Monday, June 16, 2008

Aggressive Dog Rant -- and a New GSD

I know it's been awhile since I've posted. I've been in a slump since Caje died. I underestimated how much having a big, active dog around had kept me motivated.

I was at a barbecue yesterday and went inside the house to use the bathroom. The family's eight year old Rottweiler allowed me to pass by on my way in. I spoke to him pleasantly. When I came out of the bathroom, he decided to corner me in the hallway.

I was alone in the house with this eighty lb dog that was barking and growling in my face. I just stood there not moving, and talked to him, but he continued to advance and bark.

I have lived with and worked with big dogs all my life. I am not generally timid with dogs and it takes a lot to shake me up. I know when a dog is bluffing, and this one wasn't. I stood perfectly still and just basically waited to be rescued, hoping in the meantime Max the Rottie wouldn't decide to have me for lunch.

Finally the owners came in from outside and grabbed him by the collar.

"I don't get it," I said. "He let me come in with no problem."

"Yeah, it's when people try to leave that's the issue," the owner said. He chuckled fondly. "He has bitten a couple of times. But usually he's just kidding around."

There was no apology, no explanation and no chastising of Max. Apparently this is just a risk that house guests are forced to take. Needless to say, that's the last they will see of me.

Last year, here in Michigan, two people were killed by a pack of roaming American Bulldogs. It happened not far from where I live.

And then there's Cujo, the neighbor's German shepherd still on a rampage. I went horseback riding down the road the other day with Becky, my neighbor, and Cujo came bouncing out at us like usual. This time, there was no Cajun to warn him off with a perfunctory glare. So Cujo came all the way out into the road while his owners called in vain from the front porch.

Becky told me a horror story of how she was jogging one day and Cujo ran out after her. He grabbed her foot, pulled her down and mauled through her tennis shoe.

Ironically, it was Gracie, Becky's own American Bulldog who came to her rescue that day. It took Cujo's two owners to pull her off him. As Becky stood there with her torn up shoe and bleeding foot, she was chastised for running with a vicious bulldog!

I've filed one complaint about Cujo already to animal control and yet he continues to harrass passersby.

The owners of dogs like this never fail to boggle my mind. There is a machismo about this that is so sad and misguided. It is a huge disservice to what could have been a wonderful pet. I could see by Max's expression that he is an intelligent dog. And I know that Cujo is. Through no fault of their own, they have ended up in the hands of idiots. I wonder how far this behavior has to go before the dogs end up impounded or euthanized. And then, people like this just go out and acquire another dog to raise in the same dysfunctional way.

Breeding bans won't help -- the forbidden becomes only more attractive to people with this mentality.

So, in the interest of preventing another one of THESE, I adopted a German shepherd pup today. Actually he's a little over a year old, but still a pup in his mind. Unlike all my other GSDs, this one is a sable. He belonged to my 90 year old neighbor who couldn't handle him. The dog has never been properly leash trained, and pulled the owner's arm out of its socket. My neighbor, Eddie, can no longer raise his arm above shoulder level.

I don't have a name for him, yet. Still thinking.... Any ideas? He had his first lesson in leash walking today though. He's a smart guy and I know he's going to come around really fast. He likes to play and has a good nature about him.

So, here's to one German Shepherd who won't be terrorizing any neighbors.


Linda said...

Just one name popped in my head when I saw that last photo - NORM!!

Victoria Cummings said...

He's a lucky pup - and he has a very sweet face - I wish you a long and happy journey with him!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I can never believe people who own dogs like that are so irresponsible and you're right it is a machismo thing. Someday one of these dogs will kill or maim a child or adult and the owners will not even get a slap on the wrist. It's a sad situation for the dogs too.
I love your new pup and he looks like a sweetheart. I'm sure you and he will have many happy years together and he will protect you from Cujo and others.We have had many German Sheperds and loved them all, some of them were so goofy too, not at all like their reputations that some think are true. The name that came to mind when I looked at this cute face was Sam, I don't know why he just seems like a Sam the Man to me.

Twinville said...

What a handsome fella. We have a GSD, too. Her name is Zuni and she is only 6 months old.
She is our second GSD. Our first had to be to sleep because of severe hip dysplasia. We had her for over 13 years and we still miss her.
It took us almost 10 years to finally consider bringing another dog into our lives and it had to be a GSD.

It does take a special person to train and raise a GSD. They don't just rest all their trust and devotion in anyone. You have to earn it. And when you do it's a true honor and deep relationship can fianlly develop.
But I'm sure you know all that.
And I just know that this guy has found a good home and that he will come around soon.

My suggestion for his name is "Tank", "Tucker", or "Benny".
Those names just seem to fit. haha