The Muttley Story

Selected posts and other details of the ongoing saga.

(a work in progress: 07/30/08)


"What breed is Muttley?"

From: "Paul"

Newsgroups: rec.pets.dogs.breeds

Subject: Newbie here: Help identifying mixed breed rescued dog (Muttley)

Date: 26 Jun 2006 22:28:26 -0700

Hello all:

I frequently post on some of the technical electronics newsgroups, but I am new to this newsgroup. I have a dog I helped rescue from the projects of downtown Baltimore, and I would like help identifying the breeds he represents.

He is a large, powerful dog, with massive chest, thick legs, and a huge head out of proportion to his body. His tongue has spots of purple, which my friend seems to think shows some Chow. He seems somewhat like a German Shepherd, but bulkier. I think he may be part Pit Bull, or American Staffordshire Terrier. I have his picture on, and also on An older picture is on my personal website at

I would not ordinarily have adopted a dog, especially one this size, as I also have a cat (Photon), and Muttley is very cat-aggressive. He was probably surviving on his own for quite a while, and retains many of his wild survival instincts. He is fairly well housebroken, except for occasional accidents and probable excitement caused by the cat. He has so far resisted my attempts to train him, so he pulls hard on his choker chain when I walk him, and cannot be trusted to run in an unfenced area. He did get loose late one night, and ran back into the woods for about a half hour before returning. I would gladly do it more often, but I am afraid of what he might do to my neighbors' children and pets, as well as fearing for his safety on the heavily traveled road in front of my house. I would like to find a good home for him, but I don't want to just take him to an animal rescue or SPCA where he might be euthenized, and in any case I would never see him again. Ideally I'd like to find someone nearby so I could possibly visit or hear of his well being.

However, the main reason for my post is to help identify his breed. I can send more photos if anyone is interested in helping me.

(Sorry if this is a repeat. My regular news server has been dropping posts)




From: diddy

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 07:17:57 -0500


Well, I found no dogs on that page, being link specific would help.

Found lots of dogs, which is yours?

Found lots of dogs, which is yours?


From: "Paul"

Date: 27 Jun 2006 10:30:44 -0700


Sorry, I thought I had added his picture to my home page. I put pictures on my website at:

A search for "Muttley" on wikifido will find him.




From: "Duh Bossy Bimbo"

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 13:44:49 -0400

Here, "JaNut" as she is called in the AOL CBB boards, thanks me for adopting Muttley, and comments on his sweatshirt and chain leash. She also says his muzzle and tongue markings are like a Shar-Pei, and says the docked tail might be a sign of BYB. And she says she is "really bad" about color genetics.


From: "Paul"

Date: 27 Jun 2006 11:34:03 -0700

Thanks for your reply. I am learning a lot from this newsgroup, even from the madman. My friend Helene, who actually initiated the rescue, along with three other dogs, gave me the choker collar and chain. She seemed to know about dogs, and told me I should be very firm with him, yanking on the chain and loudly yelling "NO" when he pulled hard or jumped up or did any other undesired behavior. She also insisted that

Muttley wear that stupid coat. Another woman gave me a copy of "There Are No Bad Dogs", which had some good points, but I think it is too simplistic. She criticized me for not having Muttley better trained, although her own little dog is a yappy spoiled brat.

I do not pretend to be the world's best pet owner. I let my cat run free outside when she wants to, but she seems healthy and happy after about 6 years. Unfortunately, she is terrorized by Muttley and hides in the crawlspace under the floor.

I don't really have the best place to keep Muttley. He is usually good about staying indoors while I am here, but when I go away to work, I must tie him up outdoors. I have a partially enclosed porch where he can find some shelter, and he usually just relaxes there comfortably. He is usually very excited when I get home, and he jumps up a lot. In the house, he is very anxious to be freed of the chain, and although he will "SIT" briefly, he runs around a lot once he is free, most likely looking for the cat. Eventually he settles down, especially when I give him a rawhide chew. He will eat one of those in about 10 minutes.

Muttley has a much better home here than he had in the city, but I think he deserves better, and my cat needs to regain her sense of safety in the house, and be able to sit on my lap and socialize. I try to give her as much time as possible, by keeping Muttley outside, but it is difficult when it is raining or very cold. I know dogs can be trained to coexist with cats, but Muttley's history of self-survival and my cat's instincts for self-preservation may make it impossible. I hope to find him a better home. Meanwhile I will do what I can.

As for his characteristics, he has a fairly short, dense coat, mostly rusty brown. His shortened tail was likely caused by abuse or accident. One of the other rescued dogs, a black Lab, could not or did not move its tail or ears, so it was hard to "read" him. Muttley is not overly aggressive, but he is "assertive" about getting what he wants. He did once bite a handyman I had working on my house. He first made friends with Muttley, but probably did not truly gain trust, as he seemed to cower and didn't wag his tail. He barked a lot while the man banged on the house, and then when he passed by my dog, he suddenly lunged and bit him in the seat of the pants. His large size and powerful build would make him a good watchdog, but I don't think he'd be good with young children. I had one couple with kids of about 4-8 who would have adopted him, but they were unwilling to pay anything toward his medical bills, and I think he would have knocked down the kids if he got excited.

Thanks for you interest.



From: "Duh Bossy Bimbo"

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 14:41:37 -0400

Here is where she asks if I am working with a rescue group, and says she offers free classes.


From: "TaraG"

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 21:14:27 GMT

I can't stress how much I think you should do this, Paul. The method your friend suggested for you is just not good training. If Janet will let you join for free, I would jump at that chance.



From: "Paul"

Date: 27 Jun 2006 12:46:13 -0700

Janet B wrote:
> On Tue, 27 Jun 2006 13:42:13 -0500, diddy, clicke their heels and said:

> >I think he looks very much like a Leonberger.
> >First Leonberger I ever saw, I thought was a mutt, and was surprised that
> >it was actually a breed.
> >But it was such a handsome breed, even if it was a mutt, it SHOULD be a
> >breed!
> >That sounds confusing... but i guess i know what I meant

> Can't say that I think he looks like a Leo, but I sure do like those
> dogs. There are actually TWO running flyball in our region! We made
> friends with some in Italy a few summers ago. They're really lovely
> dogs.

He does look a lot like one picture of a Leonberger at 10 months.
Especially his black mask, and description of his kind brown eyes,
intelligence, and powerful build. Older dogs seem to have longer hair,
and his purple tongue is supposedly a non-Leonberger trait. I have
contacted the local Leonberger rescue to see if they can identify (and
maybe find a better home).

We were working partially with a local rescue group (Fallston Animal
Rescue Mission), but it was an independent effort on the part of my
friend Helene that resulted in his survival. He was one of two dogs
that had been picked up by the City Animal Control, and I went there to
"bail them out". He was taken several places, and I picked him up at a
vets just after his castration. He was so cute and clumsy with that
huge cone collar! I stopped at my place on the way downtown and walked
him around my 2.5 acre property, and we seemed to get along. Helene had
made arrangements for him to be taken for adoption at the SPCA, so I
took him on down there. However, they had just received a large
shipment of animals who were displaced by Katrina, and they were
overloaded. A large dog like this Mutt would most certainly have been
put down. When he put his big paws on the counter and looked at me with
those big brown eyes, I knew I could not let that happen. That was
around Valentines day. I guess he became my sweetheart...




From: "flick"

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 22:38:18 -0500

He's got a Saint Bernard-looking set to his ears, imo.

Was it you who mentioned Shar Pei earlier? All the Shar Pei crosses I've ever seen looked very Pei-ish, more than this dog.

What about pit bull mix x german shepherd-type mix?

flick 100785


From: "Rob Nut"

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 23:09:37 -0500

Shar-Peis have black skin and light colored fur


From: "flick"

Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 00:02:21 -0500

Yes, I can see that.

I don't see any other Pei features, unless the dog is only a teensy bit Shar Pei. And the ears are set awfully low.

When I see those low-set ears folded that way, I think St. B. I'm far from an expert, though.

We need Liisa ;-).

What is it about the Chinese and animals with black skin? We got some Silky chicks, and they have black skin - the only chicken breed with that characteristic.

flick 100785


From: "Rob Nut"

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 22:25:52 -0500

The author of this post asked that it be removed. But it is common knowledge (or easily researched) that Shar-Peis have dark skin, britly fur, and can be independent and stubborn.


From: "flick"

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 22:41:37 -0500

The cat-aggression and protectiveness fit.

Lovely dog!

Illustrates what I've always seen in known Shar Pei crosses. They look very Pei-ish.

flick 100785


From: "Rob Nut"

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 23:04:01 0500

The author of this post requested that it be removed. But it mostly asserted that Shar-Peis are very old breeds and closely related to the wolf. See the following from the Wiki (but the dogs pictured there do not look like Muttley).


From: ~misty

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 21:47:34 -0500

He looks a bit like my dog's brother. Cisco is a hefty 70 pounds (Zelda, my girl, is a petite 45 pounds.. compared to her brother she is petite ;-)

Zelda and Cisco are Lab/and probably Shar Pei (their mama was allowed to roam the area and there were 3 intact male Shar Peis at that time.)

He looks to be quite the sweety! I read that your cat is scared of him? If he is ok with the cat.. not trying to eat it.. maybe try buying some Feliway (happy cat hormones) or ask your vet about some anxiety drops. My vet offered Natural Homeopathic Remedy (brand name.. a mix of Chamomille and Valerian) which has worked nicely to settle my female down... she was attacking my male cat and now just ignores him.. without needing the drops. It just kind of "broke the cycle". I just gave her another dose.. we just moved into a new house and she is spazzing. Hopefully a few days and a few drops will get her back to normal.


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 09:58:58 -0400

He does look a lot like Cisco. I'll never know his true ancestry, but it is a learning experience to speculate.

Thanks for the info about the medications. It is hard to tell if he would harm the cat. Once when I had him at the vets, he was nose to nose with a very mellow cat and he was OK. I think he reacts when she runs, and then it becomes a game. He has been a bit less aggressive lately. I think he just wants to play. Usually his tail wags when he sees her, but sometimes his body tenses up and he seems very serious. Considering that he may have survived in the wild by catching live food, he might try to eat her. There is also the jealousy factor. "I don't get attention when Master is with cat", "I eat cat", "I get all attention".




"Best ways to keep a dog (and a cat)"

From: "Paul"

Newsgroups: rec.pets.dogs.breeds

Subject: Best ways to keep a dog (and a cat)

Date: 1 Jul 2006 15:11:21 -0700

Hopefully this is not too much off-topic for "breeds", but some of you already have helped me and know my situation with Muttley. I hope to train him (and me), but I have some other concerns that may affect whether or not I keep him or search more diligently for another home.

He is a large, young, energetic dog, and he would be most happy if he could run loose (as he enjoyed prior to being rescued), but that would be very risky because he could run into the busy street in front of the house or cause injury to my neighbors' pets or children. I have 2.5 acres of land, mostly wooded, with a good-sized meadow atop a hill behind the house. The house is situated very close to the road, with only a partial hedge and low stone wall. I am currently doing major renovations to the house, which sometimes creates possibly dangerous conditions for the dog, especially if left alone indoors. I built what is essentially an enclosed porch on the back of the house, 8' x 10', which still has open framing for a door and a window.

When I am home, usually I close the doors, and allow Muttley the run of the house. He is fairly good, with some bad habits like pulling garbage like cans and plastic bags from the trash and chewing on it. He used to have frequent "accidents" of urinating in various places, which I think was his messages to the cat, who hides under the floor when he is around. Now, he seems less excited about her presence, and he usually

lets me know when he needs to go out by offering his paw (or both of them). I have a tie-out cable which is secured outside, and long enough for him to leave the porch to do his business, or come in the door to the house (if I leave the door open), but this also lets in bugs, and won't work when the weather gets cold. He seems generally OK with being outside like that, and when I go to work, I leave him tied outside, with food and water.

I realize this is not the best arrangement, but I only intended to adopt this dog on a temporary basis while finding a better home. After more than four months now, I have grown attached to him and would not want to surrender him to a shelter where he would be adopted anonymously and I would never see him again. Possibly after training, and when I finish more of my house, I might decide to keep him permanently, although I'm not sure I want to make those lifestyle changes.

I have considered putting up a fence so I can let him run free, but the only places that make sense for that are located several hundred feet from the house, and separated by hilly terrain. He would require at least a six foot fence, because he escaped from an area with a four foot fence, and he also escaped from a 6' x 6' x 4' high kennel I kept him in when I first got him. I had enclosed the top with wire fencing, but he managed to work his way under the chain link on one side. Fortunately he was still tethered by his chain and choker collar. I would like to find an alternative to that, but I am afraid he would escape from his regular collar.

Eventually, I might build a house on top of the hill, and then an adjacent fence would be a practical solution. However, this is presently only a long term dream project for which I may never find the time, energy, and money. I need some practical advice I can implement in the near term. If this indicates that I should resolve to finding him a better home, I will search more diligently. He certainly has a better life now than he had living on the streets, except for his lack of freedom. I have been criticized for allowing my cat to roam free outdoors, but I think she is happier to have that freedom, and I accept the risks that go along with that. However, it would be irresponsible to allow my dog the same privilege because of the dangerous consequences. If I had a remote farm it would be different.

Well, at the risk of being criticized, I present my situation to you all. I will read any and all suggestions, even from Jerry Howe (if he can manage to keep his post civil and brief), and I will try to make the best decision for Muttley's best interests. I have made some sacrifices and expenditures to save his life, and he seems fairly happy, but there will need to be some changes in the situation for our continued well being.




From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2006 19:42:54 -0400

"Janet B" wrote in message

> On 1 Jul 2006 15:11:21 -0700, "Paul" , clicked their heels and said:

>>I am currently doing major
>>renovations to the house, which sometimes creates possibly dangerous
>>conditions for the dog, especially if left alone indoors. I built what
>>is essentially an enclosed porch on the back of the house, 8' x 10',
>>which still has open framing for a door and a window.

> Maybe I'm not following completely, but does that mean an area you can
> use for him?

It could be used for him, but I will need to do more work on it to make it
weatherproof and escape-proof. It started out as a temporary patio with
interlocking vinyl floor and then I added a roof (with skylight) and walls.
It would make a nice sunporch, but would also be suitable as an enclosure
where he could be contained fairly comfortably, without dire consequences
if he had to poop or pee. I would rather add a pet door so he could go
outside. I might be able to add a small attached fenced area for that.

>> I have a tie-out cable which is secured outside, and long enough
>>for him to leave the porch to do his business, or come in the door to
>>the house (if I leave the door open), but this also lets in bugs, and
>>won't work when the weather gets cold. He seems generally OK with being
>>outside like that, and when I go to work, I leave him tied outside,
>>with food and water.

> A tie out cable isn't awful, but I don't believe in leavng dogs
> outside when nobody's home, particularly not tied.

The main problem I've had with the tie out cable is that sometimes he
manages to get it caught on something that limits his freedom. The porch
with attached yard (kennel) may solve the problem for now.

>>I have considered putting up a fence so I can let him run free, but the
>>only places that make sense for that are located several hundred feet
>>from the house, and separated by hilly terrain. He would require at
>>least a six foot fence, because he escaped from an area with a four
>>foot fence, and he also escaped from a 6' x 6' x 4' high kennel I kept
>>him in when I first got him. I had enclosed the top with wire fencing,
>>but he managed to work his way under the chain link on one side.
>>Fortunately he was still tethered by his chain and choker collar. I
>>would like to find an alternative to that, but I am afraid he would
>>escape from his regular collar.

> While I'm not always fond of them and wouldn't leave a dog home alone
> with one, Invisible Fence systems are very practical for the land you
> describe.

> Ideally , a safe indoor place when you're not home, with an IF system
> outdoors to allow you to hang out with him, play with him, etc, would
> be the solution.

My neighbors had an IF for their dog. However, I think it was quite
expensive. I will look into a safer semi-choke collar. Meanwhile, I have
made his metal chain collar limited-choke by adding a metal ring so it
stops at a reasonable amount of constriction. Is that a good idea?



From: "Melinda Shore"

Date: 1 Jul 2006 18:24:04 -0400

I'd keep him inside for his own safety, and crated if he tends to get into stuff.

I'm not crazy about tethers but under the circumstances I think one makes sense. I'd get rid of the choke collar *immediately*, however. If you're concerned about him slipping his collar you could try a semi-choke, which is commonly used with sleddogs that are staked out when not working. They tighten but only so far, vastly reducing the risk to the dog. See, for example,

Not much different. You can't believe the stuff dogs get into.


From: "Christy"

Date: Mon, 03 Jul 2006 00:54:33 GMT

There are three things that I would think are preferable to a cable run -

1) Inside, crated. .

2) Inside, ex-penned, with a lid.

3) Outside, in an enclosed run. Not ideal, but vastly better than a cable run for the short term.



From: "Janet Puistonen"

Date: Mon, 03 Jul 2006 01:47:58 GMT

I agree with Christy, except that for me inside and gated or otherwise confined in a dog-safe room is another option after housebreaking has been pretty much achieved, but before the dog is trustworthy enough to allow him the run of the house. By dog-safe, I mean a floor that can be easily cleaned if there is an accident, nothing on shelves, etc, that he can reach and chew that he isn't allowed to chew, and having no electrical cords that he can chomp on and kill himself, and no screens that he can jump through and escape. (You can leave screened windows open enough to admit air but not enough to admit HIM.) Typically, this is the kitchen.

My dogs aren't crated after they have achieved the necessary level of trustworthiness. I know that that there are good reasons to keep up crating, though, for some people. (Vet stays, travel, shows and competitions, etc)

I have in the past used the outside run option, but I've found that it has several potential problems. Firstly, it needs to be out of sight of the street and abutting neighbors, so that a) the dog doesn't make a nuisance of himself barking at passers-by and people in their yards, and b) he is safe from people who might steal or torment him. Secondly, if he is a really determined digger (or climber), he might escape. Thirdly, there are some dogs who will bark ceaselessly because they are lonely or bored, and those dogs tend to drive the neighbors insane, with good reason.

Generally speaking, the tie-out option seems like a poor one to me for several reasons: people observe that some dogs who are tied out a lot develop aggression (this may be a breed-related issue), dogs who are tied out are vulnerable to other animals and people who may wish to harm them, dogs who are tied out have the potential to become entangled and hurt themselves, and dogs who are tied out can become nuisance barkers, as above. The kind of tie out that seems to work the best to me if you must use one is the overhead cable thing. It at least avoids the wrapping-the-line-around-a-tree kind of event.

All in all, I think most people would agree that inside the house is best.


From: Rocky

Date: 3 Jul 2006 02:05:43 GMT

Yes, but you may no longer have access to the beginning of the thread. The OP is going though major house renovations and the dog (a foster) isn't yet getting along with an indoor cat.

--Matt. Rocky's a Dog.


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 01:10:08 -0400

Thanks for the reminder of the full situation. Considering all the mischief he could get into, he has been doing very well. When I first got him, he chewed on a couple of phone lines and power plugs, but there are still many such hazards around and he has left them alone. The only thing he chews on that is of any consequence is a tread on the stairs. He does (carefully) remove items from the trash or recycling and shreds them, and sometimes he chews on his bedding or blankets on my bed (but only a bit). He loves rawhide chews, and usually devours them in 5 or 10 minutes. Yet I have the bag of chews easily accessible, but he waits for me to give him one.

When he is tied outside, he is usually fairly quiet. He is out back, out of sight from road and neighbors, and I think he only barks when there is a good reason to (in dog terms), such as wild animals coming near, or other dogs barking. Once he "insisted" on coming inside, by loudly scratching on the door, but once inside he settled down quickly. It was during stormy weather, and he was wet, so he was being quite reasonable. Sometimes he has resisted being tied up, but lately he will come and sit and allow me to clip on the tether, and he will then willingly go out and do his business and sometimes calmly lie on his blanket. I have modified his choker collar so that it has limited constriction, and he seems to avoid getting tangled in the cable. He's a good, smart dog.

I think I will keep things as they are for now, but I will try to make the porch more weatherproof and dog-safe. I think I can fairly easily add a small fenced area with a dog door so he can go out to do his business and not need to be tied up. I think a 6 foot fence may be sufficient. Hopefully he will not feel too confined and cause him to try to jump over or dig under, as he did in his kennel.

In many ways, I think he is a fantastic dog, especially when I have heard about problems other people have had. I certainly do not regret having rescued him from certain death, but I'm not sure I want the responsibility of keeping him on a permanent basis. Hopefully training will make it easier to do that, or at least more readily find a better home.

Thanks for all your help.



From: "nehakarode"

Date: 3 Jul 2006 05:19:39 -0700

I don't think your dog is miserable in your house right now, though I strongly believe that he should get some freedom. You should take him outside to parks once in a while so that he can run around for a little while. Make sure your cat doesn't come along. You must get a new house soon.


"The Madman of RPDB - JH"

From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2006 20:10:55 -0400


[snip 148 kB of a post too long to read]

Well, I am amazed to have provoked perhaps the longest post ever from Jerry Howe. Maybe there are some good words of advice in this long winded rant, but I merely skimmed through it. The condescending attitude and knee-jerk criticism is just too much. So, Jerry, "Howe" much time has your mostly unread post subtracted from your life?

I took Muttley on a nice long walk today on the NCRR trail, and he behaved well. We met some nice people, got some good exercise and fresh air, and the fleas seem to be more under control. Muttley is now calmly relaxing and he seems quite happy. I would be pleased to read any advice offered, but I will not spend time sorting through thousands of words of abuse and criticism from someone who obviously has, (but will not acknowledge), serious mental health issues.




