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Friday, February 27, 2015

Robin Update #3

Too Much To Handle

Not "every" Dog is for "every" Person.

I know I've posted about this before What Dog Breed is Best For Me?, but recently it seems I know several people who either are looking to get a new dog, looking to re-home a dog, or they are having behavioral problems with their current dog. 

Now lets talk dogs.

A dog is like a child, they are driven by positive and negative reinforcements. A dog does not know human moral rights from wrongs, eating your slipper is not meant to piss you off but rather is an expression of how the dog is feeling. Lets say eating a slipper is boredom, maybe he's not getting enough exercise (often the case), maybe he needs more mental stimulation or a job, or perhaps you have a teething puppy, or the case of a bad habit formed through years of never addressing the problem.

You've heard the saying, "too much to handle"? 
Sadly many dogs have heard this and they end up bouncing between homes, shelters, being neglected and ignored outside, or euthanized at the pound. Only some of these dogs end up in good homes or in the hands of a rescue.

This handsome mug was too much to handle for his previous owners. Now my parents have him. More on Kody another time.
The cause is always human in nature, sadly many families decide that they want a dog and then go out and find the dog that they think is ideal without doing their research. Then they end up adopting or purchasing a dog that they found cute, fluffy, only like little dogs, only like big dogs, or they like a specific breed but don't know how to handle them, or they just felt sorry for the dog which isn't any better. Hounds are trackers - best not to take them off-leash, Mastiff's are chewers and big enough to destroy/eat your whole house if not given enough mental/physical exercise and even then sometimes they are a handful! Just go see if you don't believe me, Hurricane Cairo was named for a reason. Huskies yes are cute and fluffy but if you don't have a sled for them to pull or a 100 mile race to run then they might not be the best dog for you, they require lots of exercise.


It is with heavy heart I write this. Sadly Robin was returned to the woman that she was rescued from. I've put off writing this post for a while, i've been really busy and I didn't want to offend, that is still not my goal in any way should my friend be reading this post. I also wanted to give them time to heal as a family before bringing this back out into the light where I think it needs to be.

Robin has a high prey drive something that was known, and due to bad circumstances she ended up killing the family cat.

Something to note about prey drive - YES it can be worked on, and you can work through it - at least to the point where you can trust your dog around YOUR cats/small animals, but that doesn't mean all tiny critters are off limits in a dogs mind.
We had a Rottweiler mix when I was growing up, our family cats were safe - the neighbor cats were not..she got a couple that ventured into our backyard.

Ziva has a high prey drive, something we have worked hard on and she is 100% trustworthy around our cats, we even fostered a kitten last summer that she decided to adopt!  Guardian of the Kitten
But prey drive is something you have to be on top of the whole time you are working through it, any slacking and your small animal may pay the price and that is not fair to them. It is your job to teach your dog how to interact with non-canine family members.

We unlocked Ziva's mommy instincts with this kitten.

Robin is an American Bully, this means she is an American Pit Bull Terrier that through breeding has been crossed with a Bulldog. Somthing to note - Bullies were bred to have a prey drive.  American Pit Bull Terrier - Emphasis on the Terrier, they are a hunting dog!
Please don't blow this out of proportion like so many others and blame "Pit bulls" only. Any hunting type dog has a prey drive and would gladly kill a small animal - Blue Heelers, Mastiff breeds, Spitz, Weimaraner, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinscher, Cane Corso, Ibizan Hounds, hounds in general, Huskies, Terrier breeds in general, all have a desire to chase and capture. Bird dogs on the other hand were bred for different reasons including to retrieve prey that you caught.

Just because a dog has a high prey drive, doesn't mean that it will turn on you or harm a child. That is a complete myth, if a dog is human aggressive that is a different problem all together.

Sadly however in Robin's case, after dealing with so many previous issues the cat ended up being the last straw. A dog can move on but that trust between her and her family was broken, and the desire to continue training was lost. After much thought, they made the decision that she ultimately was not a good match for the family and would have to go.

We spread the word, contacted local rescues (all full of course), friends, but no good match was found in the timeline that we were given which sadly was short but understandable.
Hubby and I couldn't take her because we are currently not at home enough to monitor her interactions with our dogs and cats. If I weren't in school right now and could work a couple hours/stay home and work on training then it would be a different story.

In the meantime, if you pray please send prayers out to keep Robin safe. And if you don't - your good will and love is always appreciated.


  1. That's too bad about Robin and the kitty. :( I'm sorry it didn't work out for your friend and I'm so sorry for the loss of their cat.

