“Pit Bull” Tasered in Lakewood, Ohio

Lakewood is a town by me that fairly recently banned pit bulls.  It was extremely controversial, with animal control “randomly” showing up at the house of people who spoke out against it, checking to make sure any pit bulls were insured, properly contained, etc.  Randomly, of course.  *rolling eyes*

So this weekend, Lakewood PD was called out to deal with a loose dog, Otis – why the police showed up instead of animal control, I’m not sure.  The dog was supposedly a pit bull, and supposedly acting aggressively.  The dog ended up getting tasered (twice), before being snared and hauled across the concrete into a vehicle.  There is a camera on the taser so you can see and hear what happened.  I am posting a link to the video, but please be forewarned – it is graphic in that you hear the dog screaming and see it twitching.

http://www.fox8.com/wjw-policetaserpitbull,0,5335872.story

I have some major problems with this video.  First of all, the dog is acting defensive and frightened, not aggressive.  If the officers had any idea how to approach a frightened dog, they would have angled sideways a bit, not made direct eye contact, and spoken in a soothing voice.  Not rocket science.  This dog is very clearly a Boxer.  Not that the breed of dog should have anything to do with being tasered (though we all know it did), but why label it a pit bull?  Now the owner is being charged with having a banned dog, so Otis is sitting in the pound until that charge gets cleared up.  I’ll be surprised if Otis isn’t euthanized.  I understand that the officer had to use a two-handed grip to hold the taser, but I find it “convenient” that the camera on the taser is covered up so we can’t see what the dog is doing right before he gets tasered.  If you really look at the video (I know, it’s painful to watch), you can see that whoever is handling the catch-pole doesn’t have enough of a loop formed to get over Otis’ head, so the officer tasers him again, “because he’s still moving.”

The officer said that, “at least he didn’t shoot him,” he chose to use the taser.  Granted, that’s a good thing.  However, just because you used a taser instead of a gun doesn’t justify it.  In my job, I can’t pepper spray somebody and then say, “well, I could have shot him but chose not to.”  Doesn’t work that way.

It just breaks my heart that Otis is sitting at the dog pound, terrified, because his owner was too irresponsible to keep him safely contained, and because Lakewood police have such a vendetta against pit bulls.  Otis isn’t at fault here.  Once again, the humans are the only ones you can blame.

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The cat needed shaved

I know this is a blog about Inara, but I’m digressing today to post about her feline older sister, Niobe.  Little miss has (had?) quite the long coat, ridiculously long over her shoulder blades – she had wings.  Unfortunately, she was getting matted and refused to let me brush her or trim the mats out.  So I broke down and had her shaved yesterday morning.  I helped hold her during the process, throughout which she actually did very well – a lot of squirming, but no hissing or growling or serious bites.  So I don’t have any pics of the actual process, but I can do before and afters.  🙂

Before:

Check out that coat!
Check out that coat!

After:

You can see the pile of fur is bigger than she is!
You can see the pile of fur is bigger than she is!
She still has her furry tail, head and little booties!
She still has her furry tail, head and little booties!
She's actually a small cat, with very long legs - who knew?
She's actually a small cat, with very long legs - who knew?

Dogs Don’t Generalize

I’d heard this many times, and I understood it – dogs can’t generalize their training from one location to another, hence the reason you must start back at square one when you change locations.  Fair enough, I understand.  Holy criminey though, Inara REALLY doesn’t generalize.

I’m using the clicker to teach her to go to her mat on command.  I shaped the behavior with the clicker until she was going there reliably, then I added the cue, “mat.”  So I would then say “mat” as she was getting ready to step onto the mat.  When she laid down, I clicked/treated.  Awesome, I’m feeling like a genius trainer at this point.

So now I think, “gee, I need to shake things up a bit so I know she really knows it.” Yeah, she didn’t.  I stood up and moved about 2 feet away, she followed me.  I gave the cue “mat,” and she did everything but.  She sat, downed, tried to shake, played dead.  Rinse, repeat.  I ignored her and finally she went over to the mat – major click and treat.  So we do that a few times until I think she has it again.

I moved, she got confused.  I stood still but moved the mat, she got confused.  Both me and the mat stayed in the living room, but every time I moved or I moved the mat, confusion.  I was feeling less and less like a dog training genius by this point.  So we ended on a really good note and called it a night.

This clicker training stuff is hard.

Inara chewing on Mr. Piggy, a gift from her Secret Santa for Christmas in July.  Sadly, Mr. Piggy is already a dismembered, empty carcass.  But she's happy!
Inara chewing on Mr. Piggy, a gift from her Secret Santa for Christmas in July. Sadly, Mr. Piggy is already a dismembered, empty carcass. But she's happy!

What a brave doogan!

So Inara does not like being unsteady on her feet. I think I made it worse a couple years ago when we took an agility class that didn’t really introduce obstacles, but just kind of said, “here they are, have at it.” I took her right up and over the see-saw and she was petrified when it moved under her feet. Refused to go back on it. Since then, she doesn’t like things moving under her feet, or being on unsteady/slippery surfaces.

We have a little playground across the street from us, so tonight we went over there. Just for fun, I sat partway up the slide and clicked/treated whenever she touched it with her nose. Then she progressed to putting one foot on there. Then she put both front feet on. I was pretty thrilled because it’s a stainless steel slide and very slick and noisy. So I was happy to leave it at that and got off the slide. That little crapper of a pupper jumped with all four feet onto the slide and tried to run up it! Her nails were making a horrible sound and she was scrabbling all over it trying to keep her balance. I couldn’t help it, I laughed. And as soon as I started laughing she paused and then did it again! She kept doing it, her tail just waving, until finally I called her off of it.

It was so funny, but also a really good breakthough for her. Like I said, she’s very weird about being off-balance so for her to do this all on her own is pretty cool.

Catch-22

Inara is a pain in the butt on walks, so we don’t walk as much as we should.  However, because we don’t walk as much as we should, she’s a pain in the butt on walks.

That is all.