Flea Control Products (and other advice)


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Newsgroups: rec.pets.dogs.behavior

Subject: Re: Flea Control Products (and other advice)

Date: Sun, 6 Aug 2006 04:50:48 -0400

"Blizzard" wrote in message

> He's legally insane - just ignore him. Really, he's insane.

> You could place a piece of white computer paper in his face and he'd argue to no end that it's black only because he doesn't know the difference. Same with dogs/dog training - he has no clue.

> Does anyone wonder why his Doggy Do Right website is gone? Does anyone wonder why he doesn't sell his magical black box anymore? It's a farce. He's a fraud. It's that simple.

Thanks for your advice. I have until now only posted my questions and responses on rpd.breeds, but this seems to be an active newsgroup and perhaps better suited to my immediate needs. Jerry crossposted his reply, but you can read my original query, or I can repost it here. I did some quick research on Jerry Howe. There is even a website devoted to his detractors, including supposed personal information and photos. I really should killfile him, but I'm an engineer, and I am compelled to push buttons.. :)

Paul, Muttley (the dog), and Photon (the cat)



From: Amy Dahl

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 09:58:57 GMT

I use Frontline without bathing the dogs. It is supposed to spread in the oil on their skin. It is plenty effective for me. If you can't give Muttley a bath easily, I suggest you just apply the Frontline and not worry about it.

Amy Dahl


From: "pfoley"

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 12:12:21 GMT


Take the dog to a groomer and have them bathe and groom the dog. Tell them the dog has fleas. Then buy some Frontline Plus from your Vet and use that once a month.


From: Silly

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 08:29:16 -0400

Due to a request from the author of this post, I have removed the verbatim text, and paraphrase the content:

(Comments about bad experience with a cat from Hartz Mountain flea treatment. Usual comments about flea treatment. Recommends manhandling Muttley to put him into a tub (typical force-based attitude). And a snide remark about my needing to be in charge)

Here is the actual link to the archives:


From: Amy Dahl

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 14:17:05 GMT

I have heard this said many times since I first started taking responsibility for dog and cat care. While eggs, pupae, and larvae live elsewhere than on the dog, I don't believe in the "jump on, bite the dog, jump off" scenario. My observations suggest fleas spend a lot of time on the animal (dog or cat). Infested or "weakened" individuals can have clusters of fleas that seem to stay in a small area.

If your home is infested, one of the newer treatments that contains hormones that prevent the development of flea larvae is a good idea. It will not appear to act immediately, as adult fleas can continue to emerge from pupae for a year or more.

Since the advent of Frontline, however, I have quit treating the house and kennel. We just have no fleas. My vet contends that there is no benefit of the "Plus" ingredients, since they act on larvae which are not on the dog or cat. She sells the plain Frontline; I use it, and it's extremely effective.

My vet also says it's better *not* to bathe a dog prior to applying Frontline, as it will remove most of the oil which helps the product spread. One of the keys to effectiveness, I have found, is to put the stuff on slowly, so that as much as possible goes on the skin rather than forming a big pool of liquid that wets the hair.

Amy Dahl


From: Silly

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 10:38:36 -0400

Due to a request from the author of this post, I have removed the verbatim text, and paraphrase the content:

(Comments about flea infestations and Frontline. See archives for actual text)


From: Amy Dahl

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 14:48:39 GMT

I have only been able to measure its efficacy against ticks. When I started using the Frontline, some of the dogs got ticks and we put amitraz collars on them. As I've improved my technique of putting it on, we've seen fewer ticks. Last summer I threw away a bunch of unused amitraz collars that had been sitting around for years--I haven't needed them.

I do still apply Frontline monthly during tick season. The dogs swim every day, and I figure exposure to fipronil is preferable to getting a tick-borne disease.

Amy Dahl


From: silly

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 10:59:15 -0400

Due to a request from the author of this post, I have removed the verbatim text, and paraphrase the content:

(Comments about applying Frontline. See archives for actual text)


From: "pfoley"

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006

Years ago someone told me to never use Hartz, but I can't remember the reason why. I never used it again, though. I don't know if it was because they tested their product on bunnies' eyes or that it had something poisonous in it or both.

A Rottweiler group sent me to a web page regarding the dangers of using it; why would I risk using it if there was a question regarding its safety? A normal person would use what the vet recommends, which in my case right now is Frontline Plus; so far no side effects and no ticks and no fleas; probably a good idea to use that product over Hartz.

I was also told to never use flea collars. I guess their potency does not last long, since they get wet in the rain and damp grass and most people don't replace them , and they can irritate the dog's neck.


From: "news orange"

Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 16:30:48 +0200

I have some experience with big dogs and fleas / ticks as I've been living in the country between marshes, cereal fields and cow pastures, all three being sources of parasites. I don't know about about the place you live in, but in western Europe, the best product NOW is Frontline because parasites are becoming more and more resistant to the active ingredient(s) used in collars.

Yes, it is better to apply Frontline without bathing the animal first. However, a bath a 2 or 3 weeks later won't hurt. At least, you will feel better with a dog which doesn't stink anymore!

Procedure for using Frontline : the basic idea is to put the product on the skin (not the hair) and to the prevent the dog from licking itself. So you choose a place between the shoulders, or behind the head and you push away the hair till you actually see the skin. Then, you put a drop of product. Change places and start again.

How to wash a big dog when you are not properly equipped? It's messy and labour intensive.

1 - choose a sunny and warm day

2 - if the dog doesn't like to be washed, catch him first and tie outside to a tree, a post...

3 - brush the dog thoroughly. Every hair taken out with the brush is on less on the sponge or your hands

4 - prepare yourself (boots, waterproof overcoat)

5 - prepare the equipment : specific shampoo, several buckets of warm water, sponge

6 - if you have a big shaggy dog you will need :

- 1st bucket for wetting thoroughly all parts of the coat including the underhair

- 2nd bucket for the actual washing with the shampoo

- 3rd, 4th buckets for rinsing

7 - let him shake himself again (he will have done that a few times during the process, drenching you thoroughly)

8 - wrap him in some old towels and dry him

NB : it is actually better to have 2 people for a big dog as you can have one person bringing the buckets and one person actually washing him

9 - take him out on a leash and walk a few km so that he can finish drying without rolling himself in the dirt

In autumn/winter, if you have to wash your dog like this, the best place is in the garage. There will be water everywhere but it's better than inside the house.



From: "news orange"

Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 19:03:27 +0200

Sorry I forgot.

If the dog was badly infested you can consider that everything he was in contact with is contaminated. On the day you wash the dog, you should clean first, then spray everything with some insecticide rated for the dog's environment.



Giving big dog (Muttley) a bath

 From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Newsgroups: rec.pets.dogs.behavior

Subject: Giving big dog (Muttley) a bath

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 01:59:47 -0400

I am still having problems with fleas on my dog Muttley. I am learning more about flea control as I read posts here, and also from some web sites and other sources. My vet sold me a tube of Frontline. She said it was much better than the Hatz product I applied around the first of August, and apparently there have been lawsuits against Hartz about their product.

She also suggested that I give Muttley a bath with flea soap or shampoo, and then apply the Frontline about two days later. I have had Muttley since mid February and have not yet given him a bath. So, I got some flea shampoo and tried to get Muttley to get into the bathtub, but he would not. Even when I got into the tub, he would not come in with me, so the best I could do was splash some water on him and try to brush him a bit. Certainly not satisfactory.

I do have an outside hose, but it is cold water with very high pressure. Also, where it is located there is mostly dirt and no sidewalk or patio, so I can just see him rolling in the mud if I try to bathe him there. I'm thinking about getting a children's wading pool big enough for him to get in, and maybe running a hose from inside the house with warm water. Is this a good idea? Any other suggestions?

I'm really hoping to find someone who can adopt Muttley, so my cat can come out from hiding and be my friend and companion once again. I am very fond of Muttley, and he is slowly becoming more trustworthy and obedient, but it will be difficult for me to complete my major renovation work with him around. I originally intended only to keep him for a while, but my initial efforts to find someone to adopt him did not pan out and I hoped to be able to keep him. Now I need to control these fleas and give him a bath so he will be more presentable.




From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 18:19:34 -0400

Thank you all for your good information and suggestions. Muttley is just too big and powerful for me to pick him up and put him in the tub, and he is not so well trained that he will do whatever I say. That is another reason why perhaps he should have another home with a more dominant owner.

Today I took him for a hike with a group of people from the Sierra club, and he was fairly good, but in the first mile or so he was alternating from stopping to sniff and pulling hard on his "choker" collar. I stopped several times to calm him down and relieve pressure on his neck, but he resumed his poor leash manners. Finally, at a tricky stream crossing, I felt it would be dangerous for me to attempt a steep descent while trying to control Muttley, so I went back. He was much more docile on the return, and actually seemed to heel reasonably well. He was also a bit dehydrated, so I gave him some water and took him home.

Eventually I got up the nerve to give him an outside bath. It was a bit difficult, but I tied him up to the bumper of my truck, lathered him up with flea soap, and was able to give him a fairly good bath. He didn't particularly like it, but he did not put up too much resistance. It probably would have been better with warm water and less water pressure, but I got the job done. He did not roll in the mud, and he seemed to enjoy the toweling and brushing.

He is not completely free of fleas. They are in various places in the house and outside, and I am trying to apply flea control spray. I can still see them crawl out of his coat, and then burrow back down to the skin. So, in his case, the fleas are living on him. They are probably also sometimes jumping off and finding other targets (like me). I plan to wait about two days before applying the Frontline, to give his skin oil time to replenish.

I don't think my cat has fleas, but I rarely get a chance to interact with her while Muttley is around. Now I am going to take Muttley out to a horse farm where maybe I can let him run free for a while, and maybe play with a frisbee or a ball. I just hope he will come back and not wander far off.




From: Handsome Jack Morrison

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 19:03:49 -0400

He doesn't need a more dominant owner. He needs a more skilled owner.

That suggests that he's never been suitably trained.

Then why not just take the nozzle off the hose?

It almost sounds from reading your posts that you hope he'll wander off.

I hope I'm wrong.


Handsome Jack Morrison


From: "Toni"

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 22:16:05 -0400

That's what I'm not figuring out. We bathed Wolfhounds outside for years, and just turned the flow down to avoid blasting 'em. The hose comes from a faucet somewhere- presumably that faucet has an on/off adjustment.




From: "Paul"

Date: 26 Aug 2006 22:41:08 -0700

The outside faucet is connected directly to the municipal water line, before the pressure regulator inside the house. It is great for washing cars but a bit too much for dog washing. I backed off on the valve (an old freeze-proof handle type), which reduces the flow, but I have a trigger nozzle and the pressure builds up when it is off. It is on my list of projects to install a hose bib from the inside plumbing. I did not want to leave the water running continuously because it would make more of a muddy mess.



"Adoption Efforts"

From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 02:51:48 -0400

A friend has located some people who may possibly be interested in Muttley. I have made a flyer which I emailed to her and she has made some copies to give out. If you would like to see what I have written, including five photos of the furry critter, I have put it on my webspace as It is about 1.3 MB or about 8 minutes on a dialup. I have seen a lot of improvement in his behavior, and I don't consider him out of control, but others may disagree. Janet Boss recommended that I take obedience classes with him, but I really hope to find him another home soon, and I think it would be better for the new owner to take the class with him.

He really is behaving well, and I would love to keep him if he and Photon could become buddies, but I don't think that will happen, even with obedience classes. Muttley was rescued from a life on the streets where he may have even eaten cats to survive, and Photon is used to surviving outside where there are foxes, raccoons, and other predators, so she is naturally very cautious. This is a time of high stress for me and I just cannot continue with the situation as it is, and it would be best for both Muttley and me, as well as Photon, for him to be elsewhere.

When I had been caring for him only a couple months, he had been peeing in the house fairly often, probably as a message to the cat, and it was very frustrating for me. When he got loose the first time, I wondered if he would come back, and I will admit that I felt a sense of relief that I might not need to deal with him any more. That is how stressed I had become, and although things are much better now, there is still a feeling that I have taken on too much with him, so I want to find a better home for him. He seems happy enough here, but I really don't give him the care and attention he needs and deserves.

If you or anyone you know is interested in adopting my good buddy Muttley, please contact me. Thanks.



From: "pfoley"

Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 11:49:30 GMT


Very nice poster; well done; very handsome dog. After reading your poster I think it would be best to find a person who has more time to spend with Muttley and has a large yard. I hate to think of the dog tied on a chain all day alone; that could make the dog go bad. Your description of the dog's living circumstances and the photos of the dog are very good; it should work. You could also try finding a Mastiff rescue on line that might take him and find him a good home. Did you say he was a Mastiff; I can't remember; he looks like a Mastiff mix to me anyway.



From: Silly

Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 14:13:53 -0400

(comments about Muttley's breed and need for obedience training)


From: "Jew-Dee"

Newsgroups: rec.pets.dogs.behavior

Subject: Re: Transitioning dog to new owner

Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2006 17:09:16 -0400

(Comments on adjustment of dogs to new homes and changing environments. Some helpful advice, but removed upon request of the author. But you can read the post in its entirety in the Google archives)


From: "MW"
Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2006 17:17:55 -0400

Per request, this post is described in my own words:

A clean break was preferable but I could offer to take him back rather than
have him return to AC. I should not offer to board Muttley for new owners,
and he would be more readily adopted after some obedience classes.


From: "pfoley"

Date: Sun, 03 Sep 2006 21:40:30 GMT


I don't see anything wrong with telling them that. I, personally, would prefer someone who likes my dog mind my dog while I am away, rather than boarding her in a kennel. Some dogs get depressed and can also pick up germs in boarding kennels. In fact, that is what I do, I hire a friend of my daugher's to live at my house with my dog if I go away for a few days. She loves my dog and my dog loves her; so it works out good. My dog does not do well in a kennel; she gets too stressed out and then stops eating. I would also clearly state to the the new owners that you want them to contact you first, if they decide they do not want the dog any longer for any reason, and you will gladly take the dog back, if that is what you wish. Some people might not have the right facility for such a large dog, and since the dog is not trained yet might find the dog just too much for them to handle.




"Obedience Training"

From: "pfoley"

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 22:37:24 GMT


Gee, that Muttley has a good life. I think the more he exercises doing what you have been doing with him; the easier he will be to manage.



From: "Paul"

Date: 26 Aug 2006 22:33:26 -0700

Yes. I've had Photon for about six years now, and I've been taking care of Muttley for about six months. When I took him to the horse farm the owner was able to make him obey fairly well, and she remarked that he is smart, but stubborn. He was OK with their cat until she ran off, and then he wanted to give chase.

Muttley seems to be part German Shepherd, and part Chow, but I would not be surprised if he also had some boxer and/or pit bull. He weighs probably 60-70 lb. I would not have taken on the responsibility of caring for him, but he would otherwise have been put down. Now I am very attached to him and know he is a really good dog, but he is creating a difficult environment for my cat. I am stepping up my efforts to find him a good home.



From: "Sandra Mann"

Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 06:33:02 GMT

you can get training tools to keep Muttley out of some places in your house got to they have a instant wireless fence for indoor use my cat loves it she has rooms were Jack my lab cant get to her the system is based on static shock trust me it will not hurt the dog he may not like it at first but will learn .I have my yard and 3 rooms using this system . Jack is a better with the cat since she clawed him in the face a few times dogs and cats can learn to live together . as for bathing train him to get in the tub the flee control your vet recommended does work . I do hope you can keep him dogs and cat can learn to live together it takes time patience training and love

good luck



From: Silly

Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 08:45:39 -0400

(Some snide comments about obedience classes and training. Not worth digging into archives to find)


From: HJM and JB

Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006

(A conversation about JB having met me, and my not taking her up on her offer of free training. She said " Paul and Muttley both seemed very nice".)


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2006 20:25:49 -0400

Thank you for your kind remarks and understanding of the situation. It seems like most others have been very critical, and unwilling to see the good I have done so far with this dog, and appreciating the effort I have made, and continue to make, to assure him a better home. He is becoming easier to manage, and he has learned some obedience, even with the lenient approach I have been using. He is a very smart dog, and was the alpha dog in a pack of four surviving in harsh urban conditions, and as such he has a strong spirit and a mind of his own. I originally helped rescue him from being put down at the Baltimore City pound, and once again when I took him to the SPCA, with the understanding that he would be placed in a "no kill" adoption program, but finding out at the last moment that they were overloaded with Katrina victims, and he would almost certainly be euthenized.

I do not claim to be a "dog person", but I do like animals of all kinds. I have not had a dog of my own since I was in high school, and then he was taken care of by my parents. We never had to take any of our dogs to obedience training, probably because we had them since they were very young and they were very docile. Since that time, I have only had several cats, and of course they have very different personalities and training methods. Muttley is the first dog I have had that is so independent-minded and difficult to train. I have learned some training methods and Muttley has calmed down quite a bit. He certainly has a much better life than he had running wild in the city, and he does not have too many obnoxious habits.

His main fault is leash manners. When he gets outside, he immediately lunges on the leash, and I have to physically restrain him. He seems mostly very excited to be outside, and he wants to explore every new scent. He is particularly difficult when he senses that my cat is hiding somewhere. He responds to my command to "heel", but has a short attention span. He is getting better, though, and I am learning to be more consistent with him.

His other problematic behavior has been that, when I release him from being tied outside, he will run down the stairs and find my cat's feeding bowl or an empty can of cat food, and he will triumphantly carry it to his downstairs dog bed, and spend a lot of time and effort licking the bowl and actually chewing on the can. He will also sometimes *carefully* extract something from the trash can and try to lick out any residue of food it might contain.

When he wants my attention, he will scratch at my leg with his paw, or put both paws on the arm of my chair or in my lap. If I am sleeping, he will fairly carefully jump into bed, and will sometimes settle down after some hugs and petting, but usually he just needs to go outside. Most of the time he just sleeps on one of his dog mats, or at my feet, and he is not really much of a bother. He used to insist on climbing into the bed with me, but more recently he only does that occasionally. He is allowed essentially free run of the house, and has not done much mischief. He did "eat" a rolled up telephone cord, and actually chopped it into small pieces. He did not seem to suffer any ill effects, but he may have become "more wired" :)

I don't think he will be a real problem for adoption. He is fairly "cool" toward new people he meets. He does not show any major signs of aggression toward people or other dogs, and he is even fairly OK with cats unless they run away, at which point it seems to become a game with him.

I just applied a dose of Frontline to Muttley, and hopefully his flea problem will diminish. I will also more diligently vacuum the house and apply flea spray as required. Hopefully I will soon find someone who can give Muttley the proper home and love he needs. He will make someone a good pet, and I will certainly miss him, but Photon will certainly be happier when he is gone.

Thanks for listening, and I appreciate your advice, even if I may not follow it as you would wish.



From: Silly

Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2006 21:18:19 -0400

(More comments about obedience classes being a good idea for Muttley)


From: "pfoley"

Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 01:24:23 GMT

==He sounds very cute as well as very intelligent. He just needs some obedience training and lots of exercise to wear him out. I think you are doing a great job with Muttley.


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 02:08:17 -0400

Thank you for a few words of encouragement. I have been struggling with conflicting feelings about Muttley, and have been frankly somewhat depressed and overwhelmed. I may still look into obedience classes for the two of us, but I don't think that will ever settle the problem with my cat, and I feel bad when I must tie Muttley outside so Photon can enjoy her dinner in peace and have a few moments with me. Most of the time, Muttley has free roam of the house while Photon hides under the floor or fends for herself outside.

I feel that it is inevitable that Muttley must go to another home, and he is not so horribly obnoxious and disobedient as others assume him to be. Perhaps I choose to allow him a few liberties that others would immediately subdue, but he has come a long way from his much worse behavior when I first resigned myself to taking care of him. I have learned a lot, probably most importantly that I do not have a place in my life for a dog at this time, and no amount of obedience training will change that in the near future. Others may continue to criticize me, or choose to ignore me, but I really think I have done my best for Muttley, and I am committed to finding him a proper home.

I rejected an early adoption offer from a young couple with a young child, because my friend (who originally rescued him), and I, felt that they would not be able to give him the sort of home he would need, and they were also unwilling (or unable) to compensate us (and the local Rescue Mission that had helped out), for his considerable veterinary expenses for vaccination and neutering, etc. They also seemed fixated on the need to get a "crate" to put him in, and from experience we knew that he hated to be confined. He is constrained when I tie him to a tether outside, but he seems reasonably content. When I had him in a fenced kennel, he barked and whined, and eventually he worked his way out of it. He seems mostly relaxed in the house as well, but again this is at Photon's expense.

It is time to put an end to this thread. I appreciate the advice, but not the criticism. You do not know all of the situation, yet some of you feel it is OK to sit in righteous judgment of someone who has saved a dog's life and is willing to devote time and effort to assure his eventual adoption by the right person.



From: sighthounds & siberians

Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 09:59:09 -0400

Paul, lots of people here do rehabbing and adoption of dogs every bit as difficult as, and more difficult than, Muttley. Many of us have saved many dogs' lives. People who do this on a regular basis know what's necesesary to get the dogs adopted by the right people. Quite often, at least part of it is training. Asking for advice, not being willing to follow that advice, and whining about everyone being critical and judgmental is ignorant and short-sighted, to begin with. I do agree with you, however, that it is time to put an end to this thread.

