Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Lack of Any Useful Purpose"

The use of rubber hands and creepy dead-eyed dolls and other witchdoctory in the process of "temperament testing" dogs in pounds and shelters is, shall we say, controversial.

I mention that right out, because those who have infected the nation's animal shelters with a strange and unsupported dogma about "safety" and "prediction" like to pretend that their religious faith is a done deal -- that it represents an established standard of practice, and that failure to meet same is a invitation to charges of negligence.

My first personal goal in flying to Montana to help with Operation New Beginnings in January 2009 was to do what I could to ensure that the dogs weren't signed over to an organization that would summarily kill them without any evaluation or attempt at rehab, as the HSUS had done to the Kapsa Shelties, their predecessors in the Ballantine puppymill, some years before.

My second personal goal was to prevent anyone terrorizing these animals with hoodoo "temperament tests" while the cart with the syringes waited out in the corridor.

Fortunately I was not the only person who thought this way, and the universe was spared the spectacle of Barry White, Curly, Suri, Sparky, et. al. being chased into a corner by Bride of Chuckie and then declared irredeemable dangerous.

No matter. Let us, for the sake of argument, assume that there is some validity to the Poke-It-Till-It-Bites school of "temperament testing." Let's play make-believe that these tests are predictive, and that animals who "fail" by biting a rubber toy or showing "aggression" to a dolly are dangerous and unsalvageable, and those who "pass" by declining to do so are uniformly idiot-proof.

If we do that, can we agree on what an unequivocal "pass" looks like? I would have thought that we could. That, say, if a dog is in the top 1% of wonderfulness when confronted by insanity, that reasonable observers -- including "experts" -- would agree that such a dog is worthy of life.

Consider this four minute evaluation of a dog being held in a shelter in Michigan after being seized in a raid on a "dog fighting operation."

Here's the same girlie on her "dog aggression" (aka, "let's see if we can set up a dog fight") test:

What do y'all think of how this plain brown dog did on her test?

How would your family pet fare under the same circumstances?

I think that, based on Dusty's performance on this "test," I'd take her as a foster in a New York minute. If, after a few weeks of evaluation (and of course, obedience training, because isn't she just begging for direction?) she proved herself to consistently be the dog I think I see in the videos, I'd especially recommend her for a home with kids.

Here's what VMD, PhD, tenured "behaviorist" Katherine Albro Houpt of Cornell University saw. (She is the person in the khaki trousers who is taking notes and doing most of the poking and chasing.)

Dog 206 in cage 33 brown female with white markings Dusty

Wiggled at approach, stare and squat. Bit hand when petted and when eating.

avoided witch

Snarled at doll

jumped but no aggression to male or female dogs

The results of the testing indicates that the following animals: the two males Monroe 207 Reilly 212 that both demonstrated aggression to other dogs and one female Dusty 206 who snarled at the doll should be humanely euthanized because of their lack of any useful purpose and the public safety threat they pose." MCL 750.49(18) aggressive whereas Dog 210 Razzle --- may be safe

Katherine Albro Houpt VMD PhD

Professor emeritus
Cornell University

Thus leading to the order for Dusty, Monroe, and Riley's deaths.
A judge this afternoon ordered three of the four pit bulls seized during a dog-fighting raid in March to be euthanized.

First District Judge Jack Vitale made his decision following hours of testimony from several witnesses over a three-day period.

No action will be taken for the next three weeks, the time permitted for attorneys to decide if they want to file an appeal. Tracy Thomas, who has represented the organization fighting to save the dogs, said after the decision that he is undecided if he will appeal the judge's ruling to a higher court.

The one dog that was deemed safe has been named "Razzle." Judge Vitale said based on the evidence, the dog is not dangerous and can be released to the Buster Foundation after the 21-day rule. However, the other three -- called "Monroe," "Riley" and "Dusty" -- were determined to show aggressiveness and pose a danger to the public, so they must be put down.
That order dates from July 14. Dusty, Monroe, and Rily's advocates have until the 4th of August to appeal this ruling. I'm trying to find out more about the legal process, and will update here or in the comments.

