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    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeJan 24th, 2013 12:10pm (Jan 24th 2013)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Over the past year I have felt very disappointed in the way the Dog's Trust has handled several situations.

    I recently sent this email, so will see how they respond:

    As someone who has always held the Dog's Trust in fairly high regard, I can't help but feel disappointed and slightly disgusted at recent events.

    I stumbled across your book 'Rescue Me', published July 2011, in Waterstones recently, and decided to have a flick through with the intent on purchasing it. Some of the points I fully agreed with (exercise, pro-Staffy etc). but the section on dominance was nothing other than cringe-worthy and irresponsible!

    The fact that you,one of the most well known and leading dog rehoming charities in the UK - not to mention one that claims to be opposed to dominance! - are still educating people that dogs are dominant towards humans is beyond ridiculous, and is dangerous too. By teaching owners that their dog is dominant by jumping up at them, or 'looking them in the eye' (!) you are doing great damage to dogs, and letting both them and their owners down...these people believe the advice you give and the information you provide!

    My second issue with the DT is in regard to a good friend of mine, who's parents recently adopted a dog from one of your centers. The family had absolutely no experience of owning dogs, and no knowledge of PR or clicker training. They also had no understanding of rescue dogs; no idea they needed weeks / months to settle and show their true personality, or that behavioural issues such as resource guarding and separation anxiety are common. They were also very much not aware that punishment and corrections should be avoided!

    The dog they adopted was a 3 year old Collie cross, possibly Labrador. He was reported as being good with dogs and people of all ages. The family had the dog for a month before they returned him to DT as they couldn't cope.

    Within weeks after being rehomed the dog showed signs of resource guarding, no doubt brought on or exacerbated by the way the family took items off him or shouted when the dog had a 'naughty' item; he would growl, hide under tables etc. The dog also showed barrier frustration when seeing another dog on-lead; the family never let him off-lead and he rarely saw other dogs.

    The family returned to DT asking for advice, and were advised not to let him meet other dogs and to sternly tell him "No!" when he growled at them. I hope you can appreciate how damaging that advice was! After following this advice (despite me advocating positive methods, they trusted the rescue...) the dogs' issues predictably worsened; he snapped at a family member and was returned. I was appalled at the way this situation was handled by DT.

    Finally, earlier last year, DT had a stall at our village fair. They had a small selection of dogs at the stall, and throughout the afternoon I was horrified to see dozens of people walk up to the dogs, towering over them, staring them in the eye and generally being very threatening from a dogs' perspective!

    However it was only going to get worse as the crowds grew, and at one point a young toddler walked into and fell over the Husky, which was tethered (in the hot sun with no shade or water) about 6 feet away from the stall!!! None of the DT team even saw this happening!

    A parade, floats and incredibly loud marching band then appeared. Because of the positioning of the DT stall the procession circled the dogs, stopping right in front of them, staying within 4 feet of them the entire time! After that a band started up, the speakers positioned close enough for the dogs to touch! All of this was too loud for me never mind the dogs...it is certainly not a situation I would ever put any dogs through! Throughout the day I felt very sad for the dogs, especially the Husky. This dog was tied away from the stall, with no shade or water despite it being a very hot day, surrounded by strangers and not once did I see anybody from the DT go check on him!

    As a dog lover myself I can't help but feel let down by yourselves, and urge you to spread the word that dominance theory is debunked, as it does so much damage to dogs...

    Scarlet
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJan 24th, 2013 8:34pm (Jan 24th 2013)
     
    As ever, an excellently worded e-mail! I suspect whoever sets the policy and therefore advocates those methods is 'old school' and hasn't moved with the times and investigated new methods. Could you direct them to any literature on your methods? ( or can you not author a book that quickly?!!!!)
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeJan 24th, 2013 8:55pm (Jan 24th 2013)
     
    Yes, well put, Red. I remember you saying about the fair at the time. i hope they take notice.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeJan 28th, 2013 5:42pm (Jan 28th 2013)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Thanks both :) What I don't understand is that DT always recommend positive reinforcement for training, always say dominance theory has been scientifically disproved...and yet a DT branch and their book has recommended both?!

