When to say When

A place to share rescue-related issues, vent, get advice, and debrief on the challenges of the work!

Re: When to say When

Postby ilovetyson » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:41 pm

merriterrier wrote:
Amie wrote::goodpost:

... it sounds like you really need to evaluate how adoptable this dog is - not just is he a nice dog, but is there a home out there that can responsibly contain him?

It's one thing to ask that he go to a home with no cats, but to ask that this home also be in a neighborhood without other animals? Or men? Or... well....


:goodpost:

This is a question all of us in animal rescue have to consider everyday. Is there a safe, responsible home for this dog (cat, whatever)? It might be a nice animal and deserving of a home, but when there are so many restrictions on the type of home that the animal can go to it really whittles away the options. Dogs die everyday who are bombproof. Why should we be compelled by guilt to continue to house animals who are marginally place-able?

:goodpost:
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Re: When to say When

Postby Amy Hendrickson » Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:31 pm

Thanks everyone for your support. I've done what I can to summer proof that side of the house, film on the window in the kitchen, there are half shutters and I put up blinds and curtains. My house is brick and that outside wall bakes all day. It's great for the garden I have planted on that side of the house but terrible to cook in the summer. Where he is now is the safest place, it's close to the exit and far away from the cats. It is the room that smells like them the least. If I moved him to my bedroom which is the coolest part of the house, he'd smell the cats all day and I think that would drive him nuts and I'm afraid given enough motivation & time, he would chew his way out of the crate. Which is why I have two closed doors with gates between him and the cats and they are behind a third baby gate to the back bedrooms during the day. Plus I'd have to drag him through the house every time I wanted to put him out. I try not to give him any access since he immediately starts casting about and scrabbling, it's a drag fest with him chomping and smacking.

As a pit bull he is not adoptable, his temperament is all wrong but as a catahoula whatever the hell he is, I really don't know. I don't know what's acceptable and what's not. I've read the descriptions on the catahoula bulldog and it matches what I see in him. I try not to stray into other breeds I know nothing about, especially guardian types. I can still see/feel his backbone down his back. He's got a roached topline and I don't know if feeling the spinus processes on his back is acceptable or if he should have enough fat over them to have a flatter back. So far, the only activity I've been able to do with him is fetch and it has taken a while to work up to that. He just isn't interested in my other than chewing. i've got a spring pole and a flirt pole and they don't do anything for him. He won't even really tug with me. So we fetch, and I have all three fetching so they run harder to try and get the ball before the others, it's working good.

I have never actually met a Catahoula dog so I really dont' know what to expect. I hear they are really quirky but people that own Catahoulas really seem to love them. I've met 4 merle pit bull types other than Gunny and I liked two of them. One was bred back into gamebred lines and she was super cute, typey and wiggly a really nice little dog but she would have been nice in any color. The other was an older pit, heavily scarred but a nice dog picked up in a rural area. He had enough pit bull blood in him to be very people friendly and wiggly. The other two, if I hadn't had another rescue that wanted them, I would have left them in the shelter.

So, is he adoptable? I don't know, I'd love to have someone else give me their opinion on him but I don't know from what perspective. He's a mixed breed so he can act on any side of his pedigree and is it acceptable? Some all breed rescues would put him down just for his cat aggression but his problems with people would be perfectly fine, his guardiness - OK. I'm uncomfortable with it to be completely honest. Would he bite someone.....given the right set of circumstances - yes, he does not have adequate bite inhibition. It's gotten better during his time in foster care with me constantly handling him (he would mouth my arms when I applied pressure to his legs but did not in the initial shelter eval). He will bite at me in play when he's excited and I've got a toy but I can also roll him on his back and hold him there for the vet to examine. There is one other rescue that would consider him placable and I could ask them for a trade if they had a cat tolerant dog but they are probably struggling just like we are.

He does act like a dog that has experienced killing a cat before. He's probably 4 or 5 so it's certainly reasonable. He just behaves like an experienced dog. You know how some dogs are, they catch a squirrel and it puts up a fight and from then on out, they are just obsessed with catching them. He's just obsessed with the hunt. I was hoping that it would get better the more he got used to being in the house with their scent but it's not. I've had some dogs that gradual desensitization worked and while they were never cat friendly or trustworthy, they could be walked by a cat on leash or be in the same room on leash without incident. We are never going to get the point where he can visualize a cat without a reaction.