There's a petition on Change.org asking Herr Doktor Professor Houpt to retract her recommendation that these dogs be killed. Not sure what good it would do if she did. I have no faith that a multi-degreed authority who sees a "public safety threat" in the supernatural forbearance of a sweet, wiggly, peaceful, lovey dog can ever be expected to act rationally or with regard to the facts or the truth. But I signed, on the principle that doing so adds my name to the record, to the thousands of gobsmacked animal lovers who have eyes with which to see.

As a cynic, I'm inclined to think that the epitaph "Lack of any useful purpose" could be appropriately scribed on any number of gravestones. There are days when people seem to line up for the honor. I can think of some candidates right here.

But it is not the authoritative coda to the life of a wiggle-butt pit bull who has been sentenced to die for the offense of being a crime victim.

Comments on this post are invited. Anonymous comments that call for retribution against Ms. Houpt will not be posted. Alas, few receive what they deserve in life, one way or the other, and it is not up to the anonymouse internetz to provide it.


More Blog Posts

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  1. Go to the site. Sign the petition. DO IT NOW.

    And send out a request for karma to get the good "doctor" who so incompetently holds these dogs' lives in her hands.

  2. My 7month old puppy who LOVES every person and dog he runs across would fail by her standards.

    In the setting they put that dog in he'd be over-stimulated and scared first off, and I can promise that rubber hand would look and smell like a toy to him, and possibly the same with the doll. Either that or the doll would have him heading for a corner. He does very well with real kids though. No jumping on them, or nipping, or anything, even with my 3yr old nephew.

    Meeting a strange dog? Sniffs all around, then playbow, pretty much right off the bat, with yippy growly "play with me" barks. And the strange person, no matter how strangely attired? Jump up to try to lick the face. Yes we're working on teaching him jumping up to say Hello is bad, he still struggles with it when overly excited or stressed, which he would be in that environment.

    Fail. By her standards he's an aggressive dog. Yah right.

  3. Well, I suppose if you stick the fake hand in the dog's mouth, she's gonna maybe, you know, put her mouth on it.

    What a bunch of stupid. Seriously. Are these people just that poor of evaluators? That poor at reading dog body language? Do they truly see this dog as being a threat to society?

    Because, even stretching, I don't see any aggression at all in that dog. A little nervy, sure, but that's to be expected.

    I think it's hilarious on some sad level that she reached down and picked up the bowl of food with her bare hand right in front of that aggressive, fake-hand-biting monster.

    If you want to kill dogs, "temperament tests" sure do make a convenient, easy excuse.

  4. I can't get over the ignorance, incompetence and dishonesty on display in that vid and in Haupt's "evaluation." I can't get over that she was apparently afraid to touch that friendly little dog with a real effing hand, for crissakes. Unreal.

    Great post.

  5. Ugh. I took behavior electives with Dr.Haupt as an undergrad at Cornell; she's a bigwig (not hard when there are only about 50 DACVBs in the nation). How awful and disappointing. Even the Sternberg test (last time I was exposed to it, maybe 9 yrs ago) has you 1) allowing the dog to explore/acclimate to the room offleash before you do anything else, and 2) using your actual real hand to pet the dog if nothing scary happens during the "let's all just hang out in here for a few minutes" period. And Sternberg isn't in the business of letting dogs pass if she can help it. I think there was also a caveat excusing dogs who obviously treated the fake hand as a toy, or maybe we added that ourselves...

