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Thread: Muffy the Mad

  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChoppaChop View Post
    In some areas I guess it does come down to life philosophy but in others it is still very much a sheer 'realistic' view.

    You have to also bear in mind that you are seeing this dog through a responsible,experienced,educated dog persons eyes.
    The family she might be homed to may not be....even just one member of that family being not dog savvy or quick thinking/reactive enough ( children come to mind as do the elderly-no offence meant to anybody) could result in harm and that just is not acceptable knowing that several people knew this dogs past.
    A lot has happened on here since I last jumped on. I didn't know where to start so I'll just comment on this post first

    Yes, I am a responsible, experienced, and educated dog person, however I will not be rehoming her with children, the elderly, slow thinking people, people that baby their dogs or a person that wouldn't be suitable for Muffy. This would be a PTENTIAL disaster. I would not risk anyone's safety by doing this.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChoppaChop View Post
    And if the dogs well being over rides the fact that it has bitten a person,not once but several times.....well then I will just sadly shake my head and walk away....
    So, if a dog had been abused by it's owner, or a member of the community, to the extent that it had to bite to protect itself, then went into another house where the same thing happened, it escaped, was then found as a stray, rescued from a shelter and put into an unsuitable environment where it had to protect itself as it had learnt the way to protect itself was to bite and was then rehomed in a suitable environment where it had relaxed, built up confidence and showed great signs of happiness and little to no signs of aggression, you would feel it should still be put down, simply because she chose to protect herself from abuse in the beginning?

    Apart from Andrew provoking her and testing her limits the first night, Muffy has not attempted to bite anyone within our life, be it children at the park, elderly people at the park, my parents on Mother's Day, or a many number of other people she has met during her time with us. Granted, they did not stress her out, but she has been in a normal environment for the time she has been here, apart from us having the ability to read her body language better then the average Joe and address any potential problems early. We would teach this to any new owner of Muffy, be it a permanent foster or forever home.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menageriemanor View Post
    Some can change to grumpy angels. If you demanded all maltese that snarled and bit, were put down, they'd be fighting to keep the breed in existance. If the prospecive new homes got any other maltese from the paper, they'd probably get the same problems, without the advice and follow up.
    I think Pawfectionist has done a great job so far. I think she'll give the applicants an excruciating interview, lectures, and a demand they pay in advance for some personal coaching and if that booking isn't kept, they had better go into witness protection. They will know, if it begins to slide, she is a phone call away.
    The reason all the other maltese are like that is because all the people that want to own a maltese are genreally all wanting a baby to care for without having to pay for school and uni fees and dealing with the difficult animals that are "human". Unfortunately, they then try ti humanise the dog, creating a crazy little ball of stress with no boundaries and little exercise provided. Same goes for chihuahuas.

    But, yes, you are right. They will have constant follow up and help in the background, should they require it.

  4. #104
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    Postaholic today am I.

    Quote Originally Posted by ratbag jrt View Post
    Question (not a judgement) Wouldn't moving Muffy around to different foster carers be kind of disruptive and confusing for her?
    Potentially yes. But - at our home, muffy is already comfortable and VERY easy to handle. As a stark contrast to the first night, I would really have to try hard to get bitten by this little ball of fluff. Our environment is not problematic enough for her to become stressed and trigger an aggressive reaction.

    A critical factor in successfully rehoming her is going to be in having the confidence that when she is placed under stress she will not react violently. This is the big one behind choppachops point that its ok for her to stay with us, but not to go elsewhere. Both Bel and I can handle her when she escalates - how many people do you think are looking to adopt a maltese that have been attacked by a dog, and know how to remain calm during, and resolve the situation in such a way that the dog will not learn to do it again? Thats not even a knowing "how to do it" thing. You need valid experience because humans are animals too, we have gut reactions when things like that happen. They don't even let you do that at NDTF do they? I'm sure bel told me that no one was allowed to handle the aggressive dogs when she studied.

    I don't think muffy should be placed under foster care and those people be expected to successfully handle what ever she does in those situations, calm her and build a significant bond in 2-3 days the way we have (go us). But we MUST know what she will do in a "controlled" stressful situation before we can begin to consider leaving someone to it..

  5. #105
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    I think we're all getting a bit excited here.

