Is This a Fair Evaluation?

I am not a qualified canine behaviorist but I would guess that this dog, who appears to be starving to death, would not like to be given food and then get poked in the face with a plastic hand on a stick.

How would you expect a dog who looked like this to score in a shelter evaluation?  To find out how this dog actually scored and what will happen to her as a result, click here.

Every shelter dog deserves a fair evaluation.

8 thoughts on “Is This a Fair Evaluation?

  1. Resource guarding is not a reason to kill a dog. The test result showed that the dog did not attack, but simply put her head down and bared her teeth. In all other respects, she scored well.

    In canine parlance, she was politely telling the interloper to “back off.” This is appropriate canine behavior. Even healthy, fat dogs have the right to do this. Celeste would if I didn’t play exchange games with her. I only teach her not to get overly food possessive with people because of safety reasons (biting people and picking up dangerous objects), not because I think it is inappropriate dog behavior.

    Lucy could be worked with. This behavior may disappear after she is well-fed, it may not. Regardless, she is not at the point at which a major intervention is required. That is, she is not overly sensitive with a super low bite threshold and zero bite inhibition. A person w/o young children (who are just naturally grabby) and, say, 15-20 minutes a day, could work with her.

  2. “an email came across my desk”..

    I guess no one does any reporting anymore… or feels the need to.

  3. Even though the ASPCA is fighting Oreo’s Law claiming rescue groups are “dog fighters” and “hoarders” in disguise, time and time again, rescue groups are the ones who do the lifesaving while the millionaire organizations turn their backs.

    Thankfully, Mariah’s Promise, the rescue group that offered to save Max a dog that the ASPCA killed just a few weeks after killing Oreo, just e-mailed that Lucy is now in a foster home.

    As usual, saved by a rescue group.

  4. I have not found resource guarding to be a very difficult problem to cure even in client dogs and I am very much not a fan of Sternberg’s test.

    A friend recently posted the procedure the group she works with uses to test shelter dogs. They test resource guarding through a chain link fence. I don’t remember all the details (and the link can only be accessed by list members) but I remember thinking how much safer and more practical it was than the poke-a-dog assessment.

  5. The small rescues are the only ones willing to spend the time and energy (and what money they have) necessary to properly evaluate a dog like Lucy. I would wager that she hadn’t even had a few days to settle into her new environment before they started poking and prodding.

    What ever happened to the business of saving animals? When did it become a business of hoarding money?

    That’s why my donations only go to our local shelter.

  6. Rinalia and SmartDogs:

    Even when I ran an open admission animal control shelter, we never killed a dog for food guarding because the prognosis was always good. Moreover, we always brought underweight dogs up to normal weight and desensitized them to any guarding issues.

    Shelters are looking for reasons to kill animals. And this is just one more example.

  7. This is why I work with breed rescue groups. Most do a general assessment of dogs prior to intake, but actual evaluations are done over time in foster care. IMO this allows for a much more accurate assessment of a dog’s good and bad points.

    My current foster dog would have been euth’d by most groups and he’s going to take a lot of time and effort to rehabilitate. But he’s a wonderful little shit and well worth the effort.

    Once in a while we make the decision to euthanize a dog. I have had to help make that decision more than once. It is terribly difficult, but there are a very few dogs out there that are just too damaged to adopt out safely.

  8. what an excellent article. I’ve been appalled at the test being used since the THS was raided; and am frightened and apprehensive of what is going to happen to the dogs who don’t “pass”. Dogs many of us have walked and interacted with happily for months. I have cross-posted this on my facebook and linked it to your blog! You bring up excellent material incidentally.

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