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On the Issue of Re-homing This Dog

Diane@dogtrain, your comments regarding this dogs behavior ascribe to a certain set of principles. As a trainer myself, I have run in to a few trainers that follow this philosophy: "there are good dogs and there are bad dogs. Bad dogs cannot be trained." One trainer I worked with could tell this by just looking at a dog, and seeing if it shifted its gaze when she approached it. If it did not, she deemed it a dog with aggressive traits that was a "problem waiting to happen." If any of you out there have seen the show "Dog Whisperer" on the National Geographic Channel, you will see how a man who understands dog behavior is able to take a dog with almost any type of problem and reform it. Now, Diane, I will agree that CERTAIN PEOPLE can not handle CERTAIN DOGS. Many people (including celebrities, like Oprah Winfrey, if you ever watched the show) allow their dog to be the alpha. Some dogs are not aggressive to people when they are the alpha, and some can be. As a rule, dogs will do better and behave better when their person is the alpha. There are certain dog breeds that fall in to the submissive state easily, and there are breeds that tend not to be submissive and need continual reinforcement that they are not the alpha. This is easily accomplished with regular training and exercise with the the dogs owner directing and controlling all of the activities. Any dog who perceives himself/herself to be the alpha will act as the pack leader to remain dominant, defend territory, etc. Suggesting that this dog should not be re-homed is suggesting that most dog adopters are incapable of being the alpha. This dog most certainly should be re-homed, probably first in a foster placement with an experienced, alpha trainer. Then the correct home could be located for him/her. The ultimate "tell" or "rub" in this story is not anything with regard to the dogs behavior. He was acting like a dog. It is that the family that adopted the dog saw the dog exhibiting this behavior, but did not see fit to keep their 20 month old child away from it. I am sure these parents feel very badly, and am not writing these comments with the intent to "guilt" them further. They will no doubt have to see the scars left by extremely poor decision-making on their part for a lifetime. But to suggest that this dog should be euthanized is abdicating responsibility for what happened and wrongly assigning blame to the animal.

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