Forum Replies Created

  • George Halet

    July 25, 2020 at 5:44 pm in reply to: Mouthing – Quick Fix for Shelter Dog Handling?

    Thanks Mike! Great reality check and reminder not to be lazy and do what’s easy for me at the expense of making things worse for the dog.
    The dog we have now (Arlo) is actually pretty easily redirected into a sit and his mouthiness is only annoying.
    Some ideas I’ll try as a result of your advice:

    • Making a toy more enticing by putting some peanut butter on him while I gear him
      Maybe a little surreptitious tug  😉
      (his coat is so long it’s hard to do gear him quickly)
    • Having an air interrupter as  backup
    • Take Arlo into the yard with a slip leash and put more gear on him once he has burnt off a little steam

    Poor Arlo is restricted to the indoor yard now (no outdoor walks because he gets rowdy outside) and yesterday he played well for about 30 minutes before I put him back in his “dorm” using the trick below.

    Neat trick
    Knowing that others have had problems escaping, I used a neat trick I picked up from an IAABC Shelter Dog online course I took a few years ago: putting a leash on the loop of a slip lead so that it can be removed from outside the dorm. (found the same trick here)
    Then I go back in to fill up his water – having a watering can makes it hard for him to be rude and he learns that escaping is not so easy – over time, they give up being pushy.

  • George Halet

    October 8, 2019 at 7:44 pm in reply to: WaPo article about Vicks Dogs

    My favorite dogs to interact with as a shelter volunteer are the bully dogs, for their goofiness and confidence. I had a couple back when I lived in the country in Canada and they were so much fun.
    However, knowing what I know now, especially thanks to watching Foundation 4.0, I would be much more careful about adopting another pittie – due to the higher consequences of errors. I don’t love them any less, but I respect the need for skilled handling more.

    I spent a week at Best Friends in Kanab last year and, if I were a dog, it’s not a bad place to be, with plentiful volunteers for walks and big outdoor runs. I would prefer it to being isolated in a suburban home, as happens to so many of my neighbors’ dogs.

    BFAS is a pretty effective publicity machine and they must have made compromises to have achieved that. On the other hand, besides running the sanctuary, they are driving for all shelters to achieve “no kill” (> 90%) status by 2025 and part of that initiative is counseling shelters on how to get there. My impression is that they are a net positive influence.

    But I take your point, there is kind of an unfortunate religious fervor at BFAS (and the Humane Society where I volunteer) around:

    • not discriminating against pit bulls
    • not using punishment in training
    • not believing in the existence of dominance (I love the simplicity of “first right to limited resources” and thinking of it as a parental role – thank you Mike for having ethology as a foundation)

    Looking at the bigger picture, focusing on adopting out dogs in shelters is an end-of-pipe solution (i.e. does not address the root cause), but I don’t know what a feasible model would be for large-scale dog “production”.
    Let’s say these wishes came true:

    • All the puppy mills and sloppy back yard breeders disappeared.
    • Only competent, humane breeders raised dogs and they selected for temperament and health over appearance.
    • Breeders would not sell the wrong breed to consumers, or sell companion dogs to people who did not have the appropriate resources (time, money, knowledge).

    This would happen: there would not be enough dogs to go around, or they would be so expensive that much fewer people could enjoy the benefits of living with dogs.
    I am left to conclude that the existing model of inexpensive over-production of dogs and the need to euthanize the excess capacity/defectives is the inevitable consequence of our priorities.

    What should be the cradle-to-grave vision for making the right dogs widely available to people that minimizes suffering on either end? And what is the most effective way to get there?
    Are we actually on a decent trajectory and it’s gradually happening?

  • George Halet

    October 1, 2018 at 10:51 am in reply to: Street Dogs Outside my Room

    Thanks Mike for the advice! I’ll ask at the shelter if they know of any citronella spray around here. In the case where I was bitten, my mistake was not realizing that I should have watched my back. I was not thinking of how my actions would appear to a dog. I was in full ape mode  😉

    Two of the Gang of 4 will come within a few feet of me know to take treats (diced hot dogs). I toss the treats where I want to them to be and don’t do it for very long each time. The one that bit me just barks from a distance mostly,  although he has started taking the odd treat.
    This group also hassles people riding by on scooters and the Thais take it with very good humor, although I have heard that biting, especially of kids, is a capital crime and will result in poisoning.

    None of them have ever come anywhere close to confronting me when I walk towards them while giving them the eye (like what you advise in the video “Info BEFORE you train an aggressive dog”).

    As far as giving strokes, I am definitely not forcing myself on even the friendly dogs that welcome me. If they show any apprehension, I just stick to letting them sniff me. I do let most of them lick my face in greeting if they choose to, but never approach my face to theirs. Only the dogs near my room and in the shelter are confident enough to do this – the actual street dogs rarely approach me.