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Discussion Starter #1
But first, today's update: Things continue as normal, a peaceable kingdom. They are both still a bit subdued. Simon seems less likely to step on anyone's toes (figuratively), and is not exhibiting any of his usual demanding behavior (demand barking, space-invading, etc.). Good instincts on his part. Angus' eye looks better all the time, but still bad. His other wounds are healing very well.

I thought I'd share with you some sage dog training advice I got at the vet's the other day when I brought Angus in. There was a lady there who came in right after me and saw me standing there crying with Angus looking like, well, like he'd been in a fight. She asked what happened. I said, "He's been in a fight."

Interestingly (and very annoyingly, IMO), the first question everyone had was: "What kind of dog did this?" Then they're just on the edge of their seat, it seems, waiting for me to tell them, "Oh, it was one of those awful Pit Bulls/Rottweillers/insert your favorite "aggressive" breed here." :( A girl at work's comment was, "Wow, I didn't think Labs had that in them." It really bugs me that people don't understand that no particular breed holds a monopoly on fighting. Another person's comment: "Well, my parents had two dogs that they had to be careful about feeding." Then the big qualifier: "But they were little dogs." Yes, fighting is only a big deal when it's "big dogs." Little dogs, just fine. GRRR!

Anyway - back to the sage dog advice from the lady at the vet's office. So I'm standing there, very visibly upset, waiting to see a vet while Angus drips blood on the floor. Clearly, this is a great time to give me a lesson about dog training. After I tell her the lady that he was in a fight with our other dog, she tells me, "Well, we didn't train our dogs to fight." ????? Oh! There was my mistake. What is she thinking? Do I look like a "dog fighter?" Seriously? Then she goes on, "When our dogs look like they're going to fight, we tell them 'no.'" OHHHH! Wow! That would never have occurred to me, to just say no! Gee, I'm going to remember that one. Let me practice: "NO!" Oh boy! This could really work!

I just gave her the, "I am finished talking to you" look. She meant well, I guess.
 

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When one doesn't open their mouth there is some question as to how dumb they might be. When one opens their mouth they eliminate all doubt.
 

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When one doesn't open their mouth there is some question as to how dumb they might be. When one opens their mouth they eliminate all doubt.
I think that was Abraham Lincoln? It's one of my favorite quotes!
 

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I can see her point to a point. I've not ever had two dogs that fight, so let me clarify that first. However, I've had stare downs. I correct the behavior BEFORE it can escalate. I see a look or a grab for a toy or anything I don't want to see and I tell whoever it is to knock it off. So I can see what she was saying even though you didn't want her saying something like that.
 

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When one doesn't open their mouth there is some question as to how dumb they might be. When one opens their mouth they eliminate all doubt.
Whoever said it, it is now in my instant recall reference library. My kids, especially the Dr., are not going to like it. <g>
 

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Ugh. I feel exactly like you. When Abbey was attacked, someone asked if it was a pit bull. :( That's sad that everyone believes and listens to every word that's printed in the papers or said on the news, making a lot of breeds out to be something the majority aren't. Personally, I think pit bulls and rotties, when properly raised and socialized, can be just as sweet and adoring as Labs. A lot of it depends on their environment and how they are raised. Not to say that there aren't exceptions, because some people breed dogs without good temperaments.

I don't know if I could have held it in like that. I guess the woman meant well, but she didn't really know what the situation was and she sure doesn't know your dogs. Or you. I wish stopping fights was as easy as "no," but honestly, that does not always work!
 

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I know Justine! That really frustrates the heck out of me. I just want to say, "Um, you know, Pit Bulls are not the only dogs that ever get into fights." And "no" absolutely does not work when something just ignites at a moment's notice.

To be fair, I guess, I wouldn't have understood this at all when we had Crash.
 

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ALL dogs are "capable" of being in a fight. No breed has the monopoly. Did you know that labs were in the top of the list of statistics for dog bites...of humans; not other dogs.
Connie's dogs and my dogs are rescues and we have no idea of their history. But ALL dogs are capable of fighting. They are dogs....no matter how much we love them, sleep with them, baby them....they are animals.
My dogs are on their best behavior when I am on mine...and when I am following all the rules I have set for them. When I don't, things get out of control.
And lately, I've wondered if I can even control myself...let alone my dogs......
 

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ALL dogs are "capable" of being in a fight. No breed has the monopoly. Did you know that labs were in the top of the list of statistics for dog bites...of humans; not other dogs.
Connie's dogs and my dogs are rescues and we have no idea of their history. But ALL dogs are capable of fighting. They are dogs....no matter how much we love them, sleep with them, baby them....they are animals.
My dogs are on their best behavior when I am on mine...and when I am following all the rules I have set for them. When I don't, things get out of control.
And lately, I've wondered if I can even control myself...let alone my dogs......
Well said!

I will say, I've had Jake since 10 weeks and while he's great around 98% of dogs, if a fight breaks out or someone tries to start something he's all-in. It's not because I'm not his "alpha" or he doesn't respect me - he's a dog, he has his own personality and limits. A hundred dogs could hump Charlotte at the park and she'd ignore it, Jake would take it a few times and probably lay into the offending dog. I say probably because we don't let it go that far. Unfortunately Jake had no littermates, so his social skills and tolerance can be questionable, but we learned to work with it.

Connie, I think you're doing the best by your guys that anyone could be expected to do - they're both very lucky to have you :)
 

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Thank you. :) Very much. I really am trying hard with these guys. They have taught me an awful lot, I will say that. I learned more in one year with Angus than in ten years with Crash!

