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Hope for Justice? Any experts on aggression tests?

November 17th, 2004, 10:59 AM
I posted wanting to adopt an xlarge male and received tons of tips and leads. Thanks to everyone who offered a tip or suggestion or a number to call. I found Justice, a 5-6 mnth old rottie. I hesitated for a day because it's a 7 hr drive return, but I really fell in love with his picture/s on nasap's site as well as petfinder. Called the office, was given the foster home's number and told there was a family coming (last) Sunday to see him. In all fairness the man said he had to let them come first as they had arranged a visit and were driving quite a way too. He told me all about Justice, how he cowers, is very hand and voice shy but without aggression though, and very very lovable and sweet. The info on the NASAP page was not there last week as it appeared yesterday. Well the family took Justice home on Sunday :sad: . The foster Dad called me and let me know he had asked them to return Justice to him if it didn't work out because he had a lady very interested in the dog. Well, yesterday afternoon at 3:30 pm he left me a message saying that Justice had been returned to NASAP, not him, as he growled at their baby and advised to me get in touch with NASAP. I called asap, was told he is caged until Sunday and will be given an aggression test. This involves poking at, ear tugging, tail tugging. All of this is happening to this dog in exactly ONE weeks time. The dog was rescued, a lot of time and money spent returning him to good health, put in a foster home, loved and encouraged, adopted Sunday returned to a cage Monday night or Tuesday morning (unsure). If I had this shuffle all in ONE week I MIGHT snap if someone poked at me or pulled my ears! :evil: If he shows aggression he will most likely be PTS. Anyone here more knowledgeable in aggression tests? I UNDERSTAND them wanting to be sure, but what would a 5-6 mnth old pup's chances be of passing this test after all he has endured? Our beloved GrizzyBear was going to be shot for attacking kids in a school yard (Thank God ARF got to him first!) before we adopted him from ARF 9 yrs ago. All he ever did was try to run to the school yard to play, he LOVED kids. I see the confusion over maybe what the school saw when a giant black dog went chasing kids :eek: Or maybe he was teased and reacted. I wasn't there, so I can't say for sure. I do know we ended up with a lovely baby for 9 wonderful years. Can a dog BE MEAN at the age of 5-6 mnths? I mean, aren't almost all aggression problems traced to what the owner has done/not done for or to the dog? Maybe it's just me and I don't know enough about dogs, but I say a 5-6 mnth old dog hasn't learned enough meaness from humans at that tender age. I pray he passes this test. The foster home is very upset and questioned putting him through this test. I should have never let myself get so involved. :( I don't want an aggresive pup that will hurt anyone, I just question the process. I'm rooting for you Justice! Show 'em you're a sweetie and I'll do everything I can to make sure you get all the love you must be needing now :angel:

Lucky Rescue
November 17th, 2004, 11:47 AM
I"m no expert in any way, but have a few opinions, FWIW! Yes, a dog can be "mean" at 5 months old if there is a genetic problem with temperament.

Some breeds like Rotties can be very dominant and will test their limits at an early age - growling over food, or being made to get off the bed. They need owners comitted to training and discipline (I don't mean harshness or punishment!) Lax, permissive, timid or easy going people may not be the best owners for them.

Many dogs who are not used to small children may challenge them, as they do not see toddlers as the authority figures in the way they see adults.

Rotties are generally good with kids, have reliable temperaments, and are protective of home and family. These dogs, like many others, can be ruined by bad and overbreeding or improper treatment.

A large number have been tested by the ATTS (American Temperament Test Society) and they score very high at over 82%. This is better than it seems, since so many were tested.

I hope LavendarRott sees this, as she can tell you a lot more.

I hope this place is not using the Sue Sternberg temperament test, as it sets dogs up to fail.

November 17th, 2004, 11:56 AM
Can a dog BE MEAN at the age of 5-6 mnths? I mean, aren't almost all aggression problems traced to what the owner has done/not done for or to the dog? Maybe it's just me and I don't know enough about dogs, but I say a 5-6 mnth old dog hasn't learned enough meaness from humans at that tender age.

I speak from experience when I say that a dog can have aggressive tendancies without it being the fault of the owner. I had a dog, that at the age of 4 months, was aggressive to the point of biting and drawing blood. This happened on more than one occassion and was eventually the downfall of the pup.

I can pull, push, poke, yank on, prod, and practically beat up my present dog, and the one previous to her, without having to worry about being bitten. My little white lab, though, was a different story. And Labs are supposed to be the most timid of dogs, being able to put up with anything.

