Mark's Dog Blog

The Rescue Dilemma, Helping Our Dogs.

Happy Dog

I tried to post this on my Facebook page, but due to its length, Facebook wouldn't post it. So here goes... I do expect a backlash, and I am sure it will not be my last word on this.

My previous post on rescues (here) certainly brought out a lot of overly emotional and angry people from the woodwork! They attacked the character of not only me, but also those that commented in full or partial agreement with me on that post.

One admin of the rescue group Australian Working Dog Rescue, even wrote what I considered a slanderous review on my page. When I posted it publicly on my feed, that person deleted it. They have shared that post of mine in their Facebook Group, and attacked my character there. I went in and commented on the post, but they deleted my comments and banned me from commenting further. Do note, none of their admins has been banned from my page. I will allow them to discuss this subject openly on my page. That is until and if they get even more nasty than they already have.

Sadly this is a classic example of the state of affairs in the rescue industry. Anybody, that doesn't believe there needs to be a clean-up of the rescue industry, is fooling them self and living in a Disneyland world.

Of course there are many, many rescues that operate at a high level standard, and actually do ensure dogs are being re-homed that are suitable for re-homing, not hiding behavioural issues, and do offer ongoing training and behavioural support.

I do find that the biggest offenders, IMO, are those rescues that will only focus on purely positive ideology, and even dictate to anyone purchasing their dogs to ONLY use purely positive methods for training, no matter if it works for a particular dog or not, or have the dog removed from their home. This is placing an emotive ideology above the welfare of the dog, and the family purchasing the dog. This practice must stop!

When I was operating my business in Adelaide, South Australia, I contacted the RSPCA directly, publicly on my Facebook page, and on their Facebook page, offering my services free of charge for 4 hours a week, to assist with dogs they deemed not suitable to be re-homed and due to be killed due to behavioural issues they couldn't modify. I was concerned about their extremely high kill rates due to behaviour. What I learnt from that situation was that an emotive based ideology was more important to them than the lives of so many dogs.

I understand that many, many rescues are operated by people with a loving and caring heart, and their mission is to save as many dogs as they can. However, this philosophy is sadly putting many of these rescues in a position of sending dogs to homes that shouldn't be re-homed without some form of extensive behaviour modification from a professional. Sadly, many of these rescues, if not most of them, are operated by purely positive ideologues, and therefore it is obvious to me, that in the many cases I have been involved with, are in many instances not informing prospective dog owners of behavioural issues that will probably manifest. They'll just say, "Oh he just needs to settle in" or similar information. Or even heavily medicate dogs with psychotropic drugs to suppress or mask extreme behavioural or psychological issues. And as I have came across with at least 2 cases I was involved with this year, the rescue even lied to the dogs new owner on why the dog is on such a heavy dose of medication.

I have gone into homes whereby a dogs extreme behavioural issues are obviously long term habitual behaviours, not behaviours the dog learned after a week of settling into a new home, that the dogs new owner had no idea about when picking up their new dog.

Am I suggesting ALL rescues are operating like this? No of course not, but trust me, they are out there. And for some, it possibly does come from a place of good intentions of wanting to "SAVE ALL DOGS". However, for many, and we need to be honest here, its nothing more than tax free money.

I hate seeing rescues advertise them self as a "NO KILL" rescue, and only promote purely positive ideology. Damn, just promoting yourself as NO KILL is bad enough, as that obviously means they will re-home every dog that comes into their rescue, no matter what! Sadly not ALL dogs can be or should be re-homed. And especially if your training ideology is only purely positive, when we know its not effective on many behaviours or dogs due to its limitations!

Please, I ask those rescues that are, stop forcing your purely positive ideology onto dogs and owners that its obviously not working for! The dog should be your number one priority, not an emotive based ideology that has obvious limitations in regards to modifying many types of behaviours, or not suitable for a particular dog.

In my professional opinion, there needs to be some type of regulation for people wanting to open a rescue. So many rescues are started by people with absolutely no or very little knowledge of dog behaviour. Anybody wanting to operate a rescue should have an advanced understanding of dog behaviour, and long term experience working with dogs and working with different breeds and behaviours. Because sadly, way to many dogs are being placed in homes (and foster homes) that shouldn't be. I have lost count how many dog owners I have been involved with that got their dog from a rescue stating to me they were the dogs 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th owner, so they didn't want to give up on the dog this time!

Just because you have a kind heart and a love of dogs, doesn't mean you have the knowledge to be running a rescue, that you know involves placing dogs in homes, and knowing there is a high probability of coming across dogs with behavioural issues. Every week there are new rescues opening, by people that have little to no knowledge of dog behaviour.

This post and my previous post on rescues will by seen by many as me bagging all rescues and those that operate them. Well its not, it comes from a place of concern for the dogs, and those rescues that I feel aren't operating responsibly or ethically.

Please don't tell me that what I have outlined in this and my previous post is not the case, when you know full well it is. You just need to read the papers, MSM and social media on dog bites from rescue dogs, that should not have been re-homed. And remember, not all dog bite or attacks are reported. Actually, only a very small percentage are reported to the authorities. And not forgetting the dogs that are re-homed numerous times, because each family couldn't deal with the dogs extreme behavioural issues.

Trust me, its not only rescues that need to clean up their act. This also goes for many dog training businesses run by amateurs and people with little to no long term experience with dog behaviour, trying to make out they are "experts in their field". This deserves another post of its own.

The mob

Always stand up for your convictions, even if that means standing alone. Don't stand silent because you fear being bullied or attacked by the mob.

The more the mob attack and bully, the stronger you appear to those sitting on the fence, and the weaker the mob look.

You may even find that some of the mob begin thinking for themselves, therefore weakening the mobs overall ability to bully, and all because you stood tall.

A mob is usually controlled by egos that seek nothing but control, pretending they have the individual members of the mob best interests at heart.

You find many of these egos create cult like Facebook groups to lock their followers into, creating a herd of sheep that will follow blindly.

Stand tall, even if that means alone. Others will be attracted by your strength of conviction, even if they don't fully subscribe to your views.

Never join the mob and be considered brainless sheep.

*Thank you Australian Working Dog Rescue for giving me the inspiration for this post - Facebook post

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