Buster's first full day at Adopt-A-Bull's Bullie Bootcamp...
Posted June 30, 2009 7:38 am
Buster was removed from his crate to go on a walk. He was put on a prong collar. Buster initially tried to refuse to walk by stopping and dropping his weight. I did not acknowledge his desire, did not look at him or stop, although I gave him a slight tug on the leash which got him moving. He tried three times in the first 30 feet to stop walking, each time his request was denied. Buster was made to go on a quarter mile walk. He had to walk on my left side and was unable to control the pace of his walk, nor was he allowed to walk in front of me. He was allowed to urinate when I decided to stop and let him. He was allowed to defecate when I stopped and let him. He was not spoken to, however, when he walked with his right shoulder touching my left leg, he was told "Good Boy".
I will attempt to teach Buster the following 2 types of walks:
"Walk Out": This is a relaxing walk where the dog is able to maneuver within the range of his leash. He is allowed to sniff and interact with his surroundings. "Walking Out" is a reward.
"Walk In": This is a high traffic walk where the dog must stay on the left side, may not cross the handler and may not veer out of a one foot radius. Buster will be "Walked In" for 90% of his walks.
In any event, I will begin to teach Buster to potty on command. I will use the command, "Go to the bathroom". This is a very handy command because sometimes, a dog will hold his bladder to extend his walk, which isn\'t good for his owner if he/she has something to do or if it is raining. It reinforces my control over him, lets the dog know what is expected of him, and enables him to "earn" his "walk out".
Buster must learn that he is no longer making any decisions for himself. He does not get to choose when he eats, sleeps or even uses the bathroom. Once he learns that he no longer is in control and that he is lower than a mouse turd, he will be a happier, healthy dog. Once his behavioral plan is implemented by his owners, he will no longer spend his time scheming and plotting against his family to get what he wants; rather, he will respect his owners and want to please them.
Upon returning from his walk, Buster was made to "stand" for an exam. Since Buster\'s owners are having trouble with his vetting and grooming, I feel that this is a crucial part of his rehab. He must accept his owners touch and they must be able to control him when bringing him to the vet without fear of injury to themselves or others. The "stand" command is what handlers use in the show ring to stack the dogs and allow the judges to examine them. Their legs are positioned correctly, their head faces forward, their testicles are felt, the judge passes his hands along the dog to feel the muscle tone and his teeth are examined. Buster was given the "stand" command and I attempted to stack him. Of course, Buster reacted to this by snapping at me. I had anticipated this reaction, so I was prepared and in a position where he could not make contact. I ignored his bad behavior and continued to make him stand. He attempted to bite another 4 times, each time his behavior was completely ignored and the stacking continued. He eventually realized that snapping was not making me stop, and he decided it was best to let me continue. I positioned him, cleaned his rear, examined his toes, ran my hands along him, felt his underbelly, looked in his ears and examined his teeth, all without issue. When I was finished, I released him with a command of "OK" and offered him a treat. He was a bit angry, so he did not accept his treat. He was them put in his crate. He whined at me a bit, but then he settled in and went to sleep. Since I control his time now, I decided this would be a good time to do more training. I woke him up, removed him from his crate and we practiced the "stand" again. The first time he attempted to snap twice. Again, he was ignored. He was given a treat once he accepted his exam and released. He was made to stand again, this time no snapping. He was examined and released. He was g given a drink of water as a reward and returned to the crate. His day will continue like this.
NOTE: I have noticed that Buster is leaking urine when he sleeps. He is very overweight, which may be affecting the elasticity of his bladder muscles. I recommend Buster be put on a diet and his food switched to a grain-free blend. If his problem is not getting better, he will need to be checked for a bladder infection.
This is the story of Buster Brown...
Posted June 29, 2009 12:10 pm
*** This blog is being established for educational purposes. *** The dog spoken of in this blog WILL NOT be available for adoption to the general public. Please understand that while most bulldogs are loving, mellow and great family pets, we do see some that have MAJOR behavioral issues including, but not limited to, aggression, both fear and dominance based, and alpha behaviors. Again, while this may not be a common trait of the breed, some bulldogs may have "baggage" in their past or have gone through traumatic experiences in their lives that result in undesired behaviors. It is very important to not only understand this history of this very specialized breed, but to also recognize signs of a potential problem and implement proper correction techniques immediately! Bulldogs can be very dominant dogs and we cannot stress enough the importance of implementing structure, routine and discipline into the life of a bulldog from a very young age to prevent future problems. This is the story of Buster Brown...
Back in November, 2008, Buster was surrendered to a county shelter in central Florida by his very own family. He was heartworm positive, intact, needed his tail amputated, and was estimated to be around 3 years old. Unfortunately, we do not know many details about Buster’s past, but we do know he bit a member of the family (possibly a child) which was the reason for his family giving him up. Buster was placed on a ten day quarantine period at the shelter and was a candidate for euthanasia after that time. Until……. A gentleman working in the media industry stepped forward expressing his interest in adopting Buster. From our understanding, Buster was NOT available for adoption. As is standard with “bite dogs,” they are either euthanized by the county or in some situations they may be available for rescue only (that's IF a rescue is willing to take on a liability dog.) Without going into details, we will only say that Buster was adopted to the media man against better judgment on behalf of the shelter.