    This is a big charity too, the vast majority of people are gonna believe what they say over anything else. And I can't blame them, as DT should be recommending only the best...

    No reply yet...
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJan 28th, 2013 7:07pm (Jan 28th 2013)
     
    Sounds like this branch need reminding of the DT principles. I hope someone will be speaking to the manager and then feeding back to you.
    • CommentAuthorTrevs Mum
    • CommentTimeJan 29th, 2013 1:40am (Jan 29th 2013)
     
    Posted By: KatebAs ever, an excellently worded e-mail! I suspect whoever sets the policy and therefore advocates those methods is 'old school' and hasn't moved with the times and investigated new methods. Could you direct them to any literature on your methods? ( or can you not author a book that quickly?!!!!)



    Well said Kate I agree. Red I hope you do get a reply otherwise it just reinforces your opinion and they need to get their act together!
    We dont leave our children out in the heat without a drink so why leave a doggy?:face-crying:
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeJan 29th, 2013 7:51pm (Jan 29th 2013)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    If I don't hear a response in another few days, I'll send it again, and try find another address! ;)
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeJan 30th, 2013 4:16pm (Jan 30th 2013)
     
    Well done Red and I hope you hear from them soon can you write to dog magazines or such as they must have readers comment pages. Most magazines do. If not you might be able to find out if you could write a training article to submit.
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st, 2013 6:12pm (Feb 1st 2013)
     
    Fabulous idea, NN; try it, Red - you have excellent case studies in Zoey and Kaspar. Any dog magazine worth it's salt would be glad to publish it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd, 2013 1:19pm (Feb 3rd 2013)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    I got a...somewhat confusing...reponse today. I think they may be a little confused, I've no idea what the last paragraph refers to, and the dogs at the stall certainly weren't members of the public!!! Eh?!

    The reply:

    Dear Scarlet

    Please accept my apologies for the delays in replying to you as your message was multi-faceted it has taken me a while to get all the information I need.

    I will address your points as below

    We are currently still investigating the book 'Rescue me'that you mention below and the circumstances around its publication. However, I did not want to delay replying to you any longer. As soon as we have a resolution I will be in touch.

    With regards to your friends parents experience, they would have received a rehoming talk which would have explained all the needs of the dog. When returning to the centre they should have taken advice for our specialised training and behaviour advisors, it appears this did not happen. If you friends parents would like to make a formal complaint they can email complaints@dogstrust.org.uk with full details of the dogs, the centre, the staff member they dealt with and who gave them the advice and we will investigate.

    Finally in response to your query about the village fete. Our Mobile Rehoming Units usually have two dogs on for four hours these dogs are assessed thoroughly before they are chosen for the unit to ensure they can cope with the situation. In this case as soon as we were made aware of the battle re-enactment we removed our dogs and took them back to the rehoming centre. The Husky and the other dogs outside you saw belonged to members of the public, and though we had no rights to remove the dogs from the situation our staff did the best they could to care for these dogs whilst the owners were absent.

    I hope this answers your queries if not and you do wish to make a further complaint then please use the email address above.

    Kind Regards


    Hmmm...I'll try reply soon, feel free to offer advice or get in touch with them too.

    Good idea for the dog magazine. I'm subscribed to an *amazing* dog magazine, Dogs Today, incredible people...anti-dominance, anti-Cesar, pro-everything positive. I highly recommend it! I've been wanting to write in for a while, but haven't had time :)

    Your Dog is another magazine I read occasionally, but it's definitely not as good. Some of their info isn't right, the advice given can be a bit punishment / correction based, and there's been a few dominance / pack leader references too...not bad,but poor compared to Dogs Today :bigsmile:
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th, 2013 8:54pm (Feb 4th 2013)
     
    It sounds like they were doggy-sitting on the stand! Is that appropriate I wonder?! A very poor response.

    Anti-Cesar? Is that the dog food or the American dog trainer?!
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th, 2013 2:57pm (Feb 5th 2013)
     
    The dog trainer. A lot of people don't like his methods.
    I agree, Kate; a wishywashy answer that means very little. Disappointing, I thought they could do better than that.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th, 2013 10:36pm (Feb 5th 2013)
     
    I like the simplicity of Red's method. Anyone can do it with a little time and patience, and the dog wants to learn and really enjoys it! Having seen the YouTube videos I would try it if I had a dog. Wonder if it works on husbands?!