Jake had no littermates? I didn't know that. Do you know what happened?

Angus was only about 4-5 weeks old when we adopted him (as best I can tell from looking at Labby's and other people's puppy pictures). If being separated from his litter so early wasn't bad enough, we made all kinds of mistakes in those first few months regarding his socialization. I look back and wish we had done so, so many things differently. Anyway, he has always been a challenge because of his lack of manners around other dogs. I remember that first year he was constantly getting growled or snapped at by other dogs, and the owner would invariably look very shocked and say, "Wow, my dog has never done that before." Leave it to Angus.

I have been able to teach him a lot of things, but I have never figured out an effective way to substitute for that early learning from littermates. There are some things, I think, that only other dogs can teach them. :( Having Simon has been stressful when we have incidents like this, but overall he has been invaluable in helping Angus become a little more "dog savvy." If we hadn't gotten Simon, Angus might not have come as far as he has.
 

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Another person's comment: "Well, my parents had two dogs that they had to be careful about feeding." Then the big qualifier: "But they were little dogs." Yes, fighting is only a big deal when it's "big dogs." Little dogs, just fine. GRRR!


this is a huge pet peeve of mine.
 

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His breeder thought it was two or three puppies - but it was just one big jake puppy. Patricia McConnell wrote a chapter about having a singleton puppy once - the socialization problems were, in her mind, so huge that she thought about euthanizing it. She tried to make "fake" littermates for it, but still had problems from a very early age. It went on to be a very happy only pet with a single adult. Now, if I had read that before I got Jake I might've passed him onto another family - but for all his "quirks" he's so worth it :) Your boys are too I'm sure :)

Interestingly, Jake had the same things happen to him at the dog park when he was a puppy - one of the reasons we stopped going. I *so* wish we hadn't now. But, live and learn right? And just like with Simon, having Charlotte around is teaching him to be more playful with other dogs again!
 

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Oh wow! Well, I don't feel *as* bad if this kind of thing was almost out of Patricia McConnell's depth! LOL I would love to read that. Do you remember what book? I have The Other End of the Leash, but have not read it yet. It's next on my list.

Sooo similar: We, too, cut out going around other dogs when I saw how badly Angus interacted with them. I was trying to protect him, but it wasn't the best thing now that I look back. That's what I consider one of our biggest mistakes with him.

And, I know just what you mean too about the quirkiness. For all his flaws, I think it makes me love him that much more. We have been through SO much together. Of course I love Simon too, but there's something about having gotten Angus when he was so tiny. When we first brought him home, he would try to nurse my shirt, and cry and scream pitifully when I would try to remove him. I didn't know what to do. It was so sad - I just let him do it.

That poor boy has gone through so much in his life. And I've been there to see almost everything. I feel very connected to him.
 

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'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.' Abraham Lincoln

Connie - you must have been very good in history class or this quote made quite the impression. :clap2:

It will apply in a variety of situations so I think we might all keep it close at hand......

I am so glad Angus is doing better and your household is moving back to "normal". Both are an answer to many, many prayers.
 

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I was not good in history class, but that quote definitely did make an impression on me. :)

Thank you so much for the prayers.
 

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The "little dog" thing gets me too. Emilu has "dog issues", and I really have to watch her and work with her constantly. If she snarks at someone, it's a big deal to me, and to those around us, but if some little yappy dog snarls and growls and charges, the owner just picks it up and carries it away. I saw a woman walk into the parking lot of my training class with a wired hair Jack that was literally growling and charging every dog coming in. She would just pull it up off the ground with the leash, let it down and go on until the next dog, then pull it up into the air.......Jeesh! And this is a dog in Emilu's class - needless to say, we try to keep a distance from it.
 

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Oh wow! Well, I don't feel *as* bad if this kind of thing was almost out of Patricia McConnell's depth! LOL I would love to read that. Do you remember what book? I have The Other End of the Leash, but have not read it yet. It's next on my list.

Sooo similar: We, too, cut out going around other dogs when I saw how badly Angus interacted with them. I was trying to protect him, but it wasn't the best thing now that I look back. That's what I consider one of our biggest mistakes with him.

And, I know just what you mean too about the quirkiness. For all his flaws, I think it makes me love him that much more. We have been through SO much together. Of course I love Simon too, but there's something about having gotten Angus when he was so tiny. When we first brought him home, he would try to nurse my shirt, and cry and scream pitifully when I would try to remove him. I didn't know what to do. It was so sad - I just let him do it.

That poor boy has gone through so much in his life. And I've been there to see almost everything. I feel very connected to him.
It's in For the Love of a Dog, in the section on Anger (p. 188). I actually like that book more than The Other End of the Leash :) It's so compelling, I've picked it up and re-read sections (anger, fear) numerous times - when I need a reminder of why dogs sometimes act the way they do. Also sometimes I like that same reassurance - if McConnell couldn't fix it, I shouldn't expect perfection 100% of the time from Jake or myself.

Poor little Angus - that just breaks my heart :( I know what you mean about the connection - it's our special yellow guys.

We're completely in the same spot with cutting out the dog parks - we should've put him in a good dog daycare and let him learn to be a dog. Unfortunately we didn't know there would be any problems, and even if we did the money was just not there to do something like that. Thus, Charlotte (who had plenty of littermates) goes to daycare twice a week and the dog park on the weekends.
 
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