What would you expect from your dog, or any normal dog if some stranger in a uniform came into your home and into your personal space, leaned over you and grabbed you, took you from that home with your family and the love you were used to and placed you in a small cage and took you away from them in a strange vehicle to a strange place. Then they put you in another cage, albeit a little larger, but likely with concrete or metal everywhere and certainly not your regular bed. My Staffies sleep in my bed and they are very emotional dogs and very close to me. I have an awesome relationship with each of them . I train them often and work hard to make sure every aspect of their character and health is what I would like it to be for a good dog. They work hard to do as I ask, both in training and in life and I respect them a great deal for their effort. I have earned that effort. We have a great relationship with each other.
They are great with strangers, but I know none of them like aggression or mean behavior from me or from anyone. They will cower, tuck their tail, maybe even shake, get defensive and somewhat fearful. They are very strong and confident dogs, but Staffies are sensitive dogs, as was my “Pit Bull Cross” rescue Jagger. My rescue Dog Dylan is a very fearful dog after having been abused and neglected, then released into the wild to fend for herself for 2 months with people chasing her regularly. It has taken a lot of effort to make her comfortable with people and other dogs, which she is under normal circumstances.
Take any of these dogs after a forceful stranger has barged into our home and removed them from their comfort and placed them in an obviously uncaring environment, very much neglected compared to my loving home and treat them dominantly for a day or so and see how they act. Walk aggressively or arrogantly up to their cage, what would you expect? Any dog? Most small dogs would respond with fear aggression. Violent barking, lunging, biting, growling, barred teeth… All small dogs I suspect, not just the ones who usually respond that way. Should we remove all of them from their home and euthanize them? Certainly there have been vicious attacks on people by small dogs, including those causing serious injury and death. In fact more than by Staffordshire Bull Terriers in Canada, for which there are no attacks of this kind recorded at all.
What I would hope for from my dogs would be for them to ignore such people. Turn away! There is no need for my dogs to like everyone, especially assholes so I would ask them to ignore it, just as I ask them to ignore other dogs and people when we walk. If they are in a fearful environment under great stress, quietly fleeing is the best response you can hope for. I would never expect them to show signs of love and the behavior of a happy dog to mean people acting arrogantly and aggressively, that is dominantly! This makes no sense. I am a loving leader and my dogs expect me and other people to be nice to them. This is what the world has become for them and the world I have carefully shaped for them. So when they see meanness and abuse, it is very obvious to them and the cause of it is very obvious to them. They are smart dogs about behavior. Dogs read behavior very well and it is difficult to lie to them about people when their life has been 100% about good things and positive reinforcement. The difference is obvious and very clear, especially to them.
So the next choice of behavior for a normal dog is greater attempts at flight, or maybe a fight response may become necessary. This is what happens physiologically when any animal experiences fear, us included. Initially the fight response is just to scare. They are afraid. But if necessary it will continue to escalate. Some dogs become afraid qiuckly and have absolutely no skills to handle a situation such as this and like many, or most small dogs will respond the same way, to scare away evil people. Again, these are likely evil people, given a normal life for a normally loved dog, so a justified response in my opinion. I would expect this as normal behavior given both the way dogs are and the way they are treated in a good home versus in captivity.
Captors who take a dog from a loving home where it is no danger to anyone must by very definition be dominant, narcissistic and arrogant, likely aggressive people. Rule by biting, rule like the mean wolf! Capture by force! Ancient ideas too! Roll spot over, bite him on the neck! Well, even in my dogs that sort of rule is old news, like it is for many dogs in normal homes. Just like it should be in human culture too. My dogs are not ruled by meanness and are not provided skills to deal with assholes. That is my department.
I do not expect my dogs, or any of my friend’s dogs to treat these captors nicely. They are not their friends and they are not doing what is best for them and in fact are dangerous to them AND being mean to them. I would like my dogs to not be afraid, but this is an unreasonable expectation given the circumstances. I think only an idiot would truly expect this from any dog. I hope they could ignore them, but again, given the opportunity of the people to be directly mean and inappropriate rather than compassionate and careful, again I don’t expect this. In fact, how they respond tells me how the people were. This is a fact!