    I used to do temp. tests at a very-low-kill (no such thing as truly NO kill) shelter in NY for 3 years (have been a vet tech for 15 years, so I get my share of stressful potentially dangerous dog-interactions on a regular basis.) I have seen rare dogs go from bland and giving very little warning to VIOLENTLY attacking the hand in food tests, so I understand why you don't start with your real hand. BUT... that dog passed with flying colors! Especially for such an overwhelming environment, I saw so much friendliness and softness and she even offered a few brief sits. (Including when the bowl was picked up, and I agree with previous commenter that if this dog really was "dangerous" then the evaluators were doing a lot of stupid risky things, bending over in her face to pick the bowl up, etc).

    Oh, she looks way way too much like my own easily excitable grinny wiggly fawn probably-pit-mix mutt, who would definitely mouth any object someone kept PUTTING IN HER MOUTH. ("Do you want me to take this thing? Is that the deal?") I am sickened at the light this paints the veterinary behavior community of which I consider myself a part. It seems as though this whole thing was an unethical insincere setup with a foregone conclusion. I will sign the petition, but there aren't too many people with enough clout/letters after their name to overrule Dr.Haupt. Bleah.

    - Chris T., Chicago

    PS - For the record, I think there is SOME value in the fake kid test, and it's not "how far can we push them until they break." It's "What might this dog do when exposed to something freaky and probably novel?". If the dog chooses avoidance/escape, you've learned something. If they choose to go on the offensive right off the bat, you've learned something else. If they don't do much at all, they're either shut down from stress or they just don't care and you've learned exactly zero about what they might do when something does set them off. (And of course they reserve the right to react differently to different stimuli in the future.) If they lick the fake kid's face, they're sweet but not too bright... ;-)

  6. Copying and pasting a bunch from Facebook --

    Abstract of her 2006 co-authored article appearing in Applied Animal Behaviour Science
    ("Aggressive behavior in adopted dogs that passed a temperament test", Volume 106, Issues 1-3, August 2007, Pages 85-95).

    Relatively few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of standardized temperament testing in preventing the adoption of dogs with aggressive tendencies from animal shelters. The objective of this study was to evaluate the following hypotheses: (1) a percentage of dogs passing a standardized temperament test (i.e. not exhibiting aggressive tendencies) in an animal shelter will exhibit aggressive behaviors after adoption, and (2) these aggressive behaviors will be heavily weighted towards behaviors that may not be effectively simulated during a temperament test such as territorial aggression, predatory aggression, intra-specific aggression, and owner-directed aggression, rather than resource guarding or fear-related behaviors.

    In order to test these hypotheses, owners of 67 dogs temperament tested and subsequently adopted from one shelter were interviewed by telephone within 13 months of adoption. The interviews included questions about jumping up, house soiling, separation-related behavior, barking, and aggressive behavior. Based on these interviews, the frequency of various types of aggression and levels of aggression were estimated for these dogs. In evaluating dogs that passed the temperament test used by this shelter, it was found that 40.9% exhibited lunging, growling, snapping, and/or biting after adoption. When barking was included, this percentage rose to 71.2%.

    So, if you add barking without context, why, unsurprisingly you get an awful lot of aggression.

    The full text of the paper is here and contains the following gem:

    In order to test these hypotheses, all dogs (279) were identified that were adopted between 1 March 2005 and 6 January 2005 from an animal shelter in upstate New York. They had been tested with a modified version of Sternberg’s (2003) standardized temperament testing protocol. These temperament tests were performed by one well-trained shelter staff member with whom the senior author worked frequently. ... Any dog that snarled, growled, lunged, snapped, or bit in any situation other than resource guarding during the temperament test was considered unadoptable and was euthanized according to shelter policy (to ensure that they would not enter the adopted population). Dogs exhibiting potentially aggressive behaviors such as staring, rigid body posture, and barking passed this temperament test unless the dog also exhibited the aggressive behaviors described above at some point during the test. Dogs that stalked, stared rigidly, or performed any of the above behaviors in the presence of cats were euthanized in the shelter.

    Sternberg, of course, is infamous.

