July 26, 2009

What if your adorable family dog is an incurable biter?

If the only other choice is euthanasia, would you have the dog's teeth surgically altered? Like this:
[Dr. David Nielsen, a veterinary dentist]cuts away 4 millimeters of tooth using a CO2 laser. He acid-etches the live pulp within, fashions a bell-shaped cavity that he packs with two kinds of human-grade composite, and light-cures the top for a smooth, flat finish. He also blunts the extra set of pointy incisors....

For all the technology, Nielsen says the most profound effect of canine disarming is psychological. "You can see it in their eyes almost the moment they wake up from the anesthesia," he says. "It's like they're wondering, 'who took away my knives?' " An epiphany that humbles and subdues them for all time....

[After the surgery, Cotton] seems to be in denial. When he gets the opportunity, he still pounces at any man who ventures onto our property. A few days after the disarming, our gardener Guadalupe Davila obligingly offered his booted foot for Cotton's delectation. After 30 seconds of ferocious gnawing, Cotton had only succeeded in lightly scoring the thick leather.

The next day, when Cotton bolted out the door to discover handyman Julio Miranda building a new handrail, he grabbed a mouthful of cedar post. After some unbridled gnawing, he only lightly scored the soft wood.

Hmmm.

32 comments:

rhhardin said...

The Koehler Method of Dog Training cures biting.

The method unfortunately is deprecated by modern humaniacs confused about what cruelty is.

Koehler's vision was dog as citizen.

Today's favored vision is nobody as citizen.

rhhardin said...

Thurber has a nice story "The Dog That Bit People," a heroic dog story gone slightly wrong.

Online link missing some pages, but the last paragraph is there to read.

Fred4Pres said...

Do they call him Gummy now?

Pogo said...

Would a rapist similarly foreshortened also experience an epiphany and be effectively disarmed, or merely continue his unbridled gnawing of petticoated cedar posts despite his now-Lilliputian chub?

NKVD said...

Jeremy can tell us how he reacted.

Jason (the commenter) said...

If your dog is a biter, it's probably your fault.

Get a cat. Also, if you can't handle a dog you probably shouldn't be having kids.

Daryl said...

Cops will deliberately file down the teeth of their German Shepherds so that when they bite a person, instead of ripping away the flesh, it will shatter the bone underneath.

Of course, those dogs are bred to have extremely strong jaws. A little fluffball probably could be tamed just by filing its teeth down.

Sy said...

Incurable biter? Surely, Cotton has not met Ceasar Milan yet.

reader_iam said...

Not even Cesar Millan's 'idiot-simple' method could ease Cotton's biting problem. At wit's end, his family turns to the controversial procedure 'canine disarming.'

To answer the question highlighted in this post title: I'd have him put down (and considerably before there'd be enough of a history to use the word "incurable." But that's just me. As stated at Althouse before, I tend to be a real bitch on that subject, having been badly mauled as a tot by a German Shepherd with a history of biting. Luckily, our beloved dogs have kept their teeth to themselves.

Bissage said...

I would advise my fellow Althousians not to be too quick to criticize this dental disarming procedure.

Mrs. Bissage had it done to her vagina.

And that has made all the difference.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Deep.

reader_iam said...

Question: If Cotton someday still manages to harm someone, would the owners be even more vulnerable to a lawsuit with large settlement/award attached? It's not like they could say they didn't know their dog has temperament problem, given they spent a whopping $1,600 (just on that surgery alone, forget all the other stuff) trying to mask--OK, that's unfair--deal with it?

Joe said...

This is what bullets are for.

Bissage said...

LOL, Laura!!!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You have a defective warped dog. It is probably your fault. Put the dog down and never ever get another dog.

Meade said...

"Mrs. Bissage had it done to her vagina.

And that has made all the difference."

Fine. But let's be honest -- if Mrs. Bissage were not as cute and cuddly as she is...

with those big brown puppy dog eyes of hers...

she would have been euthanized years ago.

Oligonicella said...

Dogs don't just bite. They take hold and shake fiercely with their neck and shoulders. That dog gets a kid and it can still rip an arm off.

I agree with reader_iam, owners fault. It only takes attention and correcting to raise a socially civil canine.

Chip Ahoy said...

Do you ever see mommy dogs -- see how I avoided the word bitches? Damn! *snap* -- take their little puppies by the neck and pin them to the ground until they submit? Well, they do. Submission is a very important dog-pack lesson all dogs learn early through their mommies. With any given house dog, it's important to establish who is the boss. The aggressive tendencies described in the article arise from the dog not knowing its place in the hierarchy as dogs understand such things, and they understand social order as a dog pack. Owners of dogs like this must speak Dog. Actions such as clickers and throwing cans and such, although sometimes effective, are not dog-speak.

My last two Belgians were year-old kennel dogs and so had no socialization at all. Socially, they were complete messes. They had no idea even how to play. My friends thought it odd that I grabbed my standoffish dog and embraced her close to my chest clamping down hard. When she struggled I clamped harder, until she stopped, then clamped incrementally harder to demonstrate I had power to spare. Then slowly released the clamp. Then she FLEW OUT OF MY ARMS AND SPUN AROUND AND STARED AT ME like I was a fiend. My friends thought this was insane, but within a few days, following a few more similar episodes, she was flying into my arms at our established power spot to re-live those precious moments of the doggie embrace. I didn't even have to call her. All I did was sit at the embrace spot (a step from the living room to the sun room) and she'd come sailing through the open doors from across the yard and leap into my lap.

