Training Intensified

Upon returning from our Anchorage trip, where I had Tomodachi spayed, we buckled down on further training. In Togiak it is easy enough to find places to let the dogs go free, though I am very hesitant in letting them roam. Not because I don’t want to enrich their lives, but as the ‘go-to’ person when animals are hurt, I’ve heard how people have shot dogs with their owners right there. On the day of these pictures I made sure no one else was around, save a friend, and a couple in a boat who were busy fishing. The fact that humans are shooting dogs on the beach is disgusting, so I don’t like to let them too far from my person.

The reason for letting the dogs run off, though, is recall. While in Anchorage a dog ran up to both myself and another dog walker (both of us had our dogs on-leash). This dog didn’t return when the owner called. She tried to reassure both of us that her dog was friendly. Let’s forget the fact that maybe our dogs might be violent, and if an unleashed dog approaches our dogs might attack, dogs shouldn’t be running free. Luckily for me, my dogs are very well behaved, but that is beside the point. The other dog walker’s dogs were toy breeds, and a large shepherd running toward them could cause anxiety. I, myself, have become violent with dogs coming after mine. I carry a taser cane because we have been attacked multiple times since moving to Togiak.

Both my pups need to work on recall. I don’t know if I will let them off much while in Togiak outside the fenced in area I am cleaning and setting up. We also practice in the home.

The white dog in both pictures is Apollo. His owners are both irresponsible and reprehensible. Apollo has attacked dogs in my care on more than one occasion. (I’ve had two students claim Apollo bit them, and nothing was done.) The second picture is of him and his ‘pack’ attacking a smaller dog, who was eventually surrendered because he was too scared to leave their place to use the bathroom. I’ve had multiple dealings with Apollo’s female owner and my description of her is ‘user.’ She cares only for herself and once a person stops doing what she wants, she threatens them (I have Messenger proof of her threatening me saved, so I am not saying this out of the blue). My reason for posting this under training is because, as you can see, none of these dogs are on leash, nor are their owners around. So, how does one train their dogs when ferals such as these are running amok? (As an aside, while these dogs are owned by irresponsible people, there are more people in Togiak who are responsible than not, and these folks are wonderful.)

Nakama, Tomodachi, and I train indoors. It is pretty simple to work with them while inside because they are off-leash and always ready for a treat. Both dogs are awesome at waiting before chowing down on both their meals and snacks.

We also play the games that involve following me and coming from one room to another. My doggos are both food-motivated, so we use homemade and store-bought treats. They like them all, so I can switch it up easily enough. One day I hope to do more training outside after they have learned ‘ignore.’

Ignore is a major training. Nakama is about 50% when it comes to ignoring while we are walking along. Tomodachi, since she is only ten months, is still very social. I’ve had to train the students in the area to ignore us so I can train my dogs. Sometimes that training proves not to have sunk in, so I have no issues with telling children to leave. This does not work with ferals running around. The best we can do at this point is train my dogs, and if necessary do what I need to in order to keep my dogs safe. When I can’t trust the people or the dogs in the vicinity, I have to train the three of us to be on the defensive. Training equals safety, and I want everyone to be safe.

Use a Leash

On Friday, January 29thmy puppers and I were attacked by a dog run wild. This post is all about why people need to use a leash and keep their dogs confined to their property. I know that everyone always says: Oh, my dog is awesome, would never attack anyone, I shouldn’t have to leash or confine my dog. Well, I call BS in capital letters on this for a multitude of reasons, and I am going to use the attack to explain why. First, I’ll tell you what happened. 

Nakama, Tomodachi, and I were taking a short walk as we always do on a nice day. We live at the end of a road, the only road to get anywhere from our dwelling. To walk anywhere on the road, we have no choice but to pass the home of the dog who attacked us. 

Now, after over a year of complaints from myself and others, this dog was finally chained. Prior to being chained she would charge people walking, ATVs, and other animals. She charged my ATV and hit my leg while I was driving passed. I purchased a cane with an electric prod because this dog is aggressive. I also used to pick Nakama up when walking by because this dog is that ridiculous. 

Fast forward and at least the owners had her chained, though it wasn’t before she was hurt in many ways. The dog was hit and ended up with a broken leg, then the family went on vacation, leaving her here in the house to be let out a couple times a day by a neighbor. So, with this information you may be able to tell how much this family actually cares for the beast. I do not use beast lightly, either, as she has attacked one of her puppies in my care, while I was walking him and Nakama a couple of winter holidays ago. I can speculate as to her actions all day, every day, but the only thing I can say is that she is aggressive and violent, so when she is chained, she runs, trying to break free. 