Talking about it has really helped relieve some of my stress but it still doesn't solve the Gunny problem.
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Re: When to say When

Postby PitBull-Lady » Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:51 pm

Amy Hendrickson wrote:if a cricket farts in the next yard.


I'm sorry you are going through this, and I can't imagine being in your shoes... but I swear I thought I was the only one who said that phrase!
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Re: When to say When

Postby Amie » Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:11 am

Amy Hendrickson wrote:So, is he adoptable? I don't know, I'd love to have someone else give me their opinion on him but I don't know from what perspective. He's a mixed breed so he can act on any side of his pedigree and is it acceptable?


Don't get hung up on breed. It doesn't matter. No, it really doesn't. Is he safe? Can he be safe? Is there a home that can take him? It doesn't matter if he's more dog aggressive than a poodle would be or less cat social than a newf would be. Hundreds of thousands of people have no idea what their dogs' breeds are, and wouldn't know what to do with that information if they had it. You are dealing with the dog in front of you, not a written temperament somewhere. Is there a home that could keep him and themselves safe?
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Re: When to say When

Postby ilovetyson » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:57 pm

Question is this... Is he Aggressive.. when he meets Men? Or is he just standofish? Like we say on the forum here... DA And HA Are 2 different things. If the dog can't be with cats.. well.. as long as he is in a home that can manage that.. That is OK. But if he is aggressive with any human, man or woman.. that is where it gets bad...as far as I go.
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Re: When to say When

Postby Amy Hendrickson » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:48 pm

He's not HA or DA or food aggressive, if I evaluated him using the "screening" that the all breed rescue does. Assess-A-Pet by Sue Sternberg put together he evaluates as "needs experienced home". I know that she, herself would put him down, she seems to have no tolerance for anything that isnt' 100% bombproof.

if I evaluate him from what I think my breed should be - silly, goofy, very people friendly even to a fault, easily handleable even at times of high arousal but animal aggression (not barn storming) is acceptable. Should be trainable and eager to please. Dominance with other pets is acceptable but with people, not so much

Gunny is guardy, territorial, mistrustful of strangers (mainly men), aloof, not wiggly or happy. He's a serious dog. He barks at strangers, doesn't want strangers entering his yard. Male strangers will be charged by a barking dog, circled with continuous barking until he determines the level of threat. It is offensive, not defensive. Female strangers don't ilicit as quite a serious response. He is aloof but not wary, not really that interested in being buddy buddy but warms up very quickly. He warms up to men within a minute. I have never had someone "threaten him" to see what happens, that would just be silly in my opinion. I don't want to be responsible for a dog bite. But isn't that what you want in a guarding breed? Would this behavior be acceptable in a doberman or a GSD? What about a Presa or a Cane Corso? Fila? If someone snuck into his yard at night he would be more aggressive

Some dog breeds are known for being aloof and should not be judged on friendliness - right? I am a firm believer that a dog is not a dog is not a dog that understanding breeds is tantamount to understanding individual temperaments and correct placement. A terrier's needs are not necessarily the same as the needs of a beagle or a shepherd.

in an irresponsible home, he could certainly bite someone, get loose and kill a cat - certainly, without question on that one.

Has he bitten anyone? NO, He is handled at the vet with no issues, he was handled for a month at the shelter with no issues other than "wary of men" which has escalated a bit since being in foster care. Could it escalate in a home that didn't provide strong leadership YES, he is very handler hard, intense and eager to please but correction doesn't seem to phase him. Someone who had experience with working shepherds could easily handle him. But shepherd people want shepherds, not psycho bulldogs.
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Re: When to say When

Postby AmberD » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:29 pm

jamielvsaustin wrote:Don't give up on him, it really sounds like his life depends on you. Keep looking for options. I'm not familiar with your area so I'm no help. But I really think you owe it to him.


I don't think she owes it to him, I'm not sure how that is fair. She saved him and put her all into making him a healthy, happy dog again (if he ever was before). That's more than he ever would have gotten from someone else.

