Keeping up with the Jones syndrome, you have one so I want one, not taking into consideration the circumstances before and after taking the dog on, moving house, getting a job, long hours away from the home, too tired to be bothered about the dog.
The story of a Black and Tan 6-
month- old Rough Collie called Cuhelien
Found living in coalbunker with 3 other puppies and 3 older Rough Collies. They were provided with one bowl of food and one bowl of water a day between them.
Neighboughs reported the owners to the authorities. Collie Rescue (C.R.) was brought in to observe the owners for a week, to establish that the allegations were correct. C.R. watched for a week, the owners left the house at 07:00hrs returning sometime between 19:00 and 20:00hrs, none of the dogs were observed being walked. On the Friday as soon as the owners left the house C.R. moved in with the police to confiscate the dogs, a notice was placed on the front door informing the owners of the action. What happened with the owners after that I do not know?
C.R. telephoned me in the morning to see if I would take one of the youngsters, I said I would. I telephoned my sister and told her what was happening and she expressed an interest in getting a young dog and without really thinking about her position as a mother with a toddler and all the things that go with being a family unit she said yes without reservation, and I stupidly went along with it. I ended up not having one as mine was given to a lady that had just had her old one put to sleep, I had 2 anyway so I thought no more about it. My sister got hers and that was that. He was a lovely dog, good natured and interested in my 2 male dogs, eager to play and walk with them.
He was taken out in the car and was always sick, they took him down to the river so they could go fishing, he on the other hand usually got rather bored and went to off see what all the other fishermen were doing, basically he was left to amuse himself, which he did.
Whenever I met up with my sister to take the dogs for a walk he would always run off and we would spend ages asking as many people as possible if they had seen a black and tan rough collie, we always found him, not doing anything really naughty he was just entertaining himself no matter what the distance.
The more time he spent going out with my boys (the collies) the better he was about running off, he came to recall because that’s what the other dogs did. His general life was dull and unfulfilled, unless he was out with me he never got walked and his only companion was my young niece of 4 years of age, whom he claimed and protected, this protection became aggression with other children, he was fine with adults but children made him quite savage so he had to be locked away if children came to my sisters house.
I had to move to Scotland for an indefinite period of time, and as my house in Nottingham would have been unoccupied for long periods of time it was decided that my sister and her daughter, along with the cats and the collie should move in there when my sister and partner split up and she lost her home.
Cuhelien showed his food aggression problems
My sister came to Scotland with the entire family, child, dog, cats the lot for 2 weeks during the Christmas period and it was here that Cuhelien showed his food aggression problems, initially I put the dogs food on the kitchen floor just as I always did with my dogs and he went mad, he not only wanted his food but he wanted theirs as well, he even growled at me when I attempted to pick up the bowl, I had to remove him from the room with his food so we could have calm. The next day I called the dogs told them all to sit and wait whilst their food was prepared, they each had a space on the floor to call their own and their respective bowls were placed in it, Cuhelien was like a sniper looking this way and that to see if anyone was coming to take his, he ate his quickly just in case but was not permitted to approach the other dogs. When each dog had finished the bowls were picked up from the floor.
It took Cuhelien just two days to work out that he was getting the same as everyone else, he always finished first and waited in hopeful anticipation that someone would leave something for him, each time the bowls were picked up off the floor. On the second day of the evening feed Cuhelien observed Sancho the oldest collie sharing his tea with one of the Siamese cats munching quietly together, he had finished but was sitting and tilting his head from side to side as if he was puzzled. I sat quietly with a cup of tea observing, smiling at him and his new puzzlement. He seemed to grasp the fact right there and then that you do not have to be aggressive when sharing your food in the same room with other dogs, it was OK, he was getting 2 meals a day and the other dogs were not trying to take it from him they were even allowing the cats to share their meals with them.
He was walked 4 –5 times a day with the other collies
My sister did not always come on the long walks, and it was one of these walks about a week into her holiday that just the 3 collies and I went out alone, normally Cuhelien was on a lead, but as this vast field had no sheep in it I decided to see how he behaved after a week of being out with my two dogs. We walked to the top of a raised mound and I told the dogs to sit and wait, my 2 sat and looked at me Cuhelien was not sure what to do, so he copied the others and sat down. I walked down the mound to some distance away, turned and to my great surprise all 3 were sitting there, my 2 waiting for the next command Cuhelien anxious not sure whether he should come or go, he kept looking first to Sancho and then to Oisin and back again, when he looked at me I called them and the 3 of them came hurtling down the hill, barking and excited. It was then that I realised my 2 collies were going to help in the training of this anxious young dog.