    I'm not sure about letting the dog go back to the original foster organisation is a good idea given their previous complete failure to select an appropriate carer for Mad Muffy. There may be legal problems for Bel / The Pawfectionist if she does this. I have read another thread where an extremely irresponsible rescue org allowed a dog they knew had dog aggression problems - to be homed with a foster carer with dogs, and one of the foster carer's dogs was killed as a result, that carer only got told afterwards about the problems. So you can't take the org's word for it they will do the right thing.

    I grew up with an Aussie Terror that erm - we pretty much trained to bite to defend itself. My dad made the mistake of trying to take a bone away and getting bitten and thereby teaching the puppy that biting "works". Any dog I want a bone from, I ask, and if I get growled at, I find something the dog is willing to trade for and offer that. And return the bone later if appropriate. Ie the dog learns that giving up the bone is ok, and their choice and they get good things for making the choice to surrender the bone. Same technique works really well on small children. Fights can be avoided. Good manners can be learned. But it's harder to unlearn bad manners.

    Dad said if the terror bit again - it would be PTS. So of course it bit again but nobody would admit to it. We all pretty much deserved it. But there are better ways.

    My brother trained his dog to walk away when stressed or pressured by children or anyone. I doubt he used reward based methods well maybe the reward of having the aversive removed when doing the right thing... but his dog won't bite people and it's a Staffordshire Bull Terrier - so it could inflict much more severe damage much more quickly than an Aussie terrier. Ie it would be much more difficult to hide a severe SBT bite.

    If I had to corner and catch an upset SWF - I think I'd use a lot of thick bath towels and rigger gloves or welding gloves. Not sure what I'd do with a bigger dog, but I'd want to be pretty sure it had something else to bite besides me.

    And there is a huge difference in severity of dog bites. From them using their mouth as a hand, ie a grip but not chop, an attention seeking nip - such as herding dogs use, the nip you get when the dog misses the tug - ouch. I'm going to end the game of tug but I'm not going to PTS my dog for that.

    And then there is the mauling bite. Ie what the dog uses to rip things to pieces. If my dog ever does something like this to anyone or anything (other than vermin - and so far she won't), then I'd consider PTS. I'd have to consider the circumstances too.

    But I'm not ok with her attention nipping either - so I try to address this with training. Ie fun ends real quick if there is an attention nip / pinch.

    I would definitely pay attention to Newfsies warning about 3 weeks - it does take some months to be sure a dog has learned new habits and at some point it would be a good idea to train the dog better options than biting when it feels threatened or upset, so some boundary testing will need to be done, ie train the dog to be much harder to provoke and less sensitive.

  6. #106

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    Definitely, 3 to 4 weeks. I call it the transition from guest on best behaviour, to I am an equal rights sibling. It can be shorter, or longer, but many, not all, seem to become more assertive with other dogs in the family, at that time.

  7. #107

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    I haven't read the whole thread but lets put it this way.

    If Muffy was not a Maltese and was for instance a....Staffy or a German Shepherd or even a Labrador, Muffy would be over the rainbow bridge by now.
    I do not think it is appropriate or responsible to rehome a dog of any size that has shown in the past that it WILL bite a person.
    I am sure there is a little fluffy out there that is a better option for rescue and rehoming then this dog.

  8. #108
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    I'm not even sure if we have the authority to "claim" muffy - as in not allow her to go back to the foster org - as I believe they own her, and we do not have any power in that respect. If we did, any man and his dog (ha) would be able to commandeer their neighbour's pet and have it destroyed without legit evidence. The dog hasn't bitten us, or anyone/thing else while under our care, and the foster org could probably reasonably deny that it ever happened.

    The poor choice of carer seems to be a result of the history not existing, not because they were negligent. I don't know why someone wasn't consulted sooner though - Legally I would assume we could only advise that she is not appropriate for adoption, and I would be giving it to them in writing and having them sign to say they've received it.

    It's probably going to come down to what the law actually is regarding the release of dog's with a bite history, since really, there's no way I would (or would let bel) officially give a statement saying a dog with a bite history is 100% safe. My position would be that we have made every effort to ensure that her behavior has been resolved but that there are no guarantees, and that we will not be held responsible for any potential damages. Beyond that, its on the foster organisation to decide whether or not they are able or willing to have her adopted.

    Further to that, she should be placed into permanent foster care, with an experienced carer that meets a set criteria for both home environment and knowledge relating to dog handling (there should be an exam or something with "how to correctly handle this situation and why" type questions). I really don't think they'd have trouble find a person that could do that because there would be people willing to learn some basics... Plus she should have an always on lead policy or something.

