.
Anyway feel free to ask any questions if you'd like to I don't mind helping ~ I love to help when it comes to dogs.
Hi Gabriele, Thanks, I found reading your post very interesting and agree with you on most of it.
This attack actually happened last November, so 10 months ago. I went to the police, and reported the guy, so he was charged and taken to court where he was fined and ordered to pay compensation to my pet insurers, who paid the almost £700 vet fee........ so in all he has to pay almost £1000 and the dog has been ordered, by the court, to be muzzled at all times and kept on a short lead when in a public place.
I am a dog~walker (as well as a bear maker) and also walk 6 or so dogs of all sizes, all together, with my own yorkie, I take them in my car up the fields, have done this for the past 5 years and never had any problems thankfully. We always had dogs when I was growing up too.
This guy, as far as I know, has never had a dog in his life, then goes out and gets this one, not having a clue about dogs, what they need or how to train them. The Staffie in question hardly ever (or never) gets a proper walk, no mental stimulation, nothing, like you say, he's just used to show off from time to time, then stuck in the back garden, so it's not surprising that it's dog~aggressive.
I found out since it attacked my dog, that it's attacked other dogs in the area, and nobody reported it, so nothing was done to help educate the dog or the owner..............now he's been ordered by a court of law to keep it muzzled or it'll be destroyed, and he can't even do that. He really doesnt deserve the company of our canine friends, and it's actually cruelty on his part the way he's brought it up.
I don't have a crystal ball but I can only see a sad, boring and short life for this Staffy. It'll only be a matter of time before it mauls someone elses pet and that'll be curtains for him.
I'm really glad you got something out of my post I was worried someone would think I babbled lol.
The staffie you are describing obviously has alot of pent-up energy and on top of that believes he has to be in charge of his "pack" as the other member, the human, is so obviously not. I don't think he sounds like a dominant dog just a very confused dog that has had no attention or training. His owner's energies towards the dog are obviously just those of "look at my dog" and the dog feels that ~ he knows his pack member is not stable (LOL) and the dog knows it is his job to become the leader as someone always, at all times, has to be pack leader. A pack can never be leader-less. This dog knows this, as all dogs do, and as the human obviously isn't leading the dog steps in ~ which he shouldn't. Dogs shouldn't have to make their own decisions based on the idea that they're the leader as that is how they become aggressive. They deal with situations themselves in flight or fight mode and do not wait for a leader's commands as they don't have one.
I feel very sorry for the dog as it sounds as though things will not go well for him. If only there were rehabilitation centers like Cesar Millan's in every town in the world LOL then there would be no problems!
Also I'd like to say how great it is you're a dog walker! That's such a great job to have and so great to be able to go from making a bear to taking a relaxing break and walking dogs. That would be great for yourself and for all the dogs I can honestly say it should be easier for you to prevent dog attacks from coming at you and your dogs in the future simply because you have multiple dogs with you. Lone-dogs with only "one pack member" (the human) would not attack a group of balanced, calm dogs with a calm-assertive leader (you). I often find when I am walking my dogs (they all walk behind me or to the side, not in front, and all tails are pointing down) that strays or wandering dogs come along and join us, trotting along behind with the other dogs until they feel too far from home and then they turn and go home. It's amazing what calm-assertive energy can do and that other dogs WANT to join you because your pack is balanced and is a great "time out" from all the unstable human relationships they get back home. It's truly amazing to watch ~ my friend actually filmed me at one time walking my six dogs and we have 12 following, lead-less, across roads and everything! WOW did I feel special ROFL.
Good on you for walking so many dogs at once I know it is quite an effort lol, especially with puppies and naturally head-strong dogs
How is your yorkie now? Did he come out OK, well and safe and sound?
Delilah, my yorkie, she's actually back to her normal cheeky little self, which is great, as I feared the attack would change her amazing personality, but it hasn't so thats good. She's a tough little egg
I too feel sorry for this dog and even contemplated walking it myself, but decided not to, as I have enough with my own dog and all my customers dogs. Its' really sad as it's such a huge problem the world over.
