Do Not Read

[UPDATE: After writing a letter informing ACS of the bad advice contained in their adoption packet, their head trainer has pledged to review and update all existing material.]

Astoundingly poor advice on canine socialization, courtesy of Chicago’s Anti-Cruelty Society:

A normal greeting for dogs is to stand rigidly still while they sniff each other…. The hair, or hackles, on their backs may go up, the dogs may stand on tip-toe and they may mount each other. Again, this is all perfectly normal and should be allowed….

Expect some growling, pushing around and minor fights. Some fights look and sound ferocious, but allow them to continue. It is all normal and natural. This is how dogs settle their differences. Unless you see “blood and guts”, do not interfere.

…In the case of a severe fight, try to separate them by pulling each dog off balance by its hind legs…. Put each dog in a separate area for the next few hours, or days, and try it again once things have calmed down.

Yes, by all means, try again. After all, practice makes perfect!

The above gems may be found within The Anti-Cruelty Society’s mind-boggling handout titled Introducing a Dog to a Dog. It came my way via a new client, whose newly adopted dog in fact disagrees rather vehemently with the notion that growling, posturing, mounting, and minor skirmishes should be allowed to go on unchecked.

Coincidentally, this dog was also never assessed for dog-aggression prior to being adopted. Granted, aggression doesn’t seem to much alarm the good folks at Anti-Cruelty, but you’d think they’d give it a whirl anyhow, just to see what happens. After all, worst case scenario, they’d see some “blood and guts”, break up a few fights, and try again.

Or something.

© Ruth Crisler and Spot Check, 2010.

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  1. Miz’s avatar

    Say what? Un-freaking-believable! What planet are they from?

    I can’t think of a better way to guarantee a trip to the vet to stitch up the participants. About the only piece of advice worth listenting to is to separate the dogs via the hind legs.

    Would love to know where they got that idea.

    Reply

    1. ruthcrisler’s avatar

      I can’t guess at what planet they are from, but I’d like to think they were exiled from it for spouting dreck.

      Reply

  2. H. Houlahan’s avatar

    Taking kickbacks from the 24-hour Emergency Vets?

    Do they instruct the new adopters to keep a nice, tight leash, so that the dogs can maintain that natural rigid posture and hackling?

    Reply

    1. ruthcrisler’s avatar

      Now you mention it, they do offer a First Aid and CPR class. Bet that fills up quick.

      Reply

  3. EmilyS’s avatar

    are they f’ing insane????

    Reply

    1. ruthcrisler’s avatar

      Normally I steer clear of clinical diagnoses, but yes, clearly insane. You can quote me on that.

      Reply

  4. Viatecio’s avatar

    How ironic that this is from an “anti-cruelty” society.

    So it’s OK to let dogs posture and potentially get into it, but it’s not OK to do a bunch of other things that “anti-cruelty” societies seem to be staunchly against (training with correction collars, docking/cropping, not sterilizing, etc)…?

    The hypocrisy speaks louder than the idiocy here.

    H, the leash is probably already tight because of course the dog is pulling at it to “go say HI” to the other dog…

    Reply

    1. ruthcrisler’s avatar

      The thing you need to keep in mind, is that it is less about what the dog actually experiences, than about the good intentions of the humans involved. Or at least that’s what I gather from such glaring and illogical contradictions.

      Reply

  5. SmartDogs’s avatar

    ‘Good intentions’ my ass. It’s a classic example of the kind of twisted, self-righteous dogma that kills more dogs than all the shock/choke/prong collars in the world put together.

    Reply

    1. ruthcrisler’s avatar

      Well, I should obviously have put ‘good’ in quotations.

      Reply

  6. metisrebel’s avatar

    More solid proof that many of these ‘dog savers’ are utterly clueless.

    Any dog who mounts my dog gets thrown off bodily if “NO! GET OFF” doesn’t work.

    End of discussion.

    Reply

    1. ruthcrisler’s avatar

      The scary thing is, this handout wasn’t originated by some ragtag group of dog lovers, but by a century-old shelter with a certified trainer with twenty-five years experience on salary.

      Reply

      1. metisrebel’s avatar

        PS, you might like my latest blog on dog trainers being too “nice”–I’d love your feedback!

        Reply

  7. Karen Laws’s avatar

    OMG … yet another confirmation that the majority of these bleeding heart organizations have NF clue!!!

    Reply

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