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Maybe I’m Being Unreasonable…

Two or three days ago, as I mentioned previously, Jackson came back to us from his temporary foster family. Those of you who know me reasonably well are probably aware that I’m not happy that Jackson came into our program at all. He was one of those dogs who have been presented to us as “Sheltie”, but that who turned out to be (at best) a Sheltie mix. But my unhappiness about Jackson being here is more than just that — he’s a disruptive influence in many ways. (He’s not as bad as Travis, by any means, though.)

Before Jackson went to his foster family back in late August 2008 (shortly before Barbara’s first knee replacement), he actually bit me on two different occasions, one of them breaking the skin. Also, on several occasions, he attacked one or more of the other dogs, even seniors, and inflicted (mostly minor) injuries on them. Needless to say, I was very displeased and Barbara and I argued about Jackson quite a lot for a couple of days. My position was that I didn’t want a dog around the house who thought that it was OK to bite me or the other members of the household. Barbara persuaded me to let her place Jackson in a foster home (fully-informed consent, of course) with significant Corgi experience, rather than have him put down as a biter.

Well, yesterday, Jackson bit me again — twice, once breaking the skin. (Please know that he has never inflicted serious injuries on me and the injuries that the other dogs have sustained haven’t been life-threatening, although stitches might have been justified once or twice.) I became furious and made it clear that, if he bit me again, he would be immediately taken to the vet and put down. I do not need an unpredictable biter around this house, nor do I think it’s wise to place a dog with his history of unpredicted attacks for reasons that are not understood at all.

(Full disclosure: In all, or nearly all, cases, there was a lot of chaos going on because of other dogs squabbling, door bells ringing, and/or other such situations. Jackson seems mostly to be triggered when there’s that kind of chaos. But not always…he’s been known to go after me for the crime of entering a room where he and Barbara are!)

Barbara asked me to give her a chance to find him a foster or adoptive home (again, fully-informed consent) in which to place Jackson, or else I might have already taken him to the vet. But I remain uncomfortable with the potential liability. I think Barbara believes that Jackson is basically a good dog and that there’s something with the atmosphere here at our house that causes him to trigger like that. I don’t know…she may be right. I haven’t talked to the people who fostered him for the last 4 or 5 months, so I don’t know whether he did anything similar there. If not, then maybe placing him elsewhere is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

I don’t “hate” Jackson, but I don’t really understand any breeds other than Shelties, Collies, and Border Collies. And he’s more Corgi in personality than anything else (being something like Spanky, a Corgi we finished raising for Canine Companions for Independence many years ago, then adopted when he flunked out of their program…for temperament issues). But I think there’s something else going on with Jackson, beyond mere Corgi temperament.

I hope that Barbara is able to find him another home, where he can prosper and not feel that it’s necessary to bite or otherwise attack anybody. But I have my doubts…

On this day..

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7 comments to Maybe I’m Being Unreasonable…

  • I’m very uncomfortable placing a dog either in foster care or in with an adoptor who has repeated bite history, not only with people but other dogs. Even with full disclosure, I don’t feel comfortable putting people or other pets in danger.

    I know that you mentioned that the bites have often been triggered by something unpredictable, or chaotic. The fact is that unpredictable situations happen even in the most stable households, and the risk of him biting again seems high.

    If I were in your situation I would definitely speak to the foster parents that have had him in their care for the last few months before I made any decisions.

  • Sounds like a very hard time you are having.
    An unpredictable Dog like Jackson will be difficult to rehome. As Marie states even in the calmest of households there will always be moments of chaos.
    I wish I knew of some advice to give but all I can say is that I wish you the best of luck.

    Oh, i added your site to my blogroll which I finally got around to updating.

    Al the best.

  • So glad I stumbled upon this blog (via Tip Tail). My wife and I love Shelties, and it’s so inspiring to read about the rescues.

  • so awesome when more ppl find out about this blog, don’t you think?

    that is sooo hard about the cogi…. when I was living with my parents and decided I wanted to get a dog they told me I had to get a sheltie because they were the dogs that they knew the most about seeing as they had two of their own and a few in the past. Now I feel like the only breed I really know anything about is the sheltie (which even them I don’t know as much I would like). corgi’s… I have no idea.

  • If a dog is aggressive, his behavior will not be eliminated just because he is placed into a different environment. Rather, he needs to undergo aggressive dog training so that he learns that biting will not be tolerated. I don’t think that he should be put down, as I do believe that all dogs can be good. However, his next “family” should be aware of his bad temperament and be willing to attempt to engage in some serious dog obedience training. Otherwise, placing him in a different environment is pointless. He will inevitably cause someone or some other animal serious injuries, or his caretakers will get fed up with his aggressive behavior and bring him to the pound/vet.

  • I really hope that something works out for Jackson but I completely understand about the behavior. This is really a difficult and sad situation.

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