    It's hard to look at this and come to any conclusion other than a pound hiring Houbt knows what answers they want.

  7. @Chris T:

    As a vet tech who will soon take boards and hopefully find a job in the field, I'm glad to read your words. The "veterinary behavioral" people sicken me, and I'm almost ashamed that I'll be associated with these people in some way, shape or form. I know the dog I'll eventually be adopting (a Boxer/probably pittie mix) would fail that test outright, without question. And I have faith that, even if she never ends up being Miss Social, she'll be able to ignore the presence of other dogs.

    As repulsive as the idea of a class with this women is, can I ask what all was involved and if any of your classmates had similar notions about her?

    As for PhD when it comes to certain topics: there's a reason it can stand for "Piled Higher and Deeper." I know, it paints all PhDs badly (including my own brother, whose research was pretty ground-breaking in his own field), but I certainly wouldn't hesitate to apply it to the likes of Haupt.

  8. My Black Lab "Rodney" would have failed the test. He would have understood that the rubber hand was a toy and would have chased it. The Doll he would understand as not being a real person/child and therefore also thought it was a toy. He would have barked and backed away form the witch because it surprised him.

  9. God, that evaluation made me feel sick. I've had a food aggressive dog - and that dog was NOT in ANY WAY food aggressive. Or, really, aggressive in any way at all. If Dandy weren't so prejudiced against all short haired dogs, I'd try to adopt her myself. Dandy would fail that test the first time someone tried to make eye contact with him, but he's still my beautiful boy.

    What I noticed in the video was the amount of deafening noise. I had to turn down the volume of my video player to deal with the barking. And yet, with all that stress, that dog kept offering appeasing behaviours - sits, wags, butt wiggles, looking to someone - anyone - for guidance.

    And I'm not even a trainer - just a pet owner and dog lover.

  10. this makes me so sad. Couldn't they have even made the simple effort to take the dog away from the noise of the shelter? While I was watching the video, my own two dogs became visibly agitated from the background noise. Not the way they do when I am watching, say, an agility video with dogs barking, but in a distressed, nervous way. My beautiful, sweet, sheltie would fail ALL the tests.


  11. Dr. Haupt is an idiot. This made me ill. The video demonstrated that Haupt had one motive only: to pronounce the dog aggressive. Dusty is a good dog and deserves to live. Unfortunately, there are just too many dogs and it is easier to say you are euthanizing for purposes of aggression than that you just cannot find homes or deal with the influx of dogs to the shelter.
    I have a great, old border collie who was brought back from the brink of death via infection and starvation. He would not pass a test with a rubber hand being poked repeatedly at him or a plastic doll chasing him around the room. He wouldn't growl or nip, he would go to a corner to hide and shut down. He would growl at a dog jumping on his head.

    Temperament tests might have a kernal of validity but not the way in which Dr. Haupt conducts them. My opinion of the temperament test in the video: Dr. Haupt is an ass.

  12. @Viatecio - I think I had one very short extra-credit workshop/lab type thing with her that dealt with equine behavior (I've been under the impression that horses, not dogs, are her specialty/preferred species to work with? a quick google of her CV confirms this), and then she was one of the professors co-presenting an entire class on farm animal behavior and how their natural/instinctive behavioral needs impacted their environmental requirements and ethical treatment. (Ironic much?) (Partly as a result of things seen during that class at "advanced" industrial agriculture facilities, I'm now vegan, btw.)

    My impression of her was mostly that she was very very old, and that was, argh, like 17 years ago? (Hard to believe college was so distant...) She seemed pleasant enough, it was nice for my younger self to imagine a woman with such success in a field I thought I would go into at that time, etc... Not to mention, we weren't dealing with dogs, the species I'm most fluent with, and as a 20 year old I had much less relevant experience/knowledge with which to potentially critique anything she was presenting. So I've never (until now!) had any particularly negative thoughts about her. I'd assumed she'd retired by now (which she has, according to the "emeritus" in her signature).

