I’ve been haunted for some years in the past by an expertise with a shelter canine. The one that does the evaluations of potential adoption candidates at my native shelter requested me if I might spend a while with the backlog of canine ready for evaluation; she requested me to hang around with them and make some notes about them.
There was one canine I notably appreciated; a Rottweiler- or maybe a Swiss Mountain Dog-mix. She was cute, pleasant, and sensible. I really helpful that she advance to the adoption row, and photographed her so she’d have a pleasant promotional image on the shelter web site. But a day later, I received a name from the evaluator (who can also be a good friend). “I know you really liked that big black dog in kennel 9,” she stated, “but I wanted to let you know that I’m not going to advance her.” That was meant to be a delicate euphemism; I knew she meant euthanasia. I used to be shocked; I believed the canine was beautiful. “Oh, shoot. Why?” My good friend heard the emotion in my voice and stated, “If you want, you can come back and I’ll show you what I didn’t like.”
The subsequent day I spent a few half-hour enjoying with the canine; I nonetheless actually appreciated her! Then my good friend joined me, and we put a leash on the canine and led her right into a quiet room within the shelter. I made a decision to take video of the evaluation; the photograph that seems on the duvet and likewise on web page 9, accompanying WDJ Training Editor Pat Miller’s article on resource-guarding, is a nonetheless taken from the video I recorded.
My good friend put a bowl filled with canned pet food on the ground for the canine, who dove proper into the moist stew. And then my good friend used a device that’s extensively employed by shelters in these food-guarding evaluations, a rubber hand on the tip of a stick. It permits the evaluator to faux to achieve for or choose up the canine’s meals whereas she’s nonetheless consuming it, so it may be ascertained whether or not the canine will show any guarding habits, with none particular person really being bitten.
In lower than a minute, the canine sped proper by means of all the behaviors listed on the “resource-guarding assessment form” we’ve reproduced on web page 10: freezing, growling, flashing a “whale eye,” flipping the bowl away from the hand, snarling, gesturing together with her head towards the hand, performing an “air snap” within the course of the hand, and eventually, giving it a stable chunk. And after she completed the meals, she appeared to go proper again to being the sunny, pleasant canine I appreciated a lot.
I used to be shocked; I hadn’t ever skilled a canine like that. I instructed my good friend I understood and trusted her judgment – however, days later, I used to be nonetheless having second ideas. I known as and requested Pat Miller: “Can behavior like that be modified?” and he or she assured me it might. But the canine was already lifeless.
I hope that Pat’s insights and proposals on this article can save another “guardy” canine’s life – and maintain his or her household protected, too.