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Moviedust
1st May 2007, 02:10 AM
Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to the volunteer training at the local animal shelter. I wanted to do more, and I know that the shelter dogs can use all the extra love and attention that they can get. So, I'm taking the plunge.

I'm a bit nervous, as the animal shelter is a kill shelter. On top of that, the political climate in the town lately is quite strained due to the BSL opinions flying around. The shelter director is in support of banning pit bulls, and I am not. So I will have to work very hard to focus on the needs of the dogs and let a lot of "stuff" slide. :S

Wish me luck!

WoodHaven
1st May 2007, 02:24 AM
Wow, I know I couldn't do that. :winkct: Sandy

enchantingdragon
1st May 2007, 02:42 AM
Good luck! I hope you can make a positive difference! :D

Cathy Moon
1st May 2007, 02:51 AM
Good luck! :xfngr:

Make sure you spray a disinfectant on your shoes before you wear them in your house/car upon returning home, and change out of your clothes that you wear while there. Don't want to bring anything contagious to your girls!

natalieandmike
1st May 2007, 02:51 AM
That is very admirable and I am sure you are very much in need there; at our local 'shelter', a lot of politics are involved, and many wonderful volunteers have been put off by their policies. What is BSL? Good luck, you have much 'dog-knowledge' and especially love to give.

Cathy Moon
1st May 2007, 02:54 AM
That is very admirable and I am sure you are very much in need there; at our local 'shelter', a lot of politics are involved, and many wonderful volunteers have been put off by their policies. What is BSL? Good luck, you have much 'dog-knowledge' and especially love to give.

I know what you're talking about!:(

Cathy T
1st May 2007, 02:54 AM
Good for you Cindy! Put the politics in the back of your mind and concentrate on "it's all about the dogs"!

WoodHaven
1st May 2007, 02:59 AM
Yes, you have my total admiration. I can never keep my mouth shut-- I'd end up hurting someone.

Moviedust
1st May 2007, 03:56 AM
Good luck! :xfngr:

Make sure you spray a disinfectant on your shoes before you wear them in your house/car upon returning home, and change out of your clothes that you wear while there. Don't want to bring anything contagious to your girls!

Good point! I'm sure they'll cover hygiene in training, but I should definitely wear old shoes!

Friday's Mommy
1st May 2007, 04:01 AM
My Mom is planning on doing that too in AZ. I told her that was a wonderful thing to do and encouraged her to do it. She also worried about getting caught up on all the other stuff there. Just keeping your focus on the help your giving the dogs is what's important. Good for you!!!

Moviedust
1st May 2007, 04:04 AM
That is very admirable and I am sure you are very much in need there; at our local 'shelter', a lot of politics are involved, and many wonderful volunteers have been put off by their policies. What is BSL? Good luck, you have much 'dog-knowledge' and especially love to give.

BSL = Breed Specific Legislation. Most often associated with breed bans. The current breed of fashion to ban is pitbulls.

I'll do my best to let the politics slide. I will be difficult, but we'll see how I do. The worst than can happen is that they can "fire" me! :P

Moviedust
1st May 2007, 04:06 AM
Yes, you have my total admiration. I can never keep my mouth shut-- I'd end up hurting someone.

I haven't kept my mouth shut yet......... If I can just get through the training, I'll consider it a miracle!

Karlin
1st May 2007, 11:23 AM
I highly recommend Dee Ganley's training manual for people working with shelter dogs. She has pioneered shelter programmes in the US and travels around the country and internationally training shelter workers in these techniques. Listed here:

http://deesdogs.com/training_manuals.htm

Also see:

http://deesdogs.com/shelter_evaluations.htm

I went through a weekend seminar with her and learned so much about training generally and especially, on dealing with shelter dogs and their particular issues. She is amazing, she can get sheler dogs to sit and wait quietly for their kennel door to be opened in under 3 minutes work per dog; really astonishing to watch her walk down a whole line of barking, jumping shelter dog kennels and as she stops at each kennel, have the dog quietly sitting so that she can enter and leave the kennel, within minutes. All positive training. :)