Mustang Sally


 From: "pfoley"

Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 02:14:36 GMT


You should write a book about you, Muttley and the cat. I am thinking that you might have better control over Muttley when leash walking, since he is so large and strong, if you used a pinch training collar instead of a choke collar. I think you mentioned you used a choke chain. Sometimes, dogs pull and pull on those choke chains and after awhile it damages their throats. My trainer suggested I not use those collars, and told me to use a pinch collar. With the pinch collar, you quck pull and quick release to correct. If you do buy him a pinch collar, do not leave it on the dog after walking; remove it; they are only to be used for training or when walking on the leash. I use this type training collar a lot on my Rottweiler, because she is so powerful, and it allows me to have more control over her. They are good for large dogs. I find, though, that I don't have to use it as often anymore, depending where I am going with her. Instead, I can just use her leather collar with the leash, since she is easier to control now with some training and more exercise. I think those two things are key in making a dog into a good pet; training and exercise. If you tire them out enough, they become more docile, thus easier to live with. If they don't get exercise, and mental stimulation, they become bored and start looking around for some mischief to get into and are more difficult to handle. Also, the older they get, of course, the more settled they become, which is nice.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 02:24:31 -0400

Thanks again for constructive advice. I have seen some of those training collars, and they look rather fearsome, but perhaps they would provide better control. You are correct in saying that more exercise, and maturity, will make a dog more settled and easier to control. I don't know his actual age, but we are guessing at about two years now. In dog years he is a rebellious adolescent, but he is learning to obey my commands to heel and sit.

Maybe I will add a web page about my experiences with Muttley and Photon, and I'll include the story of how I got (as kittens) Photon and her brother Meson. He was actually a lot more affectionate (he almost gave me a hickey!), but he was a bully to his smaller sister. One night she had enough, and she attacked him as he came onto the porch, and chased him away so she could be #1 queen cat. I'll put the story on a page of my personal site,




From: Paula

Date: Sun, 03 Sep 2006 02:54:29 GMT

>He really is behaving well, and I would love to keep him if he and Photon could become buddies, but I don't think that will happen, even with obedience classes.

You don't know until you try! The obedience classes will make him much more adoptable even if they don't teach him not to chase the cat so you win either way. I can't tell you how much easier it is to find homes for dogs that are obedience trained!!!


From: (Judith Althouse)

Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2006 18:38:43 -0400


You have a good heart to offer to help Paul and Mutley by offering your free services as a trainer. In the event Paul doesn't take you up on your generous offer maybe whoever ends up with Mutley will.

Be Free,



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2006 20:59:31 -0400

"Janet B" wrote in message

> Paul - my offer of FREE training for Muttley, if you're going to place
> him, still stands. I'll want some information on the rescue
> organization, but other than that, the offer is open. E-mail me
> directly if you want to take advantage, and trust me, people drive a
> whole lot further than you would, in order to take our [paid for]
> classes. Take it or leave it, but don't say that help isn't readily
> available. You can start Mondays, 9/11, Tuesdays, 9/5, or Saturdays,
> 10/7. I want Muttley to succeed. I'm willing to give away my
> services in order for that to happen. Here it is - public knowledge -
> all I want is to see a dog have a decent chance of a great, permanent
> adoption.

> --


Thanks for the offer. Muttley was at one time under the care of Fallston
Animal Rescue Mission FARM), who may have named him "Buddy" or "Champ". My
friend Helene originally found him, and she arranged for me to pick him up
at the Jarrettsville Veterinary Clinic, who performed his exam, shots, and
castration. I took him to the same SPCA where you teach, and decided to do
something to save him from being put down.

I have learned that there are dog obedience classes at Lutherville-Timonium
Elementary and also Carroll Manor, but I don't know the times and dates. I
usually work in Westminster until 7 on Mondays (and Thursdays). I can
attend this coming Tuesday's class, which I assume is for owners only. By
then I should know details of the other classes. I will contact you
directly for more details and confirmation.

Paul and Muttley


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2006 16:56:28 -0400

"Janet B" wrote in message

> On Fri, 1 Sep 2006 20:59:31 -0400, "Paul E. Schoen"
> <pst>, clicked their heels and said:

>> I can
>>attend this coming Tuesday's class, which I assume is for owners only. By
>>then I should know details of the other classes. I will contact you
>>directly for more details and confirmation.

> Hooray - we look forward to seeing you there! BTW - if he gets placed
> while you're doing classes, the new owner can finish them up.

I will try to get there by about 6:15. I'm not sure if I will need to go to work Tuesday, but I'll still plan to make it. Just today I put an offer ad for Muttley on Freecycle. It will be hard to give him up, but I will make sure he goes to a good home. Photon spent all last night outside and today I called her and she had some food on the porch. Muttley was watching from behind the screen door but he did not attempt to get out, although I know he wanted to. I made sure I gave him some extra good canned food when I came back in, so hopefully he would not feel too jealous. Do you think there is any chance they could learn to get along? Maybe you might have a better idea after a few lessons. BTW, his fleas seem to be pretty much under control after application of Frontline, but he still scratches a lot, especially when he is excited.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Newsgroups: rec.pets.dogs.behavior

Subject: Muttley's First Class (double entendre acknowledged)

Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 01:00:25 -0400

Tonight I took Muttley to his first night of obedience training. I had thought he would do better, but the prospect of 20 or so dogs and people, and an array of irresistable smells, made him hard to control. After struggling for a while with his "choker" chain collar, we tried a "pinch" collar. He seemed to respond better with that, but still he was easily distracted. I'm sure the prongs did not really hurt him, and probably would do less damage than a tightly pulled choke collar, which often caused him to gasp as he struggled against it.

It's really his choice, after all, to struggle uncomfortably or allow me to follow him (mostly) where he wants to go on a loose leash. I would not want to cause him any extreme pain or damage, but he has a very tough muscular neck and a very willful disposition, and he needs to know when he needs to obey my commands, for his own good. It is not too much unlike Army and Marines boot camp, which can seem very harsh (and sometimes does exceed reasonable limits), but the end result is (usually) a well trained and effective member of a team with extraordinary capability.

I find it hard to be harsh with Muttley. When he is not distracted, he seems to listen well to even soft spoken commands (at times almost suggestions). Perhaps he does not fear me as he would someone who was a very strong disciplinarian, but in a way I also admire his strong spirit of independence, hopefully also coupled with respect and affection for me.

This evening, upon returning from the lessons, Photon jumped onto the hood of the car, and apparently did not see Muttley riding shotgun. He saw her, of course, and he tensed up and did not seem to want to leave the car (where usually he would crawl over me to get out). When he finally came out, somehow his leash became unhooked from his collar, and he ran into the woods where Photon had retreated only moments before. Fearing the worst, and hoping he would not run into the road, I called and whistled for him. Soon I saw him looking at something on the ground, and he came past me when I called, and then went up the steps on the porch. His first order of business was to devour what was left of Photon's food, but then he willingly allowed me to refasten the leash and let him in the house. After feeding him, I went out, called Photon to the porch, and fed and petted her briefly while Muttley watched.

It's hard to say what Muttley would do if Photon would allow him near enough for real physical interaction. I think she has enough wild smarts that she would play it safe and not allow that to happen. I think he would be OK as long as she did not run. He seems OK with smaller dogs (well, most dogs are smaller than he is), but I don't know if a cat invokes other reactions. At least it seems like Photon is doing OK now with the whole world outside of the house as her domain, and Muttley is King of the house and outside to the extent of his tether.

I will do some more work with Muttley using the small prong collar, and I may try a larger one which may provide better control. It may just prove necessary to use such a fearsome contraption on my dog because he is so literally and figuratively headstrong. Maybe once he gets my attention, he will not need such strong correction. I will certainly still make sure his attitude toward me is one more of respect and affection, rather than fear. I think his overall lack of aggressiveness, and general calmness, show that he is not overly stressed, but fairly well adjusted. I hope he/we can make good progress over the next several weeks.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 15:52:48 -0400

"Janet B" wrote in message

> On Wed, 13 Sep 2006 01:00:25 -0400, "Paul E. Schoen" <>, clicked their heels and said:

>>I will do some more work with Muttley using the small prong collar, and I may try a larger one which may provide better control.

> The small links generally offer more "oomph", believe it or not.

When he was very distracted or intent on going somewhere, he pretty much ignored the pinch collar and was mostly restrained by the choker chain and my brute force. The pinch collar also came loose at one point, so I think a larger, stronger version may be better. I'll get one and see how it works, and then we can decide.

>>It may just prove necessary to use such a fearsome contraption on my dog because he is so literally and figuratively headstrong.

> Get over the fearsome stuff.

>> I will certainly still make sure his attitude toward me is one more of respect and affection, rather than fear.

> Pinch collars and training (asking for something and following through) have nothing to do with fear. If you're under that impression, we need to change that. Being a strong leader doesn't mean putting the fear of god into the dog.

Fear may not be the right word. It is probably more of an expectation of an unpleasant correction when a command is not obeyed quickly, and praise when it is. Right now, however, it seems that he is just too distracted by what he wants to do, and not much concerned by my attempts at correction.

>>I think his overall lack of aggressiveness, and general calmness, show that he is not overly stressed, but fairly well adjusted. I hope he/we can make good progress over the next several weeks.

> I anticipate coming next week - how has the "sit on it" been going?

At home, Muttley is more relaxed, and I did a "sit-on-it", outside, for more than half an hour while I read a magazine, and he just sat there or laid down quietly. Fortunately there were no major distractions like squirrels, deer, or the cat. He usually does not require much attention when indoors, except when he is hungry or needs to go out.

I need to work more on heeling, especially. In general, I think he needs to pay more attention to me, and ignore distractions.



From: "Agility"

Date: 16 Sep 2006 20:39:53 -0700

It's the first night of class and 20 dogs is a big class! He isn't going to be perfectly well behaved the first night, if he was you wouldn't need to be there. Instead of struggling with him, work with him, not against him. In my classes the first thing we do with dogs is the name game. You say your dogs name (once) and get him to look at you (without corrections), jump up and down, clap your hands, squeak a toy and the instance he looks at you say yes and toss him a treat. Doesn't take more then a minute or so for most dogs to be staring at you.

Yes, he does need to learn to obey your commands, but he has to learn them first and he's not going to be proficient at them at the first class. Don't expect miracles here. Make it rewarding to go with you, to follow you, to be with you, to pay attention to you and he will start paying attention to you.

He shouldn't have to fear you, but respect you. And that will come with time and more training. Working with distractions is hard, but it's something you have work through. And simply correcting him over and over again in the beginning stages of classes isn't going to help much. Be a leader, not a dictator. Teach the dog, don't just correct the dog and get frustrated because in the face of 20 dogs he is having trouble. Upping the corrections in these early stages, imo, isn't really helping much.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2006 02:11:07 -0400

That seems like a good idea. He certainly responds to his name here at home and in other less distracting situations. He also knows and usually responds to the commands "sit" and "heel". However, at the obedience class, he needed to be physically restrained so he would not disturb the other dogs and people. Maybe a period of socialization at the beginning might be helpful, to allow the dogs to meet each other and get used to their scents. It is also difficult when the class is outdoors at the SPCA where there are lots of other scents to investigate. I think it will be better with a properly sized pinch prong collar. My first try with it here at home seemed to work well, and he did not pull nearly as hard, so there should be less chance of damage, and he may be motivated to pay more attention to me.

He seems to enjoy being with me and going for walks or rides, but in general he is rather aloof and independent. He likes to be petted and enjoys some roughhouse play, but usually he is content to just relax when he is indoors or sitting by my side outdoors. When he goes for a walk, he is intent on following his nose, and is rather indifferent to me petting him or talking to him. Riding in the car he is happy to sit in the passenger seat and poke his nose out the window, and sometimes he just curls up there or on the floor. When I go to bed, he likes to snuggle next to me for a while, but then prefers to sleep on his dog bed, either upstairs near me, or downstairs. If I sleep too long, he will jump into bed and let me know he needs to go out or needs food.

I try to be reasonable in my corrections, but I have also heard that it is important to make sure the dog does as instructed, with a single command, and promptly. When he is constantly struggling to go every which way, about all I can do is pull tightly on his choker collar held closely, and then he is just struggling to breathe. Sharp tugs did not seem to work. The new large prong collar really seems to be effective, and I hope to work with him in the next couple of days before his next class. It was frustrating to need every bit of my strength to restrain him, but I had no choice. Now I have seen some real improvement, with more responsive control, and he hardly seemed to pull at all. I think he knows that this collar will be uncomfortable if he resists too much, or perhaps it is just that it is a new sensation. Eventually I hope he will be easier to control without need for such appliances.

Thanks for your helpful input.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 21:00:17 -0400

(Janet said there were more like 14 people and two instructors in a large area.)

Janet is probably quite correct. It just seemed like 20 or so while I was struggling to keep Muttley under control. I look forward to making more progress tomorrow evening. Thank you, Janet, for trying to help.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Newsgroups: rec.pets.dogs.behavior

Subject: Halti Headcollar vs Pinch Prongs for training

Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 23:01:39 -0400

I was recommended to try a small pinch prong collar at Muttley's first obedience class, and it seemed to work better than just the choker chain collar, but it was still an effort to control him and keep him focused on me and the commands he was given. Also, he managed to make it pop open and it had to be refastened.

This evening I bought a larger pinch prong collar, which is made of heavier gauge metal, and also the prongs are very smoothly rounded, which I think should pose less chance of damage than the more roughly cut ends of the smaller collar. I plan to try it on him when I pick him up from a friend who has been keeping him while I've been out of town.

The clerk at the store did not like the prong type collars, and thought they really should be outlawed. She recommended a "Halti" headcollar, which appears to be a combination collar and muzzle made of thin nylon straps. It looks like a pull on the strap constricts a band around the nose. It is labeled as an "improved design" by Dr. Roger Mugford.

I plan to try each of these for a brief time to see how they work on Muttley. Then I can take them to the training class on Tuesday to have the instructors evaluate them as well, and I can choose what may have the best chance for success.

If anyone has any experience with these collars, please let me know. My decision will be based on any input from here, as well as how Muttley seems to react, and finally also the thoughts of the instructors. I would like to do what is best for the dog, and provide him the best possible training for future adoption.




From: Jeff Dege

Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 22:11:24 -0500

On Fri, 15 Sep 2006 23:01:39 -0400, Paul E. Schoen wrote:

Great idea.

Don't listen to me. Don't listen to the clerk.

Listen to your dog.

Most of them really hate head collars. Some will learn to tolerate them, many will not.


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 01:46:24 -0400

Thanks for your comments. I like to try and "listen" to what my animals are trying to tell me. I am more used to cats, but have learned in my six months with Muttley that dogs can be very expressive as well. He seems to be able to tell me when he needs attention, and that has been very helpful in building a feeling of mutual trust. Hopefully one of the collars, properly fitted and used, will help him (and me) concentrate on training, and then hopefully will not be needed again once he learns to listen to me rather than following his nose.



From: Handsome Jack Morrison

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 09:31:45 -0400

Not in my opinion.

He's collar shopping without any input from his trainer? How smart is that?

He's also obviously expecting the collar itself to be some kind of silver bullet. I can almost hear his gears grinding from here: "Gee, if I can just find the right kind of collar, Muttley will transform himself into Lassie overnight! I'll be the toast of the town!"

It's not the freakin' collar! It's never the freakin' collar!

It's the TRAINING. It's always the TRAINING.

>Listen to your dog.

Actually, I don't agree with that sentiment, either.

He should be listening to his *trainer.* Period.

What, pray tell, is he paying a trainer for, if it's not to show him how to train his dog? What kind of equipment to use? How to use it?

He's already anthropomorphizing the prong collar, by thinking that the kind with smooth tips will somehow be more "kind" to his dog, etc. And he's also listening to people who sell dog food for a living, instead of listening to people who actually train dogs for a living.

How smart is that?

I think Janet (as his trainer, I presume) should get control of Muttley's *owner* first, before worrying about ol' Muttley.

Yep, that's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.


Handsome Jack Morrison


From: Jeff Dege

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 12:12:15 -0500

On Sat, 16 Sep 2006 09:31:45 -0400, Handsome Jack Morrison wrote:

Far too many trainers have fixed ideas about what effect which tools of on dogs - when the simple truth is different dogs respond differently.

If you have a trainer who is watching the dog, to see how he responds to various training tools, great. If not, you're going to have to watch the dog yourself.

Truth is trainers (other than board-and-train trainers) don't train dogs. They teach people how to train their own dogs.

The trainer is a resource. An important and valuable resource, or your wasting your money, but only one resource of many.


From: Handsome Jack Morrison

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 13:35:25 -0400

But that's for his *trainer* to decide, not Shoen.

Janet is in the best position to SHOW Schoen how to properly fit any collar, to use it properly, and to SHOW him how to do all of the above.

And hopefully without any interference from a lady who sells dog food for a living.

Thus far, Schoen sounds exactly like Leah Redux (presuming that you know who Leah is.)

Schoen knows so little about dogs, dog behavior, and dog training, that he's not in a position right now to determine much of anything by simply watching his dog.

Schoen should rely on Janet's experience, knowledge, ability (all of which are considerable), or he should get himself another trainer.

Too many cooks spoil the broth, and too many trainers ruin the dog.

Especially when one of those "trainers" sells dog food for a living.

And if you're going to pay them your hard-earned mony to do that, it behooves you to listen to them, not your dog.

And certainly not to a lady who sells dog food for a living.

It's the *primary* resource, and s/he deserves the clients undivided attention.

If Schoen then becomes unhappy with the progress or the results, find another trainer.


Handsome Jack Morrison


From: "Duh Bossy Bimbo"

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 14:37:30 -0400

Here she says that I'm not paying her for training, and probably don't take it seriously. She says she will actually attend the class to see me and my dog the next day. She says she needs to see Muttley with other dogs, and how I handle him.


From: (Todd H.)

Date: 15 Sep 2006 23:11:46 -0500

"Paul E. Schoen" writes:

> I was recommended to try a small pinch prong collar at Muttley's first obedience class, and it seemed to work better than just the choker chain collar,

Yup. And they don't construct their airway in the unlikely event they try to strain at the chain.

> but it was still an effort to control him and keep him focused on me and the commands he was given.

Have they taught you sneak aways on a long line? Has someone with experience evaluated the fit of that collar to make sure it's sized correctly? It's exceedingly common to have these mis-sized.

> Also, he managed to make it pop open and it had to be refastened.

Getting one that isn't quick release, where you take a link out of the middle of the collar will fix that.

> This evening I bought a larger pinch prong collar, which is made of heavier gauge metal, and also the prongs are very smoothly rounded, which I think should pose less chance of damage than the more roughly cut ends of the smaller collar. I plan to try it on him when I pick him up from a friend who has been keeping him while I've been out of town.


> The clerk at the store did not like the prong type collars, and thought they really should be outlawed.

Let me guess, teenage or early 20 something female? Got the same look from one at Petsmart here. Probably has never trained a dog.

Has your dog ever whelped from a correction on the pinch collar? I know my 10lb poodle hasn't, yet learned his obedience very well. For bigger breeds with a higher threshhold of getting their attention, the pinch seems to be more helpful still. For instnace, how many Labs do you see able to ignore a standard training collar in the hands of a new handler?

> She recommended a "Halti" headcollar, which appears to be a combination collar and muzzle made of thin nylon straps. It looks like a pull on the strap constricts a band around the nose. It is labeled as an "improved design" by Dr. Roger Mugford.

I didn't see any of these at my dog club's obedience class. That's not to say they don't work, but it's not a terribly proven design yet I'd say.

The pinch collars work wonderfully, easier to learn to use correctly and are what our club leans towards. Just make sure you've got it sized correctly.

Good luck with the training!

Best Regards,


Todd H.


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 02:18:49 -0400

With Muttley, this was a very predictable event. He would strain mightily until he was gasping. I would then try to kneel next to him, settle him down, loosen the chain, look him in the eye, and try to get him to focus on me. Two seconds later he would strain eagerly again trying to follow his nose somewhere.

The trainer added extra links to size it properly. She connected the leash also to the choke chain as a backup, fortunately.

Each of the links could be fairly easily squeezed and removed. It may have become tangled with the choke chain to make it pop open. It opened between a pair of links, not at the clip.

This was a middle aged woman at a Tractor Supply Company store, which specializes in rural animal needs. She may have been the same one who warned me to watch my dog when he chewed on rawhide pieces. Muttley is very careful (and efficient) when he eats them.

Muttley is built with a very large and powerful neck, and he never made a sound when the pinch collar was snapped up. He simply slowed down a bit and then continued to pull. I think I could probably just about lift his 70+ lb off the ground with the smaller pinch coller (and even the choker) without him even flinching. I will see how the larger one works on him in the less distracting environment here at home, and then the final test will probably be at his next class on Tuesday, with evaluation by the trainers.

The woman at the store said, essentially, that if you control the dog's head, you control the dog. Maybe exerting some pull on his nose will bring his attention more to me. When I took Muttley to a horse farm, the woman who ran it seemed to have some success with Muttley in a short time, by forcing him to look her in the eye, and giving very quick, strong corrections at the least sign of his inattention. And that was only with the choker chain.

Thanks. I'll report on my future successes or difficulties. It is probably a combination of my inexperience with dog training and also a very smart, willful, powerful dog who was used to being able to run free for quite a while.



From: (Todd H.)

Date: 16 Sep 2006 01:44:52 -0500

I watched a trainer take care of that with a couple similarly strong willed dogs with a few "OUT!" corrections delivered well, and with a quick and simple praise when they stopped the offending behavior.

It's possible that by kneeling down next to him and attempting to settle him that you may be unwittingly encouraging the behavior that led you to comfort it.


> The trainer added extra links to size it properly. She connected the leash also to the choke chain as a backup, fortunately.

Both collars simultaneously? This seems extremely unorthodox, and in fact may have led to the release of the clasp.

