Tag: dog advocacy

Set Me Free Because Dogs Deserve Better

Sometimes I’m sneaky. Like today.

I scramble up this tree as quiet as a possum. Only the cat below knows I’m here. He doesn’t care because he’s hunting moles or voles. Mom would be yelling mad if she knew, but she’s away, and I left Dad working with his office door shut.

I usually take my dog Sassy everywhere, but I gave her a rawhide chew to keep her quiet while I slipped outside.

Out on the edge of town, that’s where I am. One of the neighbors is home, out in the backyard behind me with her toddler. But I’m watching a house so brand new they don’t have a fence. Their poor dog barks nonstop. He’s barked himself hoarse. Being staked out is driving him crazy. Tied to a post next to a small cement patio. No shade or dog bed in sight. He does have a huge water bowl.

Dad’s already called animal control and the officer told us, “Yes, it’s cruel. But there’s no law against it. Not yet.”

Monday night, Dad and I walked over to meet the family and talk about their dog on the chain. They said, “Max’s our first dog. We both work so he has to stay outside. Max’s already chewed up Suzy’s pair of $600 high heels and my leather easy chair.” They seem very friendly, invited us in, and let me play with Max. He slobbered on my face and licked my arms. He’s a big goofy one-year-old. I sat on the stone tile floor while he sniffed me. He wiggled his stumpy tail and rubbed his black and tan body against me like he wanted to wrestle. Likes to play tug and chase his toys, but won’t fetch or stay. Suzy, Max’s mom, really loves dogs. “He’s my first. I’m real new at this. Maybe you can help me train him.”

“Sure,” I said. “And he really needs a yard. Dogs can go crazy on chains.”

Kneeling down beside me to rub Max, Suzy said, “We’re working on the fence part, got to build it ourselves.”

I offered to walk Max and bring him over to play with my dog, but Suzy’s husband shook his head. “He’s too big. Max pulls on the leash and drags us like a tank.”

“What if my Dad helps?”

“Suzy and I will think about your offer. Okay?”They didn’t call last night even though I waited by the phone.

Mutt pitbull rottweiler mixNow it’s Tuesday, about four o’clock, so they’re at their jobs. I’m watching Max. He looks like a mix of rottweiler and a something else. He paces around the pole he’s tied to then flops on the edge of his chain, groaning and panting in the dirt, only to spring up and do it again.

This morning before school, he let me get close enough to lick my hand. He never growls, only wags, whines, and wiggles.

I lob a large Milk Bone.

Max rises, lets out a greeting bark then wolfs it down. Then he’s quiet while I unweave myself from the branch I’m wound on. I pitch another treat at his stake out circle. He gobbles it. I move closer, smoothly. I let him sniff the toe of my shoe before I pour kibble into the metal bowl I pull from my backpack. He looks too skinny for his size. Unfair. His people don’t know anything about dogs.

I hunker down and watch him eat, pressing my palm on the stone cold cement. My view blurs as he chomps. Max has only a hard place to nap and lives on a chain. I’m sad there’s nobody but me to keep him company.

After chowing down, Max licks my face. He doesn’t know how big he is and climbs into my lap. I shoot my hands behind me to keep from falling over. He starts washing one of my ears. That tickles and makes me giggle. When he’s done getting all the salt and sweat off one side of my face he starts on my other side.

I stand up. He barks. He must think I’m leaving. “Silly dog,” I say as he pushes his nose into my jeans pocket. He can’t get to the treats wedged in the bottom. “No more free lunch.”

I take a treat out and hide it in my left hand. “Max, sit.” But he doesn’t. “Don’t you know sit?”

I take the treat in my right hand and lift it over his nose. He sits. “Good sit.” I scratch behind his ear. We practice again and again until I don’t have to lure him into a sit. Then I think, I wonder if he even knows his name? I back up to the post he’s chained to. He follows. I make him sit then say, “Max, stay,” showing him the flat of my hand like a stop sign I step back. He stays. “Good dog!”

Before leaving I say, “Max, sit. Stay,” and take six steps away, backwards, keeping my hand out like a stop sign. Clapping my hands I call, “Max, come.” I cheer when he runs to me and hand him my last Milk Bone. I keep my hands cupped like a dish with all my fingers together like people do if they want to hand feed a horse and not lose any fingers. He slobbers over my hands. I refill his water bowl from the hose.

“Tonight, I’ll ask if they’ll let me baby-sit you after school. You could play with Sassy. And I hope they build you a fence soon.” He could turn aggressive left on a chain.

Before leaving, I promise Max, “When I grow up, I’ll make a new law. No dogs on chains, ever.” He whimpers. I think he wants to believe me.

Connect with Dogs Deserve Better to help protect dogs from having to live on chains.

Humane Society Legislative Fund “Animals and Politics” December 16, 2009

Find out how to rescue a rottweiler at www.dogbreedinfo.com

Terrier Mix Mutt Monday

Fox is a one cute little guy!

This Cairn Terrier mix is about 2 years old and about 14.3 lbs. Fox needs a forever home, ideally a family with kids over 12 years of age and no other dogs.

D Fox2

Fox is ready to jump and play and learn all kinds of new and wonderful things that will make him be the perfect pet. Getting Fox signed up in a Small Dog Class here at Sonoma Humane is the first step to having a well-behaved pet. Fox should be the only dog in the house. Fox will actively guard (growl and lunge) food, toys, and possibly his people from another dog. Care should be taken to not leave any toys, food, or chewies (bones, rawhides etc.) around while another dog is present. Fox may be able to adjust to a small dog if done carefully. He is not comfortable with some handling and may growl to tell you to back off. He showed no interest in cats when passing by cat cages.

Fetch Fox at the Sonoma County Humane Society. His number is ID: 12404.