I feel really blessed with my dog-walking job and also the bears as neither actually feel like 'work'. We walk about 3 ~ 4 miles every weekday morning around fields, not far from here, or drive to a local beach, rain or shine! All the dogs are great, all individuals with various different quirks but that just makes the job all the more fun. Your household sounds like fun too, I just love dogs, well all animals really.
Yes I love all animals too (I have two cats, six dogs, two calves, 30 chooks and a goldfish LOL).
I feel sad for the other dog too however it's great to know your dog is back to normal! If you were any closer I'd offer to keep the other dog myself too. That is how I got my lab and my Staghound Great Dane cross, I rescued them from their owners LOL. They're great now and the only aggression I ever see is from the lab and it's only ever towards her owner if we pass him on our travels.
We walk in paddocks and all over the place too although I wish there was a beach we could go to! My jack russel literally duck-dives in water, I drop food in creeks and he will duck dive and snorkel along the bottom until he finds it ~ it's so cute!
This is a huge problem the world over and that's why it's hard enough trying to look after your own dogs let alone rescue everyone else's. There is a mastiff staffie cross living down the road from us and I think he may end up living with me ~ I used to help the owners and train the dog but it all went in one ear and out the other for them. They just use him to parade around town with his huge studded collar when he's such a marshmallow. They are looking to give him away so he might just end up here....
By the way I absolutely love your bears and watched Juniper's auction on ebay ~ I really wanted to bid actually but I'm trying to stop collecting and keep making!
Keep enjoying your bear making and dog walking, it's all good for the soul.
Gabriele, your household sounds great, and it's lucky that people like you are in this world That's exactly how I feel when I speak to this dog's owner, you can almost see your advice going in one of his ears and out the other one!
I just love the company of dogs, they are such great company and so much fun. One of the dogs I walk, a border collie, he doesn't like high vis clothing, you know the dayglo sort the postie and some joggers wear! I had on a luminous yellow t shirt one day I went to collect him, just so he'd see it was 'only me' under the evil day glo t~shirt, well you should have seen the look he gave me! a real 'what are you wearing!' look
I've had a lilttle King Charles Spaniel called Marley, who came over here with his mummy from the US, they stayed in Scotland 2 years and then moved back to America, I felt heartbroken when I heard this little dog was leaving, I just loved him I had to get a grip, but I really missed him.
Thankyou for your compliments on my bears, you are very kind. I'm going to have a look at yours later on today. Got to go and pick up the dogs now, sun's out
I was so waiting through all of these postings for someone to mention Cesar Milan - Thank you Gabriele!
This is one of the most understandable, common-sense trainers I've ever listened to. He was featured just yesterday on the CBS Sunday Morning 90 minute program. I loved the images he showed of both Pres Obama and Bush with too long a leash on their dogs and practically being pulled off-balance by their dogs who were waaaay out in front of them while on walks.
#1 Rule - the human always goes through a doorway first with the dog following and while walking, the dog is behind or—at best—walking beside the human; never never never allow the dog out in front.
Unless you want the dog as your Pack Leader and to rule your life....
YOU are the pack leader and if that isn't made absolutely clear to a dog from the moment you get your dog (pup or adult) you will never gain control over a dog's behavior in all areas. Unfortunately, in today's culture, too many (especially in the US) treat their dogs like possessions/toys/substitute children/friends/buddies/etc instead of understanding the role of a pack animal and how & why a leader is determined and NECESSARY for the health of all concerned!
Yes, you can still play with your dog; it isn't all sternness and discipline but some basic understanding of a dog's built-in psychology and behaviors must taken into account and work within that parameter or don't have a dog in your life.
Too bad there isn't some psychological screening one must pass before obtaining a dog .....