Shelter records indicated: "DOG IS A BITE DOG AND DOES NOT LIKE TO BE TOUCHED. I WAS UNABLE TO MUZZEL THE DOG TO GIVE IT ITS SHOTS. There is no sign of an ear infection, but the dog becomes very aggressive when touched, so unable to examine closely."
Veterinarian Specialist notes indicated: "... has a history of biting prior owners and he did attempt to bite on several occasions while hospitalized with us. Due to his aggressive and unpredictable tendency to bite, caution should be used when interacting with him. Extreme caution should be exercised when introducing him to new individuals and interaction with children should be avoided..."
Adopt-A-Bull was contacted on June 26th, 2009, by Buster's owners. After a series of emails and phone conversations, it was completely obvious that they care deeply about this dog, having invested nearly $3000 towards his medical procedures and recovery, however, they were not prepared for the serious series of events that would transpire post adoption. In addition, they were not sure how to go about "fixing" the inital warning signs which have now resulted in full blown problems. Unfortunately, there have been two separate bite incidents since Buster's adoption... Buster's behavioral issues are getting worse, much worse. The owners have come to the realization that without intervention immediately, Buster would surely have to be euthanized. The following was sent via email on behalf of Adopt-A-Bull to the owner during our premliminary interview: (If you have a dominant, strong willed, or alpha dog we would strongly suggest adhearing to the suggestions below as well.)
"Rules to implement immediately (and should have been implemented from day 1)
- no furniture, couch, chairs, elevated positions
- scheduled feedings 2x a day, 10 mins to eat - NO FREE FEEDING
- no table scraps or anything other than dog food
- treats as reward only for good behavior/obedience training, do not treat him for doing nothing at all!
- CRATE TRAINING IS A MUST!! NO FREE ROAM
- obviously, your wife is being viewed as submissive to him, that's a big problem!
- do not let him jump up on you or anyone, all 4 paws stay on the ground ALWAYS!
- walks only on leash when human has control of his direction constantly.
- sleep time is in a crate
- any unsupervised time is in a crate
- again, no couch, chairs, or furniture.... very important in establishing the hierarchy roles of all family members.
- if you retreat when he gets aggressive whether cleaning his face or forcing him to do something he may not enjoy, it shows him HE has the power, this will get worse if proper techniques are not implemented ASAP."
The response we received back from owners: "I've done everything wrong. Can I turn this around?"
After several more emails, a few phone conferences, and carefull consideration by both parties, it was on Sunday, June 28th, 2009, that Adopt-A-Bull Rescue, Inc. admitted Buster Brown into our Bulldog Boot Camp. His owner signed him over to us with the understanding that if Buster does not respond favorably to his training and behavior modification he will, in fact, be euthanized. On the other hand, if Buster shows significant improvement, his owners will have to opportunity to apply to adopt him back, or Buster will be placed in a permanent home (without any children) that is qualified, experienced, educated, and willing to keep Buster on his new routine, consistently following thru, ON A DAILY BASIS, with the program that we plan to implement.
As standard procedure, Adopt-A-Bull DOES NOT and CAN NOT accept the responsibility and liability of adopting out a dog with a bite history. However, in some occasions, without knowing the details surrounding a bite incident, whether or not it was without provocation, etc., we will admit the dog into our program on a "no guarantee/limited" basis and properly evaluate and temperament test the dog. (As we know from personal experience, many of the county/government run shelters do not know how to properly evaluate/temperament test a dog, and/or do not have certified trainers or behaviors to assist with this process.) The decision to accept such a dog into our program is made on a case by case basis by Adopt-A-Bull's board of directors.
This blog, being established for educational purposes, will be used to track Buster's progress, or lack thereof. It is being updated in real time, and as each blog entry is added, even we are unsure of Buster's fate.
DAY 1 in Rescue
Buster exited the car after nearly a 3 hour drive, stood in the driveway wondering where he was, and was surprised that someone was actually tugging on the opposite end of the leash... was someone really trying to get me to move when I didn't want to?!?!? The tugging began to get more abrasive, quick sharp jerks with the leash and stubborn Buster anchored his chubby feet to the pavement even more. Another sharp tug and I noticed his collar was slipping over one of his ears, it wasn't tight enough. As I approached to tighten it, I noticed his body stiffen up. I leaned down, touched his collar getting ready to adjust it and he snapped! Without hesitation, Buster was immediately placed belly up and secured in a submissive position on the ground right where he was. A few seconds secured in this position while the "NO!" command was firmly shouted and Buster was released. (On a positive note, he did not try to bite or protest when he was in this position - that's a plus!) Let's try this again. This time I was able to adjust the collar without incident :) Buster understood he would not be getting away with that crap here.... it's time for this dog to know who's boss. Buster's new life started the day he stepped his meaty little paw out of the car and onto my driveway. We proceed to the backyard to conduct the final surrender interview. This time, as I directed Buster's path with the leash and a few quick tugs, he complied like a good boy! Amazing! Being sure to let all humans enter thru my backyard gate first, Buster was allowed in only after invitation and only after he witnessed the humans entering ahead of him. For the next 45 minutes we sat down at the picnic table under my gazebo with Buster on a very short leash. Several attempts by Buster to climb up on the picnic table to join us were quickly rejected by his new mommy, Erica, with leash direction and a stern command. After 3 attempts (within a 20 minute time frame) of Buster trying to climb up onto the picnic followed by immediate rejection/correction, he soon got the hint and decided to plop down and lay on the grass under the picnic table. Another success! Hopefully Buster's rehab may not be as challenging as first initially thought.