News 2013 - October - December
|Latest News 2013|
A BREEDER'S TALE...
Yesterday we were contacted by a boarding kennels in Gloucestershire (not a million miles from Wales). Social Services had put a three year old male rott into their care as the owner had mental health issues. The owner has now signed the dog over as he is unable to keep the dog. Along with the dog came the pedigree. The kennel owner contacted us for advice as the dog has not bitten anyone, but is quite aloof and shows his teeth and growls when being handled.We are not in a position to take this dog. We are full. I asked one of our reps to contact the breeder as she claims to always take her dogs back. This is the response from the breeder.....
Sue Denham (Cameus Rottweilers) Malcolm has been in hospital, I am ill in bed at the moment. My Dad has just had an operation for bowel cancer ( he's 87) and I'm trying to look after him.Always in the past I have taken any of ck as you know, but, there#s no way we can collect the dog. 'Ive never dumped my dogs in rescues in the past. But I don't feel mentally or physically able at the moment. Hope you understand,.
This rescue will from now on name ANY breeder that does not take one of their own dogs back, providing we have contacted them first.
RESPONSES TO THE ARTICLE ABOVE:
I was sad to read “A breeder’s tale” on your website today. I can certainly sympathise with the breeder. Indeed I feel desperately sorry for her! But I am still left wondering what happens to the many dogs we continue to breed. Who takes responsibility for them? I am sure there are no “easy” answers, but I sometimes wonder why breeders continue to breed when so many dogs are abandoned and destroyed. At the very least should breeders not be held to the same account as owners - that is, they should carefully consider their decision, think through and plan for eventualities, and ensure they are able to take care of the dog for the duration of its life.
Firstly let me say perhaps it should have been called A Breeders Tale of Woe! Thank you for naming the breeder. I truly believe that what you have done today will make them aware that by not taking responsibility of the dog, which they have breed for the money not for the good of the breed or whatever crap excuse they want to use, they will be named via your Rescue.
The dogs in question were breed by them for money and the breeders only see them as £ signs and not as living creatures, they were responsible for breeding them and its the breeders responsilbity to look after/take back the dog(s) for the rest of its living days no matter what age this may happen be it 6months or 10yrs,for the rest of that dogs life, it is the responsibility of the breeder and breeder alone. For many years breeders have been able to fob off people that have purchased their dogs with one excuse or another, well not now, I do hope that others rescues will take this approach as well. Knowledge as they say is power, well we all now know that this breeder is not willing to take her responsibility for the life she has brought into this world, but yet quite happy to have taken the money she was paid for the dog. I wonder with all this money that this particular breeder would of made, through various dogs, could she not kennel the dog till her so called situation (which to me is everyday life we all have problems) could be resolved., I am pretty sure she could of afford to do that, oh but wait that would be taking RESPONSBILITY!
I have copied this post from one of our supporters on facebook. The post was about taking on older dogs.....here is what Gareth had to say...
think I have to add a little to the debate...
Firstly, you guys ! The donations for 'Lo are mind blowing. I can't say thank you enough. I've always wanted to get that t-shirt made that has a silhouette of my pooches, and says 'They'd die for me..' and on the back '..I'd die for them.' and I can't tell you how amazing it has been to find a group of people with the same values.
Sorry, I've just realised that it's taken me quite a while to write this post, as I'm getting quite emotional. Ok, enough of that.
As for older dogs, - I used to be obsessed with border collies in South Africa. Then Kim and I became an item and the rest, well...
Shortly after, she got Ishtar. Her first Rottie. We loved her to bits. Watched her grow, and become a central member of the family. For several reasons, Kim and I came over to the UK a few years later. The quarantine laws we're a little rough (fugging nasty, is what I actually mean, no dog should be pulled away from a loving family for 6 months plus... another story. Ask when I'm drunk.) so poor Ishtar stayed with Kim's folks in SA.
After we had been living in the UK for 6 years, the EU relaxed their quarantine rules and Ishtar-puppy (as she was called in the family, even though she was 12 years old..) was able to fly out and join us, and become an International Dog of Mystery (hat tip to Austin Powers..)
