Daily Paws

Pet news, tips, entertainment and opinions from VetLocator.com

Posts Tagged ‘aggression in dogs’

How to be a good pet owner guest and 5 reasons to leave your pet at home

Friday, December 4th, 2009

christmaspupTonight our community is having a holiday tree lighting ceremony and downtown stroll.  I’m bringing my dog with me.

Then our neighbors are having get together after the performance of the Nutcracker their daughter is performing in.  That’s tomorrow and the dog gets to make a brief appearance there.

And then there’s a casual get together for our vendors and some clients of VetLocator.com and of course we’re all about pets so the office cats make an appearance there.  The rest of our month is pretty full of such gatherings and events.

And we’re not even leaving town.

I’ll bet you’re experiencing something similar too.  Its as if with the economy and the other stresses of life, there’s a need to remind us what is real and what matters.

Family, pets, friends, business and community are real.  They are what matters (and I personally have a much longer list of what matters most to me) and it is a good time to focus on what matters.

So for this holiday season I am focusing on what matters as much as I can.  So I’m sharing time and having my pets accompany me when it makes sense and I can safely include them in my activities.

In the event that you and your pets are able to accept holiday invites together too I thought I’d share some petiquette tips you might find handy.

1.  The very first thing you’ll want to do is to make sure it’s ok with your host that you bring your pet with you.
2.  Next make sure he/she has a collar with an ID and that the ID has correct information on it.  These days it’s an excellent idea to use a cell number rather than a home phone number since your cell phone is usually with you and you can be reached quickly in an emergency.
3.  Put your vet’s phone number and an emergency vet hospital number into your cell phone to have it handy in the event you need it.
4.  Try to find out who’ll be at the party in case you need to make plan changes (for example people with babies, small kids or other pets can change things, including whether you should bring your pet with you).
5.  Bring along pet essentials like food and water bowls, a leash, handi wipes and cleaning stuff and pet waste bags.
6.  I like to bring some special treats with me.  Folks like to feed my dog, so I give them some of his healthy treats to make sure he’s not getting junk.
7.  Pets can make a mess sometimes so I keep a couple of baggies handy for the expected and unexpected messes and also have a lint roller in my pet kit because my dog has been known to shed.
8.  It’s not a bad idea to have a crate handy so your pet can be safely secure if things get crazy.
9.  If you notice your pet becoming tired or agitated, secure him in a closed room or his crate if you aren’t able to take him home.
10.  Don’t let pets wander around cooking food. Not only can it be a problem for the cook, but your pet might accidentally eat something thats not good for him.
11.  Always be aware of where your pet is during any event.  Pets can become nervous and bolt in unfamiliar surroundings.  Also, like children, there are times when they’ve had enough and it’s time to go home.

Now for some personal peeves I’ve experienced attending events where certain pets should not be.  I’m titling this short list ****If your dog has any of the following problems, please leave him/her at home.

1.  Incessantly barks at other people, dogs, birds, cats, etc.  A barking dog that won’t quiet is distracting and the owners that won’t remove the dog are just plain rude.
2.  An aggressive animal.  If you know your dog – or cat – is aggressive, LEAVE THEM AT HOME.  Period.
3.  Your pet is ill or has not been feeling well.  Besides the obvious point of an ill pet might be a contagious pet, outings can be stressful and can make your pet’s health worse.  Leave an ill pet at home with a sitter and not in a kennel.
4.  The event will have people who are fearful or allergic to pets – See #1 above.
5.  Your pet is having a bad day – everyone does and our pets are no exception.  If you see that your pet is having a bad day, give him/her a break and let them stay home.

If you decide to leave your pet at home while you attend a party or other event, consider the best options for him while you’re gone.