I don't believe it's the fault of the breed I believe it's the fault of the owner
I have been hearing this a lot. Can someone clarify - I know there are a LOT of people who should not be allowed to have dogs which are considered a dangerous breed, however I am sure there are people who have these dogs who are quite responsible people.
I have an Australian cattle dog and whilst he has a heart of gold, I would never ever trust him - if he set his mind to hurt a child for whatever reason, I'm sure nothing I could do would stop him. Also, if a dog senses someone is afraid or nervous around it, i believe it makes the dog nervous and could possibly make it want to bite. Perhaps I am wrong but I'm not sure it is always the fault of the owner.
Thanks Bobbie I was also amazed no one mentioned Cesar Millan sooner What you said about going through doors and gates with your dogs behind you is great advice, and is also just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to dog psychology, but with that one rule and also MAKING your dog walk behind you with the power of your own calm assertiveness are two ways to have a better relationship with your dog.
Leanne, blue heelers are gorgeous aren't they? They're also very headstrong and make great guard dogs etc. I'm an Aussie too and love this breed! To answer your question, no matter what is supposedly "wrong" with the dog it is always to do with how the humans have dealt with the dog from day one of owning the dog. It's always the owner. Humans don't speak "dog" and trust me there's a lot more to a dog then meets the eye. Every living thing is constantly conveying energies to every living thing around it and dogs read these energies with total honesty. You cannot hide how you are feeling from a dog and that is why it takes practice to become a good pack leader. Only a stable, calm, assertive person or dog can be a pack leader. If the dog expresses issues it is because it either does not have a pack leader and feels as though it must become the leader ~ which it is not supposed to (that is very dangerous) or, it does have a leader but the leader is unstable and therefore sending wrong messages and energies to the dog that can be easily misinterpretted and cause attacks or aggression. It is always to do with the owner not understanding how to communicate and behave around their dog that causes any issues a dog might show. It's not to do with the dogs species, breed, the name you've given it, it's parents or genetics ~ it is all about communication and how the dog thinks. NO DOG should be pack leader if it is a pet. That makes them very dangerous, however 75% of pet dogs are pack leaders or unstable within their human families.
In Australia pit bulls have been banned as of today since the fatal attack from a pit bull on a 4 year old girl in Australia recently. Police are literally going door-to-door removing pit-bulls and pit-bull mixes from their homes and destroying them ~ I think this is WRONG. Most of Cesar Millan's personal pet dogs are pit bulls and he has them with him on almost every episode of his show, "The Dog Whisperer." His well know pit bull, "Daddy" recently passed away however he was an amazing dog and one of the most balanced dogs you ever would have met. He was once a trained fighting dog used in illegal dog fighting rings, and Cesar Millan rehabilitated him into the perfect dog. Pit bulls should not be destroyed, their owners just need to be educated on how to deal with their dogs properly. Pit bulls have a strong attack instinct that needs a strong calm-assertive mind. My german shepherd could not have belonged to someone who wanted him as a "trophy dog" as he would have been dangerous I believe. He needed every moment of attention and careful training I gave him as a puppy and am still giving him. That's what these dangerous breed dogs need, they need attention and careful training. That means someone has to train the owner to train the dog lol.
There is also an idea going around at the minute that ALL dog owners should have to pass a test with every dog they own to see whether they are fit to own a dog and whether they know what they are doing. I think this is a good idea, personally.
Someone I met whilst walking my dogs the other day asked my opinion on owning german shepherds and great danes as they were thinking of getting one or the other as a gift for their daughter who's always wanted a puppy. Neither of the parents have EVER owned a dog in their whole lives, and their daughter is 3 and a half years old....... Do I need say more? People need educating about the dogs they choose and then they need educating about how to deal with the dog they choose......