Kim, Ishtar and I had the most incredible year of adventure and excitement. Just try to picture a pooch coming from sub-Saharan Africa, and burying her bone in a snow drift. Then getting all hacked off when the snow melted and the fox nicked the now exposed bone. She thought white sand was completely crap, as it kept buggering off over-night.
Sadly, her health and hips went down hill the end of the year. Her back legs gave way, and I would have to carry her up and down the stairs, and hold her back half up when she was doing her ablutions. She also then developed a neurological condition and that is where her life changing volume in our lives came to a close.
Ishtar changed everything for us. From her personality, temperament and love, I don't believe Kim and I will ever own another breed. She was the calendar girl that changed our lives.
I realise I've now gone on for a while. I hope is post isn't just cast aside and that it helps some folks out there decide to look into an older dog. Ishtar-puppy has forever opened that wonderful door to us. I hope she can have done the same for some others.
I'm not the 'touchy feely' or getting down with you 'sensitive side' member of this family. I'm more the 'kill anyone who screws with my pack' kinda guy. But I *try* to live my life by the maxim 'those who can, must.' and as such, I hope this inspires someone out there who thinks, 'heck, maybe I can do something'.
If you can, you MUST.
CHILD AND DOG SAFETY
Following the sad death of Lexi Branson, I decided to collect together some thoughts on children and dogs, rescue dogs, dog bites and aggression, and child and dog safety.
Children and dogs
Dogs are good for children. Dogs provide love, acceptance, affection and companionship; and being around companion animals has calming, therapeutic effects on children and adults alike. Dogs teach children about responsibility, empathy and self-control, and children who live with dogs have greater social skills and self-esteem, in comparison to children without a canine companion (for some examples see Katcher, 1985; George in Ascione & Arkow, 1999; and Love & Overall, 2001). Owning a dog is also associated with increased activity levels and social interactions (e.g. Cutt et al., 2007).
There are many reasons why adopting a rescue dog is a better and safer option than buying a puppy from a breeder. Here are just two…
Healthy, temperament-assessed dogs. Responsible rescues (like the RRT) only re-home dogs that have been fully assessed by a vet, are neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and treated for parasites. In addition, all dogs undergo extensive temperament assessments. Like people, every dog has its own unique personality and rescue centres carefully match each dog to a suitable home. Moreover, once a dog has been placed in a home, rescues (like the RRT) are always available for help, advice and support.
An adult dog! Yes, that really is an advantage. Adult dogs still play (a lot). They like fetch, tug, hide-and-seek, as well as balls, squeaky toys and playing with random things they find in the garden. Older dogs are still adorable, devoted pets who will bond unreservedly with their new family, AND they are housetrained. They do not need to be taken outside every 2-3 hours. They do not demand your constant attention. Older dogs will not nip at clothes, shoes or fingers, and, if you are lucky, they may even be trained. Adopting a dog of any age is a big commitment. But dogs, as apposed to puppies, are generally more manageable, less time consuming and adapt more easily to a family home.
Dogs are dangerous (just not as dangerous as balloons and slippers)
In 2010, three people died as a result of dog attacks, compared to 655 people who died in stair-related incidents, and 1,970 who died in transportation incidents (Gorman Dunbar, 2013). As Bradley (n.d.) puts it, dogs are dangerous - just not as dangerous as balloons and slippers:
Dogs are dangerous. And they are more dangerous to children than to adults. Not as dangerous of course, as kitchen utensils, drapery cords, five-gallon water buckets, horses, or cows. Not nearly as dangerous as playground equipment, swimming pools, skateboards, or bikes. And not remotely as dangerous as family, friends, guns, or cars.
Here’s the reality. Dogs almost never kill people. A child is more likely to die choking on a marble or a balloon, and an adult is more likely to die in a bedroom slipper related accident. Your chances of being killed by a dog are roughly one in 18 million. You are five times more likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning (Bradley, n.d.).
All dogs will bite when they are sufficiently stressed (e.g. Donaldson, 2005). However, dogs VERY seldom bite without good reason and due warning (e.g. Rugaas, 2005). Moreover, the vast majority of dog bites require no more than a bandaid (Bradley, n.d.).
Why do dogs bite?
Dogs bite for a number of reasons including fear, frustration, over-stimulation, resource guarding and pain. Commonly however, dogs bite in response to a combination of these factors (Donaldson, 2005).