  • If he’s not used to being home alone, you should leave for short periods of time to prepare him/her to being by themselves.
  • If you’ll be gone for any length of time you may want to consider keeping your pet at a kennel.  This is a good option for social animals that don’t stress about being away from home.
  • Additionally, for animals that are going to a kennel and may not be used to small spaces, consider getting a crate ahead of time to prepare the pet.
  • Arrange play dates for pets who might not be used to having other animals around. Send along an item that smells like home for a pet’s stay at the kennel.
  • Kennel spots should be reserved early for the holidays. If you’ve not used a particular kennel before, check into their safety measures, such as video surveillance, fire alarms and sprinkler systems.
  • Make sure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccines, and find out if any others are required for their kennel stay as most kennels will request proof before allowing your pet to stay.

Pet sitters are a good option for animals that do better at home or if you have several pets that you’ll be leaving.  If you decide to hire a pet sitter, here are a few tips:

  • Ask for references, find out what services the sitter provides and do your standard due dilligence before hiring.
  • Prepare an emergency card with all of the information the sitter might need including Vet, Emergency Vet, your contact info and a close neighbors contact info, medications your pet needs along with their dosages.
  • Don’t wait till the last minute to introduce your pet to the sitter. Pet sitters should meet the pet ahead of time and be introduced to see if there are any personality issues between pet and sitter.
  • Then, while you are away, make sure to check in with the sitter during a time you know he/she will be there and let your pet hear your voice.

And with all this advice, here is one more for you.

Have a wonderful, happy holiday season that is shared it with family pets and great friends!


Battered spouse syndrome and dangerous dogs – a personal story

Sunday, September 20th, 2009
German Shepherd

German Shepherd

I have an old friend who is beautiful, witty and fairly successful.  She’s been married to her handsome husband for many years and, by all appearances, leads a happy life.

We used to be very close, sisters almost.  I’d come stay with her and she’d come stay with me, and our husbands would tolerate the closeness because we were such good friends and loved each other a bunch.

That is until her dog bit my daughter in the face for no reason whatsoever.

To this day I get upset when I think of it.

But my upset is not with the dog.  It’s with the owners of the dog.  With my old friend and her husband.

I understand dogs.  I often know what they’re thinking and have, on occasion, provided a voice for them when they had something important to say.

I even understand mean dogs. Mean dogs are usually predictable, they’re mean, and they stay locked up when strangers are around.

Dangerous dogs, on the other hand, I don’t understand.  By dangerous I mean unpredictable.  Nice most of the time until they turn and try and kill you or someone close to you.

I read about them all the time.  The dog who has been a family pet suddenly turning and killing a child, its owner, another pet.

Dangerous German Shepherd

Dangerous German Shepherd

I’ve met only a couple of truly dangerous dogs, ever.  Dogs that I was unable to reach, dogs that I could not train to respect me and not bite others.  Dogs that would hit a point of ‘madness’ where their instinct to attack was so strong that nothing I did would reach through the frenzy.

It’s a frightening moment to realize that your voice is not reaching the dog.

Now this particular dog my old friend owns has a history.  It wasn’t the first time he’d bitten someone  while I was standing there.  Earlier another friend had been attacked by him and bitten to the point of requiring stitches.  After that attack (and the owners being deeply apologetic but really doing nothing effective to handle their dog), I discovered that the dog had bitten before and the county had taken the dog away twice for bites and each time the family paid over $500 to get him back.  The county told them the next time he bit, he’d be put down.

A few months after that incident I came to town for a visit and stayed with my old friend, her husband and the dog.  Daily I’d work with the dog, a big German Shepard, exercising him, handling his aggressive outbursts, keeping him calm, attentive and friendly.

But there were these moments, these episodes, where he’d just be by himself and he’d start growling and looking strange, eyes defocused.  I’d sharply command his attention at these times and he’d stop, look at me, wag his tail and bring a ball over to play.  I was pleased to see the improvements in him and felt he was responding nicely to the work I was doing.

Until he bit my daughter’s face.