    As for veterinary behaviorists/PhDs, etc, I think they're just like trainers, owners, or human beings in general. Some are fabulous and awesome and so incredibly knowledgable and skilled and compassionate and wonderful to work with, and some are clueless and you wonder how they manage to complete basic daily tasks without assistance, and some are just right arseholes. My advice is to go to a lot of conferences where you can watch some of them speak (or even more enlightening is to watch the way they respond to other speakers; are they attentive and respectful and ask interesting questions, or does everything anyone else says go in one ear and out the other, and they use question time purely to bloviate?) so you can figure out the difference.

    Apologies for the long comments. I need to go get my own blog! Will bow out now.

    -Chris T.

  13. I'd take her in a New York minute as well. I can't believe *that* evaluation was written about *that* dog.

  14. That is utterly disgusting. In the first video, the hand was being used in the same way that one might use a toy to try to incite mouthing. The hand was being pressed against her face whilst she was eating! The doll and woman with the stick scared her, but is that any reason to have her be put down? Disgusting.

    I'm signing the petition now.

  15. chris4sf@windstream.netJuly 27, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    Heather, this so called objestive test fails so many scientific protocols that my mind boggles. It's just the tester's bias with props. Of course, that little pit bull knows the hand isn't real. It's a stick poking her. The doll isn't a child. It's either a toy or something scary. I'd take that dog and even I could manage to train her. She wants to learn.
    As for some idiot poking me with a stick, I'd think about biting them. But I'd probably settle for a right hook.
    Not to mention there's something hinky about the tester. Her body language is reading fear or dislike or something along that line. I'd like to think it's her job she dislikes, but I don't really.
    Where can I find that petition?

  16. Emeritus - she's not even a practicing professor. A human hand is not offered on a stick. The dog was not possessive with food.
    She jumped up on the goth, happy to see a stranger.

    What a crock!


  17. I have experience using an assess-a-hand (and a doll), and used appropriately i think they're useful tools to give more information about an animal (and for safety reasons). But Chris T. pretty much said everything i wanted to say.
    dog looks great- i didn't see anything that warranted euthanasia

  18. I was absolutely appalled when I saw this on YesBiscuit earlier. That dog is a sweetie and pretty much bombproof. Not the dog for me, but if she were local, and my sister were between dogs, I'd be forwarding that video.

    Beautiful dog. I've signed the petition; I hope she is saved.

  19. I have a 13 yr. old Italian Greyhound who is an angel and participates in several petting zoos every year. I rescued him from a horribly abusive situation 7 yrs. ago. He is wonderful and loves everybody and every other animal. However, if I come into the house in my rain gear, including hood, he freaks out and barks fearfully until I strip myself of the coat. There is no doubt in my mind that if he were put through this horrible, ridiculous temperment test he would fail. And yet he is a star . . . . he adores kids and loves the programs we do. This "doctor" can tout herself as an expert, but IMHO she knows nothing of dog behavior. I frankly am shocked that Cornell U. would allow her to do these things.
    From what I saw, Dusty is a good and patient dog . . . I hope she is spared. She deserves a chance for a loving home . . . which is waaay more than this so-called doctor deserves.

  20. E Pamela OstermeierJuly 29, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    I am sorry for these dogs. They deserved better. My dogs would not deal well with the fake hand and would respond much the same way. As far as the doll goes -----. Not a fair test at all.

  21. Pamela, I'm wondering in what sense Dusty the Dog did not "deal well" with the rubber hand or the doll?

    Because to my eyes, she dealt excessively well.

    What kind of response would constitute "dealing well" with these challenges, if not what was shown on the video?

  22. That is horrific and ridiculous. Horrific because I also see a fabulous NON-aggressive dog according to that test. SO GLAD it is on video!!! Maybe this will help in some way. They definatly wanted to see a bad dog so they would have an excuse to kill it. The more I work in the animal field the more I hate people I swear. I would take that dog in a heartbeat.