  2. Great post! Love the pitty kitty pic!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  3. Hi Y'all,

    Excellent article. I grew up with retrievers, worked as a young woman with Schutzhund. I chose to stay with retrievers because they are bred to work closely with their human. However, many people adopt them and expect them to magically become the perfect dog. Without a job and lots of continued training to satisfy the retriever instinct you have a nightmare. It's like a child. If you don't want a delinquent you need to give the child guidelines, discipline and lots of love and affection.

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    1. Delinquent, love that. And that's very true, I am constantly frustrated when I see owners praising bad behavior. :-( I just wish they could see it that way, but then again look at parents. There are a lot of bad ones out there.
      Good dogs with good training and healthy family lives are not as common as I would like them to be.

  4. You are spot on with this post. So many mistakes are made when people don't research the breed/mix to understand the breed characteristics and activity requirements. We have a Husky so keeping her well exercised on a constant basis is paramount. She also has quite a prey drive so strong training of the Leave It! command was needed; it took some time but she and the cat became good companions after several weeks. I pray Robin finds a place before time runs out. It's such a sad fact. Maybe a spot in a rescue will open up soon; that's probably her best chance.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Cathy, Isis & Phoebe

    1. So glad you worked through it with your pup!
      It can be done but you have to be consistent and set rules - something sooo many people struggle with. Sadly Robin ran out of time, she's back with the original "rescue" lady...I can just only hope that she finds someone who will help her and not make her issues worse.

  5. Loved reading your article ~ you're one of the few truly responsible dog owners I know of. Sadly, so many people do zero research before adopting their preferred breed, and then end up experiencing problem behaviors due to pent-up energy. Sigh. I will keep Robin in my thoughts & prayers.

    1. Thanks so much!
      We always joke - although we're pretty serious, that our dogs are our kids. I expect good behavior from them just like my mom expected it from me growing up. We are constantly complimented by how wonderful their manners are, especially people who meet them for the first time because they are under control and they listen when we tell them to do something. LoL I try opening peoples minds to the fact that their dogs could behave in the same way but the humans unfortunately never take me up on my offers, they'd rather spoil their silly misbehaved dogs and then yell to attempt to get through when the dog does something undesirable.. *sigh.. Keep fighting the good fight! I am a HUGE supporter of doing proper research before getting a dog. :-)

    2. I love that we're on the same page! I also expect polite behavior from my pups, and get it because I have spent a ton of energy & time on their socialization & training skills since they came to live with us at 8 weeks of age. They will be turning 4 years old in late July, and are a joy to be around :-)

  6. I will pray for Robin. What a sad situation. And not Robin's fault. She was just being herself. Without her being completely trained or knowing better, what did they expect?

    Blueberry is part heeler - so I understand about prey drive. I don't have any cats - and the neighborhood cats that taunt her from the safety of the fence seem pretty sure of themselves. But it wouldn't surprise me if one of them let her get too close and disaster ensued. I have worked with her a LOT to get her to stop dragging me or trying to bolt to the end of the leash I am holding when she sees a cat or a rabbit, but it is an on-going process. She was pretty good about leaving the hamsters alone when I had them. Of course, I had to supervise, and the hamsters were in their balls - but she learned to just sit and watch them and not be bothered by them rolling right between her paws.

    I think people forget that training dogs never really ends. It is an ongoing process. And if a dog only knows something 85% well, then training definitely isn't over yet.

    1. Training is a lifestyle, kind of like eating healthy. ;-) People expect to just "train" their dogs once and then not have to do any upkeep and then they expect the dog to always just be good.
      I understand the power of prey drive, and it can be VERY strong in some dogs.Good job on your work with Blueberry! Ziva still has squirrel issues but she is also past the whole bolting phase thankfully, but it took a ton of work to get there!

  7. What a great article and so informative! We will keep our paws and fingers crossed for Robin.

  8. I read this last week, I'm very sorry to hear that. We always try our best, it's unfortunate sometimes these things happen. Sending good thoughts from us to Robin.

  9. That is so sad, I feel badly for Robin and I feel badly for her family, but I understand it.

    I think Delilah was one of those dogs. She's been a challenge, but mostly I feel like it's because she has a lot of energy and is very smart. Plus I think she lived on her own for a bit and had a little PTSD because she rarely sleeps soundly, but we have over time earned her trust and she is getting better.

    I'm saying prayers that Robin is safe until a place is found for her.

  10. And thank you for handling such a tough topic in such a sensitive and understanding manner.

    1. Thank you, I appreciate it was read the way I mean for it to be.


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