Unprovoked he rushed, leaps up and snaps at her face tearing her cheek open.

As I sat in the emergency room watching my distraught daughter getting 80 stitches put into her once perfect cheek, my friend was pleading with us not to report the incident to the authorities.  She promised she’d take the correct action to handle her dog once and for all.

And so I made up a story so the dog would not be taken away from my best friend.

Looking at it now, I realize that the relationship my friend and this dog have is similar to battered spouse syndrome.  Everyone can see the insanity that exists except the battered spouse, who makes excuses and hides the bruises and the bad news from others.

And my friend?  Right after the attack on our daughter, we stopped talking because, despite this newest incident and all my conversations with her, my research on what to do to handle aggression in dogs, it all fell on deaf ears, they did nothing.  To them it was ‘he’s eating the wrong food’, ‘my husband is not exercising him enough’ ‘his thyroid is acting up’, excuse, excuse, etc.

It wasn’t until later I learned he had bitten several other people I knew, some badly, but no one was talking about it.  The county incidents were reports from strangers.  I’m sure there are several other incidents that I don’t know about and probably never will.

Eventually my old friend and I mended our relationship to the point where we talk now, but  we never mention the dog and I’ve not been back to their house since the incident 3 years ago.

And it’s been 18 months since we’ve seen each other because we live in different states now.

German Shepherd (not the dog in the story)

German Shepherd (not the dog in the story)

Recently I heard that her husband was coming for a visit to our city, his flight was booked and his arrival date a few days away.

Abruptly, he canceled his trip.

Then I discovered why.

The reason he could not make the trip was their dog had just bitten the wife’s new best friend horribly and the girl required medical treatment.

I don’t know what has happened to the dog………my friend has stopped taking my calls for now.

I wonder why?

Here is one solution for dangerous dogs and owners who can’t bear to give them up.

It’s called Canine Disarming and, similar to disarming a gunman, these dangerous biting dogs are disarmed of the weapon they are packing, namely their sharp, pointed teeth.

Here is a recent article from the LA Times on the topic, and it deals with Cotton, a dog who, despite the owner doing everything she could think of to cure him of biting, was unsuccessful in her attempts so she was willing to try this new technique.

Weigh in on what you feel about this as a solution for dangerous dogs.  Do you have a different solution?    If so, let us know by commenting at the bottom of this article.

Is Canine Disarming the Solution for Aggressive Dogs?

An aggressive six-year-old American Eskimo dog named Cotton recently underwent a highly controversial dental treatment known as canine disarming to trim and smooth his teeth.

Cotton’s owner Diane Krieger had tried just about everything — puppy training classes, self-help books, and even assistance from “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan — to tame her pup’s dangerous bad habit, but the biting persisted. She even looked into dog rescue groups, but most refused to take pets with a history of biting.

Last month, as an alternative to euthanization, Krieger resorted to the $1,600 treatment. Veterinary dentist Dr. David Nielsen performed the canine disarming procedure in hopes of making Cotton more obedient — or at least, less harmful.According to the LA Times, Nielsen used a laser to shave 4 millimeters off Cotton’s sharp teeth. He then gave the trimmed teeth a soft finish with a human-grade composite. Think of it as doggy caps.

While Krieger felt she had no other option for her fierce 35-pound dog, the American Veterinary Medical Association feels otherwise. The organization is against canine disarming, saying it doesn’t address the behavioral problems that leads to biting. Yet, the American Veterinary Dental College accepts the use of the procedure in “selected cases,” the LA Times reported.

According to Dr. Nielsen, following the disarming procedure and recovery, “most dogs are intelligent enough to understand they are no longer knife-damaging biters, but more like pinchers at best.”

Since undergoing the procedure, Cotton’s bite has weakened, but he still pounces at strangers in the Kreiger’s home. Only time will tell if Cotton will learn that his ferocious fangs have turned into dull dentures.

Source LA Times
Pictoral on the procedure