Oh, yeah... I'm not an expert on these topics, but having 2 collars on at once with any training collar just seems like a recipe for disaster. Do you get the feeling your instructor is competent?

> and then the final test will probably be at his next class on Tuesday, with evaluation by the trainers.

Sounds reasonable. He sounds like a beast. :-)

Yeah you've probably got your work cut out for you, but from what I've seen in the 10wk obedience class recently finished, you should be seeing some impressive results if you put in the daily work with him and learn the handling techniques, timing of corrections, when not to give eye contact, and all that jazz. It sounds like your dog needs to learn that he the lowest number on the totem pole at your house, and that when you're training, he needs to be focused on his new pack leader, and that pulling like that is simply not acceptable behavior.

With enough correction, and well-timed genuine praise immediatley after he breaks off the bad behavior, he will eventually "get" that the place to be is at your heel and that bad things happen when he starts to pull.

Good luck!

Best Regards,


Todd H.


From: "TaraG"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 06:43:54 GMT

> Both collars simultaneously? This seems extremely unorthodox, and in fact may have led to the release of the clasp.

Untrue. Actually, though I rarely use prong collars these days, I would NEVER use one without also using a backup slip collar with it (a nylon slip, to be specific) A prong collar n its own can fail and open....and enough do to make the use of a backup collar not only prudent, but wise.

Its definitely NOT a "recipe for disaster". In my opinion, using a prong collar solo without any sort of safety mechanism for if/when the collar opens on its own is a "recipe" of its own.

To the OP (Paul), while I don't go to the prong collar as a first option, I also find that enough dogs have issues with head collars that Muttley might have to tell you which one he a) responds to most quickly and b) prefers (and, yes, this is second in priority). The larger prongs might not be the best idea....and I have yet to see the rounded nubs help *anything* besides the owner's conscience. The dog pulls harder, and then ultimately learns to pull *through* the prong with those plugs at the end. Again, you'll find out when its actually *on* Muttley, and when your trainer has a chance to see you guys in action in person.

I did have to interject when I saw the above statements from Todd, though.



From: "flick"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 09:51:13 -0500

I've never had a prong collar fail like this. The ones I have, if you want to remove a link you've got to squeeze the prongs together with pliers and pull hard to get it separate.

flick 100785


From: "TaraG"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 15:27:32 GMT

> I've never had a prong collar fail like this. The ones I have, if you want to remove a link you've got to squeeze the prongs together with pliers and pull hard to get it separate.

With pliers? Every time you put it on and take it off? I doubt that. They can be tough, but no company I'm aware of makes them impossible for human hands to use.

It happens maybe one in every hundred or so dogs....but in NYC, that's often enough to warrant the backup system, because that one dog can end up running straight into traffic.



From: "flick"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 11:21:18 -0500

I forget that not everybody has my hand strength problems. My bad.

What I use for a backup with the Saint is this harness thing that tends to lift up his front end if he pulls hard, or at least puts pressure there. One leash to that, one leash to the prong collar, they're in different places and don't get tangled. I don't use the backup very often any more, though, myself. The kids do, as extra insurance. He's well trained now, but I prefer not to bet his life on that in certain circumstances.

flick 100785


From: elegy

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 13:56:47 -0400

two leashes sounds awfully cumbersome. especially since i walk two dogs at once. a nylon slip is just much much easier for me.

i've only had a pinch collar fail once, and it was the first time I used it (not the first time i used a pinch collar, just this specific collar). one of the prongs was squeezed too narrow. it was easy enough to fix, but it was a wake-up call.


From: "Sionnach"

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 14:38:28 -0400

 I've had one BREAK, and it wasn't a cheap one, either; the ring the leash was attached to pulled out straight. I suspect the maker ASSumed that any dog small enough to need a micro-prong wouldn't have significant strength.


From: "Suja"

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 09:28:27 -0400

> I've never had a prong collar fail like this.

I have. The first time it happened, it wasn't backed up, but Khan didn't really do anything with his new found freedom, and I was able to just hook it back on. The second time, it was backed up onto a non-slip collar.

I'll admit that I'm not the strongest person in the world and it takes some effort for me to un-link the prongs, but I've never had to resort to pliers.



From: "Picky-Nik"

Date: 18 Sep 2006 08:46:52 -0700

He says combined collars are used for dogs with aggression and dominance issues. As I have found, a strong dog like Muttley can apply enough force to cause the prong collar to fail. And of course there should be another collar as a backup.


From: Handsome Jack Morrison

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 12:28:13 -0400

No reason for an oversized collar, or a chain. One like this one will do just fine as a backup:


Handsome Jack Morrison


From: "flick"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 09:48:19 -0500

> With Muttley, this was a very predictable event. He would strain mightily until he was gasping. I would then try to kneel next to him, settle him down, loosen the chain, look him in the eye, and try to get him to focus on me. Two seconds later he would strain eagerly again trying to follow his nose somewhere.

This isn't how to use a prong collar. See your trainer.

> The woman at the store said, essentially, that if you control the dog's head, you control the dog. Maybe exerting some pull on his nose will bring his attention more to me. When I took Muttley to a horse farm, the woman who ran it seemed to have some success with Muttley in a short time, by forcing him to look her in the eye, and giving very quick, strong corrections at the least sign of his inattention. And that was only with the choker chain.

The last time I took a dog through a formal beginner's obedience class was decades ago. We ALL had prong collars on our dogs.

You control the dog through its training. I think a Halti is useful as an emergency control measure, or if you've got a particularly powerful dog, until the dog is trained. To me, a Halti is not a training tool.

He doesn't know what you want, yet - he isn't trained, yet. You'll learn how to size and use that prong collar in class, and all will become clear, Grasshopper ;-).

flick 100785


From: "pfoley"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 21:45:11 GMT


I am not going to suggest to you which collar to use; you will have to find out for yourself which works best for you and your dog, but I don't think I would take the advice of the store clerk. The clerk might think the prong collar is cruel and painful, which it is not. When I took my Rottie to training class, my trainer told me not to ever use a choke chain, as they can damage a dog's throat from the dog constantly pulling on it, and to use a large link prong collar. He demonstrated on himself that it was not dangerous to the dog, by pulling hard on his arm and releasing. The idea of the prong collar is a quick tug and quick release. It does have to fit properly or it will fall off. Sometimes, all it needs is for one link to be squeezed and tightened a little. The prongs are all removeable. He also told me to take a six inch piece of cotton clothesline rope and attach a snap latch on each end, to be attached from the leash to the dog's leather collar, (common materials found in a hardware store) not to a choke chain.

A couple of times the prong collar did open up and fall off, but since I had the attachment from the leash to the leather collar, she was still on the leash. I did tighten the prong collar after it fell off and did not have that problem again. I don't even use the little attachment any longer; I only used it while training her. I have never tried that other collar the clerk talked about on my present Rotty, but I do know that some dogs hate them and some others will finally get used to them after a lot of balking. I tried one of those on my previous Rott, but she was able to remove it in seconds and that was the end of that idea; I then returned to the prong collar. I don't know what a small pinch collar is, but I would think a large powerful dog could break it easily; I don't know that for sure, as I have never used one, but it would seem to make sense to use a larger stronger size collar on a powerful dog. The dog trainer I had was a trainer that also trained dogs for search and rescue, schutzhund and and police service He had many years of experience.



From: "pfoley"

Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2006 11:15:22 GMT

"Mary H Healey" wrote in message news:Xns9840C98D959CBmhhealeyiastateedu@

> "Paul E. Schoen" <> wrote:

> > "Todd H." <> wrote:

> >> Has your dog ever whelped from a correction on the pinch collar?

> My dogs are all neutered males. Difficult for them to whelp for any reason, really.

> > The woman at the store said, essentially, that if you control the dog's head, you control the dog.

> More accurately, if you control the dog's brain (in the sense of having his attention and focus), you control the dog.


Never, there was never any pain inflicted on the dog from the prong collar.The fact that she knew, if I tightened up a little it could pinch her, she would behave. I hardly ever use the link collar anymore now. I use just the leash and the collar, and if I find myself getting into a sticky situation, I remove her leather leash, make a noose out of the handle end and slip that over her neck, then hold it up by her ears for control until the situation has passed. But, it depends where I am planning on going with her, or who I am walking with if I use the link collar or not. When I walk in the forest each day, I walk her on leash with just her leather collar for awhile, and then most of the time she is off leash. If she were dog aggressive, I would always use the prong collar, but she is not that type of dog. I used to use the prong collar more when walking my other Rottie, as I was never sure what her reaction would be when meeting another dog; some she would like and others she would not, and I never knew how it would go, so I needed more control of her, and I never let her off leash other than in the yard. If I do use the prong collar, I remove it after walking; I never leave it on the dog.


From: "Sionnach"

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 14:33:07 -0400

"Todd H." writes:

> Has your dog ever whelped from a correction on the pinch collar?

Prong collars can be useful tools, but they don't perform miracles... which would include causing a neutered male dog to give birth.


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 20:51:15 -0400

> Prong collars can be useful tools, but they don't perform miracles...which would include causing a neutered male dog to give birth.

But, maybe he will have an "Immaculate Contraption"? :)

(From a list of real responses of Catholic school kids)



From: "George Anderson"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 15:27:58 GMT

As a dog trainer and behaviourist I was horrified to read that you are using a prong collar, these things are barbaric and should be banned, if your trainer is recommending a prong collar I would very strongly suggest you find another class to attend where these things are not used or allowed. The headcollar is a very useful piece of equipment and if properly used will stop your dog pulling, your first consideration is get the right size they come is sizes 0 to 5. When you first put the head collar on the dog will probably not like it so just put on for a few minutes and give him some tasty treats and do this each time you put in on him so that he sees the head collar with nice things. When you start to walk him with it on, have him on your left side and hold the lead in your right hand, when he starts to pull, gently pull his head round towards you, this will bring his whole body round which stops him pulling, practice with this and he will soon stop pulling.

George Anderson

When a dog wags it's tail and barks at the same time,

it is the bark you should heed.


From: "TaraG"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 15:45:54 GMT

"George Anderson" wrote in message news:2KUOg.29800$

> As a dog trainer and behaviourist I was horrified to read that you are using a prong collar, these things are barbaric and should be banned,

As a trainer who uses primarly positive methods, I think this type of thinking is narrowminded, and unfortunately not very knowledgeable about equipment.

And I say this as someone who hasn't used a prng collar in over 4 years.

By the way, most Behaviorists don't also call themselves Dog Trainers. I was looking into becoming a Behaviorist, but I couldn't justify the extra years of schooling, so I stuck with Dog Trainer. Where did you go for your Behavioral Degree?

> if your trainer is recommending a prong collar I would very strongly suggest you find another class to attend where these things are not used or allowed.

This is bizarre. You have no idea what problems this guy has been having with his dog. You have no idea how much actual work he is willing to (or in a position to) put into this dog. You have no idea what factors went into that decision. And yet you feel comfortable making a categorical statement like that?


> The headcollar is a very useful piece of equipment and if properly used will stop your dog pulling, your first consideration is get the right size they come is sizes 0 to 5.

They also scare the crap out of plenty of dogs. Which is why I stopped using them regularly shortly after I stopped using the prong. All thing being equal, I actually found that the DOGS usually took to the prong a lot more easily than they took to the head collar.

When judging the cruelty/kindness factor of a method or piece of equipment, I like to make sure I'm using the actual DOG as the barometer....not what *I* would prefer. They are often different answers. I saw far too many dogs panic when the owners would (understandably) rush the adjustment process. And, I'm sorry, but any piece of equipment that takes up to two weeks to get a dog to accept is NOT intrinsically kinder.

> When you first put the head collar on the dog will probably not like it so just put on for a few minutes and give him some tasty treats and do this each time you put in on him so that he sees the head collar with nice things.

You haven't worked with that many dogs with spacial issues if you think that's how it always works. There are plenty of dogs that need slow desensitization for a week or more before they're comfortable enough to have pressure applied to their snouts.

> When you start to walk him with it on, have him on your left side and hold the lead in your right hand, when he starts to pull, gently pull his head round towards you, this will bring his whole body round which stops him pulling, practice with this and he will soon stop pulling.

Or he could use a sensation/easy walk type harness so as not to freak out his dog by putting scary things on his nose. Or he could do what he's doing since there's a trainer (who is apparently pretty good and has been posting here for *years*, with real live students who have also posted here) who has actually laid hands on this dog and who has observed the interactions and behaviors first hand.

While there are plenty of tools I would probably never see the need to use on a dog, the call to ban certain those things just to mollify those who don't understand them is beyond me.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 16:14:48 -0400

"TaraG" wrote in message news:S_UOg.48$zs6.47@trndny07...

> As a trainer who uses primarly positive methods, I think this type of thinking is narrowminded, and unfortunately not very knowledgeable about equipment.

> And I say this as someone who hasn't used a prng collar in over 4 years.

I would like to know more about positive training methods.

I appreciate all of your comments on alternate equipment and methods for my reluctant initiation into the world of dog training. I can see that there are some very strong opposing viewpoints, and all probably have some validity. I would like to get good results fairly quickly without investing too much time and effort, partly because I am overwhelmed with other issues at this time, and also because I hope to be able to give Muttley to a new owner who can invest the needed time and (tough) love required. It becomes increasingly hard for me to consider giving him to someone else, as I continue to bond with him and see his progress and experience his affection for me.

Yes, you probably know that I am going to classes generously offered by Janet for no charge, provided that I intend to offer him for adoption. At the class last week, she was not there, and the instructor suggested and supplied the small prong collar, which required adding extra prongs to fit around Muttley's large neck. I could see some improvement, but then I also had the problem where the collar came loose. The other instructor said that Janet believes the smaller prongs work better, but she personally thinks the larger prongs are better for some larger dogs like her St Bernard. Janet will be there this Tuesday and hopefully we can decide what may work best. I'll try the new collars tonight when I get Muttley back, and get a feel for his reactions. Unfortunately I was away for a few days and did not have time to fully evaluate the smaller prong collar. It may also not be good to try the collars too soon after he returns to me. He may need a day to readjust.

Hopefully you all can see that I am trying to do what is in Muttley's best interests, as well as trying to maintain my own sanity. He is a smart, lovable dog, and after six months he has become a very special friend. However, he really deserves a home where he can run in a fenced area, with a more energetic owner who can devote more time and love for him. I do not regret the moment I decided to save him from being put down by the SPCA because they had no room for him, but it has caused me many difficulties that I was not fully prepared to handle. He has made good progress from being a wild Alpha pack leader to a trustworthy and protective housemate and good buddy, but I don't want to continue having to keep him and Photon separate. His needs require most of my time, and Photon must hide or stay outside.

For my adoption poster with pictures of Muttley, please see:




From: "TaraG"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 22:54:41 GMT

Which is why it is actually *very* likely that the prong collar *is* the right piece of equipment for you. The head harnesses, sensation/easy walk styles etc all require more effort put into practice than I think you're able to do right now.

> It becomes increasingly hard for me to consider giving him to someone else, as I continue to bond with him and see his progress and experience his affection for me.

That IS often the most difficult part.

> Unfortunately I was away for a few days and did not have time to fully evaluate the smaller prong collar. It may also not be good to try the collars too soon after he returns to me. He may need a day to readjust.

Are you saying that you don't want to use the prong until he adjusts? Or you don't want to use the head halter until then?

Not that it matters. I'd be using it *right* away to establish good behavior immediately.

> For my adoption poster with pictures of Muttley, please see:


It started downloading something onto my computer, so I stopped that (I don't DL from things I'm not personally familiar with).

I bet he looks good in it, though :-)



From: Jeff Dege

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 12:18:35 -0500

On Sat, 16 Sep 2006 15:27:58 +0000, George Anderson wrote:

> As a dog trainer and behaviourist I was horrified to read that you are using a prong collar,

As a radical skinnerian cultist, rather.

> these things are barbaric and should be banned, if your trainer is recommending a prong collar I would very strongly suggest you find another class to attend where these things are not used or allowed.

Why? Because dogs find the aversive? That's the whole point.

> The headcollar is a very useful piece of equipment and if properly used will stop your dog pulling,

Except, of course, that nine of ten dogs find simply wearing a headcollar to be aversive - which they do no with a prong.

Which is better? To have the dog wear a prong that does not cause him discomfort or pain, except at the specific moment that the handler decides to impose a correction, or to have the dog wear a headcollar that causes him constant distress?

The latter, of course, if you're a purely positive extremists. Because the official canon of the purely positive cultists is that prongs are always bad and headcollars are always good, regardless of what the dogs thinks about it.


For every problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong.

-- H. L. Mencken


From: "pfoley"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 23:15:03 GMT

"George Anderson" wrote in message news:2KUOg.29800$

> As a dog trainer and behaviourist I was horrified to read that you are using a prong collar,


I don't understand why you feel that way. I have never had a problem with that collar, nor has it ever caused my dog any pain whatsoever. Actually, it hardly affects her at all. Big dogs with large necks need something that will control them. I certainly never heard her wince even once. With a neck like hers it would be very difficult for a collar to hurt her at all. The trainer taught us how to use it properly. It is just supposed to pinch her. Most of the time I don't have to pull on it, because she just knows it is there.


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 22:33:05 -0400

Well, I got Muttley back from my friend Doyle, who said he was very good in almost every way, except that he was very hard to control when outside on a walk. He would pull hard on the choker collar when he wanted to go after a squirrel or just to follow his nose. Doyle was able to give him a bath with flea soap. He had to pick him up and put him in the tub, but once he was wet, he seemed to enjoy it and didn't struggle. When I got there Muttley was tied loosely on the porch, standing up with tail wagging, and he greeted me with enthusiasm, then settled down to relax on the porch.

He was very good on the trip home, riding shotgun with just his nose out the window. He was happy to be home, but he was a bit too enthusiastic about getting out of the car. He and Photon looked at each other for a few seconds until she retreated under the floor, and he was not too aggressive. He napped on the bed for a while, as I did some things on the computer.

Eventually he let me know he needed attention, and I decided to try the large prong collar. He did not really resist my slipping it over his neck. It did not work when I had the choke collar also hooked to the leash, so I used just the prong collar. I did not need to yank on it or exert much tension. He seemed to realize that it would be uncomfortable to tug harder, so he exercised good loose leash control on the way out, and was able to heel pretty well when so instructed on the way back. I gave him praise for his good behavior, and he sat pretty well while I removed the collar and allowed him free run of the house. Now he is snoozing on his dog pad. I'll try the collar again tomorrow on a longer walk with more distractions, and hopefully he will be easier to control. I am quite convinced that the localized pressure from the multiple prongs will not hurt him as much as having him pull on the choker collar until he gasps. I put the prong collar on my arm and pulled firmly, with no real pain.

I have also heard some mention of shock collars, and noise distractions for training. As an electronics engineer, I can understand how shock collars might work, although I would think it would require a rather high voltage to be effective through a thick layer of hair. It would need to be current limited, of course, to avoid burning or muscle damage once insulation breakdown occurred, and also for various conditions such as rain, humidity, or proximity of the prong to the skin. Anyone who has undergone physical therapy may have experienced electrical stimulation, where electrodes are placed on the skin and a variable, pulsating current is imposed. At low levels, it can be almost pleasant, and does not really hurt until higher levels are set. It is possible to develop some tolerance for it, and people have different thresholds. I can see that a properly designed shock collar could be effective and humane, but there is a very real danger of improper use, poor design, or component failure which might present a dangerous or lethal shock hazard.

It seems to me that a safer device might be one which emitted a high pitched audio tone, probably beyond the range of human hearing, but readily heard by dogs, and adjusted in tone and intensity as required to be somewhere between distracting and irritating. If incorporated in a collar, it could be close enough to the dog's ears to be effective on him, but not too loud for other dogs in the vicinity. It might even be effective to keep aggressive dogs at a distance. I think it would be important to have a simple control on the leash for manual use by the trainer, but there could also be a strain gauge built in which would increase the sound as the dog strained harder on the leash. Is there any such device on the market, and if not, would it be effective, and should I rush to the patent office?

Just some thoughts. This has been an interesting discussion. Even Jerry seems to have some reasonable ideas, although I only skimmed a bit of one of his posts, and his attitude and verbosity make for a tough read.




From: Handsome Jack Morrison

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 22:49:45 -0400

For crissakes, and for the sake of poor ol' Muttley, stop using the choke collar until someone can show you how to use it correctly.


It's a TRAINING collar. And if there ain't no TRAINING going on, take it off and leave it off.


> I'll try the collar again tomorrow on a longer walk with more distractions,

Noooooo! He's not ready for distractions yet. He needs to learn how to heel on a loose leash when there *aren't* any distractions first, and that may take some time.

If you care anything at all about Muttley, you'll stop futzing around like Mr. Wizard on speed and just wait until your TRAINER can show and tell you what to do.

>I have also heard some mention of shock collars,

Oh, please. Stop! You don't need an e-collar. You just need some freakin' patience, and some help from an experienced TRAINER.

> Even Jerry seems to have some reasonable ideas,

Yeah, that's the smart thing to do.

Start listening to Jerry, our resident loon.


Poor, poor Muttley.


Handsome Jack Morrison


From: Jeff Dege

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 23:23:08 -0500

On Sat, 16 Sep 2006 22:33:05 -0400, Paul E. Schoen wrote:

> Eventually he let me know he needed attention, and I decided to try the large prong collar. He did not really resist my slipping it over his neck.

A properly-fitted prong collar cannot be slipped over the head of most dogs, and can't be safely slipped over the head of any dog.

> I can see that a properly designed shock collar could be effective and humane, but there is a very real danger of improper use, poor design, or component failure which might present a dangerous or lethal shock hazard.