    The response struck me as floundering. They've been caught out and are hoping a vague answer will mean Red doesn't bother pursuing it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th, 2013 5:42pm (Feb 6th 2013) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Posted By: KatebIt sounds like they were doggy-sitting on the stand! Is that appropriate I wonder?! A very poor response.

    Anti-Cesar? Is that the dog food or the American dog trainer?!


    Yeah, the dog trainer. I detest him and the damage he is doing to dogs and dog owners worldwide, and am appalled at NatGeo for airing his shows. He relies on dominance (scientifically debuned), punishment, the whole 'pack leader' thing, alpha rolls, and kicks - oh, I mean "touches"!!! Ugh...sorry, I'll stop now. I just can't stand him.

    That's what I love about clicker training or PR, anybody can do it, it's fun for BOTH parties, and the dogs actually want to learn! What could be better?! :)

    Kikopup is an amazing dog trainer on YouTube, all about PR. Her videos are brilliant, she has all sorts of how-to's, and her dogs are incredible! I'll post some when we get back from Zoey's potential training class!

    And I sent this rather rubbish response to DT, but hey hum at least people here know they can be pretty useless now...

    Hi there,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply.

    I have forwarded the complaints email address onto my friends' family, although I doubt you will hear anything further from them as they no longer want a dog. It's interesting that they should have been referred to a behaviourist but weren't, as it could have saved the dog from losing his new family.

    I'm a little confused in regard to the village fair, and think the one I am referring to must have been a different one to the one you talked of. There was no war re-enactment at the one I attended. I also don't understand how the dogs I was referring to belonged to members of the public...the DT staff / volunteers held the lead of two smaller dogs, terriers I recall, and often picked them up to fuss them. The Husky also seemed to belong to the stall, the stall was positioned on a very small patch of grass, and the Husky was tethered to the ground nearby the DT marquee, not tied to railings or some such thing. I don't understand why a member of the public would tie their dog there, or how as there isn't usually a tether there (the fair took place on the car park of my old school so I know the area well). I also don't know why a dog owner would choose to tie there dog right next to a DT stall, with other dogs and amidst such chaos. Or were the people running the DT stall dog-sitting for other dog owners?

    Thanks again for your time,

    Scarlet


    I'm in a mad dash but will try post more in a few hours!
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th, 2013 6:40pm (Feb 6th 2013)
     
    I think that's a fair response. The worst thing is your friends could've been life-long dog owners with the right support, and their view of the whole process is negative now and that's what they'll share with their friends.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th, 2013 3:19pm (Feb 7th 2013) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Okay, I found a brilliant Kikopup video to share! It's slow, but the tricks are amazing :smile:



    I love Splash the collie! ^__^

    Zoey's class last night was awesome, I can't wait to take her next week! There are no puppy or socialisation classes around here, so we weren't sure how suitable this one would be for Zoey. But it was really good. A small class, which is always a positive, there were about six dogs and only two were adults! The rest were between 16 and 20 weeks old, perfect!

    Some of the owners really bugged me and I had to bite my tongue (shouting, yanking the dog's collar, lifting the dog by the collar etc) and it bugged me that the trainer didn't advise them not to do that, but she mainly kept out of the way, which I liked actually. She started the class by letting the dogs walk around with their owners and greet everybody else, then said "Okay, let's see your sits", and everybody would go off and do that all at once, and she would wander and comment / advise, then "Ok, lets see your 'watch'" etc.

    Can't wait to take Zoey next week!
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th, 2013 10:01pm (Feb 7th 2013)
     
    What a great video! It's amazing what can be achieved. Thanks for sharing that.
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th, 2013 4:39pm (Feb 9th 2013)
     
    Treat method training
      600458_447591851977399_664233235_n.jpg
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th, 2013 3:22pm (Feb 10th 2013) edited
     
    Love it! :tooth:
    • CommentAuthorTrevs Mum
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th, 2013 8:05am (Feb 12th 2013)
     
    great video Red and very funny NN.