It is certainly possible that the captors are unwilling participants in the whole matter. Maybe they are nice to the dogs as they enter the home and attempt to take my dogs. My dogs are very experienced with welcome company and we have had many strangers come to the door to sell a message, or peddle something else without issue. But this will be different! This would be the first and only time my dogs are exposed to forceful entry against my will. There is no way my dogs are not going to know this is happening against my will.
They are experts at reading behavior, so even if the wardens are nice about it, someone behind the raid is not and I am going to be pissed about it and uncooperative! So what will my dogs think? I can tell you what will be happening. They will be barking at the strangers for sure. When the wardens, nice or not, go for my dogs, there will be high levels of excitement and anxiety in the air. This will be a difficult situation. As always, I will be in charge of what my dogs are doing and what happens and it will not likely be all that cooperative. My dogs will not forget, but they would calm down and they would let me put them in cages to be taken. Don’t think the latter is going to happen though.
So no matter how dogs get to the shelter, they are always traumatized and they are always uncomfortable. They may calm down and they may be nice to people, but they will always be on alert for the perpetrators. They will know there is a bad guy somewhere and they will be watching and on alert. Dogs have instant-on switches and the dogs will not not likely rest for quite a while, probably for days if not more, so they will be jumpy and anxious and also tired if not exhausted. At this point it would not make sense to evaluate a dog as to how they might be behaviorally in a normal home.
There is nothing normal about their experience and they are very smart creatures. They are not being fooled. People who think, or who say they can evaluate this under these conditions are lying, plain and simple. It is normal for a dog who has a lifetime of love in a loving home to display aggression to dominant and aggressive individuals not of that home. Wardens may be nice, but my dogs are not trained to be beaten and bitten or pushed around by strangers who think this is how to control dogs in a normal and safe environment. They will know by the eye contact and behavior that something is wrong and to beware of the individual. At home I meet eye contact always with a smile so they will always be on alert when they don’t see it.
This idea that alpha dominance and aggression is how you keep normal dogs in control is what goes awry and why it is not in my home and not part of my dog training at all. My dogs are trained with love. This cannot turn on you. People who say dogs can turn on you are wrong! A dog raised with love will never turn on you. A dog raised with mean and power hungry abuse for control and submission – alpha dominance, mean biting (I use love bites), rolling and more may actually turn and will turn on an asshole or an innocent victim. Anyone who thinks raising a dog this way is normal, is dangerous! This is Peter Tallak, Belfast City Council’s expert opinion. In My Bullseye View, Peter Tallack is an Idiot! Peter Tallak is dangerous if he believes this is how you raise dogs and Staffies in particular. Staffies require a loving home.
I know my dogs and if the people were nice, they would be nice! I KNOW MY DOGS! If you broke into my home and were nice to my dogs, they would happily let you take everything. If you nicely took them from here to a new place and walked them, petted them and were nice to them, they would be nice to anyone. That IS my dogs! If you respected the fact they might be afraid and approached them calmly and got nice and low to greet them and maybe offered a treat to them. They would be instantly nice to you and you would probably see their tails and bums wiggle well before you got close. If you smiled when you looked into their eyes, they would know by your approach that you are good people.
So if they were ever mean to anyone, I would know! It has to have been a mean person. I expect them not to bite the person! That I do expect. I would expect them to be afraid and maybe to try to scare the perpetrator away to some degree. I expect Dylan would be very afraid and defensive and if anyone was aggressive, or showed serious eye contact, that she would absolutely show fear aggression. I have seen her on her death bed completely afraid and I know how she acts when completely afraid, but even she is not dangerous and has many children for friends. But I would never expect my dogs to be nice after being captured by assholes, neglected and lied about, to later be killed!
That is what the Belfast City Council and their dog expert Peter Tallack think and tell the court! There is plenty of evidence that Lennox was nice to them and that maybe the animal wardens were not mean to him. Although apparently they may have lied about this too. So the nice people lie and are two-faced and the alpha dominant male expert thinks looking away is bad when the other choice is to face him and be aggressive, which is actually in line with his alpha dominance theory when approached by an aggressor not of the same pack.
So Is it wrong then if they turned and showed aggression to their captors when they approached with arrogance, understanding the dominance that was being portrayed intentionally by the perpetrator’s expert.
I think not!