It's a real concern, with low-quality collars. A few dogs have been severely injured by shorting collars.

The answer, of course, is not to stint on the quality. Stick to the collars that are designed for wetland bird dogs. If it will handle a lab breaking through the ice on a rush for a downed duck, it will handle a run through the sprinkler.

Stick to the top brands - Dogtra or TriTronics. And avoid like the plague any collar that has user-changeable batteries in the receiver. The receiver should be factory-sealed. No access panels, switches or moving parts.

> It seems to me that a safer device might be one which emitted a high pitched audio tone, probably beyond the range of human hearing, but readily heard by dogs, and adjusted in tone and intensity as required to be somewhere between distracting and irritating. If incorporated in a collar, it could be close enough to the dog's ears to be effective on him, but not too loud for other dogs in the vicinity.

There seems to be a constant search for alternatives to the electric shock. Sound, vibration, citronella sprays. Nothing we've tried yet has worked as well.


From: "Picky-Nik"

Date: 18 Sep 2006 09:32:05 -0700

Here he describes a headcollar as "barbaric" and a possible cause of neck and spine injury.


From: "Duh Bossy Bimbo"

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 14:35:07 -0400

JB says she does not like headcollars, as they can be dangerous and some dogs might shut down, but they might work for some dogs to manage them more so than training.


From: "Paul"

Date: 18 Sep 2006 15:41:53 -0700

I have not tried the Halti yet, and I think I got a size too large. The large prong collar seems to work OK, now that I have removed two links and put it on him properly. However, the first night's initial apparent success may have been because he was tired and mellow after a full day with Doyle, and getting back home. Now he seems to be quite happy to pull on it to the point where he is gasping, at least on the first part of his walk. He settles down after he has sniffed out the scents of the squirrels, deer, cat, and whatever, and will more readily walk with a fairly loose leash, and even heel a bit.

It seems like now the prong collar may not be fully effective because it presses on his wide nylon tag collar, and maybe also gets tangled in the choker chain, although I do not have it connected to the leash. The bigger prong collar seems robust enough to hold him without coming undone, but I'd feel better with a backup. Maybe it would be better to use a nylon slip collar as a backup, and remove all others when training.

Hopefully all this can be worked out at the class tomorrow night (it probably just seemed like 20 dogs). I am willing to listen to suggestions from all, and this discussion has been interesting and helpful, but also shows that there are diverse views. I will primarily try to use Janet's suggestions, as she has been kind enough to offer her services to help Muttley be more adoptable.

Actually, he and Photon may finally be getting used to each other. I was able to pet her for a little while when she emerged from hiding, at the same time petting Muttley and keeping a hand on his collar (not easy with only two hands), and he was quick to settle down after she ran off. I can probably work out a way for them to coexist safely. If Muttley's only fault is straining on the leash, I can probably live with that, although I'm sure most of that will be corrected by training. It actually makes it easier for me to make it up the steep trail on my property. Maybe I'll just get him a harness and I'll ride behind him in a goat cart! :)



From: "pfoley"

Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 00:48:30 GMT


I would think the choke chain would be in the way of the prong collar all the time and thus preventing the prong collar to work correctly. I don't understand why you need the choke chain; I used to just use my dog's regular collar along with the prong collar and made sure the prong collar was above the top of the collar; not on it or below it. Don't hesitate to speak up and ask the trainer questions; sometimes they have so many people in their classes, you can easily get ignored.


From: "Picky-Nik"

Date: 19 Sep 2006 06:55:49 -0700

This guy with the long name has requested that his post be removed, but here it is in Google archives if you want to read it in its entirety.

He claims that he knows better than I do how to use a choker chain with a prong collar and a flat "license collar" so it would not get tangled as mine did. He referenced the website:

He also attempted to justify another poster's claim that the voltage to cause a fatal electrical shock is very little to none:


From: "Mighty Mite"

Date: 12 Oct 2006 21:16:02 -0700

It's funny but the "halti" and "prong" collars both have their "camps" and each promotes their own training aid of choice as the more "human" method. Suzanne Clothier wrote an article on the net about how she will not use a halti because of the dangers of snapping a dog's neck back but favors prong collars because they are, in her opinion, kinder than chokes. A few years ago, The Whole Dog Journal came out with an article advocating the use of a sensor harness instead of a halti (while I went to a seminar by famed sports Vet Dr. Chris Zinc who is very much against the use of these harnesses!). To be perfectly honest, regardless of the method you use, your dog should learn to heel WITHOUT ANY COLLAR. That's the mark of a dog who is truly trained. I taught my dog to heel using a target stick similar to what Wilkes uses.

I invite you to check out the Mighty Mite Small Dog Sports Forum -we've discussed these related issues at length:


From: "Rob Nut"

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 01:46:59 GMT

bethgsd wrote:

> TaraG wrote:

>>After seeing this post, I googled Chris Zinc and harness, and only got one hit that referred to the same opinion, but also in the third person without any sensible explanation as to why. Could you elaborate on this? I've been using these harnesses for a coupleof years now, and while they're not appropriate for all dogs, they work pretty well, IMO.

> I've seen the harnesses used and misused. They seem to fill a need for some dog owners. I've never had to use one and since I track with my dogs, probably never would.

"Rob Nut" requested removal of her post, but you can read it in the Google archives as referenced above. Here is what she is apparently too ashamed of to have it included verbatim here, so I will describe what she says:

Head harnesses can be a problem for dogs, such as Dobermans, that have cervical spine issues. A lunging dog will have its head twisted, and could cause neck injury. She says that many dogs fight a head collar. More opinions are given by Suzanne Clothier


From: "TaraG"

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 02:07:14 GMT

I'm unclear here which "harness" you're refering to. The head halter was being discussed in the paragraphs you snipped. The sensation harness was what we were refering to in the quote you left above.

Ah, yeah. I think you misunderstood which harness Zink was referring to.

FWIW, I think the GL type halter is good for *some* dogs, and will still on occasion put one on a dog, but I do find that MANY dogs have the kind of reaction that causes me to opt for another tool altogether. I have only seen two dogs balk at the Sensation Harness (or the Premier Easy Walk....same idea, different manufacturer), but I've seen about half a dozen or so end up with tender spots under their armpits. So, the Grand Conclusion is: there is no one answer for all dogs. Some will do better with a harness, some with a halter, some with a buckle collar, some with a prong....etc. Its a balancing act between what the DOG feels most comfortable with, what the dog will respond to, and what the handler can be clearest with.



From: "n briggs"

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2006 13:43:08 GMT

I am assuming (yes I know what that acronym means) you mean the Gentle Leader?

I use one and find it in no way abusive--but like anything else you have to use it correctly. When you buy one it should come with a DVD on its proper use. It is not intended for jerking--you are supposed to just pull up gently when the dog trys to pull etc--gently being the operative word--then relax the tension immediately. Tension means no--relaxed me good dog--I have used it on not only my puppy--but on rescue dogs and the quality of the walk is noticable immediately. Dogs really need walked for lots of reasons, so if it takes a GL to be able to accomplish this I am fine with it. It is also a wonderful tool to teach 'sit' on a stubborn dog.

That being said--I migh be having a harder time training because a. my own dog is only 5 months and b.the other dogs I work with are rescues and I foster them untill we find homes, typically abandoned dogs- though mostly sweet--are often not at their personal best. Some have lots of learning to do--after abuse/neglect to be able to live in a home again. If the GL can help them--I am fine with it.

In fact I just had a discussion with my trainer this week about the GL-one of the biggest mistakes I was making was taking it off my girl. Dogs become 'leash smart' and know that when a certian collar is applied how they are supposed to act---if I would leave it on her more--then she would become habituated to it-then I could start to teach her to walk nice without the use of the GL.

I agree that the mark of a well trained dog is one that will heel with no leash--but the hard part is getting them to heel in the first place--besides most places have leash laws, so the dog is just going to have to learn to be sweet on the leash.

No matter what method you use it requires lots of practice and patience.

Good luck!


From: silly

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2006 09:58:32 -0400

(Comments about a harness, abusive tools, and possible harm from a GL. And a comparison of leash manners, heeling, and training level. It's all in the archives)


From: elegy

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2006 13:00:18 -0400

long ago and far away, Mary Healey <> did say:

>Installed as per instructions, it depresses my dog so much he can barely lift his head off the floor. The effect persists for some time after the collar is removed. If I had a younger, bouncier dog, this dampening effect might be useful, but as it stands, I'd rather not go there. I demonstrate a number of collars on this dog, but I think I'll skip the Gentle Leader/Halti demo from now on.

one of my dogs responded the same way. he didn't paw it or rub it, but he was *so* shut down by it. it was terrible. he wears a prong with no problems, no complaints.

it baffles me that people object to a prong collar on the grounds of it being cruel and causing the dog physical pain, yet seem either to not notice or not care how detrimental a head halter can be to the dog in other ways.

i used to work for a vet who had us show the GL video to every freaking client who brought in a puppy. their goal was to have every puppy fitted with one. i thought it was the most freaking inappropriate thing ever. (of course, they couldn't walk their 12 year old BC mix without one)


"The Incident"


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Newsgroups: rec.pets.dogs.behavior

Subject: Muttley: Now a question of Life or Death

Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2006 15:35:11 -0400

Hello everyone:

If you have followed some of my posts, you know something about the ongoing story of Muttley, the large GSD/Chow dog I have been trying to adopt or place in a better home. I will add a bit more history later in this post.

Last Tuesday, toward the end of Janet's obedience class, Muttley and I had just finished fairly successfully performing a sit/stay/come routine, and then he was sitting by my side. The final routine was to be a "down", which Muttley has had some difficulty with, and frankly I have not had the time to work with him much on that. I was kneeling at his side, trying to hold his collar while pushing his front legs down to the position, while he resisted. Suddenly he lunged, knocking me over onto the parking lot, and I lost grip of the leash as I reflexively broke my fall. Muttley took the opportunity to attack a young black male Lab to my left, and it was a very brutal attack. Janet and the instructors tried to gain control, and as soon as I could get to my feet I grabbed the leash and pulled him off. That was the end of the class, and the other dog, Bernie, was taken to an animal hospital for treatment. When everyone had left, Janet counseled me about what should be done about Muttley. She said this was more than ordinary aggression, and only intensive (and expensive) one on one training would have any chance at working, and in any case, he was not suited to group training. She advised me that Muttley could be dangerous, and she recommended that he be euthanized. "They can't all be saved".

I took Muttley to visit my nurse friend "H", who had originally rescued Muttley from the streets of Baltimore in February, and she looked at his fairly minor scratch on his ear, and we treated it with Triple Antibiotic Ointment. He was his usual temperament, as he was soon after the incident. I have discussed this with several other friends who have known Muttley in person or by discussion, and I also exchanged emails with Janet, who further explained her reasoning, and also arranged for me to get in touch with Bernie's owner, offering to pay for medical expenses, which I have done.

"H" was of the opinion that Muttley really needs a very dominant owner, and a home probably without other dogs or young children, and a large fenced yard where he can run and play and get the exercise he needs to expend his extra energy. She was able to find homes for the other three dogs she rescued, even though one black Lab was deemed to be aggressive toward a young handler at the rescue where she was kept briefly. She has some contacts with other rescues, so there might be some help there.

"L" has met Muttley, and advised me about his training, and loaned me her book "There Are No Bad Dogs". She felt that Muttley (and I) were under stress at the obedience classes, and he was feeling frustrated, so he just lashed out at the nearest critter. She felt that the class was moving too rapidly, and Muttley was not ready for the more advanced commands. Perhaps the "down" position was a bit too submissive for him to be comfortable with in that setting.

"G" has not personally met Muttley, but has tried to find people to adopt him by displaying the poster from She told me about a frightening experience with a large Chow dog that belonged to her relatives. It became agitated in the presence of a crowd of new people, and snapped at two of them, who avoided serious injury by quick reflexes, but "G" tried to pet the dog, and he suddenly lunged and bit her lip, requiring emergency surgery. Later, the dog attacked and killed a neighbor's dog, and the Chow had to be put down. She recommended the same for Muttley.

I have pretty much come to the conclusion that I need to find a better home for him, because I don't think I can give him the environment he needs. I don't think I can trust him with my cat, even if it seems like he is more accepting of her, because he may just be waiting for a chance to get her close enough to attack. He has been OK with meeting people and other dogs while I have had control of him, but he may be hard to read. He has a fairly aloof demeanor, even with me, but he seems to wag his tail when he is happy and comfortable, and puts his tail down and cowers when he is unsure. This was how he acted early in the summer, when I had someone help work on my house. The man briefly met Muttley and petted him, but he seemed to cower and was not fully comfortable. Then Muttley was very agitated, and barked a lot when he made a lot of noise working on the house. When he walked past him, Muttley took the opportunity to bite him in the seat of his pants, which was painful but luckily not serious enough to need treatment.

This will be a hard decision to make. I think he will be OK in the right environment, but I know it is difficult to find homes for even very mild mannered larger dogs. I don't know Muttley's early history, and he may have been abused. His tail has been cut short, which may have been the result of some sort of mayhem rather than a cosmetic procedure. I enjoy Muttley's company, but he is still hard to handle. It takes most of my strength to hold him back when he sees a squirrel or deer and wants to give chase. He has also barked fairly aggressively at someone walking by on the road, and I don't know what he might have done if he managed to break loose. For my own sanity and liability, I know it will be necessary to end the present situation soon. As I write this, Muttley is quietly snoozing on my bed, and he sleeps with me almost every night. He has been a good companion, and he would probably be a good protector if I were threatened, but his unpredictability and sudden aggression without warning are major concerns. I would appreciate input from some of you who have attempted to help in the past, by recommending obedience classes and other things, as well as from those who may have had to deal with similar situations.

As a brief final summary of his history, I offer the following. In early Fevruary, my friend "H" found Muttley along with three other dogs running loose and abandoned in a poor neighborhood in downtown Baltimore. She was able to give the dogs some food and gained their trust, and physically took two of them to shelters. The remaining two, Muttley, and his "girlfriend", a pregnant black Rottie, were taken by animal control to the city Pound. We were able to get them out before they were put down, and took them to various shelters. Muttley was neutered, and I was volunteered to transport him to the SPCA where he was to be put into their no kill adoption program. However, they had received an overload of Katrina refugees, and told me that he would be euthanized if I released him to them. I quickly made arrangements to keep him temporarily at my house, and it was very difficult for a long time, trying to contain him in an outdoor kennel, keeping him tied up outside with minimal shelter while I had to be gone, dealing with his aggressiveness toward my cat, and getting discouraged about frequent indoor peeing and chewing on things. However, by mid-summer, he seemed to mellow out, and gradually I was able to trust him with free run inside the house for 8-10 hours. He also seemed more tolerant of my cat Photon. Janet had offered free obedience training for him, but I was overwhelmed with many ongoing and new projects, as well as a difficult experience with fleas. Finally, however, I made the effort and commitment to take him to classes, and all seemed OK for the first couple of weeks. I was becoming more confident that I might be able to keep him, or at least have a better chance of finding a good home. Then, two weeks ago, he showed the first major sign of unprovoked aggression, followed by the most recent, more serious incident.

I am not trying to find fault or put blame on anyone for what has happened, but I really have not been able to work with Muttley as much as I should with the training classes, and they have been stressful to us both, because of other responsibilities that I have had to attend to, as well as knee and back problems that make it difficult for me to give him the exercise and training that he really needs. Maybe it was good that the obedience classes exposed a potentially dangerous problem, or perhaps they just caused undue stress that made training difficult. I just wanted to present this entire situation from my viewpoint, knowing full well that others will have differing ideas. In the end, I must make my own decision, but I will appreciate any help. After all, this is a matter of Life or Death.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2006 19:56:23 -0400

"Sionnach" wrote in message


Thanks for the observations and opinions about this.

> There are MANY dogs with bad temperaments in Baltimore, particularly in areas such as the one where he was found; people deliberately breed for aggression. I also have to wonder, given the attack behaviour you describe, if he doesn't have Pit Bull in him. I know of more than one incidence of Chows and Pits being crossed in an attempt to get a dog with the power of the Pit and the Chow's propensity for aggression towards humans. Add in a GSD with the typical sharp/shy temperament you often see around here, and I suspect you'd get something a lot like Muttley as you describe him.

I have suspected a possibility of some Pit Bull, especially from the powerful jaws and large head. From the back, he looks like he could have some Boxer. The Chow portion was suggested because of his purplish tongue colors.

>> After all, this is a matter of Life or Death.

> Here's the question I'd be asking myself in this situation. How will you feel if a decision of life for Muttley leads to death to someone else's pet, or injury to a child? For that matter, how do you feel about the fact that your decision to keep him has ALREADY resulted in injury to someone else's beloved pet? I have lot of tolerance for aggressive displays, self-defensive snapping (whether at humans or other dogs), prey drive towards appropriate prey, etc. However, I have just about ZERO tolerance for people who keep dogs that present a serious threat to my pets.

> And again, the other question is what do you think Muttley offers to any prospective adopter that should make them willing to deal with his aggression issues?

I have formed a strong bond with this dog, and others who have gotten to know him feel that he deserves a chance. I would certainly be honest with anyone who would like to try to take him in. It would have been much easier on me if he had never been rescued from the Pound, or if I had just released him to the SPCA. He was tested for aggression at one of the shelters where he stayed as far as I know, but possibly just for food or resource aggression. I think he should have had the chance to be evaluated for and possibly acclimated to other dog aggression before he was admitted to the class. That might have prevented these regrettable incidents. It was a judgment call, and there was probably not enough information to have made it otherwise, and now he has been branded with a history of aggression, which will probably be a death sentence. I just think I need to give him every benefit of doubt, and hopefully find someone that can handle and train such a dog. He has become like a good buddy or child to me, as you can probably understand, and that may blind me to what may seem obvious to someone who has not known him. I was very surprised and concerned about the viciousness of the attack, so I am proceeding cautiously.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 02:33:30 -0400

"flick" wrote in message news:85fe2$452869d1$94402b1b$30737@STARBAND.NET...

> "Janet B" wrote in message

> <snipped>

>> Stable dogs do NOT react to "stress" this way. There has been nothing out of the ordinary asked for in these classes.

> You're the professional, and I am certainly not. But it sounds like Muttley was resource guarding. He attacked the closest dog, if I'm not mistaken, and a dog that had been close physically to he and Paul for a while - that day and several other classes (?). Paul belongs to Muttley, in the dog's mind. He's got a strong enough human-bite inhibition not to go for the person with the Lab, but he was gonna get that dog and give him a lesson for intruding on his territory.

> I have owned many a dog-aggressive and resource-guarding dog, and that's what this sounds like to me. This would also explain why he was all right at first, before the dogs were "familiar" to him and he thought they were intruding.

My friend Doyle, who took care of Muttley for a week or two, described him as a "jealous" dog. At one time, Doyle had picked up a small dog, and Muttley snapped at him (the dog). This is more understandable (but also a yellow flag). However, Muttley does not seem to be bothered by my taking away his food or rawhide chews. Of course, someone else may elicit different results.

> Bit the repairman because he was afraid, IMO. I would never have let anyone pet a dog of mine that appeared to be cowering away from them. Sounds like a "You're retreating, and I'm gonna make you retreat quicker" kind of bite.

Actually, the initial encounter, where George petted Muttley, I just noticed that Muttley appeared to be cowering and afraid. I figured that he was just scared, and I even remarked that he seemed to be a "wimpy" dog. As there had been no evidence of aggression prior to that, I was not concerned, but I did get the feeling that George was not comfortable with the dog, and vice versa. It was much later, after an hour or more of loud banging that was making Muttley bark and whine, that George had to walk past him. He made no effort to look at Muttley or try to pet him (although perhaps he should have tried to regain his trust that was probably never established anyway). Muttley made his move as George was walking away from him, and it was probably a combination of fear and sensory overload from all the banging.

> Many dog bites are the result of human error.

>> As you should be. The rescue organization that you are fostering him for should be making this decision based on facts rather than emotions. The dog is dangerous unless in very skilled hands. Placing him is not a reasonable option. Period.

> If it were up to me, I'd have him put down. He isn't adoptable. It was very kind of Paul to help in this way. I think he has done heroically, all things considered.

> flick 100785

Thank you for your understanding. I am essentially resolved to the unpleasant reality that I will need to have him put down. I have had more hopeful opinions emailed to me by some who were apparently afraid to speak openly in a public forum. I have some possibilities that may pan out, but at this point it would probably take a miracle. I don't think Muttley is quite as bad as the one Mary described, that was never allowed on walks or out of the house or had any socialization. Muttley has acted well meeting new people and even other dogs in a comfortable, controlled environment, and he has never acted threateningly to me, although he is often assertive when he wants my attention to go outside or to be fed.

I have contacted the rescue organization, although I am not formally fostering the dog. I will have to make it clear to them that he has been identified as aggressive and probably dangerous, and perhaps they can make the appropriate arrangements for his euthanasia.

I appreciate everyone's input to help me with this decision, and I can fathom your reasons to be blunt and unequivocal about this. I am understandably biased by my fondness for this animal who has always shown me only affection, energy, and a comforting spirit of protectiveness, but the reality of his potential danger is sinking in. The logic of what I need to do is obvious, but the emotional impact is the difficult part.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 03:12:09 -0400

"Judith Althouse" wrote in message

> Paula,

> Thank you. I respect your reply to my response to Janet about what variations of breeds he may be. (Mutley) I am just very weary of The Pit Bull did it...because many times that is true. However often times when we don't know what kind of dog it is....OMG it was a PBT. There never was any mention of PBT and Mutley till after he attacked a dog. That is why I was P.O.d, perhaps I misunderstood and IF that is the case my apologies.. Janet saw the dog not me.