I do take a different perspective on breed bans though, which comes from personal experience. Personally I feel some breeds were genetically engineered to be aggressive and violent (just as cavaliers are innately friendly and sweet natured and clingy). I know many rescue people whose attitudes to pit bulls in particular, but also many staffies -- eg believing they are unfairly castigated -- changed when they saw the dog go from calm and friendly to nearly killing any dog that happened to come within reach. Hence I know a lot ofvevry experienced dog people who support breed bans or very tight breeding controls on certain breeds. I know of too many incidents where they have killed or maimed local people's dogs in my area too, to the point where many elderly people only walk their own dogs while carrying sticks. I think too many lines, perhaps the majority, are now too aggressive as an innate trait and that many training techniques and philosophies that dominate/punish/correct dogs have made this worse (it is fashionable for the TV trainers to show such dogs responding to such techniques with them -- but the issue is, that can make things worse for how the dog interacts with others). I support pit bull bans not least because they are dogs that sadly tend to lead very truncated lives and often are not very happy dogs either but anxious and prone to violence if not with humans, then with other dogs, making them a constant liability. They come in regularly to the pounds because so many people leave them roaming about, are about 80-90% too aggressive with other dogs to even be allowed to exercise in the common pens with them, and 95% are never rehomed and just pts. No one even comes to the pound looking for them -- they are totally unwanted -- I don't even know of a single case where a bull breed was reclaimed by its owner from the Dublin pounds though I am sure it must occasionally happen, but it is very rare, even when they are in collars and harnesses. Likewise the pounds in the UK are teeming with staffies that no one wants, perhaps the number one unhomeable breed, as friendly as they can be to people (unfortunately they are too often very aggressive with other dogs). In the pounds, these breeds always have to be isolated from other dogs. At the very least, I think these are breeds that need to be tightly controlled with only registered, licensed breeders of good repute, with lines that are temperamentally sound, allowed to breed.

That said, unfortunately through vets and welfare officials, I am also aware of show breeders with bull breeds who actually use them in illegal dog fights -- utterly scandalous, very hard to get evidence to convict unfortunately -- and I doubt that is limited to just this country. So the dogs themselves are, because of the tasks they were originally bred for, often a liability to themselves and abused even by those who are their obvious guardians. I just think some breeds reach a point where they are out of place and out of time and are routinely misused and abused by humans. On all sides a breed ban may be the best option. I totally agree with the route San Francisco has taken, where ownership and breeding of pits is tightly controlled now.

Moviedust
1st May 2007, 05:11 PM
Thanks for the links, Karlin. I'll look into these texts, though at this point I have no idea how much actual interaction I'll have with the dogs! I'll know more after the training this afternoon.

Obviously, I don't mean to start an argument, but I know you don't mind disagreements. ;) I agree that there is a problem with the situation surrounding the bully breed of the day, which happens to be the all inclusive "pit bull" labeled dogs. While some issues with specific dogs could be attributed to poor breeding, I'm hard pressed to believe that breeding is the most significant cause (I've simply seen too many well-trained, well-manner dogs to believe they are a lost cause). As you noted, many owners train their dogs to fight, and I'll even say that even more owners get the dogs because they have this dangerous dog reputation. These are the same people who had Dobermans, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers in previous decades. Not all of these owners are not properly aware of how to treat an animal, let alone train this type of breed appropriately.

While it might be nice to think that banning a specific breed (and killing those that are currently present) would cure all the problems that these owners create, I have to remind myself that these same people who train for illegal fighting and who let their dogs roam free repeatedly, are the same people who would probably ignore any city ordinance in the first place (as they already are, as most pit bull incidents in my community involve repeat offending "dog at large" owners.) If anything, I think a breed ban would lead to even LESS socialized dogs: to hid that the dog is there, owners will keep them hidden in basements or sheds, where they'd get even less stimulation. If the current living pits were grandfathered into the laws, they'd still be required to remain indoors OR in a specifically designed cage. Going outside off the property would require so much effort on the owners part (and they'd face sooo much discrimination by anyone who saw them) that even the best owners would loath exercising their dogs. Leading to owners who were good before, but who would become isolated from the rest of the community and whose dogs are cooped up all the time. Good dogs would quickly become nervous, agitated, and anti-social.

While I can see that something needs to be done with the situation surrounding the bully breed of the day, I don't see a dog-centered ban as a solution. In fact, I see it as making the entire situation worse.

molly
1st May 2007, 06:05 PM
CIndy, I just know you are going to have a positive effect in your work there. You are doing a very valuable service. Keep us posted on how it goes.