I think anyone who is suggesting that Amy try harder or try different methods has never had a screaming "I want to kill you" monster in their house going after their precious pets. I have. I'm not part of any rescue, and I don't foster because I have too many animals and too little time for them as it is. I have on a handful of occasions taken a dog for a weekend or a little more as a favor to the rescue I do volunteer grooming for. I always stress the dog must be dog and cat tolerant, because my animals always come first. I love my cats especially and none of their lives are worth a strange dog to me. I agreed to take in an old pit bull for a week so she wouldn't have to be boarded (I have a thing for seniors), and I was told she was good with dogs and cats. She was not. She was a doll with me and my family but raged at the sight of a dog or cat. I took transported her to the kennel for the rescue, because I simply was not going to risk losing one of my babies for that dog, no matter how sweet she was or how bad I felt for her circumstances.


That said, I hope something can be figured out for Gunny. No dog deserves to die in the prime of his life. But living in a maze of gates and leads, and living in constant panic of worrying about escapes, or an ill-fated darting cat or whatever is no way to live. It's way too stressful, and I think if a competent home or rescue cannot be located within a reasonable amount of time, I think that it's fair to believe that you did everything you could for him. He's just another victim of a situation where there are too many dogs and too few good people looking for (those kinds) of dogs. And as others have mentioned, really good, sound dogs are being put down every day without a second chance at life. This guy has been given a second chance. If nothing comes of it, it's not a punishment for having a high prey drive, it's just another case of having nowhere to go. But at least he got a second chance, and he got to be happy in the meantime.
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Re: When to say When

Postby haircrazie016 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:26 pm

Gunny sounds a lot like our foster Ferrall, also not a pit bull, but a standard xolo. He wants to eat our cats. I have tried over and over to desensitize him to them, and it doesnt fly. One trainer collegue suggested the same thing you did, that he may have already experienced hunting/killing a cat and that is why he is so obsessed. He likes to say Ferrall is very bite confident, because he will without hesitation pounce on any cat or unkown dog. However we can get him to warm up to new dogs with a lot of time and patience, and he plays very nicely with the dogs he in our house.

Ferralls breed is known for being guardy and while hes not over the top, I do sometimes worry that when he gets older he might become even less tolerant. Right now Ferrall tolerates strangers pretty well, he cans ometimes be aloof, and has a few times been very alert/ guardy around suspicious looking people, but overall is good. Children are another story, Ferrall barks and lounges at them. He doesnt do it everytime, but hes done it enough times that do make me uncomfortable ever trying to properly introduce him to a child. let alone LIVE with one.

Ferrall is also a one person kind of dog, he and i are so bonded we have a great relationship and he tries hard for me, my partner on the other hand Ferrall couldnt care less about what she says or does. We both feel that if she did something he didnt like he wouldnt hesitate to correct her...with his teeth.

I love Ferrall a lot, but i do sometimes feel like i'll never be able to place, and i do worry about the stress i am putting on my family and when it will be too much. My cats are not happy, especially my very sensitive manx, she wont leave my bedroom because shes too scared, I had to bring her to the vet and get her anti-inflamatories because of what the stress is doing to her body and my soul mate Mr. P has been pottying outside of his box, and has been generally very iritated. My partner doesnt trust him, and has asked me more then once to return him. I just dont have the heart, the rescue who hes through cant handle him, none of the foster homes are experienced enough to deal with him, and they will not transfer him to a rescue dedicated to his breed with the experience to work with him, instead the president of the rescue offered to take him back and send him straight to a training facility for a minimum of thirty days, that uses aversive training methods. I can't do that to him. its not right, it would hurt my heart to its core.

I keep praying that i can find that breed experienced home, without cats, or children, outside of a city. its probably been around six months and we've had no luck, if it were just me I'd keep Ferrall for his entire life. I truly love this dog, but when it comes down to it i have to pick my family over him, and if theres ever an ultimatum given to me, i'll be all out of options.

anyway, not to make this about me. geez sorry. i just wanted to let you know that i truly sympathize with you, and i hope that you can hang in their long enough to find that perfect home, just as much as i hope my family can!!
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