> Be Free,

> Judy

If you look at my very post to this newsgroup on June 27, actually to r.p.d.breeds, I had mentioned that I thought he might be part Pit Bull. Janet replied with the following:

"His muzzle looks a bit Shar-pei-ish in the one shot, which may be the source of a blue/purple tongue. He has a docked tail? If he does, it triggers "idiot who has a Rotti mix and thinks that should be done" (not YOU, whomever owned him as a young puppy). I'm really bad at color genetics, so I don't even know that his coloration is possible if Rotti is in there (some people here are very good at that). His coat texture is hard to tell - looks very different in the various shots - can you describe?"

She then arranged to meet me and Muttley Saturday July 8, and she made a preliminary evaluation that he was intelligent and trainable, but had very poor leash manners. It was hard for me to find time to commit to classes, and then there was a big problem with fleas, but finally I resolved to attend the Tuesday night classes in early September.

I'm sure there is a lot of folklore about Pit Bulls and American Staffordshire Terriers, and the ongoing efforts for and against breed-specific legislation. I think genetics has at least a 50% effect on the temperament of any animal, humans included, but I always thought mixed breeds tended to be more mellow. Perhaps the possible Pit Bull element may have been a contributing factor in this unfortunate series of events, and quite likely his early life may have been full of abuse and neglect, so that may have been two strikes.

It does little good to find blame and get into petty email potshot barrages as I have seen in other posts. I have learned a lot from this newsgroup, and I have tried to do my best to give a mistreated and abandoned animal a chance at having a good life. Maybe I will try fostering a smaller dog that might have a better chance getting along with my cat. I may enjoy it so much that I would accept it into my life on a permanent basis, as I almost did with Muttley. I will always treasure the few months I had with him, and I will try to forget the horror of seeing him attack another dog so viciously.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 13:42:33 -0400

"Janet B" wrote in message

> On Sun, 8 Oct 2006 09:33:13 -0600, Eva Quesnell, clicked their heels and said:

>>Just curious -- don't get excited -- but are you saying that if a dog bites a human, he/she should be put down?

> It isn't that simple. There are a lot of things that need to be considered.

I do agree with that. It should depend on the severity of the bite and any circumstances that could have been a reason for it. In this case, the dog owner did not have much experience, the person who was bitten did not reach a level of trust with the dog, there was some warning during the time when all the banging was disturbing him, and no attempt was made to reestablish any level of trust before he walked by.

There really should be a more thorough evaluation of a dog before allowing him to attend an obedience class. There should be specific questions about any past behavior problems, such as this incident, and perhaps an aggression test. I did not hide anything when I filled out the questionnaire. I don't remember any questions about that. And from my limited experience, he seemed to get along reasonably well with other dogs and people. The only time I sensed any serious aggression was at the training classes, and the first minor incidents were during walks where other dogs were possibly creating unstable conditions by barking, howling, or getting too close. It was only after those minor outbursts that the first unprovoked attack occurred, but there had been other small fights among other dogs earlier. The night of Muttley's serious attack was also preceded by some aggressive behavior, but it really seemed like he had calmed down, and indeed was sitting and even lying down quietly for a while.

I don't know that anyone could have predicted this unfortunate incident, and I'm not trying to point blame or make excuses, but perhaps a more thorough screening and testing may have identified a possible problem. Maybe a required period of socialization with other dogs, under more controlled conditions, could have prevented this terrible thing. Also, more attention to the suspected breed characteristics, and his obvious large size and power, may have been valuable information to be used as guidance. I will most likely have Muttley put down in a week or two. I agree that at this point it would be very unlikely for any responsible person to accept the liability and invest in the required training, if that would even fully guarantee safety.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 16:06:51 -0400

"TaraG" wrote in message news:DRbWg.2446$YD.689@trndny09...


> I think this whole thing is a damned shame. I feel for both you and (mostly) Muttley. I'm incredibly curious to figure out what happened, though its not possible for me to do so without having seen it myself. I do understand the anger and pain you must be experiencing....I just don't think trying to lay blame in anyone else is really productive at this point. And, I say this is a trainer who uses VERY different (and often opposite) methods than Janet does. Laying this at her feet the way you are is simply wrongheaded.....even while I understand your temporary and very human desire to do so. Its not fair to do that.

> Tara

It is true that, at some level, I regretted having taken Muttley to the obedience classes. It was mostly because of the persistent insistance that I would be irresponsible not to do so. And I agree that this is good advice. If I had not taken him, probably his dangerous behavior may have occurred in an even less controlled environment, and an even more tragic event may have happened. There probably was no way to have foreseen this with the information that was available, but I really do not have the experience to know that. The only people truly at fault are those that may have chosen to breed him for viciousness, and those who abused or neglected him in his early life. We all hopefully try to do our best to give such dogs a chance.

It just seems that perhaps a more specific list of questions should be required before a dog is admitted to a group training class, so possibly a similar event may be prevented in the future. If I were asked directly if he had ever bitten a human, I would have given all of that information, but it seemed like it was a minor incident with some reason for it. Otherwise, he always acted in what I considered a normal manner with other dogs and people.

It was my understanding that he had been tested for aggression, but I have no documentation about that. From my reading about aggression testing, there are several specific tests that are performed to evaluate this, and there are also training methods to correct this. I did not know much about that until reading rescue websites after the incident.

No, I do not want to blame Janet for this, but I think it would be wise for any trainer to add a simple list of questions that might identify a problem such as this. There were several red flags that might have indicated extra caution or more specific testing. The genetic traits of the probable breed mix is apparently one. The fact that he was rescued from a bad environment with probable history of neglect and abuse is another. A direct question of whether he had ever bitten someone or another dog is another. I don't recall any of these specific questions on the application, except for breed. I filled out the information somewhat quickly during the first class, so I didn't pay much attention to details. There were many good questions, and I answered them as well as I could. This incident is now over, except for my responsibility for Bernie's medical expenses. I intend to do what is needed by euthanizing my dog. I just hope that something like this can be prevented in the future.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 01:18:48 -0400

[snip text overload and remove irrelevant crossposts]

Actually, Jerry, I might have tried your methods if you had been more civil in your attitude. You should apply your methods of positive reinforcement on people so that they might respect you, and maybe a few more animals might be saved. You have been jerking on people's chains and then wonder why they fear and despise you. Your attitude toward me and everyone else caused me to believe that you were wrong and others were right. I will probably be vilified and plonked by some on this newsgroup for even responding to you. And I know that nothing I or anyone else says will change you. Just know that if you had properly presented your methods, rather than abuse everyone as you accuse them of doing to their dogs, maybe Muttley could have been saved. His death is on your hands.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 19:17:52 -0400

"Judith Althouse" wrote in message

> Paul,

> I am sorry I turned your plight into a discussion about breeds. I did post a reply about your situation with Mutley and I still stand by it. I guess I have selective memory, as I said before I thought I had followed your story from the beginning and the overall feeling I have is that you have done the best you could. I would like to suggest if you do decide to get another dog I hope you get to choose the dog you want (cat friendly) and one that has been assessed by someone knowledgable at a shelter etc.

> My thoughts are with you and Mutley and I know you will do the right thing.

> Be Free,

> Judy

I just returned from taking Muttley for a 2 mile hike on the NCRR trail. I had hoped it would be pleasant, but it turned out to be a stressful ordeal. At the start of the hike, there were several other dogs, and it was about all I could do to control him. I didn't dare let him get close enough to cause a problem. Previous to this incident, I would have felt differently, but now I am gunshy, and Muttley probably picks up on this. Throughout the walk, Muttley insisted on pulling at his choke collar and seemed concerned only with following his nose. Unfortunately I did not have his prong collar with me, but it probably would not have made much difference. Every time a dog came by, I felt that I had to hold Muttley on a tight leash, and I was even wary about people who were passing by.

So, whether it is due to my lack of firmness with discipline, or his own bullheaded independence, I am even more resigned to the fact that he will need to be put down. My friend "L" is trying to see if her friend, whom she describes as an animal training wizard, might be able to take him, as he just recently lost his large dog. If that happens, of course, I would insist that he sign a liability waiver that clearly describes his previous incidents. Maybe a miracle could happen, but it is clear to me that Muttley needs to be in a different environment than what I can offer.

It has made it easier for me to have experienced this today, and many of you have been supportive as well as realistic, which I appreciate. I am familiar with newsgroups and how many posters are quick to find fault and engage in petty namecalling and such. My comments are meant to try to prevent such a terrible thing in the future. Thanks for your kind comments and thoughts.



From: "flick"

Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2006 08:19:36 -0500

"Sionnach" wrote in message

> Sorry, Paul, but the gloves are now off, because if I HAD chosen the NCR trail today - rather than another local trail- you would have been putting ***MY*** beloved dogs at risk of serious injury or death. ***MY*** DOGS.

> What the FUCKING HELL is **WRONG** with you??? Your dog, which you have repeatedly admitted you can't control, just made a near-lethal unprovoked attack on another dog in obedience class, and you TOOK HIM OUT ON THE TRAILS WHERE THERE ARE OTHER DOGS?????

> You do that again, when my dogs are around, and he attacks one of them, you won't have to worry about having him put down - I will either break his spine or choke him to death right then and there.

> I'm dead fucking serious, Mr. Schoen.

At any given time, if you're around dogs that you don't know, you're around some that their owners might have trouble controlling, or that are dog-aggressive, or even human aggressive. That are unsocialized. That don't have their rabies shot.

Even dog-aggressive dogs don't try to attack every dog they see. And there are many, many dogs that have bitten a person once, and never do again - and not because they're euthanized.

Every time you leave the house, you need to be prepared for the possibility that some dog might attack you or (more likely imo) your dog.

You're another one that needs to STFU and STFD. This isn't about you. And I'm dead fucking serious about that.

flick 100785 --> beginning to channel Carly Simon


From: Handsome Jack Morrison

Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2006 11:19:56 -0400

Wow. I'd feel a lot better being in the same park with Muttley than I would with someone as unhinged as you sound. Talk about overreactive! Geeez, take a pill, Sarah. Your dogs are at risk whenever you take them outside, and from dogs a *lot* more unstable than Muttley probably is. The fact is, I don't know how unstable or reactive Muttley actually is (nor probably does anyone here but Janet), because I've never met him. I'm definitely inclined to go with Janet's assessment of him though - and Janet thinks he should be put down (or placed with an experienced person), so that's probably what Schoen should do, provided he can't find an experienced dog owner to take on this project (which is what Muttley sounds like - a project). It doesn't sound like Schoen has the knowledge, the skills, the strength, or the wherewithal, to take on this project either. And there's no law that says he must.

If we use one of the frequently used numbers of 1.5 million, divide it by 365, we'll get about 4109. Which is the number of dogs that will need to be put down just today, in this country alone, because no one wants them. Or in the time it took you to read this message, approximately three dogs were put down. And the vast majority of those dogs have never attacked or bitten anyone. Not even another dog.

I feel sorry for Muttley.

I feel even sorrier for all those other dogs.

Schoen, make your decision and then don't look back.

But keep an eye out for an unhinged woman running loose in the park...


Handsome Jack Morrison


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2006 02:16:04 -0400

"TaraG" wrote in message news:X7VWg.5580$ms1.4296@trndny05...

> "Shelly" wrote in message

>> On Tue, 10 Oct 2006 16:42:27 -0500, diddy wrote:

>>>in thread news:a81d$452c0f51$94402b1b$3774@STARBAND.NET: "flick" whittled the following words:

>>>> The totality of Muttley's behavior, his street background, his size, and all the other circumstances, my advice to euthanize him stands.

>>>He might make a GREAT border patrol dog

>> That's pretty loathsome, even for you. An unstable temperament like Muttley's is about the *last* thing that would be desirable in a working K9.

> I'm going to put the brakes on here and say that, other than extreme dog aggression, we don't have a lot of evidence that his temperament is *that* unstable when it comes to people. We have weird, over dramatized descriptions (written very after the fact) of some bite from when he was under extreme stress and being under some of the worst handling for that type of situation.

> With that said, what I find loathsome about this specific false hope giving is that she's pretending to offer suggestions that could save his life without offering the help that those suggestions would actually require. Promoting false hope (false because the OP is in *no* position to work towards this, and she knows it) while denying the help that would be required is pretty compassionless, in my book.

> I think at this point, this whole subject should just be dropped. I don't blame Paul for giving this thread (indeed, this whole ng) a very wide berth.

> Tara

I had thought this thread had pretty much run its course, but I feel that I need to put in a few good words for Muttley, as one of the few people who have come to know him in situations where he was obviously stressed. My friend Doyle has kept him for a couple of weeks and told me that another dog actually jumped on him, and Muttley merely shook him off and turned around to confront him, with no sign of the aggression he showed at the class. Muttley has met many people and he has seemed relaxed and non-aggressive.

I think he was never properly trained to interact sociably with other dogs, especially large numbers of them at once, so he reverted to his "street smarts" of making preemptive attacks to assert his dominance as his previous Alpha pack leader persona. It is a shame that Muttley will probably be put down (his appointment is next Wednesday), only because I do not have the skills and environment to provide a lifetime home for him. If I did not have to worry about my cat, I would probably keep him, and I am certain I could avoid any more dangerous episodes. I probably would not have taken him to obedience classes at this time if that was not such a difficult issue, and if people here had not essentially shamed me into doing so. Then he would only be a bratty dog with a mind of his own, but he would not have been identified as dangerous.

Muttley is really a very sweet, loveable animal who was born and raised with many strikes against him, yet he managed to survive, and I tried to provide a loving home for him. I hate to see him virtually demonized by people who have never met him, or have only seen him during his total of perhaps a minute of extreme aggression, which ended as soon as I was able to regain control. He has now been immortalized in Cyberspace, but I would like everyone with a shred of compassion to see his good side.



From: diddy

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 10:34:42 -0500

in thread lucyaafar whittled the following words:

> diddy wrote:

>> in thread lucyaafar whittled the following words:

>> <snipped a lot of stuff>

>> Lucy, I offered to take Muttley if funding was forth coming. It's not happening.

> Now it looks like it is - things have changed a little since your post. I'm glad to see that Muttley is being given a chance and I very much hope that you'll succeed.

>> I can't afford it.

> I hope that you can NOW.

>> Since you are so critical, why not take Muttley.

> Diddy, don't tempt me! I already have 2 dogs and 2 cats and it's about all that I can handle right now, in my present circumstances.

> By the way, are you aware of the fact that I live in Israel, almost half the world away from Paul?

>> Train him with Jerry's methods. Let us know how it goes.

> Considering the fact that I am not a trainer, just an ordinary dog owner, there's nothing that I could do here that Paul couldn't do at home, too, if he wanted to - and that without having to send his dog overseas. He could try training Muttley in his own home, with less time and money spent than a trip to Israel (or even to Ohio) would take. And I'm sure that Jerry would provide any additional training advice, if Paul needed it. Of what I've seen here, he always does.

>> If you don't have first hand experience, criticism is baseless.

> My criticism was aimed at Janet's recommendation to Paul to euthanize his dog WITHOUT having mentioned to him that there are other trainers and other training methods that might work for Muttley. It's not the first time that I see Janet doing this, in this group: if an owner isn't capable to handle the dog according to Janet's training method, then the dog must die.

> It's always the owner, sometimes the dog, sometimes the owner and the dog - but it's never the TRAINER the one who has any responsibility at all for what happens as a result of the training; and it's also always the DOG who pays with his life.

> As a dog OWNER I find this modus operandi revolting and I feel entirely qualified to criticize it.

> Lucy

Well you may not like my methods either. JH considers me a dog abuser along with the rest. Distance prevents your taking Muttley, but you can certainly ponyup and help defray expenses. Or talk JH into taking the dog, and see how he fares.


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2006 22:42:49 -0400

[snip post from Handsome Jack Morrison]

Although you have advised me not to read all of this, I think I just need to set straight some misunderstandings that are being blown all out of proportion.

(1) I am certainly strong enough to handle Muttley even if he lunges after a deer, squirrel, cat, or another dog. I was able to pull him off the dog in the FIRST attack the previous week, almost immediately. He was only able to get to the dog because it was closer than a leash length away, and it happened with no warning from a loose leash sit position. (I only wish he had been identified as dangerous then, before he could inflict actual damage).

(2) In the second attack, the only reason I lost control was that I was in an unbalanced position on my knees, trying to force him into a "down" position as I *thought* I was supposed to do. When he suddenly jumped, I fell forward onto the parking lot, and lost grip of the leash when I broke my fall. It took maybe five seconds for me to get up. I don't know who did what, but I grabbed the leash and quickly pulled him off the other dog. In my inexperienced opinion, that is the only safe way to control an attacking dog. I would not have pulled him by the leg.

(3) Muttley did not suddenly become a snarly monster after these incidents. He calmed down almost immediately, and sat or lay comfortably while Janet talked to me after all other dogs and people had gone. He was his usual self on the way home. I had taken him to public places several times before, where he seemed OK with other dogs and people. I didn't think he would now be any more of a menace, and I even took additional precautions of walking off the trail to let other people with dogs and young children past. It seemed like there were a lot more dogs there than the last time I took him, and he seemed especially edgy when there were two together. However, I was able to control him, although unfortunately it was mostly by brute strength on his choker collar, causing him to gasp. It seemed like he had forgotten all of his training, or maybe I was just too burned out to keep trying anymore.

(4) I said that it had been an ordeal, and I certainly do not intend to take him out in public again. I am making arrangements to have him euthanized within a couple of days. I will probably pay the $100 or so for a more humane procedure, and allow him to go peacefully with his big head in my arms, and his sad brown eyes looking at me one last time. I'm on the edge of tears as I write this, and I am not ashamed. Logically I know it is for the best, but I do have emotions, and Muttley has been a good buddy for a long time.

(5) There is probably more that I could say, but I think it best that I only thank those who have had kind words of encouragement and sympathy, and allow those who have so quickly come to negative conclusions to return to their self-righteous pedestals. I think now I know who my friends are.



"I Had A Muttley"

From: "Jan"

Newsgroups: rec.pets.dogs.behavior

Subject: I had a Muttley

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 07:08:04 -0700

(quoted by permission from the author) 

It was around 45 years ago. I am now 90 years old and have had dogs almost all of my llfe. Most of them were GSDs. A few mixes, some purebreds purchased from breeders, many, many, many rescues.

I was not looking for a dog when I found Bouncer. I was a journalist and each week I visited the local pound to photograph an adoptable pet and to write hopefully helpful words for the others.

There were numerous pens crowded with canines, but Bouncer was in solitary confinement.

In my eyes he was magnificent. An old fashioned GSD, obviously from German working dog lines. Oversized. Straight back.

" What a great dog!" I exclaimed as I started towards him with my camera ready.

" No", said the attendant. " He's not a great dog. He's very aggressive. He fights any and all dogs. He is oblivious to humans. Untrainable. He'll be put down. Who would want him?"

" I do!" I replied.

They agreed to hold him for a few days. Each afternoon I visited and talked to Bouncer through the cage door. On the third day he approached and acknowledged me.

I went to my car to obtain a leash and returned to the shelter, leaving the car door open.

" I think we're ready," I told the attendant.

I led Bouncer out into the yard and when we approached my car I asked him:" Do you want to go home with me?"

He tugged on the leash. I dropped the leash. He leaped into the car.

I already had two dogs and several cats. Bouncer went into his own private pen temporarily but in a few days was sharing the entire large fenced yard with a spayed female adult GSD and a younger male with no problem.

I was into Schutzhund at that time, so asked one of the instructors to evaluate Bouncer, advising him of the unknown past and aggressive behavior in the pound.

Bouncer was pronounced okay for basic obedience class, so we proceeded to enroll. His dog aggressiveness flourished, but I could control him. The instructor advised a prong collar and I followed that advice.

Soon after that Bouncer was showing aggression in class and although I had him under control the instructor said: " Let me take him."

She took the leash and proceeded to jerk him from side to side while yelling at him. After three or four hard jerks, Bouncer lunged at her and bit her, tearing a gash in the arm that held the leash.

I immediately retrieved my dog while others attended to the wound. With Bouncer in the back seat of my car and the wounded instructor just ahead of him in the front seat I drove her to a doctor.

There were no repercussiions, no lawsuits, no hard feelings. She took the blame. Euthenasia was never mentioned.

Bouncer lived the remainder of his lengthy life in my back yard behind seven foot chain link fencing. He came in the house with me when I was home.

During his life with me he killed a hapless cat who somehow foolishly scaled that fence and entered his yard.

Bouncer loved me and I loved him. I remember him so well after all these years .

And yes, I now have a dog. An oversize, straight backed Rescue GSD whose life expectancy is similar to mine.



Diddy replied:

What a wonderfully written story of love, compassion, acceptance of imperfections, and limitations, yet embracing the wonderful qualities of an imperfect pet. I can see why you are a journalist, and I'm sure you are a success. Considering a Dog's life is proportionally short compared to humans, I hope both you and your current dog well out-live expectations.


"Duh Bossy Bimbo"

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 16:45:33 -0400

In response to pfoley's comment that the story is wonderfully written, JB cops an attitude and claims it is fiction, and makes several accusatory comments about the truthfulness of the author.


From: Paula

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 00:06:56 GMT

On Sat, 14 Oct 2006 07:08:04 -0700, jan wrote:

>Bouncer lived the remainder of his lengthy life in my back yard behind seven foot chain link fencing. He came in the house with me when I was home.

>During his life with me he killed a hapless cat who somehow foolishly scaled that fence and entered his yard.