For example, I would not usually react to an insult. However, on a bad day, after over-sleeping, missing my train, getting rained on, being late for an important meeting, getting shouted at by my boss, etc. - I would probably misinterpret even the most benign comment and “snap” at the poor unsuspecting person. Dogs are no different.
When a dog is exposed to anything he or she finds stressful, stress hormones are released into the brain. Stress hormones can remain in the dog’s brain for hours or even days, causing chemical and physiological changes, and making dogs more susceptible to future stressors (e.g. Rugaas, 2005; Dickerson & Kemeny, 2004). Any subsequent stress factors have an accumulative affect. So a dog who is usually able to tolerate strangers may, for example, snap at a stranger because they are already stressed from being left alone/hearing fireworks/being unwell or in pain. Here is a simplified graphic representation of bite thresholds and the accumulation of stressors (adapted from Donaldson, 2005):
The above model shows how stress factors accumulate causing even the most tolerant dog to bite. Just because a dog bites, does not mean it is “bad” or “dangerous”. However, once a dog has bitten, it is more likely to resort to this behaviour in the future. It is therefore vitally important to recognise when our dogs are becoming stressed and take action before they resort to biting.
Dogs also bite when they run out of options. Consider the following scenario (adapted from Douglas, 2011):
Fido is a little uncertain of strangers. A guest arrives in his home so he runs to his bed. Fido’s owners would like him to greet guests when they arrive so they gently take him out of his bed to say hello. His owners reason that once Fido meets the guest, he will realise that there is nothing to be afraid of. After all, the guest is a lovely sensible dog owner who has come especially to meet Fido! The dog looks away, yawns, licks his lips and hides behind his owners legs. The guest asks if she can stroke Fido. Fido’s owners say “Yes of course. He’s a little shy but he’s very friendly!”. The owners hold Fido’s collar as the guest reaches out to pet him…Ever heard of fight or flight? When dogs are unable to escape a stressful situation, they have no option but to bite in order to get people to back off and leave them alone. However, just like Fido in the above scenario, dogs almost always give us a host of signals to let us know they are uncomfortable and feeling anxious. When we ignore these signals and fail to keep them safe, the dog looses faith in our ability to protect them and is forced to resort to defending themselves.
Calming and stress signals - learn to recognise when your dog is asking for help
Studies have shown that dogs give calming or stress signals to indicate that they are uncomfortable or stressed (e.g. see Rugaas, 2005). Common signals include:
- Lip licking
- Yawning (when not related to waking up or tiredness)
- Panting (when not related to exercise or heat)
- Turning head/body and looking away
- Avoiding eye contact
- “Half moon eyes”, when you can see the whites of a dog’s eyes
- Stiffened body
- Shivering (when it is not cold)
- Furrowed brow
- Ears back
- Snarling, showing teeth, lips curled back
- Stiff movements
- Avoidance/hiding/running away
- Growling, barking or whining
- Excessive licking
- “Clinginess” towards the owner
Once the dog is safe, you can take action to address the problem. Either ensure you avoid future reoccurrences (for example, by teaching children how to safely interact with a dog), or help your dog overcome their fears with the help of a trainer or behaviourist, or using counter-conditioning (see Further Reading below).
Child AND dog safety
As parents and dog owners we are responsible for keeping our children and dogs safe. We are all told that dogs and children should be supervised at all times. However, supervision is more than just being present in the room. Supervision requires careful observation of your child and dog’s behaviour and intervening if your dog is showing signs of stress or your child is behaving inappropriately.
Here are some golden rules for child and dog safety:
- NEVER treat a dog unkindly. This includes hitting, intimidating, teasing, bullying, pulling ears/paws/tails, pinching, yanking collars or leads, or pinning (aka the alpha roll). Do not leave your dog alone for extended periods of time and do not chain or tether your dog. Do not use inhumane equipment or “training” tools such as prong or shock collars or choke chains. These methods have been shown to increase frustration, anxiety, fear and aggression in dogs (Humane Society of the United States, 2005). If you would not do something to your child, do not do it (or let your child do it) to your dog.
- Do not disturb a dog while they are eating, sleeping or if they have something in their possession which they are likely to guard.