    She should have to go into this type of care situation for a set time period before release is considered at all.

    ..excuse me if I'm rambling, I'm just gradually piecing together what I think would be required in order to safely release an animal with a history.

  9. #109

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman View Post
    I'm not even sure if we have the authority to "claim" muffy - as in not allow her to go back to the foster org - as I believe they own her, and we do not have any power in that respect. If we did, any man and his dog (ha) would be able to commandeer their neighbour's pet and have it destroyed without legit evidence. The dog hasn't bitten us, or anyone/thing else while under our care, and the foster org could probably reasonably deny that it ever happened.

    The poor choice of carer seems to be a result of the history not existing, not because they were negligent. I don't know why someone wasn't consulted sooner though - Legally I would assume we could only advise that she is not appropriate for adoption, and I would be giving it to them in writing and having them sign to say they've received it.

    It's probably going to come down to what the law actually is regarding the release of dog's with a bite history, since really, there's no way I would (or would let bel) officially give a statement saying a dog with a bite history is 100% safe. My position would be that we have made every effort to ensure that her behavior has been resolved but that there are no guarantees, and that we will not be held responsible for any potential damages. Beyond that, its on the foster organisation to decide whether or not they are able or willing to have her adopted.

    Further to that, she should be placed into permanent foster care, with an experienced carer that meets a set criteria for both home environment and knowledge relating to dog handling (there should be an exam or something with "how to correctly handle this situation and why" type questions). I really don't think they'd have trouble find a person that could do that because there would be people willing to learn some basics... Plus she should have an always on lead policy or something.

    She should have to go into this type of care situation for a set time period before release is considered at all.

    ..excuse me if I'm rambling, I'm just gradually piecing together what I think would be required in order to safely release an animal with a history.
    Yes the dog legally belongs to the rescue organization, you have no rights in relation to rehoming or keeping the dog.

  10. #110
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    A dog that has bitten/inflicted significant harm on a human by definition is a dangerous dog. By Vic Law. If a pound had found out she had bitten quite freely she would not have made it out, no matter how she behaved there.

    I was just saying to bel that I think Muffy should not be made available for adoption until she has had test runs with different foster carers, who sign off understanding there is a potential danger.
    You are admitting liability and that you acknowledge the dog has shown a history of violent behavior and you expect it to do it again. If this is the case you PTS. Legally you NEVER give a person something you know will have a great chance of causing harm, it's like selling a car and telling the new owners 'oh the breaks are not too good, just be careful'. When the shite hits the fan the point is despite your 'best intentions' you knew the potential for harm to be caused outside of normal parameters. And despite this not being the USA, you can still be sued, getting the new owners/foster carers to sign something saying they will listen to your advice wont save you from a lawsuit ... you're in part admitting responsibility in that respect as well. That and your reputation through word of mouth can be severely tarnished. When I do temp tests, they are the evaluation of when I go and see the dogs. I put them under a reasonable amount of pressure, and give the rescue my findings. That is as far as I go, if the rescue then potentially goes on and rehomes a dog I deem not fit for rehoming or to the wrong home, it's not my responsibility and neither should Muffy be yours to be honest. They took her on and accepted ownership, if they cannot handle her, again it's their responsibility to deal with her long term welfare past your contracted training.

    I know that sounds very harsh, very dry but it's for everyones long term benefit to make things very black and white when it comes to dogs such as this.

    I have rehomed a dog that was surrendered to me. A white GSD from a puppy farmer, serious critical period issues. After biting the owner at about 7 months over a tissue, he was given to me as I could not assure them he was safe with children (he guarded the 2 year old grand child and would try to bite anyone who came near her). I called in favours, he went to live with a declared dangerous dog at a specialty breeder. Good for the breeder as his dog had a friend now who needed little human attention as this dog was so happy just to hang out with other dogs and just get the odd pat from humans he knew. Now this was a dog who needed 3 of us to extract from a crate with a catching pole. Then he was OK, wagged his tail and never aggressed at my place again, he was such a softie he hid in the corner of the garage when the ferrets stared at him too long the poor bugger. But, his chances were limited. He was not for rehoming and only because this one situation with someone I knew cropped up did he not end up at the vet. The owners knew this and I explained it there was a 1% chance someone was qualified enough to deal with him and had the space/time for a technically useless dog.
    Last edited by Nekhbet; 05-21-2012 at 06:09 PM.

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