This is one of Paul's great concerns. He doesn't want his beloved cat to become a target.

>Bouncer loved me and I loved him. I remember him so well after all these years .

I'm glad you were able to make things work out with Bouncer.

I also had a Muttley. I've posted before about my Diva. She had never bitten a person, but she had shown aggression toward some of them. She had attacked dogs. I took her to expensive private training and also worked with her extensively at home. I was not working away from home at the time, so I had lots of time and energy to put into her training and management. I had lots of help from the trainers who had worked with her and a good friend who had been the only male she didn't react to even when she was at her worst. She was able to go out and about as long as she was under control. She even learned to get along with and play with the other dogs in our household, though I didn't leave them alone together when I was not at home because I never was completely sure something wouldn't set her off or that setting her off wouldn't mean an attack instead of just some snarking. I loved her to death. She was a heart dog, not just a rescue dog. But I could never have given her a good life if I had been in Paul's situation. She would have been miserable out in the backyard all day. Her short dalmatian coat wasn't as protective as a GSD coat for being outside and her personality wasn't suited to backyard living, either, even if she could come in when I was home. It all depends on the dog and the owner's situation. If things had been different in my situation at the time, I would have had to put Diva down. If I hadn't had the resources for the private training and the time to work with her and keep an eye on her and be with her so much that she really bonded to me and learned to relax and let me decide what needed to be attacked and what didn't, it would have been better to put her down than to hang on to her and keep her in a life she would have hated and that could have cost me the lives of other animals in my household or injury to my children.

If Paul has to work, has to keep his cat safe, doesn't have the money for private training from trainers who specialize in aggressive dogs, and isn't physically up to the size and strength Muttley has to stop him if he does get it into his head to attack some animal or someone, I am not going to fault him for not doing what I did. I know I was lucky to have the time and money and circumstances and a dog that responded. It wasn't that I was a better person, just a person in a better situation when that dog came along and who was landed with a dog that was easier to control and harder to set off in the meantime.


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 01:52:43 -0400

Jan wrote in message

> My sincere apologies to all who were irritated by my post, and a special apology to Paul if he interpreted my words as unkind.

> I resent being called a liar because my story is true. However, I understand the anger at my reference to Muttley although it was not my intention to make a comparison.

> I had read the Muttley thread from start to finish and found a great similarity between Muttley and my Bouncer. This prompted a flood of memories and because I am a writer, a story happenned.

> Yes, I use WEBTV. I read newsgroups and use email. I don't need a computor unless I fear snide remarks, which I don't.

> I am young for my years. I still write professionally. In my youth I was a jazz musician and I still play a bit. I hang out with people much younger than myself which probably affects my lifestyle as well as my vocabulary.

> If you are visualizing a little old lady sitting in a rocking chair crocheting doilies, forget it!

> Best wishes to all of you, and bless you for loving dogs.

> Jan

Thank you for your well written story. I recognize and appreciate your facility with the English language, which is often so lacking in newsgroup posts and emails, especially when written by younger people. It was also suggested to me that I write a story about Muttley, and in a way, I have. He will be forever immortalized in the archives of Google, and your dog Bouncer is now also a fixture in Cyberspace as a lasting memorial.

I am still fighting to keep Muttley alive, and I have been given a modicum of hope from one local behaviorist who believes that his errant behavior may be corrected so that he might possibly learn to accept my cat and socialize safely with other dogs. His fee of about $500 for four one-on-one lessons is a chunk of change, but I would gladly spend it if I could be convinced that it would work, and that I (or someone else) could provide the lifetime commitment that he needs. I would probably be remiss if I rigidly held to my announced schedule to have him euthanized this Wednesday, if there were a reasonable chance that he could be kept alive and not pose a danger to others.

It is good that you clarified your identity and truthfulness in the face of skepticism and unfair assumptions based on your stated age. Many people have apparently labeled me as a rickety cripple and wimp that can't hold onto the leash of a powerful 75 pound dog. I regularly play volleyball and hike, in spite of an injured knee and a congenital back problem, and that just limits my ability to run and give Muttley that form of exercise. I have explained that the only time I lost control of the leash was due to my being in an unbalanced position that was taught to me, if not by Janet, then by one of her instructors. I regret that this single accident has caused my wonderful dog to be labeled as dangerous, which puts me in such a precarious position of liability.

I have met a lot of people as a result of my sojourn on this and other newsgroups, and I appreciate the fact that almost everyone here loves dogs and other animals, and have much good advice to help newcomers as well as those with more experience. Of course, there are also those who are more lacking in people skills, as evidenced by some of the petty exchanges and uninformed criticisms. I have tried to be level-headed, truthful, and open-minded in my posts and responses. It seems that my detailed story about Muttley has opened up many informative dialogs, which I hope will help others avoid similar misfortune.

Paul, Muttley and Photon


From: Paula

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 06:33:39 GMT

On Tue, 17 Oct 2006 00:43:43 -0400, "Sionnach" wrote:

>"Paul E. Schoen" wrote":

>> I have explained that the only time I lost control of the leash was due to my being in an unbalanced position that was taught to me, if not by Janet, then by one of her instructors. I regret that this single accident has caused my wonderful dog to be labeled as dangerous, which puts me in such a precarious position of liability.

> "Losing control of the leash" is not what caused the dog to be "labeled as dangerous". The fact that he immediately took advantage of your lack of control to attack and injure another dog is what caused that.

This is the saddest part of what has happened on the AOL group. Paul, being new to dog ownership, doesn't know what is normal or not normal behavior for even a rescue or somewhat aggressive dog. Muttley's response was not normal and would have happened eventually, no matter what. Beyond that, Paul was in a position of liability before he ever even set foot in Janet's class because his dog was already what would be labeled a dangerous dog from things it had done at his home. I'm not sure even if Diddy can rehab him that a rescue can rehome him. But at least he'll be a better pet for Paul.


From: "Duh Bossy Bimbo"

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 08:37:16 -0400

(Here, JB says that having Muttley trained and sent back to me makes little sense, and she blames the problem on me. She is skeptical about my meeting with a "behaviorist" who said group classes might not be the best option. She does not agree with his kinder and gentler methods, and warns people that my dangerous dog might attack them or me. She also gets reactive about my demand for a refund on her defective prong collar. Well, I did say I would take action if she refused...)


From: silly

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 09:45:32 -0400

(Comments about vibes, and expectations for JB and RPDB. Describes her difficulties with reading posts and probable ADD. Blaming me for not working with my dog. Read more in the archives:


From: diddy

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 08:20:13 -0500

in thread shelly whittled the following words:

> diddy wrote:

>> And this is the crux But I feel Paul is an intelligent man and if he brought a kennel with the dog.and brought him here, I believe he may have the commitment to change. I would have Muttley here until the renovations were finished.

> Oh, I think Paul is intelligent, I just think he's got some personality quirks that make him unsuitable as an owner for a dog like Muttley.

>> What I do fear, is the tendencies of Paul to be so critical of everything might tend to make me liable and fingers be pointed to me, should he fail to follow through causing Muttley to Relapse.

> If I were you, I'd consider it seriously. It appears that no good, generous deed goes unpunished. Even *I* would hate to see what's happened to Janet happen to you. It's grossly unfair.

>> I CAN train the dog.

> I've no doubt of that, but training the dog and ensuring the dog will be safe in Paul's hands are two different things. I get the impression that Paul doesn't want to hurt poor Muttley-wuttley's feelings. While there are dogs who would thrive and be perfectly safe with that sort of owner, I don't think Muttley will ever be one of them.

Exactly.Especially if he's seeing a behaviorist using such gentle methods that he no longer needs a collar to control the dog. (JH?) While I intended to use clicker training to shape the dog, There were certainly times I was going to need physical control of him that could NOT be obtained on a buckle collar. For his safety and mine. I assumed that in training this dog, it was going to require every tool in my toolbox. And even then, I was going to have to reach deep. Especially when it came to proofing.

I was planning on putting a chair outside his kennel, and praising him for self control and quiet. Introducing things that would excite him, and when he showed flashes of self control and quiet, reward those moments. I planned many vigorous excercise sessions that would burn off excesses to allow those to happen. I planned on exercising him in the company of my dogs while on ATV (counting on my dog's training to stay clear of him ..and they will..I believe in my dog's enough ) With Muttley fastened to the ATV by aircraft cable to insure he did not break free and risk injury to my dogs. This way, he could learn to work adjacent to other dogs, and learn they were no threat. The distraction would also be good. As well as the exercise as critical. After exercise, when he's so tired that resistance was unlikely, we would do formal obedience. And line handling.

NILIF would be strictly enforced .. even water. Everything coming from me, water, food, attention, exercise, social moments would be EARNED. With many chances to earn them.

I planned on teaching him tracking because it creates focus, increases attention span and develops long term goals and self control.

It increases bonding, because this is the only opportunity for the dog to be assured that I am listening to, and trusting HIM. It forces me to read the dog, and interpret his body language. A refreshing change for the dog, with me calling every shot, we reverse roles for a bit, and he calls the shots.

Yes, I had a multipronged approach planned for this dog. NOT PP ..but certainly with many positive aspects. I was committing to take 3 months out of my life and focus on Muttley and his rehabilitation. Yes, he was going to be forced to live in the kennel in a barn. No, he was not going to be forgotten, except for feeding and training sessions. This was going to be high powered, goal oriented, intensive structure/supervision. He was only going to be out there, to protect the safety of my dogs.


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2006 01:04:21 -0400

"Sandy in OK" wrote in message

> TaraG wrote:

>> "Janet B" wrote in message

>> > On Thu, 19 Oct 2006 08:20:13 -0500, diddy, clicked their heels and said:

>> >>Exactly. Especially if he's seeing a behaviorist using such gentle methods that he no longer needs a collar to control the dog. (JH?)

>> > The "behaviorist" threw food out and then gave him a hard correction with the prong collar for going for it. I have no idea what that was about.

>> Sounds like a trainer, rather then a true Behaviorist.

>> Odd thing though, if he's going to blame your methods for increasing his dog's stress level to the point of aggression, how is this getting rationalized?

> Don't know, can't see doing it myself but try this on. Since apparently the dog was having problems with becoming overstimulated by being popped with a prong collar (which Paul said he was doing) maybe the "behaviorist" wanted to see exactly what he was dealing with - would the dog redirect? Accept the correction? What? Not training at that point, but evaluation. And while I don't like the idea, certainly a one time correction is no worse than what Muttley had already been through.

I'm just going to copy what I posted on the AOL board, which was an attempt to answer similar questions there. I think there is some sort of hysteria about any sort of physical control method, including prong collars, Haltis, GLs, or choker chains. The fact is that, my dog at least, would pull on the choker chain until he, well, choked and gasped. A prong collar is an improvement because at worst it might produce an irritation or superficial wound, rather than internal damage. The new large prong collar I just bought is very nicely made with smooth rounded prongs that should not scratch the skin, and indeed I was able to walk Muttley up and down the trails in back of my house without excessive pulling. He responded to my command to go "easy" down the hills, and on the way back he did a nice heel, for which I commended him. For a big, tough, physical dog, I think you need a means for applying a negative correction just to get his attention, and then use positive methods when he is actually listening.

Here's my post:

I tried to explain as factually as possible what went on for a period of over an hour. This guy was one of three people recommended to me by someone, probably through one of the rescue sites I contacted, or from my posts in the newsgroup. As usual, a few words can have many different meanings to those who read, and without an immediate clarification, as in a real conversation, things can become exaggerated.

This trainer simply took time to read my dog's initial reaction to him approaching, while I held him on his leash, quietly sitting by my side. He instructed me how I should act, and he seemed to gain Muttley's trust by offering small bits of food. He said that a stressed or fearful dog will usually not accept food, so it may be a sort of barometer of how he is feeling. I am not quoting him, and my memory is not perfect. I'm just trying to describe an hour's worth of a very intensive learning experience.

This was not an official "evaluation", and not a "first lesson". However, I think a little bit of both was accomplished. After the initial introduction and period of socialization (my words), we walked close to my house and I sat in a chair while the trainer held Muttley's leash. I had already fitted the prong collar (which I had repaired). It was not the trainer's first choice. I think he recommended a GL or Halti, but he seemed to have a well balanced view of many possible tools. He also had a squirt bottle, but never used it.

The only time he seemed to need to snap the leash was when he was demonstrating how to elicit consistent desired behavior, which is basically for the dog to pay attention to the handler or owner. For a dog like Muttley, the little snap on the prong collar was barely enough to get his attention; it was in no way painful or cruel. The trainer was simply demonstrating that he could control the dog by associating good things (like food and attention) with good behavior (mostly paying attention rather than acting on impulse), and not so good things (like the mild correction) for doing unwanted things.

Using the food was not in any way (as far as I could see) a test for food aggression. As far as I know, he was tested for that at the rescue, and my friend also did a test by taking his food bowl while he was eating. This was soon after I got him. Some time ago I posted about Muttley being gentle when I hand fed him bits of food, but would "lunge and snap" when taking a rawhide treat. He did not seem truly aggressive, but more excited to start chomping on it. When I brought a chew to one of Janet's classes so she could observe the behavior, of course Muttley refused to take it at all.

Remember what I said the trainer told me about a fearful dog not taking food?

I think that's about all for now. I'm sure somebody will take this over to RPDB and then blame me for being a troll or otherwise try to make themselves look better at my expense. I read another post here about "deflamation[sic] of character". That was probably a typo, but truly some people's internet "characters" need to be "de-flamed". :)

Paul, Muttley, and Photon


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2006 17:26:08 -0400

"Handsome Jack Morrison" wrote in message

> On 22 Oct 2006 11:18:18 -0700, "Sandy in OK" wrote:

>>I see repeatedly popping an already over the top lunging dog as ineffective and contributory.

> If my memory serves me right, when Muttley went for the other dog, he was in the "sit" position. There was no collar pop, no nothing.

> You have a fear of inanimate objects, and you should readily admit it.

> If you knew much about the proper use of a prong collar, you wouldn't be so quick to blame its use on Muttley's misfortune.


> Do you think dogs are so fragile that a simple collar pop, which is much more about sound than anything else, will have negative results?

> What negative results would that be? And why don't I, and the thousands of other traditional trainers out there, ever see them?

I just noticed one possible negative result. When walking Muttley today, I found that I gave him a little tug almost immediately after telling him to "come", and he may have already been in the process of doing just that, which would make it a negative correction for a positive response. I now realize that timing is all important.


> The prong collar is an inanimate object. It's not responsible for anything! Anymore than a clicker is responsible for anything.

> It's just a tool. And when one doesn't practice sufficiently with a tool, one isn't very good with one. That's a fact.

And one needs to know that the practice (especially when done as unsupervised homework) is being done correctly. Otherwise, additional practice compounds the problem. Same with any tool.

> You want to blame the prong collar (because you have a fear of inanimate objects), when the only thing to blame here is Paul's inattention, negligence, and lack of skill and commitment.

>>I don't know that the method was bad, but I think it's pretty obvious that Paul's corrections of the dog lacked clarity.

> No, you can't even say that, because you weren't there.

> I do know this, and that is that the dog had expressed his aggressive tendencies long before Paul (according to Paul) had ever heard of a prong collar.

Fact: There was only one previous expression of aggressive tendancies, when he nipped my friend in the butt after he had scared him by banging on *his* house.

>>Paul didn't understand what he was doing. Neither did Muttley. What he was doing wasn't being effective.

> You have no way of knowing that, either. He may have been well on his way to becoming effective, when "shit" happened.

> He'd only had a few lessons, and a few lessons do not a maestro make.

Exactly. I was probably making some of the "timing of correction" mistakes as I have admitted above. Muttley and I had also lagged behind the pace of the class, and there needed to be a foundation of success before pushing on to more advanced levels. I was obviously having problems if I needed to give Muttley constant corrections when trying to heel in a group of other people and dogs. My problems with Muttley had been and continued to be while we are moving, especially when he is overstimulated.

[snip snipes]

Don't blame me for adding to this discussion. If you bring up my name, or Muttley's, then I feel the need to provide my input. Remember, neither of you have met me or Muttley. You can only get the facts from those who actually have seen the incidents or those who have lived with or otherwise interacted with the dog. I am being truthful, and my only interests are protecting my own reputation and fighting for my dog's life.


"Training in Ohio?"

From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Subject: Re: time for everyone to cough up $$$ for Paul and Muttley

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 17:23:49 -0400

"diddy" wrote in message news:Xns985EAFBB2F7D5danny@

> in thread Janet B whittled the following words:

>> Paul is apparently willing to send him to Diddy, so all the AOLers (Sandy or Lauralyn or Robyn, please feel free to crosspost to CBB) can now send donations to get that done. Here's what Diddy asked for:

>> " I will agree to take him. But I need a kennel for him, as I have other dogs. I can not endanger my other dogs. I need a plane ticket for him. He needs a thorough vet examination. and then he needs monthly support (probably minimal after that, for an estimated 3 months or so.)

>> Not one person has offered to help save muttley. But if a group of people offer small donations enough might be collected to save Muttley. As I said, my husband is currently laid off. I can't afford to take on another dog at this time. If he's sponsored, that's a different story entirely. All I'm asking right now is to make a pledge, to see if we can raise enough money to make this happen."

>> So - do gooders? Do some good!

> First ... information I must have .. is Muttley a young dog? I'm assuming he is. (2 or younger) I'm also assuming he is neutered..

> [Do Gooders] ---Kennel, plane ticket to Ohio (Columbus/Indianapolis/Dayton/Cincinnati airports. whichever is cheaper) plus monthly expenses. Send moneys to Marcel Beaudoin (he will give those seriously willing to donate his information. I will supply all bills to him, and he will collect additional funds as needed. Max commitment to you --3months. After three months, I assume all expenses, have Muttley a job, or we mutually discuss his future. Based on Janet's assesment, I think I can help this dog.

> MY plan : Exercise the crap out of him.(ATV + aircraft cable) By the time I get around to training him, there will be nothing in the tank to have stress levels with. THEN we train.

> He will live a strict NILIF bootcamp lifestyle. He works. .. He eats. He wants attention, He earns it. He will be offered many chances to earn daily.

Wow, Ohio. That's even better. I have friends in Yellow Springs (near Dayton and Springfield) that I could visit. So, I can just drive there. Been there, done that. Maybe I'll take two days so it will be less stressful. I get 40 MPG, so no problem there. Let me know the cost for a proper kennel. Thanks!



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 18:56:55 -0400

"Melinda Shore" wrote in message news:eh0uos$4u0$

> In article <W1TYg.1271$AR6.431@trndny02>, TaraG wrote:

>>Until, that is, an offer is on the table. Then there are plenty of posts about how that offer *should* be (or *should* have been) made.

> Sounds like a strict NILIF program to me, not one of these pseudo-NILIF, "no scritches until you sit" stuff. Muttley's a dog with some problems. People serious about training dogs and who expect to run into dogs with behavior problems should recognize NILIF when they see it and understand its application, so here you go:


I found this web site quite informative and interesting. There was a link to a particularly good (and long) article about dog aggression at:

Although the article did not specifically address apparently unprovoked and unwarned aggression as Muttley exhibited, she indicated that improper socialization at a young age could cause problems. I would not doubt that this is a major contibutor to Muttley's behavior, and hopefully it can be corrected by desensitization and a more gradual and safe introduction to "other dogs who are nice" rather than "street mutts who are competitors".



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 20:02:06 -0400

"diddy" wrote in message news:Xns985EBC214BBBDdanny@

> in thread "Skyjumpr" whittled the following words:

>> On Oct 16, 5:47 pm, diddy wrote:

>>> in threadnews:I4TYg.5005$XX2.231@dukeread04:"Suja" whittled the following words:

>>> > "Skyjumpr" wrote in message:

>>> >> I don't like the idea of him living in a kennel, are you sure this is the best for him?

>>> > What do you suppose the alternative would be?

>>> > SujaI think they want me to feed my dogs to Muttley for breakfast.

>> Has Muttley ever been evaulated by a behaviorist? He might need more then vigor exercise, NILIF and isolation from other dogs, he might need PTS.

> My plan is to eventually work him in with my dogs, if possible. Once he understands the rules. I'm not ruling out that he MAY have to be PTS. I'm basing my offer on Janet's assessment that he CAN be trained and rehabbed, with proper structure, exercise and handling.

> My guess is he's a big dog who has never been told NO, and introduced to rules.

> Not having ever seen this dog, I can only Guess. He's been living with a person who has NEVER had a dog before. One who admits he has not adequately exercised this dog, nor worked with him properly simply because he doesn't know what this dog really needs. He has not killed Paul, so I'm assuming this is NOT a killer dog. He is a dog that I need to take precautions around my dogs. My dogs are not in the least dog aggressive, nor would they make gestures that would invoke an attack. That said, I am not taking their safety lightly.

> Considering his breeding there is the potential that dog aggression may be hard wired. There are lots of dogs that are hard wired dog aggressive, but that is not cause for them to die.

> He has shown some bad judgement in grabbing a workman in the seat of the pants. I've been bitten by dogs in the seat of my pants. After we came to an understanding, the dog never did it again the rest of his 18 years of life. A BAD dog, does not take a cowardly approach. If he were a dog that tried to take out the throat, I wouldn't consider this offer. I've rehabbed dogs that were much worse than Muttley's case is described.

> As I've been reading,. most of the readers have read this thread with hysteria.

> Janet described a trainable dog that needs intervention.

> Realistically, in his current situation, she didn't see how those changes could happen, thus suggested euthanasia. That was a realistic assessment. We all know this.