Friday, January 29th, she does, and out of the corner of my eye I see her pounce on Nakama and bite him on the side, causing him to run and me to whack her, hard, with my cane. The youngest son of the owner comes running from across the street, yelling at me to not hit his dog. I yelled back, and used quite a few curse words, for him to get her and take her home because I am going to keep whacking her if she keeps charging. 

Only he doesn’t. As I am walking away, contacting the police (who do nothing, here, by the way), he decides he wants to take his violent dog for a walk and follow me. She keeps breaking free from his grip, so I am thinking I am going to get to the school and go inside, screw the rule of no dogs in the building. If that animal is going to follow us, I want my dogs safe. 

We don’t get to the school, though, because another local feral sees this first one charging us and goes after her. A nasty dog fight ensues and the son of the owners is laughing! I eventually catch on camera the end of this dog fight, as well as this child laughing as if a dog fight is a good thing. I notice the second dog in the mix has a nasty cut on the neck (which this child also points out, still laughing), so I make it a point to say I am going to her home to inform the owners why she now has a gaping wound. 

My dogs and I continue down toward the school, away from the chaos as I am trying to send the video to the police on our terrible Internet connection. Eventually we head back up the road to the other dog’s home. I run into a man on the town board and explain what happened, since he is the one we’ve complained to before. I also made it to the home of the second dog and explained what happened. Luckily the injury to the second dog was from something else and just looked bad, but that still does not change the fact that multiple dogs were in a fight, all because two families do not seem to think it matters about leash and tether laws. 

(Side note, the owner of the first dog defamed me by posting on FB how I had hit her dog, without adding in that her dog charged and attacked us first.)

So, there is the story. Luckily Nakama was not hurt, but both he and Tomodachi had nightmares that night. Tomo still has some PTSD from going by the house, and when she hears this beast bark, she also comes close, even if we are far away. 

Why do I call BS on people scoffing leash laws? Well, if people had chained this dog up instead of letting her run wild from the get-go, then the odds are she wouldn’t have gotten as hurt as she has, plus she would have been used to being chained and wouldn’t be constantly trying to break free. 

The second dog in the mix has been porcupined so many times in the past year, if she were chained then that injury to her neck wouldn’t have happened, and not come open during a fight. 

Imagine if you will a person walking with their dog on a leash in a park. Another person is walking with their dog off-leash, but that off-leash dog is nice! They wanna go play with everyone, and even if well trained, will still dash off to meet new friends. Keep imagining this friendly dog going to the leashed dog and getting mauled because the owner of the dog on the leash knows their dog can be aggressive, but someone else didn’t take that into account. Now there is an injured dog who was off-leash. Who is at fault? I am pretty sure the owner of the dog on the leash will be blamed because their dog is violent, but they were following the rules! The one at fault is the one letting their dog run free, but they aren’t going to see it that way because their dog is trained and so nice and sweet. 

I call BS again. Why? Even the most highly trained dog is still capable of attacking when feeling threatened. No dog should be off-leash unless in a designated area. There are too many variables, and as with my story earlier, you don’t know if your sweet dog is going to get pepper sprayed because another human does not expect your dog to come at them. I will not hesitate to whack an animal that comes at me in a quick manner. If the dog walks up, then it is one thing, but if they run up in the blink of an eye I am going to consider it an attack, and nice, gentle Fido is going to get a whack. 

This is all common courtesy in the land of animal companionship. No one who cares for their animal wants them to be hurt, and just like a mama bear, the owner is going to stand at full height and not let the teeth and growling get to them. The owner of the dog who attacked my dog; she is lucky I am not in the habit of suing people, or I would have no problems suing both her and the village for defamation of character, as well as not following laws, and people not doing their jobs. We have a rule in this village that dogs are to be contained; that doesn’t happen, clearly. When I first got here and heard that there was a rule that if someone took care of the aggressive and feral dogs, they were paid $25 per dog. What I mean by “take care of” is that they grab them and shoot them. I still think it is a barbaric idea, but when law abiding citizens and their families (both fur and non-fur) are attacked, then I start to see why such a rule was put into place. 

I am not condoning shooting animals due to lack of respect for rules, however, I highly recommend leash laws. Follow them, or your dog, who may only want to play, can get hurt. Who is at fault? Well, if the person is not following the law, and their dog is hurt, then it is their fault. Do not go blaming the ones who listen because of a lack of common courtesy.