    I also want to know why they test in such a loud area. If you had a dog that DID growl a warning how could you hear it?? Not to mention the added stess. They are friggen morons who THINK they know it all. Clearly they are mistaken. Thanks for sharing. Hope it helps her!!

  23. Gah my first comment got eaten, trying again.

    That is ridculous and horrifying. Horrifying because that is CLEARLY not an aggressive dog in that video. Ridculous because if they think showing it defends their case they are idiots. I'm glad it is on video though, hopefully that helps.

    And I agree, what it with testing in such a noisy area? If a dog WERE to growl a warning they would never hear it! Not to mention the added stress it creates.

    They saw a bad dog because thet WANTED to see a bad dog so they have an excuse to go ahead and kill her. Not sure why. I would also take her in a heartbeat.

    The more I work in the animal field the more I hate people I swear. For supposedly educated people they don't know shit. Thanks for sharing and spreading the word about her. I hope it helps!!

  24. I've been working with PUGS, goddammit, as well as my other breed, French Bulldogs, in rescue for about 25 years, and I cannot recall many Pugs in rescue situations who would be that stable, outgoing, and downright hopeful, in such a setting, with unimaginable noise, two human beings doing their best (and succeeding) to act not just neutral but downright unfriendly, and a series weapons used to poke, prod, and frighten them. That was an amazing dog. That idiot doctor would fail any temperament test that God could conceive for her. She certainly failed this one.

  25. Just goes to show you can buy an education, but obviously not common sense. This woman is clearly an idiot and certainly should not be teaching her ways to animal behaviorists

  26. Just goes to show you you can buy an education, but you can't buy common sense. Clearly this woman is an idiot and should not be teaching future animal behaviorists her ways. It's a shame they couldn't have gotten the judge to watch it himself.

  27. I know I'm late to the game, but I'm so pleased this is getting out into the blogosphere.

    My friend who lives in the Detroit area became intimately involved with these dogs through her trainer, who initially housed these dogs once out of the "dog fighting ring".

    Coincidentally, the one she was most familiar with was Dusty, the one featured in the videos you posted. She was actually able to take Dusty home with her before Dusty was sent to the shelter, and Dusty played poolside with my friends other dogs (pitties themselves, with a golden and lab thrown in).

    Here is her write-up. It has a little more "inside" information on what was going on in the background, as well as a couple of extra videos. I think her video of Dusty and Razzle (one of the other victims) playing poolside with other dogs really brings home the tragedy of what happened. I would appreciate it if you could post this in your blog, to really bring home the point.


  28. I've watched the video and also the other one on youtube where she stares at the dog for several minutes in her kennel. The dog is appeasing and doing look-aways to avoid Houpt's rude (in doggy language) hard stares. She even play bows at her--she clearly wants out and to interact, but never reacted aggressively.

    Considering Houpt's complete "fail" in even reading a dog, I wonder why they even bothered with the test? It almost seems as if she got her notes confused with a completely different dog than the one on the video!

    Notice also the AC officer holding Dusty at one point used her hand to push the dog down from the window when she was trying to look outside the room avoiding the weird person . . .

    Theresa B.

  29. I can't believe that anyone thought that the stuffed toy "hand" and doll has anything to do with real hands or kids. It seems to be a point of view from someone who has never met a dog. Or who thinks dogs have the mental capacity of a goldfish.

    However, it's a test of "reaction to toy, reaction to stuffed toy", and she passed with flying colors.

    Unfortunately, I don't know what people can do to help. I signed the petition because maybe if the lawyers say "but meelions of people frowned about this" then, maybe, um, something might happen.

  30. You can also look up the Buster Foundation in Monroe, MI and support their appeal in court to release the dogs!

    Theresa B.