> She offered free classes. But now, Muttley CAN'T go back to that class. So what now?

> I have to base my offer believing Janet's assessment.


I feel confident that Muttley will prove to be a good dog and well worth saving. I'm sure I could easily handle a dog with less dominant tendancies, as has been the case with other dogs I have had and known. This is just the first dog I have actually had full responsibility for, as an adult, and also one of the largest and most powerful that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He definitely needs more exercise. I take him on two or three walks daily of about 1 km, just on my own property, and he is definitely calmer after them. Even better were the two or three longer hikes, after which he was much easier to handle.

After reading more about training and behavior, especially some of the excellent links on"Nothing%20In%20Life%20Is%20For%20Free", I can see many places where I have failed, but also a few where I think I did fairly well. I can see that I have not been consistent enough about requiring him to obey my commands to earn each bit of positive reinforcement. My recent talk with a local behaviorist clued me in to a few things, and reading more was a great learning experience. With that knowledge, I probably could train Muttley to be reasonably obedient, and "polite", but it would take more time and effort than I am prepared to invest. Also, I think his prey drive concerning cats may be too deeply ingrained to assure Photon's safety with him.

I am very happy that you have offered this "last chance" for Muttley. He gets a lot of love and attention with me, and I feel very safe with him, both from the standpoint of him not attacking me, as well as a fair certainty that he would be protective if another person or critter would attack me. Yet I have also seen him accept and be relaxed around other people I have introduced him to, and he has socialized normally (as far as I can tell) with other dogs, although I think he needs to be recognized as alpha.

There has been a lot of hysteria, and almost demonization, in regard to Muttley, and I fully understand your reluctance to put your dogs in any danger. I would hope he will be able to socialize with them and work out their pack order, but it may take some work to get him to properly display warning before acting. When I first got him, he did not even bark for several days, and my friend experienced the same thing when he first took him into his home for a week. Unless Muttley has somehow actually become worse, he seems to be fairly safe with people, and even children, when they do not create conditions of extreme stress. There is still a chance that someone locally may be interested in adopting him and committing to his training, but if that does not work, I would be pleased to make arrangements to bring Muttley to you.



"RIP Photon, Nov 1999 - October 23, 2006"


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 21:20:21 -0400

It is with a great deal of sadness that I inform you of the untimely death of my good feline pal, Photon. As I was leaving for work this morning, I called and whistled for her. Usually she would come running out of the bushes to have me pick her up and hold her, and give her food outside on the porch while Muttley is safe inside. Sometimes she has not come, but then is waiting for me when I come back home. I had a more than usual feeling of dread this time, and as I drove down the road, I saw her body at the edge of the rock wall.

I pulled in to the lower part of my property, parked, and walked up the road to where she was. She probably had not been dead very long, as her fur was still soft and clean, but it looked like she may have been hit in the hind quarters, and her head was misshapen, so her skull may have been crushed. Her eyes were deep set and blank, and her tongue was hanging out.

I picked her up, and took her onto the front steps. I let Muttley sniff her, and he licked her a few times, and then picked her up in his mouth. I put him back in the house, called some friends, and then I wrapped her in an old shirt, and headed up the hill with a shovel and cutter mattox. Under a big White Pine tree, where she sometimes walked with me, I dug a hole, and gently lay her body in it. I put two cement blocks over the excavation, and walked back down the hill with Muttley.

The same friend who rescued Muttley also found two tiny kittens abandoned in the downtown projects, in January of 2000. They were probably six-eight weeks old, so we figure they were born in mid-November 1999. I had wanted a cat to help control mice in my house, as well as for a loving pet. I wound up with two, a brother and sister, who I named Meson and Photon. They were neutered in the spring, and they grew up together. Meson was actually more affectionate, and Photon was rather aloof. As Meson got bigger, he began to bully Photon away from her food. They both were indoor/outdoor cats, and at about the age of 1-1/2 I came home and let Photon out, while Meson was already out. I heard a commotion on the porch, and Photon was fighting with her brother and chased him away. He tried to come back about six months later, but met the same fate.

Photon was a really special cat. She was amazingly agile, and a good mouser, as she proved by occasionally bringing a live one into bed with me. She would sometimes walk along with me on the trails on my land, scurrying up into the branches of trees as we went. Of course, after I got Muttley, she spent more time outside, or else hid under the crawlspace. Sometimes I would tie Muttley outside, and spend a little more time with her. When my friend took Muttley for a few days in mid September, I got a chance to let her share my bed with me. She liked to lay on top the covers, sometimes with her back pressed against mine. In recent weeks, Photon seemed more and more anxious to come inside. Sometimes it seemed that she and Muttley might be able to get along, but I could only risk allowing them to look at each other through the screen door.

Last night, I thought I heard her crying to come in, but it was late, I was tired, and I did not want to deal with making sure Muttley was out of the way and safe. The night was not too cold, and I was going to take care of her in the morning. I think she had crossed the road to get a drink of fresh water from a spring-fed little stream, but the traffic on Warren Road is really bad, and many people speed and drive carelessly. I think she was killed instantly. I certainly hope she did not suffer too much. I know some people may blame me for allowing her to be outside, but she did have seven years of freedom. I think that is partly what made her so special. I will miss her forever.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2006 23:03:59 -0400

"Judith Althouse" wrote in message

> Paul,

> I am sorry you were criticized for having a cat outside. I have a 15 year old cat. She is outside as we speak looking at me thru the sliding glass window. We went from AC yesterday to heater today...She would only come in if the AC was off. I love her, her medical care is up to date. She is spayed, well fed and loved. To those that think a cat must be kept inside right on....My cat likes to be outside and that is ok with me....I understand the risks of having an outside cat. Speaking of risks my Vet told me moving back to Fl would take a few years off my animals lives....My dogs are 13 and 14.

> If it hadn't been for you rescuing her and her littermate she may have had no life at all....

> I am also glad you had Muttley to snuggle up to....Take care....Judy

> Be Free.....Judy

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and a very civil discussion about free roaming cats. I am fairly lucky to have 2.5 acres of mostly wooded land where Photon could roam quite far without encroaching on neighbors. Unfortunately, my house is only about 50 feet from very busy Warren Road, and it is especially bad because of the lack of shoulders and the aggressive and often drunk drivers who speed up as they turn the nearby sharp curve, and often hit the wall, utility poles, and guard rails, or wind up in a ditch. I knew Photon was crossing the road, and I tried to make her realize it was unsafe, but it is hard to get a cat to listen. Sometimes I heard a car horn, saw a car slow down, and then saw Photon appear from near the road. I'm sure she used up her nine lives, perhaps many times over.

I only mentioned the rather callous remark from one or two AOL posters because it was so insensitive. Others on the board promptly called her on it, and otherwise the responses were very kind. I have not checked again today.

I'm sorry I included the graphic description. I should have said only that it appeared she had not suffered. At least I found her and was able to give her a proper burial. I hope Meson found another home, but not knowing his fate is difficult. I had another cat from 1978 to 1984 or so, and I don't know what happened to her either. I had moved from the house for a while and could only check on her once in a while because I had severe back problems.

I am happy that I still have Muttley, and I hope to be able to make sure he is safe with me, or find someone who is willing to take on a project. Thanks for your help and advice.



"Aftermath - Struggle for Credibility"

From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Subject: Dog Obedience classes in Baltimore County schools

Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 01:18:14 -0400

What is your opinion of or experience with obedience classes as given at local county schools? I was looking into this before I took the classes at the SPCA. The cost is $50 for 9 weeks, and is conducted indoors. The link for the sign up sheet is: Note that it has specific questions about whether the dog has bitten a person or dog, and asks for an explanation.



From: "Sionnach"

Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 10:43:16 -0400

"Paul E. Schoen" <> wrote in message news:4540447c$0$13810$

> What is your opinion of or experience with obedience classes as given at local county schools?

Unless someone has taken that *particular* class, their opinion and experience really isn't going to be relevant as to whether it's an appropriate class for Muttley. Classes of that sort vary widely and wildly, depending on the facility and the instructor.

In any case, at this point, I think it's been pretty well established that group classes aren't an appropriate setting for him.

> Note that it has specific questions about whether the dog has bitten a person or dog, and asks for an explanation.

If this wasn't a text-based forum, I'd post an animated cartoon of someone beating a dead horse. :-P

Instead of focusing on what a signup sheet asks YOU (and in the process, apparently trying to re-open your agenda/vendetta), and soliciting opinions from people who have no way of knowing anything about that particular class and instuctor, IMO your time would be far better spent in turning off your computer and taking some constructive action to investigate the class.

That would mean CALLING the instructor, HONESTLY describing the issues you have with Muttley, including being honest about the fact that you lost control of him in a similar class and he injured another dog, and asking her if you think her beginner class is an appropriate setting for him. It would also mean getting in your car, driving to the facility, and actually OBSERVING the class a couple of times, so that you would have first-hand information about the set-up, the methods, and so forth.


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2006 01:26:14 -0400

"Cate" wrote in message news:IN90h.10653$ke4.9945@trndny02...

> "Paul E. Schoen" wrote in news:4540447c$0$13810$

>> Note that it has specific questions about whether the dog has bitten a person or dog, and asks for an explanation.

> Paul, may I ask you a question? I know you don't know me from Adam, but I'm a former regular who's been reading the ng again for a couple weeks.

> I happen to live in Baltimore. I also may one day find myself in need of beginner obedience classes again. There's a chance, albeit a slim one (but far greater than that of most posters here), that you and I, and our dogs, could be fellow classmates.

> My question is this: At what point do you think it would be fair for me to find out about Muttley's history of separate incidents of biting a person and attacking another dog in class after you'd lost control of him?

> (a) before I'm standing next to you

> (b) right when you and I first meet, or

> (c) sometime after that

> There are no disclosure forms involved in this scenario.

> Cate

I would hope that you, and the instructor, would know about any incidents of dog or human aggression, before any chance of interaction. When I entered the class, there was only the one time where Muttley nipped my friend, and neither I, nor anyone else I mentioned it to, seemed to think it was anything more than an isolated incident that had specific reasons for it happening, and no reason to expect a recurrance under normal circumstances. The other human bite in the class was probably accidental, but the two dog aggression incidents would need to be disclosed to anyone who had a dog in Muttley's presence. I would not try to hide that, or the human bites. In fact, I would want to specifically address those issues to see if Muttley could reduce his fear of people and his aggression toward other dogs. I would also want to concentrate on having him pay attention to me, and become comfortable around other people and dogs, before advancing to any group activity.




From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sat, 28 Oct 2006 15:17:38 -0400

"Cate" wrote in message news:szs0h.28$gf5.11@trndny01...

> "Paul E. Schoen" wrote in news:45419809$0$13825$

>> I would hope that you, and the instructor, would know about any incidents of dog or human aggression, before any chance of interaction.

> This response doesn't surprise me. As a potential classmate and innocent bystander, I consider the onus to be on only you to let me know that your dog has a dog aggression problem.

> Cate

Once again my poor choice of words has caused a misunderstanding, and it always seems to with the most negative interpretation. Of course, knowing what I do now about Muttley's behavior, I would inform the instructor first about that, and I would also let anyone know immediately if they were going to be near us in a class situation. I don't think a group class would be appropriate for Muttley at this time, or possibly ever.

I hope this clarifies things, but those of you who have chosen to judge me in the worst possible manner will probably find more fault. Do as you wish.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Subject: Re: Oh my goodness

Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2006 03:03:23 -0500

"Marcel Beaudoin" wrote in message news:Xns9886A6C24F0Bmbeausympaticoca@

> "Sandy in OK" wrote in

>> Marcel Beaudoin wrote: Thus Janet, in her opinion and based on her first-hand experience with the event, is justified in saying that Muttley would have killed the puppy.

>> You are certainly entitled to your opinion that she accessed the dog's intention correctly.

> Agreed. As you are to yours (implied by my reading) that she read Muttley's intention wrong.

> However, seeing as Janet is the only one here with first hand knowledge of the encounter, saying that she read the situation wrong is a fairly strong indication of your opinions of her abilities as a trainer.

To be perfectly accurate, it was I who originally made the observation that Muttley looked like he would have killed the young dog. When I pulled him off, it looked like he was going for his throat. Janet just told me that his behavior was not ordinary aggression. She agreed with my assessment at that time, although she very well may have come to that without my input.

I was introduced to a good website on dog body language as a result of my post on the AOL board: I learned a lot from that and other articles and links on that site. I was probably too hasty in my off the cuff observation of Briar from that single photo, although he does have the C-shaped body posture and lack of eye contact for avoiding interaction. My feeling that Muttley was fearful was mostly that he stopped wagging his tail and he seemed to back off when approached, but then he would wag his tail again. He just seemed uncertain, which is probably to be expected with the little socialization he has had.



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 16:59:48 -0500

"shelly" wrote in message

> Sandy in OK wrote:

>> Yeah, but if he studied up on it a bit, he might have a better idea of what he's seeing. I'm assuming you didn't continue on to the diagram page which has lots of information and lots of context?

> Maybe we are not in agreement on the meaning of the word "context"? Because I do not see "lots" of it on the Answers page. I see none, in fact.

>> Agreed that a still photo doesn't show everything, but for a lot of people who are just starting to observe dogs, they're going to miss a bunch of stuff in "real time"

> But they'll get context, which I think is invaluable.

>> I'm betting if Paul were to read Brenda Aloff's book (or even look at the diagrams on that website, he'd be able to describe what he thought he was seeing.

> You do? I would assume Paul *has* looked at those diagrams, and he's still making up stupid shit.

I made the initial observation before seeing the website. At least I am trying to understand dog body language, and using that to help in my dealings with Muttley. Remember also, as an item of context, I did not take on Project Muttley with full knowledge of what I was getting into. I made a quick decision to save his life, and I have sacrificed much in my personal life to allow him to continue to live.

>> There really wasn't much to see in Briar's picture though. His face looked relaxed. Tail up but nothing else looked on the alert about him, and of course some dogs really don't like having their pictures taken. I saw nothing worth noting in that photo. But the ones on the website were interesting.

> If you insist. The problem I see is that there could be about a million reasons for the postures of the dogs in those photos. Yes, body language is important, but I don't think you can necessarily tell from a photo--without any context!--what is going on.

Yes, context is important. After more info was supplied about that picture, I can see where I was wrong. I received a reply from the woman who has that website, and she says the high tail does suggest high alert and moderate arousal - although the eyes and mouth are relaxed. I looked at the other two photos of Briar and Roxy, and I think I saw some worry in Roxy's posture. Just my opinion, that's all.

I will probably order the video about dog language, and there is also a power point presentation "What is My Dog Saying?". The actual class is in Spokane, however. I am certainly interested in learning, but I am not motivated by the negativity and cattiness directed toward me here. Even this thread seems to have started on a very dramatic reaction to a very simple question about how I might interpret my dog's behavior.

Paul and Muttley


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Subject: Re: Briar

Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 02:56:37 -0500


I am also sorry things did not work out for you with Briar. You tried very hard and followed the advice that people gave you here. I do hope the rescue will be able to take him back and find a good home for him, and the work you did should help with that.

I'm sure you were very fond of him, but you are right to protect the dog you have, before anything worse happens. That was my dilemma with Photon and Muttley. Unfortunately I never had the option of returning Muttley to the rescue, and after his incidents here and in class he became virtually unadoptable.

The behaviorist I am considering feels that Muttley has a few issues that should be easily corrected. However, even with those corrections, I am the first to admit that I probably cannot give him the environment he needs. I have bonded with him very much in the last month or so, which will make it difficult to give him to someone else, but nearly impossible for me to consider euthanasia. I may be a "bad" dog owner, but I can't just have my canine friend put to death because a lot of people here, who have never met him, might say it is what should be done.

Again, I hope Briar finds a good home, and I wish you the best of luck with your next dog. I hold no grudges against any of you who have criticized me, sometimes severely, for my mistakes, irresponsibility, or whatever you want to call it. As it has been said elsewhere, most people here care more about dogs than people. I took pity on Muttley and have devoted a good part of my life to his welfare, and I'm still trying to give him the best life possible, even to my own detriment.

Flame if you feel you must. Or just "let it be".



From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Subject: A good day for Muttley

Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 21:56:28 -0500

Muttley had not had a bath since my friend Doyle picked him up and put him in a tub in September, so he was getting rather grubby. He was also scratching and biting his fur quite a bit, so I made an appointment for him to go to the vet's today. When I called, the girl said she was looking forward to meeting him, as she had enjoyed reading his adoption plea. I took him there about 9:30, and he behaved quite well (per Muttley standards), and I left him there.

On the way home, I stopped by Animal Control and bought a license for him, a bargain at $5.00. Once home, I worked around the house and split some locust logs for the woodstove. I got a call from the vet about 2:00, and they said he would be ready by about 3:30.

I got there a little before 4:00, and they brought him out, with nicely trimmed claws, clean, soft fur, and a shaved spot on his cheek where he had an infection. They had to sedate him to shave it, but he never acted aggressively, and he had interacted well with other dogs and the staff. They even suggested I bring him in and sit with him in the waiting room for some controlled socialization.

$160 poorer, but in possession of a sweet-smelling, happy, and healthier dog, I stopped by Animal Control again and Muttley met a friend who works there. Then I went to another friend's house, actually a historic estate, and Muttley met a bow hunter who was well camouflaged and looking for deer. I'm sure Muttley's presence didn't help his efforts, but at least it was another successful socializing experience. Then Muttley met the owner of the house and his uncle, both of whom quickly made friends with him. Muttley even met one of their cats, and had a staring contest.

The owner of the estate had expressed some interest in Muttley after his dog died a few months ago, but this was the first time we were able to arrange a meeting. He likes Muttley and says he would like to try keeping him, and we planned to meet again next week. He will probably keep him mostly outdoors, but plans to set up a run for him, and also a nice doghouse, with some access to heat.

This is not yet a done deal, and of course I will keep it open-ended if things do not work out. I think both of these guys have had a lot of experience training animals, and they have enough time to spend on a project dog like this. I have been enjoying Muttley quite a bit, although frankly I have not been getting the best quality of sleep with him curled up next to me, but it is also a wonderful thing to have a soft, furry animal to share my night. I am missing him already before he is gone, but it may be best for both of us. I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to keep him again from time to time.

So, hopefully the saga of Muttley will soon have a happy ending, or actually the start of a happy new beginning. This may be the best Christmas present I get this year.

Happy Holidays to you all,

Paul and Muttley


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Subject: Dog's reaction to sneeze

Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 02:31:48 -0500

For some time now Muttley has been reacting in a consistent and interesting manner if I sneeze. He will get up and approach me as if he is concerned, and will put his paws on the arm of the chair and look at me, and almost climb into my lap. I tell him "Off", and then he settles down again. It's not a problem, just an observation. Any idea what he's trying to communicate?



(for those who don't know Muttley and me)


From: "Paul E. Schoen"

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 02:12:34 -0500

"Judith Althouse" wrote in message

> Paul,

> I do not have a definite answer about why Muttley comes a running when you sneeze. I think it is a good thing that he notices what is going on with you and comes to check it out.

> One of the newer additions to the family is like that. Jubal Early comes if I cough, sneeze, flip open a book, etc. He is a lot like me.....just plain old nosey. He always shows up if tears are rolling down my face. I like to think it is because he worries but he may just like to lick those salty tears and as others have said....They all seem to like those paper towels with the smell or taste of food on them.

> I am glad you and Muttley are still hanging out.

> Be Free.....Judy

I think Muttley does care about me. Once when walking him I slipped and landed on my butt. He had been pulling on the leash a little bit, but he turned around and came over to me as if to make sure I was OK. I really like the goofy brat he is.

Tomorrow I am taking him to his (tentative) new home. I am hoping it will be for the best, but it will be on a trial basis. The prospective new owners live less than four miles away, on a large estate adjoining the Loch Raven watershed, so he will have plenty of room to run when and if they can train him for reliable recall. I got a 50 foot aerial cable run they will set up for him until he adjusts to them. The main concern is that they have about six cats.

I will miss Muttley snoring on his bed and sleeping at (or on) my feet, and sometimes snuggling next to me with his head on the pillow. After hearing so many horror stories about other dogs and their misadventures, I feel fortunate that Muttley is so reliable that I can leave him for 12 hours in a house full of temptations and return only to him wagging his tail anxious to go on his walk.

However, I will not miss the fear of what could happen. At the risk of another "Oh My Goodness" I will reveal that yesterday morning I had Muttley tied outside. When he had stopped barking for a while I looked and saw that his tether had come undone from where it had been fastened, and he was nowhere to be seen. I took a hike up the hill, whistled for him, and he came bounding out of the woods to me with a big grin on his face. Then he went back and got a deer leg that had been there for a long time, and I took him back and reconnected the cable. He did not want to give up the precious hairy bone, so I let him finish eating it until all that was left were some clean white fragments. The vet said it probably would not hurt him, and he seems OK. But it does worry me that he could get loose again and cause some major problem, or be hit by a car on the road. So it's probably a good thing for him and me to have another owner to be responsible.

Thanks for being one of the few who have had kind words for me and Muttley.

Have a wonderful new year, everyone!

Paul and Muttley


This is the end of the posts for 2006. I took Muttley to the Eagles Nest estate, but he was kept in a dark garage, or tethered outside. It was cold, and my friend saw him shivering, and came back later with a coat for him to wear. I spent New Years Eve without him, and it was then that I realized he was really "My Dog", so the next day I went out there to get him. He was delighted to see me, and his temporary foster caretaker said that he had been quite a handful, and had come very close to catching and hurting one of his cats. So, he hopped into my car, and I took him home to stay.

But that's NOT the end of the story...