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« Top 5+1 for February, 2012 | Main | Political Irrationality »

March 07, 2012



We recently lost a dog that had been slated for behavioral euthanasia (rest in peace my furry angel). She was pulled by a rescue volunteer who saw something savable in her eyes (and was chewed out by rescue management). She was homed and returned three times, once after only an hour, by people who said they would work through her many issues - but couldn't. She had an enormous steamer trunk full of baggage. She spent over a year at the rescue's kennel. I saw her picture on the rescue's website; I also saw something in those big brown eyes ~ and brought Ms. TrainWreck home.

It took a year to help her understand that other dogs were not targets to be neutralized. Shortly after that she made her first true doggie friend, a dog she outweighed by 70 pounds. More dogs were added to her social circle. She learned to play appropriately off leash. She earned her CGC. She became a bullet proof therapy dog who instinctively knew what to do. She travelled with us everywhere as an ambassador for her breed. Her patience with toddlers is legendary. I used her as the calm dog in obedience class, where she would lay off leash in the middle of class on a long down stay. Small timid dogs seemed to glom on to her, her energy was that calming.

This girl would have been considered part of that 10%. I'm forever thankful that there was a rescue volunteer willing to take a chance. I only wish I had found my girl sooner. In the right hands, it is possible to save some of these "difficult" dogs.

Barb Bristol

In some shelters, behavioral testing is abused in order to skew the statistics... in other words, normal dogs are classified as "aggressive" so they can be killed without being part of the adoptable category.
Heather over at Raised by Wolves wrote a brilliant post about this:


I have seen dogs that I know would have been put down in a normal kill shelter for aggression find great homes, but all of them waited several years in the no-kill shelter. It is really difficult to find responsible, intelligent people to work with dogs like these. I know they are out there, I've seen them! But a lot of people are stupid (as in, they return a dog for biting them because they tried to yank the poor scared thing out from under the table) or just too lazy to put a lot of work in a dog. There also seem to be a lot of people who follow CM's dominance bull and think that they need to growl at/scruff/alpha roll/correct out every "bad" behavior possible and this just makes these dogs worse!

There needs to be some way to find the great people and weed out the stupid and lazy people so that these dogs don't have to wait years or be made more fearful through punitive methods of training. I just don't know what that way is.

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