  31. Yes! Theresa, I have a HUGE problem with the way the assistant was handling Dusty with the leash.

    The first time I watched the video, I only knew that it was a controversial evaluation and the dog was slated for death. No idea that the dog was a total creampuff (which she is, clearly) but fully expecting *something* to happen at some point as the video progressed.

    I'm watching Dusty on that tight leash being tugged around, towards things the dog is unsure of and away from things the dog wants to get to, and thinking - seriously? Someone would honestly use this test for ANYTHING other than a Berenstain Bears-style "do as I say not as I do" video as a warning to both testers and their leash-holding assistants? What kind of jackass is running this show?

    A full story later and now I've not only signed the petition, I will also be writing letters expressing my serious concerns in this "Doctor's" ability to evaluate a dog... and possibly her ability to operate a motor vehicle, as she's obviously seeing things if she believes this evaluation is accurate.

    As for the use of the rubber hand, regardless of what the dog thinks it is (or what the tester thinks the dog thinks it is) there's still a pretty obvious difference between an aggressive bite and other form of physical contact.

    The likely response from our cattle dog (who is not remotely protective of food) would be to inhale the food as fast as possible - so she could hurry to grab that new rubber-thing-on-a-stick-toy that's clearly being offered to me (I mean, why else would you stick it in my face repeatedly unless you WANT me to have it, silly human).

    As for the Doc's "study," we're letting *adopters* determine the aggressive tone of barking now? That's where the line has been drawn for behavioural science? That's some top-notch methodology right there.

    And then they wonder why everyone doesn't marvel at their wisdom...

  32. Has there been any further updates on whether or not their death sentence was appealed?

  33. The Buster Foundation did file an appeal. Nothing further that I know of.

  34. This seems to be the typical manner of evaluating dogs in shelters. I watched a show on TV one night in a motel (I don't have TV at my house-bizarre, I know. I've been like this college, but have managed to survive). The show was about rescueing dogs, so they could later be euthanized at a shelter after an idiot "works" with them a bit. Very sad. Very unfair. It also seems to be fairly common in puppy classes- I watched several pups being terrorized in Levi's class several years ago, but declined his participation in those particular exercises.

  35. Our rescue just had to euthanize a shelter pull with such severe brain damage he could only walk in circles to the right, fell over constantly and was utterly unaware if the presence of humans or other dogs. He could eat, and some remembered auto-pilot instinct made him get up and circle his way out side to relieve himself.

    Poor dog could eat and drink (with difficulty), breath and excrete waste. That was his total skill set.

    But by golly he PASSED the temperament test.


  36. This was the most amazing disregard for canine body language I have ever seen. Just for grins I showed this video to a co-worker who is not a "dog person" and I wouldn't suggest understands body language, her view was that the dog was nervous about the doll and trying to get away, even looking out the window.

    Poor girlie.

  37. Ugh. That's crazy. That dog never hackled, never growled, never showed anything but exuberance, acceptance and polite avoidance.

    Humans are crazy.

  38. Ugh.

    That video is frighteningly sad. The dog is obviously unsure, probably not very well socialized to new situations, I mean she was seized as part of a dog fighting ring, right? I imagine that that kind of nervousness should be expected.

    There were absolutely no signs of aggression. None. She was unsure about the doll, and obviously looking for the best possible way to leave the situation. Not given that opportunity, she didn't bite or snap or growl, she slunk down and hid behind and kept looking at the man holding the leash for guidance. To me, that would be a great dog with kids. One who would rather leave than act when she was uncomfortable. She simply looks like a dog that just needs a little bit of socialization.

    Also, the way the dogs were introduced was a joke. She did fine, but she was a the very end of the leash, being restrained. That would automatically make her a little bit more tense in meeting the other dog, make her body language a little harder to judge. As a result, you can't even really judge her reaction fairly. She might be considered somewhat dominate towards other dogs, but she certainly isn't aggressive towards them.

    This is pathetic.


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