Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not a Conversation I Want to Have

This Sunday, I am going to get to tell an owner that their dogs are welcome here. This is not something I enjoy saying, but I cannot tolerate any aggressive dogs.

I know I will tell the owners and I know the dogs won't be back because I control those things. This isn't maximum security and I can't put other people's kids at risk.

I have been separating these two dogs from the other dogs. They get a whole play area to themselves. They play pretty rough with each other, but at least they are getting some exercise and aren't spending the entire playtime fence fighting the other dogs at the gate. They have been doing that with their neighbors in the kennel. I put dogs next to them that won't take the bait and fight back.

Until yesterday, this was going to be a pretty simple conversation. I would just ask the owners not to bring them again. Now, I have to tell them that I truly believe that one of the dogs will eventually injure if not kill their other dog. This is where I lose control of the conversation. This is when owners become deaf and can't hear me. No one wants to hear criticism of their kids, and I think it is worse to hear bad stuff about your dogs. When an owner does listen to my advice and sees the problem, I stop worrying. I am hoping that these owners are realists.

What happen yesterday? I was putting the big group of dogs away first.

See, I could never get the big group of dogs that all get along to go to the far side of the play yard. Someone would always stay behind and I would have to put them back in their kennel to let the two aggressive dogs out. This meant that one dog got too short of a play time AND had to put up with the two idiots fence fighting at his kennel. So, I switched it around. Two trouble makers get the big play area and 9 dogs share the small side.

So, small side dogs go in first. As I was trying to sort that group out, I heard the other two growling. They play very rough and growl quite a bit when playing so I wasn't actually alarmed. Then I hear a more distinctive growl and out of the corner of my eye I see the puppy shaking something in her mouth. It is gray and fluffy and I freaked. I really thought that one of the smaller dogs had somehow squashed through the gate and gotten in with this monster. Not that we have anything small and gray at this time. It was a large, ratty, knotted rope that I hate because BB gets it and hits me with it. My heart was beating so fast. Not the aerobic exercise I want to get, but it did make me much more attentive to these two playing.

The younger and smaller one is very aggressive over toys. The tugs of war are play on oneside of the toys and just plain war on the other. I also noticed that the puppy is food aggressive to the older and bigger dog. The puppy is a smaller breed and will never be as big as she sister, but the size of her aggression doesn't have those limits.

Not looking forward to it, but it is a conversation that must be had.


Sharon Fernleaf said...

How did the conversation go with the owners?

yawningdog said...

You are not the only person to ask me about this. The owners didn't pick up their dogs, the grandparents did. I explained what I had seen to the grandparents and hoped that they would pass on the information.

When the owner did stop by to pay, she told me her parent told her everything I had said, but that she knew her dog wasn't aggressive. They hadn't seen any sign of aggression in the dog, neither had the trainer or the vet. I asked about food aggression and how she plays tug of war. She told me that they can reach in and take her food, no problem and as for growling when playing, that is just how they play.

I said again that they should watch for her to be aggressive to the other dog, not them. And she said that she would being watching. Not my problem anymore, I won't be babysitting them anymore.