i just want to remind everyone of the shelter dog information session on this sunday at 1:30 pm (at 1 pm i will be doing a short blurb on maintaining oka’s blood sugars within normal range and recognizing the early signs that he is heading for trouble)

Posted: September 19, 2008 at 6:21 pm

it is important that all staff and volunteers try to attend because only those that have attended will be able to take the dogs out in groups from now on. if you absolutely cannot make it, we will try to re-schedule at a later date according to leila’s and deb’s schedules but until the course is taken, people will only be cleared for one dog only or on leash walks unless accompanied by someone who has taken the course.

the premise behind this is not only the dogs safety and well being but increasing our own knowledge base and understanding so that we do not inadvertantly put any of them at risk.

i want to give a few examples of how something can get out of hand because we think like a human and not like a dog or because we really don’t know the dog very well.
today when i got home for lunch, renee told me that chyna was irritable and being a pain in the kitchen. feeding time was just finishing. i asked if she had been given some canned food and yes she had. when feeding was well over, chyna was still a bit sketchy…i walked into the kitchen just in time to see her pacing underneath and eyeing the food cans that renee was washing.

feeding time might have been done, but to chyna as long as those cans were in sight and she could smell what used to be inside them…feeding was NOT over yet and therefore she was still in high hopeful food gear.

trina called me a few weeks ago and reported that tyra was irritable with the rest of the dogs..i asked if food was around anywhere and she said no. she took tyra out to the barn to give her a break from the dogs which was a good idea. when i got home i noticed that tyra had a stash of toys under her bed and that was why she was freaking out at the others. tyra is not patient or trusting with the other dogs, when she has toys.

the other day copper got into oka’s pen. the first thing he did was steal oka’s chew stick which i had to get away from him. he was a snarly, wanting to bite little bugger just like he always is when he finds something like that. i got it away by offering something better that i knew he would eat really fast. tammy was there and she said she was glad she saw copper being his true greedy self because she never thought that sweet little beagle could be such a royal jerk.

several months ago, we had a group fight. i had left the dogs in their yards while i went out to unload the feed. no one knew i was out there and i had purposely left the dogs behind because i started before anyone came that morning. so unknowingly both the dog yards were opened simutaneously and all of the dogs ran smack into  a closed gate…overly excited dogs, suddenly free, running to get there first to find me and they ran into a traffic jam at the firmly closed gate. major chaos ensued. it was a good thing i was there and these dogs know well when i am mad…but still 2 dogs ended up with minor bite wounds which could have easily been prevented.
my point here is that these guys are dogs and nothing they do is ever for no reason. they have certain behaviors that are natural to them that do not necessarily fit all that great with us…just because we don’t recognise or see the danger coming or even the cause of what is to come,  does not mean that we were not given plenty of fair warning, we just didn’t pay attention and look around enough to see what was about to happen.

i want people to learn to watch and look and pay attention and to understand what they see because dogs are dogs and not humans and they do speak and communicate much differently.

anyway, enough said, i do think this is important and i think the time is long past that i quit trusting to the grace of god that nothing bad happens because humans see things differently than the dogs do. these guys live together 24/7 and when no one is here they get along just fine…but toss an unsuspecting, innocent human right into their midst with a treat or a toy or too many of the wrong dogs together at the wrong time or place and bad things will happen.

lets be proactive and take positive action before instead of after.

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