By the end of the 2 weeks Cuhelien was walking through sheep fields off lead, playing games, walking for miles coming back to recall, sitting when told to do so, to wait when I commanded but more importantly he was sharing his last meal with one of the Siamese cats.
He went back to Nottingham to his life of drudge and boredom
He was never food aggressive again, but he continued to be aggressive towards other children except Amy. Whenever I went back to Nottingham for a short stay all 3 dogs met up they were always pleased to see each other, they fed together and they were walked by me 2 – 3 times a day, Cuhelien was just one of the pack.
My sister eventually got employment in Nottingham, which meant Amy was at school leaving Cuhelien all alone for hours in the garden, even when my sister came home in the evening she could not be bothered to take the dog out for a change of scenery, his life was living in the garden until night time when he was allowed in to sleep, but when he started defecating in the house she banned him all together to the garden and made him a make shift kennel in a cardboard box in the garage. And that became his life until after 2½ years I returned permanently to Nottingham. My sister and daughter, cats and dog remained for at least another 9 months.
As soon as I came back the cardboard box went in the bin, he had a bed in doors with the other dogs, he was fed with the other dogs, groomed at the groomers with the other dogs, everything I did with my dogs included Cuhelien. So when my sister informed me that she would be moving out because she was going to buy her own house I suggested that the dog would be better off with me and the boys, what with her work commitments, daughter and a garden that could not accommodate a dog.
I promised I would keep him for the rest of his life and always look after him
Amy wailed and cried but my sister could see the sense of it, and if truth be known she really did not have time for a dog, she liked the idea of having one around but she just did not want to have to do things for it. She is not a walker like me, she is a harsh disciplinarian when it comes to dogs a subject we clashed on, on one occasion, and as much as I love my sister I cannot for the life of me see why she would want a dog around, she believes all dogs belong in kennels, they should do as they are told, she does not like walking and exercising the dogs, a big garden is all that is required. Points on which we shall never agree!
So Cuhelien became my dog, part of the pack. My only reservation with him was his dislike of children. When another sister, husband and small children came to stay at my house for a week during the summer I was trying to think of something, anything that would allow the dog and the children to mix, a concern I related to my Mother. “Don’t show tension about this situation to the dog it might upset him, watch what he is doing and intervene if you have to, don’t allow the children to make a nuisance of themselves around him he is not used to children and may not be grateful for the negative attention”.
The children were playing with some sand at the bottom of the garden whilst I hovered around waiting to tell him off, Sancho and Oisin decided that these 2 small things looked like fun so they went down to help them dig holes, Cuhelien sat at the other end of the garden watching. I did feel tense so I thought I would go and introduce a game of ball, I got the boys throwing the ball for the older dogs and they were quite excited at the prospect of some new playmates, Cuhelien came down the garden still not sure what to do, everyone was playing nicely, so when the ball landed at his paws he simply could not resist, he picked it up ran to the oldest child with it and dropped it at his feet, he showed no aggression and the child no fear, so Peter picked up the ball and threw it again, and again, and again. When the boys, (dogs and children) were called in the small boys were walking alongside the dogs not a care in the world.
I always made sure that when children came over to say hello to the dogs I always made them do it politely and quietly, he would become a little on edge if children screamed and squealed with delight, not that he did anything but the way he looked at such children, tense and staring reminded me to not assume anything about dogs and their behaviour.
I should never have allowed my sister to have the dog in the first place, but had I not have done I would never of had the privilege of owning such a fantastic, well behaved dog, his memory will live with me for ever.
In conclusion I believe there are some dogs that have the pre-
Cuhelien was one of these, he was not really aggressive with food, but if you have to fight for it, it is apt to make one a bit possessive of it especially when there is not enough to go around, and humans are exactly the same when there has been little or no food to put on the table, but when there is more than enough for everyone then things just change. But there was no one to tell him no that is not acceptable, but once he understood the boundaries he was more than willing to give it up, same as running off, in fact just about everything he did he just gave it up because it was never in his genetic makeup to be aggressive or dominant all he needed was a calm handler who gave him the time and training to become a most trustworthy, compliant, obedient dog.
Give dogs rules, boundaries and limitations then they will become good dogs, give them none of these then we will see the instinctual behaviour come to the fore and that is what the family pet cannot be.
Vets tell me that there are some dogs that are just mentally unstable and dangerous, be it genetics or severe trauma. Think of all things owners hate about their dogs then you are probably looking at the alpha wolf in the family pack, and guess who gave them that high position, the handler. For every action be it verbal, physical or abusive a human shows a dog there is an action the dog is going to give in return, anything from a lick, to excitement, to fear, to a bite.
This article is taken from work submitted by Jacqui, a student studying on the CIDBT Degree programme.