- Do not cuddle, hug or attempt to ride on dogs - most dogs find this very stressful.
- No rough and tumble games. When dogs play rough they can become overexcited and jump-up, bark, growl or snap.
- Respect a dogs decision not to play. Dogs try to escape when they are feeling uncomfortable. If this occurs while your children are playing with the dog, praise the dog for making a good decision and ensure your children do not follow or pester the dog.
- Train the dog. Training is an essential part of dog ownership. Enrol in classes and get the children involved. Training provides mental stimulation, it is an excellent opportunity to bond and spend time with your dog, and is enjoyable for both dog and trainer.
- Time outs for everyone. If play is getting too rough, if the dog is looking stressed or if you or your children are getting frustrated or angry - it’s time for a time out. Calmly and quietly lead the dog to a pen or room and close the door. Wait a few moments until you, the kids, the dog (or all three) have calmed down, and then calmly let the dog out again. Better still, ask for a sit or a down and then, as a reward, let the dog out again.
General body language
Calming signals (very important signs that a dog is stressed)
Dog play gestures (useful for spotting safe play)
Stressors and bite thresholds
Breed specific legislation (and the problem with classifying “dangerous dogs” by breed
The use of prong and choke collars
In Defence of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding (by John Bradshaw)
Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training (by Karen Pryor)
On talking terms with dogs: Calming signals (by Turid Rugaas)
The culture clash (by J. Donaldson)
How to Train A Superdog (by Gwen Bailey)
Ascione, F. R., & Arkow, F. (Eds.). (1999). Child abuse, domestic violence, and animal abuse: Linking the circles of compassion for prevention and intervention. Purdue University Press. (http://media.wix.com/ugd/00af52_dbc25f597e11c74ce121cfc4a82e6697.pdf).
Bennet, Robin (2013). Why supervising dogs and kids doesn’t work. (http://www.robinkbennett.com/2013/08/19/why-supervising-dogs-and-kids-doesnt-work/).
Bradley, J. (n.d.). Dogs bite: but balloons and slippers are more dangerous. (http://www.dogstardaily.com/storefront/dogs-bite-balloons-and-slippers-are-more-dangerous).
Cutt, H., Giles-Corti, B., Knuiman, M., & Burke, V. (2007). Dog ownership, health and physical activity: A critical review of the literature. Health & place, 13(1), 261-272.
Dickerson, S. S., & Kemeny, M. E. (2004). Acute stressors and cortisol responses: a theoretical integration and synthesis of laboratory research. Psychological bulletin, 130(3), 355.
Donaldson, J. (2005). The culture clash. Dogwise Publishing.
Douglas, M. (2011). He’s just scared… but he would NEVER bite… (http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/hes-just-scaredbut-he-would-never-bite).
Humane Society of the United States. (2005). National Pet Related Statistics. Shelter Pages, 37-38.
Katcher, A. H. (1985). Physiologic and behavioral responses to companion animals. The Veterinary clinics of North America. Small animal practice, 15(2), 403.
Lomonaco, Casey (2010). How are dog bites like Tetris? (http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/how-are-dog-bites-like-tetris).
Love, M., & Overall, K. L. (2001). How anticipating relationships between dogs and children can help prevent disasters. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 219(4), 446-453.
Rugaas, T. (2005). On talking terms with dogs: Calming signals. Dogwise Publishing.
Gorman Dunbar, K (2013). Fatal dog attacks and BSL. (http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/kelly-gorman-dunbar/fatal-dog-attacks-and-bsl).
CHILDREN AND DOGS
WHAT A CHILD NEEDS WHAT A DOG NEEDS
A bed of its own A bed of its own
Physical stimulation Physical stimulation
Mental stimulation Mental stimulation
Firm boundaries Firm boundaries
The list for children’s needs and dog’s needs are the same! Children need teaching all aspects of life whilst growing up, so do dogs. Both children and dogs learn best in a happy, relaxed and calm environment. So why do people think taking on a dog is easy? The dog is not going to teach itself….YOU have to put the time and effort in to teach it how to behave in an acceptable manner…..just as you have to teach your children!