Anyway enough from me I'm babbling, sorry! Don't mean to sound like a know-it-all or anything, I believe anyone can own a dog and follow Cesar Millan's methods if the choose to ~ everything is a choice. There are not only a few people in the world who can do this, anyone who wants to can learn to and master it. And you don't have to spend a lot of money to learn (I only took my courses because people didn't take me seriously with how I dealt with dogs until I could say I'd completed courses in the field ~ silly I know).
There's no such thing as a bad child. Right? Kids aren't born "good" or "bad." Birth doesn't determine whether kids will turn into criminals or become scholars. No! It's the child's upbringing and education.
Same thing goes for dogs. It's not the dog's birth that makes it a "good" dog or a "bad" dog. It's the way the dog is trained.
At the turn of the last century, Pit Bull Terriers used to be called "Nanny Dogs."
If you wanted a dog to look after your children you would buy a Pit Bull. Do an internet search. Google "Nanny Dog" and see what comes up. You'll find lots of pictures like this:
It wasn't until people started training Nanny Dogs to be fighters that they got the reputation as "Pit Bulls."
It's not the child who is bad. It's the parents who let him go bad.
It's not the dog that is bad. It's the owner who makes it bad.
Really interesting reading everyones posts here. I agree, but ........ I know this is a whole new can of worms but, certainly in Scotland, I don't know about other countries, but here, there is the problem of people breeding these Staffies, and other breeds, willy nilly, not having a clue about dogs, breeding, or genetics, and I think a lot of these dogs are too closely bred, and a bit crazy because of this. I certainly think it's madness that just anyone can breed dogs and as many as they want
Dog breeders know more about this than I do but, as I understand, dogs (and other animals) can be inbred to bring out desirable characteristics in the bloodlines but they are supposed to be "outbred" at least one of every three generations to prevent genetic problems from causing problems for future generations.
In humans, we say that people can not marry closer than second cousins. If you think about it for a second, that means that we have to introduce new genes in no fewer than three generations. (Second cousins are two generations apart.)
So, if people are breeding dogs closer than "second cousin equivalent" (animals can't technically be "cousins") they are breaking the same generational rule as humans. We know what inbreeding does to humans but why don't people see the same problems with animals?
With that aside, it is still up to the humans to oversee the care of their animals to ensure that they grow up to be happy, healthy and productive.
We domesticated the animals. We brought them in from their natural state in the wild and made them our servants. We have, thereby, assumed the responsibility for their care, just the same as we care for the human members of our family.
A human who doesn't live up to that responsibility is not a moral person just the same as they would be if their abused their own children.
Hmm the old nature vs nurture debate. I guess you're right Gabriele, apart from Max, my blue heeler I also have a shitzu x jack russell - Max would never hurt a hair on his head, even though Patch annoys the heck out of him. I have always brought my dogs up with lots of love and affection. It's a shame there is no restriction in place on people owning dogs who just shouldn't.
In Australia pit bulls have been banned as of today since the fatal attack from a pit bull on a 4 year old girl in Australia recently. Police are literally going door-to-door removing pit-bulls and pit-bull mixes from their homes and destroying them ~ I think this is WRONG.
Sorry but I don't think that's correct, it hasn't been passed as yet.
Ok...... I'm not sure why you think that, I did not think it had been passed either but it was all over the news the other night so I just assumed. They showed police taking people's dogs from them etc. It was apparently rushed through the stages because of the 4 year old that was killed in the mean-time ~ to my knowledge it has been passed, but I could be wrong and if so I'm sorry
And Leanne, you mentioned that people should not own dogs if they do not give them lots of love and affection ~ well this is true, you need to care for your dog, but as we are humans and we show love for each other by sharing affection we often misunderstand that dogs needs are far from human's. Sharing affection with a dog nurtures whatever state of mind they are in at the time you are sharing affection with them. If they are terrified of something and have gotten a fright, and the owner rushes in "Awww you poor thing, here I'll help" petting and stroking the dog to "make him feel better" ~ this actually teaches a dog to repeat this unstable state of mind every time he is scared. The time to share affection with your dog is when he is CALM and SUBMISSIVE, and when you are simultaneously CALM and ASSERTIVE. I do believe you must love your dogs however loving a dog is much different to loving a human ~ they take things in a totally different way to humans. The best time to share affection with your dog is after a long walk.