If this Rotti is hand shy, he's been beaten, or at the very least, disciplined with a strong hand/voice if he's shy around loud voices too. Better to find out now if there's a problem than to get him home and discover it later.

November 17th, 2004, 12:28 PM
:o Well, thanks, Lucky! But I am really not an expert or anything.

IMHO, this dog with these issues should not have been adopted into a family situation with young children.

I know nothing about the adopting family, but the following concerns come to mind:

Do they have experience with the breed?
Was a home check done before the dog was adopted?
Under what circumstances did the dog growl at the baby?
Why was a new dog anywhere near a baby?

The last question causes me the most concern. While I am a bit confused by the time line in the OP, the dog had been in this house a week? Why would they let this relatively unknown dog around the baby at this point?

To be very honest, I don't really know much about aggression tests. But yes, under these circumstances, I think a young pup would be hard pressed to pass.

November 17th, 2004, 12:36 PM
GsdDiamond: Thank you for your input. I realize there are aggressive tendencies in some dogs without human interferance. That's why I wrote almost all aggression problems. The foster home did believe him to be mistreated previously. :(
LuckyRescue: I never even thought of genetic problems. Of course no one knows where he came from as he was just found "wandering". I don't know which test they are using, I just asked what it involved and she told me "ear tugging, tail tugging".
Thanks to both of you for replying, true enough better to find out now, I just had high hopes. I don't even know how long he was on his own for. Poor lil guy. I know hand shy is a sign of being smacked and he's so young. I guess Sunday will tell how he does. Do any of you know how reliable these tests are for future aggression problems? I mean if he does well and passes, are the chances good for his future with the right home? Thanks again.

November 17th, 2004, 12:40 PM
The dog had been in the home ONE day when the growling incident took place. The foster home said the adoptive family's 5 yr old was playing on the floor with the dog at the foster home and all was good. Sigh, hoping someone knows what these aggression tests can help with in detection for future problems.

November 17th, 2004, 01:02 PM
If he does well and passes, I think his chances are excellent in the right home. The right home being one where he is given training and guidance and not treated like a "furbaby".

BTW. I have had my rottweiler for 7 years and I keep a very close eye on her when she interacts with new children. In all the time I have had her she has never growled at a child. This does not mean that she is not capable of it though.

November 17th, 2004, 01:08 PM
Thanks LavenderRott. IF he passes which ever test, he'd definiatly need training and a lot of guidance.

November 17th, 2004, 01:14 PM
I hope this place is not using the Sue Sternberg temperament test, as it sets dogs up to fail.
Hmm, her own dogs can't pass...odd testing that is then isn't it? I hope all of this just works out. It's bothering me to the bone. He should have never been placed with that family.. :(

November 17th, 2004, 01:22 PM
I think (but don't know for sure), they are looking for more than growling when they do the test. I know Daisy is as gentle around our older niece and nephew, but she has growled once or twice at the 1 yr old. We think the youngest had hurt Daisy once, and now it seems that Daisy is doing it more of her way of saying "go away". We are trying to correct the issue of growling, because I personally do not feel it is acceptable, but at the same time, I've notice she does it and then will leave if the niece continues to touch her. Daisy also has done it to me when I pick her up when she doesn't want to be picked up. Me, like a dummy, then proceeded to lift her and shake her (not hard!), almost daring her to bite me (yes, that is probably not the smartest way to see if she is being aggressive!). She never has. We've concluded it is her way of saying, "Please leave me alone". I have seen plenty of dogs that growl when they are in an unpleasant situation, but have never bitten anyone. I wouldn't say don't be concerned, but I think this may also be normal behaviour for an animal that can't communicate any other way.

Any other thoughts?

Lucky Rescue
November 17th, 2004, 02:42 PM
I know hand shy is a sign of being smacked

That is not necessarily true. Some dogs are born shy, and others had no socialization as puppies. In the case of no socialization, this can be overcome, but it will take work and patience. If you take this dog on, I suggest you contact a qualified behaviorist or trainer who uses ONLY positive methods.

The right home being one where he is given training and guidance and not treated like a "furbaby".

That cannot emphasized enough. It's wonderful to love your dog, but that love must be tempered with guidance and discipline. I hear people saying "Oh he's my child!" but he's not. He's an animal and is much happier being treated like a dog who has clear rules and leadership.

Treating large dominant dogs (Rotties, Akitas, etc) like "furbabies" is almost guaranteed to blow up in someone's face.