We have had many dogs in rescue over the years, some sweet, love everyone on the first day dogs, some who need some time to get to know and trust you, some that are quite honestly...hard dogs. By that I mean hard to rehome. A bit touchy, not happy to accept strangers or over handling....The last category tend to be dogs that have been brought up as "one person dogs" or dogs that have had no training, or limited socialisation. For every "hard" dog we take in...we effectively kill three or four "easy" dogs...what should we do? This is only MY view (Shelley) Nothing to do with Peter.....please send me your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
APPEAL FOR ROLO
Rolo's story is quite involved. He first came to us as a pup of 6 months old, two years ago. Having been fostered with Lorraine, we placed him into a home. Unfortunately, the couples marriage broke down, and Rolo came back into our care. Rolo was a difficult pup, and we feel that he probably went through quite a bit of trauma during the breakdown of the marriage...i.e. being shut out or hearing lots of shouting etc. When he came back to us, he was very difficult to handle. He was and is very friendly, but hated having his collar touched and was food possessive. He is also a "trier"! Typical lippy young adult male! He had been in both foster and kennels for nearly a year when he partially ruptured his cruciate ligament. This needs repairing. (It happened in October) We could not have the operation done at that time as it seemed unlikely that anyone would take Rolo into their hearts and home, but to do the operation which costs in the region of £2,500 and put him back into kennels would be to throw money down the drain, as the aftercare is so very important and cannot be achieved in kennels. A few days after his diagnosis, a couple came forward to foster Rolo, with a view to keeping him. We do not put dogs into homes needing veterinary treatment...dogs have always gone from this rescue as healthy as they can be. But in Rolo's case we decided to see how he would settle before doing the operation. Our vet confirmed that Rolo was not in any pain and that to let him settle for a few weeks was a good idea. Well, Rolo has now been with his foster home for over a month and they have done very well with him, and would like to keep him. So, we are now asking for help to pay for his cruciate operation. We are not asking those of you who are regular supporters, but there are many dog lovers out there...and hopefully some of you will find it in your hearts to donate to the "Rolo Fund". Any donation, however small would be very much appreciated....our Paypal address is email@example.com. Bank details are on the Home Page of the website. Thank you for helping Rolo.
Rachel Hodges has kindly donated this original painting...worth at least £200 for the Rolo fund. Details below....
Here is the framed Artists Proof of "Rottweilers" by world famous artist Stuard Mallard. Its signed by the artist and has a certificate of authenticity on the back. Can be delivered to the RRT Sunday Training Day. Would make a lovely Christmas Present. £200 donation (or nearest offer) to RRT and this one off is yours. Please be
generous...this painting is fabulous!
Phone calls we have had since 01.11.13.
1 year old male....man is now working long hours.
2 year old male....too boisterous with new baby in the house.
5 year old male.... outside dog.. man working long hours.
6 month old bitch...owners homeless after a housefire.
7 year old bitch...neighbours complaining as it is being left outside day and night.
3 year old entire male...marriage break up.
4 year old entire male....outside dog..aggressive.
6 year old male...outside dog...aggressive...owner moving.
An update from Phil Baker, who has Barney, an RRT dog..
A HARD JOB
Today we were supposed to be taking into our care a little bitch whose owner was very ill and who would not be allowed the surgery he needed unless the dog was gone from the family home. I (Shelley) asked him all the usual questions when he phoned. This little bitch sounded perfect....or nearly! Today his wife arrived at the kennels with the dog. She had a very different story to tell. That her husband is seriously ill and that they can no longer keep the dog is true....
However, the dog has some serious issues with men, strangers, other dogs, is food and toy possessive. I (Shelley) told her to take the dog away - we will NOT take it into kennels. I explained that the kennel staff would be at risk, and that we cannot find a home for a dog like this. The lady understood....but she does not want to destroy the dog herself. I asked her where she had got the dog. She bought it four years ago for her son (who at the time desperately wanted it)...who never looked after it properly and so the family took on the job. The dog has never been trained, been off lead or socialised. I hope this will send a message to all soft, loving Mums out there who buy dogs for their young and stupid adult children.... because ULTIMATELY the problem will become yours. Rescues cannot keep picking up the pieces from these very avoidable mistakes WHEN WE HAVE SO MANY VERY GENIUNE CASES TO WORK WITH.