Also, affection to a dog is not just cuddles and petting, affection can be food, water, a bed to sleep in ~ that is why it's best not to feed your dog before a walk as they learn that food is simply bought to them and dropped in front of them conveniently. Always feed your dogs after a walk as that way they have learnt that nothing in life is free, and that they have to EARN that bowl of food. It's also important to make sure they know it was YOUR bowl of food and you are choosing to share it with them since your are the pack leader. A lot of dogs "block" their owners when eating, to protect their dish of food, it's important not to allow this and to block right back again lol. Only block when in a calm and assertive state though.
I am aware that it's not always possible to take your dog for a walk before their fed ~ my dogs don't always get fed after a walk as I do have to go to work and there is often something that forces me to feed the dogs and then go out. You can't always keep up this however if you can, you should. it's also a good idea to make your dog wait for it's food ~ to sit in front of it and ignore it, to look at you, until you say they may eat.
Before I'm off I'll also say that humans are NOT calm assertive or stable when you're crying or showing any kind of overwhelming emotions like anger etc. So then if you are crying you should not share affection like hugs etc with your dog as he learns that you are not the leader and of course he must then take your place ~ in one second you have lost your leader status. If you are very angry you should also not go and pet and hug your dog, or shout at it (just because you shouldn't doesn't mean we all don't occasionally ~ sometimes when I'm super angry I shout at the dogs and then wish later I hadn't, it sometimes can't be helped).
By the way I think as long as your dog is not being mis-treated you are on the right track! I am not trying to tell anyone what to do I'm just giving little pointers if anyone chooses to follow them then that's great, but everything is up to you I mean the best in everything I'm saying, I only want to help
Grrr, I hope you gave them a piece of your mind! I walk a so called 'dangerous dog' occassionally and he's a lamb, but because of attacks like that people panic when their dogs are near him, which makes him tense in return, so he has to wear a muzzle even though he'd never do anything... better safe than sorry...
I'd say a short leash would be better.
In some parks in this area all dogs are required to be on a leash 6 feet or shorter. Now that begs the question of whether the owner can control his dog but, as far as I am concerned, if one can't control his dog he has no business owning one, much less walking it in public.
While not my favorite thing, choke chains or electric collars are sometimes called for when dealing with large dogs that don't behave. It's really an oxymoron when governments pass laws that restrict the use of collars and other dog control devices then pass other laws that tell people that they must control their dogs in some other way. That leaves the owner with little choice but to expose himself to trouble if the dog should bolt or cause trouble in some other way.
It is not out of the question for a St. Bernard or some other large dog to hurt people even if it is wearing a muzzle. It could easily break away and knock down a child or frail adult and pin them when one good yank on the choke collar or the press of a button could have discouraged the dog in the first place.
I do not think these methods are okay to use on all dogs or even some dogs in all cases. You would never put a choke collar on a Chihuahua but it's certainly a possibility with a German Shepherd. Neither would you put such a collar on an old, frail dog or a small puppy. But, if you have a large dog which needs occasional negative reinforcement, these things should never be off the table.
Basically, it's the government that says, "You can't do this" and "You must do that" which causes the problem. People have fewer choices to control their dogs in the first place. That puts them and other people in danger. The law should give dog owners the right to do as they see fit, within reasonable limits, in order to keep their dogs under control and for the good of the public order.
If a dog owner does not comply then he should not be allowed to have a dog in public. If a person drives a car and causes an accident because he didn't obey the law, he loses his driver's license. The analogy I put forward above should also apply. If your dog causes harm because you didn't obey the law, they you should not be allowed to have a dog. (Unless that dog is 100% confined to your property.)