Thursday, June 19, 2014

I want to talk about my dog Otto.  We have him about 3 years now.  He is our dog, but technically he is my dog.  The reason I say  that is because he doesn't like George very much.

Honestly, I don't think he "tolerates" George.  That must seem weird.  A dog "tolerating" a human.  He is very good, he behaves, he is obedient.  He just doesn't tolerate George.

He is reactive.  Which means he reacts to things.  In his case he doesn't react in a good way.  Basically he attacks.  Since he is a big dog... about 77 pounds, that is a bad thing.

We have had numerous behaviorists and trainers evaluate him.  Both vets and "trainers".  The first vet was treating him when he was young.  About 10 months old.  George wasn't crazy about her.  She wasn't cheap.  Well let me qualify this.  She would spend about 3 hours at the house, only charge us for 1 hour.  In her defense, she really loved Otto.  In hind site, maybe we should have started him in puppy socialization classes right away.  We did not know his background.

So let me go forward and say, really in hind sight a lot of his behavior, is my fault. That being said I am going forward doing what ever I can for him.

We adopted him at approximately 5 months old.  The lady we adopted him from eluded to the fact that he was "tortured".  When I shoed sympathy upon her saying that she quickly said...well, I can't say that for sure.  Now keep in mind torture to an animal enthusiast, such as myself, and this person can be anything, from not feeding him regularly, beating him while he is tyed on... to chasing him out of the yard.  So basically... it is relative.

Let me add that he was only 16 pounds when we picked him up.  That was 2 days after he was found.  The day he was found he was at the Geneva feed store.  He was starving and covered with fleas.  The day we picked him up, he had a few meals, had a bath and had a pill to get rid of his fleas.  He had also had a checkup and I believe his preliminary shots.

Everything was fine.  We took him to friends houses to play with their dogs.  He really loved our older dog, who had no patience for him.  Typical behavior between a puppy and an older dog.  Then one day, it was like someone fipped a switch.

He saw a kid and a strange man, and went nuts.  Started thrashing around,  and nipping/biting at anything in site.  It started happening more frequently.  So we called a trainer.  The strange thing was, at other times he was fine!  We had the trainner/vet come about 3 times.  It cost us close to $1000, including the leashes, toys, gates, treats, etc.

Needless to say we stopped the training.  It was too expensive.  Now let me add, this trainer left us with all the tools and knowledge we needed.  She also arranged (by that I mean she brought a trainer to our home, at no charge, to meet Otto and us, that we could bring Otto to an outside facility for training, that was much less expensive) to continue training with another trainer.  That didn't last long.  See, I don't drive. Well I do, but I can't anymore because of a disability.

Then one day George came home from a friends house.  They have a chocalate lab who is VERY affectionate.  On top of that, George was in a very bad mood.  Very cranky.  So much so that I went upstairs to get away from him.  Next thing I know, George is yelling at the dog, pushing him away.

Before I knew it, when I came down stairs, the dog was on George, or had him by the arm and wasn't letting go.

If you want to know my opinion...both George and I let Otto down.  I did because I left him alone with George when he was clearly in a vey bad mood.  (George, not Otto was in a bad mood). We didn't use any of the tools the trainer had given us.  I left Otto alone with George, when George was clearly in no frame of mind to deal with Otto.

George ended up in the hospital.

We still have Otto.  Now let me add how I realize that anyone else other than George, would have put his foot down, and Otto would be "bye-bye", in one sense of the phrase or another.

We have had Otto evaluated by 4 or 5 other trainers.  I called two others who were not in the "positve training" mindset.  They truly scared me.  Just talking to them on the phone scared me.  Before anyone wants to be helpful, don't suggest the dog whisperer to me.  That little mexican should be deported.

Otto is now 3 and a half.  We still deal with issues.  We have had the guru of dog trainers evaluate him.  A doctor from Gainesvlle.  She has him on fluxotine and clonidine.  He was almost 2 when she saw him.  Gave us the same advice as the first behaviorist.

I love him, he is well behaved.  He tolerates his crate, he tolerates his muzzle.  He tolerates the cats.    He never has an accident, I mean never!  He just has this switch that we don't see.  We have no idea what it is that will set him off.

I just wish I knew what it was that flipped the switch.

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