I heard once that children get less than five minutes a day on average of individual personal attention from their parents. I made it a point to double that with my dogs. Just me, saying sweet little nothings to the dog, telling her how great and beautiful she is and doing little grooming things, and a firm embrace, of course. She ate it up. These Belgians, if I may say so, were all stunningly obedient, a little frightening actually, in their alertness for any signal and eagerness to respond. All of that was predicated on my being leader of the pack.

michaele said...

Chip Ahoy, I love what you just wrote. Every potential dog owner should should be very familiar with the concept of the human establishing and maintaining the position of alpha in their relationship with their pet. It doesn't have to be overly physical or cruel but it has to be non negotiable and very consistent early on. It is so rewarding to have a well balanced and loving relationship with your dog.

rhhardin said...

``Throwing cans'' is part of a formal method (usually a throw chain, but the principle is the same), not something in itself.

The physics is that a half-full can (say pebbles inside) does not all stop at once, since the pebbles are loose, so the can reaches the dog with its full momentum but distributed energy dissipation, as not all energy hits at once. Same with the links on a throw chain, they don't all stop at once.

The point of the device is to show a dog off lead that you can still reach him mysteriously to enforce a rule that he already knows about.

It's what makes off-lead possible as a continuation of good behavior on lead. Good behavior means coming when called, heeling, sitting on command, and so forth, even though the dog might not want to. It shows the dog that the good behavior continues off lead.

The dog should never see you throw the can, or the mystery will be lost.

I recommend Vicki Hearne Adam's Task for an overview.

rhhardin said...

A radio collar replaces the throw chain these days, but has the huge disadvantage that it's too easy to use so it gets applied thoughtlessly.

Having to set up a throw chain situation more or less automatically requires a lot of circumspection.

jacksonianlawyer said...

Perhaps when the dog becomes a bit too much of a "runner" for them - for instance, causing problems with the neighbors below who must endure the constant thump, thump, thump of the dog cavorting about (thereby ruining their "quiet enjoyment" and, truthfully, the subject of many a small-claims suit) - they can opt to have the dog's limbs amputated. The the beast can be confined to the corner, or some other sitting place, only permitted to be moved according to the fancy of its owners.

Ah, then there's that pesky barking and whimpering. Out with its vocal chords!

Dear Dr. Frankenstein would be proud.

traditionalguy said...

That dog needs ritalin. And that's really great for its victims. Now they get to enjoy the experience of feeling of its jaws clamping down on them like pliars instead of like knives.

bearbee said...

The breed is a work and high energy dog. It needs tasks.

Chip is correct on establishing alpha.

Joan said...

I just watched an ep of Dog Whisperer last night which dealt with the same issue with a bulldog.

This quote says it all, to me: Cesar's efforts were a brilliant success -- until he left our house. For one day, Cotton was the dog I'd always dreamed he could be. Calm and submissive, deferring to the pack leader. Unfortunately, the pack leader was Cesar.

The Kriegers don't have the spine to train their dog properly. They shouldn't have a dog. Just because it can't rip flesh (as easily) doesn't mean it can't inflict serious injuries.

jimspice said...

If we're not ruling out surgery, wouldn't a doggy lobotomy be quicker and more effective?

KT said...

My 15 year old German Shepherd has his own incurable problem...pooping in the house. It's probably related to arthritis and/or lumbo-sacral disease, but I'm thinking of having a bag surgically attached to his ass.

Maguro said...

Has the dog tried smoking cigarettes? That can help take the edge off.

rhhardin said...

I used to show people walking steam-powered dogs, some pulling so hard that the person walked with heels dug in trying to stop him, how to get the dogs to stop pulling.

In ten seconds I had the dog watching me warily walking on a slack leash.

I explain the trick. They're always unable to do it, for the same reason that their dog pulls. They won't let the dog have the consequences of his actions.

Which is about the worst thing you can do to a creature.

BJM said...

rh, spot on. Until your dog will instantly and reliably perform an off leash remote sit and return to heel on command you are not in control, the dog is. All other behavioral will flow from a lack of command.

The owner must be alpha dog, a dog expects someone to be in charge. As a puppy it comes from a pack where it was low in the pecking order. It's not rocket science to figure out how this works to our advantage.

Too many owners don't/won't commit the necessary time daily to train a puppy to be a calm, reliable companion dog.

[Too many of the children one meets in public nowadays have no manners or consideration for others property or private space, so why would the family dog?]

As other have commented, the dental alteration did nothing to ameliorate the dog's aggression, so the underlying behavioral issue has not been addressed.

Dogs are problem solvers and are very good at OJT. This dog will figure out how to use his altered teeth to his satisfaction; hopefully on one of his irresponsible owners buttocks.

rhhardin said...

I don't go along with pack leader, because it overlooks that the dog is domesticated and able to make sense of human activity.

It resembles being pack leader, but it's really the human acting like an irrestible force of nature delivering consequences, without letting any feelings get into it.

Explain the rule so there's no possibility of misunderstanding, and then enforce corrections from then on. The dog will be much more comfortable, he will find, if he holds a sit stay even if there's flapping canvas nearby.

And every other distraction you can think of and obtain for him as well.

Corrections look like pack leader, but they're not.

See the Vicki Hearne above; it's well written and interesting.

Hearne is a leftist who always winds up writing on the right.

Nolanimrod said...

Maybe the dog was just trying to corral some illegal aliens.

"our gardener Guadalupe Davila.

"handyman Julio Miranda"