Fox 8 8 11

No More Death By Collar

Do not risk dogs’ lives putting pressure or force on their throats.

Three ways dog collars pose risks to dogs’ lives.

  1. Collars catch on crates, fence wires, wooden decks and other dogs’ teeth, strangling any dog that wears a collar.
  2. Some dogs have pre-existing problems, like chronic bronchitis or collapsing trachea. Yanking on a collar jeopardizes these dogs’ lives. Dogs suffocate and die from lack of oxygen.
  3. Small dogs and toy breeds are most likely to suffer from a collapsing trachea, but they are not the only dogs that do.

Four things to avoid when your dog is wearing a collar.

  1. Never yank on the collar.
  2. Never chain or tie out a dog by a collar.
  3. Never leave your dog’s collar on when he is alone.
  4. Do not let your dog pull against his collar as you walk him.

Other Health Risks From Collars

  • Injury to a dog’s neck
  • Injury to a dog’s spine

Anatomy and physiology of animals Section through head of a dog

Dog Training And The Use Of Collars

Visit Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue

They advocate the use of quick release collars vs. buckle collars. They urge you to prevent choking and accidents to dogs with quick release collars and remind you, “Always remove your dog’s collar before you leave.”

Need help choosing collar options for your dog?

Visit Boxer World on Different Types Of Collars. This webpage displays good photos and explanations of different collars and harnesses “The best type of collar is no collar. Many trainers feel that the best training collar is no collar at all. If you start training on a collar, the dog may learn that it has to obey *only* when the collar is on. Collars are, at best, training tools – and at worst, crutches.” Julie Michaels  http://www.boxerworld.com/forums/view_different-types-of-collars.htm

Dog Training And The Use Of Collars

Kirsten Frisch is a dog trainer in Northern Carolina. She dubs her work with dogs as falling into the category of being hands off or force free.  She is an Alaskan Husky lover and a sled dog trainer.“Collars: No matter how strong or thick-headed your dog is, don’t let him pull you by his collar. He needs a harness. He can really hurt his neck and spine by pulling you and your bike via his collar.” Find Kirsten’s blog The Gentle Canine at http://www.gentlecanine.com/

Dog Sport Enthusiasts Beware When Biking Or Sledding With Your Dog

Visit Kirsten Frisch’s Alaskan Husky blog to view a proper pulling harness. http://www.alaskan-husky-behavior.com/bikejoring.html

I strongly suggest that you protect your dog’s health by using a harness or head leaders while walking your dog on a leash. And yes, we trained our dog Sydney not to pull on a leash, to heel, and to walk easily with us. For his safety and health, we never hook a leash to his collar.

For ID purposes, Microchips are best because if your dog gets lost without his collar and dog tags, you will get a call from the nearest animal shelter. My dog came already Microchipped to the shelter that rescued him. I know if Sydney ever gets lost and is turned into animal control or a shelter, I will get a phone call indicating where I can pick him up.

PETLVR COMMUNITY Alog and Forum Dog Collar Dangers http://petlvr.com/blog/2009/05/19/dog-collar-dangers and http://petlvr.com/blog/2009/05/19/dog-collar-dangers/http://www.ygrr.org/doginfo/safety-collars.html

Please help save dogs’ lives by sharing this post.

“Unchain Me,” Dogs Deserve Better

Dogs on chains often become chronic barkers. Their barking serves to say, “I’m here. I’m alone. Please help me.”

When I was a child one of our neighbors kept a black Labrador retriever on a chain across from my bedroom. The dog became a chronic barker. I don’t recall him barking at night from inside of his house. But during the day, he never failed to bark a few times per minute all day every day. I knew something wasn’t right. I felt sad for that poor dog.

Dog on chainIf at that time I had known that animals have rights to good welfare and freedom from poor treatment, I would have talked my parents into making a complaint. As it was, our family and other neighbors suffered the constant barking. Now I know that the dog’s suffering was far worse than ours.

What does being left on a chain do to dogs?

First of all, dogs develop huge frustration from not being able to do their natural behaviors.  New research on animals points to their need to walk, run, and seek out new places, animals, and smells.

Living staked out on a chain inhibits positive emotions in dogs.

Being social animals dogs crave company. They crave the companionship and interaction of people and other dogs. A dog in a chain stresses and struggles to join his family, to play and to run. Dogs often will choose to nap near a favorite person in their household or to follow someone at work from office to office.

Chain restraints set up reinforcement of negative emotions.

A dog on a chain doesn’t feel safe because dogs live in social groups. Being staked out on a chain makes a dog vulnerable making a chained dog crazy and dangerous. A chained dog can’t flee, hid or run to safety when he feels scared or threatened. This is why many dogs on chains become aggressive to all who approach. When dogs cannot explore, exercise or use their healthy curiosity, dogs often become chronically fearful.
Fear can become full blow rage.

As Temple Grandin points out in, Animals Make Us Human, we can give dogs good lives by providing for their positive emotions called SEEKING. Dr. Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist, calls the core emotion systems “blue-ribbon emotions.” People and animals live happier lives, when our curiosity, physical comfort, and safety needs are met.
“…when you stimulate the brain systems for one of the core emotions, you always get the same behaviors from the animal.” Temple Grandin

The negative emotion of FEAR in people or animals rapidly can become RAGE.
We need to provide for dog welfare by not chaining dogs, not subjecting them to living conditions that cause them to feel fear and rage.

What is thought to be a dog aggression problem might in fact be a people problem. This is a problem of people not understanding a dog’s need for positive emotional experiences and freedom from negative emotions.

Many agencies work for animal welfare. Specific agencies work to educate and to advocate to free dogs from chains. If you want to help this cause, follow this link to Dogs Deserve Better Than Life on a Chain or in a Pen