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Elderly Couple Killed By Pack of Dogs

Elderly Couple Killed By Pack of Dogs

An elderly couple have been killed by “feral” dogs in a town in Georgia after they were attacked while taking a morning walk.

Elderly Couple Killed By Pack of Dogs

The bodies of former college professor Luther Karl Schweder, 77, and Sherry Schweder, 65 were discovered early on Saturday morning, with the dogs still present at the scene. Authorities say that the Mrs. Schweder was attacked by the dogs while she was out for a walk and her husband died trying to fight off the animals. 11 mixed-breed dogs were captured at the scene, and 5 more have been subsequently caught. All 16 dogs were euthanized on Tuesday at the Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter.

Residents of the area say that they were familiar with the dogs, and that they had never shown any signs of aggression before. It is thought that some dogs were left behind at an abandoned property in the area when the resident of the house, Howard Thaxton, moved away with health problems, and since then the dogs have multiplied and become more feral. However, it is claimed that Thaxton has been driven to the house every few days to leave food for the dogs.

There have been at least 20 fatal dog attacks in the United States so far in 2009, where are there are approximately 75 million pet dogs. The authorities are still considering whether Thaxton can be held culpable for the tragedy in any way.

**An additional worry here is that another side affect of the poor economy and foreclosure markets could be more abandoned dogs and cats that then become feral and form packs. – Ask Marion/JOMP

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August 22, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, animal behavior, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using ‘Dominance’ To Explain Dog Behavior Is Old Hat

ScienceDaily (May 25, 2009) — A new study shows how the behavior of dogs has beenGRRRRR misunderstood for generations: in fact using misplaced ideas about dog behavior and training is likely to cause rather than cure unwanted behavior.  The findings challenge many of the dominance related interpretations of behavior and training techniques suggested by current TV dog trainers.

Contrary to popular belief, aggressive dogs are NOT trying to assert their dominance over their canine or human “pack”, according to research published by academics at the University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.   (Credit: iStockphoto)

The researchers spent six months studying dogs freely interacting at a Dogs Trust rehoming center, and reanalyzing data from studies of feral dogs, before concluding that individual relationships between dogs are learnt through experience rather than motivated by a desire to assert “dominance”.

The study shows that dogs are not motivated by maintaining their place in the pecking order of their pack, as many well-known dog trainers preach.

Far from being helpful, the academics say, training approaches aimed at “dominance reduction” vary from being worthless in treatment to being actually dangerous and likely to make behaviors worse.

Instructing owners to eat before their dog or go through doors first will not influence the dog’s overall perception of the relationship – merely teach them what to expect in these specific situations.  Much worse, techniques such as pinning the dog to the floor, grabbing jowls, or blasting hooters at dogs will make dogs anxious, often about their owner, and potentially lead to an escalation of aggression.

Dr Rachel Casey, Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Behavior and Welfare at Bristol University, said:  “The blanket assumption that every dog is motivated by some innate desire to control people and other dogs is frankly ridiculous.  It hugely underestimates the complex communicative and learning abilities of dogs. It also leads to the use of coercive training techniques, which compromise welfare, and actually cause problem behaviors.

“In our referral clinic we very often see dogs which have learnt to show aggression to avoid anticipated punishment. Owners are often horrified when we explain that their dog is terrified of them, and is showing aggression because of the techniques they have used – but its not their fault when they have been advised to do so, or watched unqualified ‘behaviorists’ recommending such techniques on TV.”

At Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, rehoming center staff see the results of misguided dog training all the time.  Veterinary Director Chris Laurence MBE, added: “We can tell when a dog comes in to us which has been subjected to the ‘dominance reduction technique’ so beloved of TV dog trainers.  They can be very fearful, which can lead to aggression towards people.

“Sadly, many techniques used to teach a dog that his owner is leader of the pack is counter-productive; you won’t get a better behaved dog, but you will either end up with a dog so fearful it has suppressed all its natural behaviors and will just do nothing, or one so aggressive it’s dangerous to be around.”

If You’re Aggressive, Your Dog Will Be Too, Says Veterinary Study

ScienceDaily (Feb. 18, 2009) — In a new, year-long University of Pennsylvania survey of dog owners who use confrontational or aversive methods to train aggressive pets, agressive dog-large veterinary researchers have found that most of these animals will continue to be aggressive unless training techniques are modified.

The study, published in the current issue of Applied Animal Behavior Science, also showed that using non-aversive or neutral training methods such as additional exercise or rewards elicited very few aggressive responses.

“Nationwide, the No. 1 reason why dog owners take their pet to a veterinary behaviorist is to manage aggressive behavior,” Meghan E. Herron, lead author of the study, said. “Our study demonstrated that many confrontational training methods, whether staring down dogs, striking them or intimidating them with physical manipulation does little to correct improper behavior and can elicit aggressive responses.”

The team from the School of Veterinary Medicine at Penn suggest that primary-care veterinarians advise owners of the risks associated with such training methods and provide guidance and resources for safe management of behavior problems. Herron, Frances S. Shofer and Ilana R. Reisner, veterinarians with the Department of Clinical Studies at Penn Vet, produced a 30-item survey for dog owners who made behavioral service appointments at Penn Vet. In the questionnaire, dog owners were asked how they had previously treated aggressive behavior, whether there was a positive, negative or neutral effect on the dogs’ behavior and whether aggressive responses resulted from the method they used. Owners were also asked where they learned of the training technique they employed.

Of the 140 surveys completed, the most frequently listed recommendation sources were “self” and “trainers.” Several confrontational methods such as “hit or kick dog for undesirable behavior” (43 percent), “growl at dog” (41 percent), “physically force the release of an item from a dog’s mouth” (39 percent), “alpha roll”physically — rolling the dog onto its back and holding it (31 percent), “stare at or stare down” (30 percent), “dominance down” —- physically forcing the dog down onto its side (29 percent) and “grab dog by jowls and shake” (26 percent) elicited an aggressive response from at least 25 percent of the dogs on which they were attempted. In addition, dogs brought to the hospital for aggressive behavior towards familiar people were more likely to respond aggressively to some confrontational techniques than dogs brought in for other behavioral reasons.

“This study highlights the risk of dominance-based training, which has been made popular by TV, books and punishment-based training advocates,”Herron said. “These techniques are fear-eliciting and may lead to owner-directed aggression.”

Prior to seeking the counsel of a veterinary behaviorist, many dog owners attempt behavior-modification techniques suggested by a variety of sources.

Recommendations often include the aversive-training techniques listed in the survey, all of which may provoke fearful or defensively aggressive behavior. Their common use may have grown from the idea that canine aggression is rooted in the need for social dominance or to a lack of dominance displayed by the owner. Advocates of this theory therefore suggest owners establish an “alpha” or pack-leader role.

The purpose of the Penn Vet study was to assess the behavioral effects and safety risks of techniques used historically by owners of dogs with behavior problems.

Dog whispering is a definite alternative to traditional training.

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July 1, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet and Animal Training, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment