Meet Our own deaf
The Top 10 Myths of Rescue
Myth 1: I have small children, so I want a
Myth 2: It’s better to get a puppy. With an
older dog, you never know what you’re getting.
Myth 3: If you train your dog right, he’ll
stay in the yard without a fence.
Myth 4: When I was growing up, we had a PERFECT
Myth 5: I need a one-acre yard to exercise
a Great Dane. He’ll eat me out of house and home.
Myth 6: I want a dog without dominance issues,
so I want a female.
Myth 7: Great Danes are “Outside Dogs”.
Myth 8: My Great Dane is biting people. He
makes little nips with his front teeth. I can’t keep an aggressive dog.
Myth 9: I’m unsure about getting a rescue dog,
because I’m afraid he won’t bond to me.
Myth 10: I don't want to have my rescue dog
spayed or neutered - I want my children to see the miracle of birth
|Myth 1: I have small children,
so I want a puppy.
Without a doubt,
this is the most common reason people want a puppy. A sweet, small puppy
just seems like the best choice for sweet, small children.
You know that cute
Kodak commercial with the puppies climbing all over the giggling little
boy? Have you ever noticed how short it is? That’s because they could only
film for a few seconds before the welts rose, the blood dripped, and the
boy began to scream for his mother. Puppies have needle-teeth that they
happily sink into anyone who walks by. They also have sharp nails that scratch
when they jump up -- and on little Ryan, those front feet land right around
Puppies leave "presents"
that your toddler always seems to find before you do. Puppies wake your
children during the night. And a puppy doesn’t know the difference between
his stuffed toy and Sarah’s Piglet that she MUST have to fall asleep.
And suppose you
get a puppy when little Morgan is 2. In six months, Morgan will be about
1 inch taller and 3 pounds heavier. However, the 8-month-old puppy will now
be taller than Morgan and outweigh her by 60 pounds. And big snappers that
need to chew will have replaced those baby teeth.
puppies and small children do successfully co-hebitate. But, in our experience,
your child will go through far less Neosporin and Band-Aids with a calmer
2 + year old dog who is road-tested with children.
|Myth 2: It’s better to get a
puppy. With an older dog, you never know what you’re getting
Seems to make sense,
except the exact opposite is true.
All puppies are
cute; all puppies love everyone. It’s not until a dog hits sexual maturity
that some innate behavioral problems start to surface.
We can’t even estimate
how many calls we’ve had from people who paid thousands of dollars for
a purebred puppy, who is now a two year old and biting people, attacking
other dogs, or engaging in some oddball neurotic behavior. Purebred is not
the same as well bred, and sometimes it feels like the disreputable breeders
grossly outnumber the responsible ones.
The truth is
this: when we list a 4-month-old puppy, we can only guess what kind of
adult she’ll make. When we list a 2-year-old dog, we can predict pretty
accurately what kind of dog you’ll have forever.
|Myth 3: If you train your dog
right, he’ll stay in the yard without a fence.
Many people believe
this, right up until the moment the dog is hit by a car, eats poison in
the neighbor’s garage, or is stolen.. Rescue dogs are typically either
strays (which means they have a history of wandering) or owner-surrenders
(which means they’re going to go look for their ex-owner first chance they
get). We just can’t risk it.
|Myth 4: When I was growing up,
we had a PERFECT Great Dane.
No, you didn’t.
Trust me, he was
only perfect because you were 8 and didn’t have to clean up after him and
be responsible for him. I know you believed he was perfect, but you also
believed in Santa and honest government then, too.
I had a perfect
Dane named Max when I was growing up. He died in my freshman year of college,
and has since, in family lore, gone on to be canonized.
Bow your head when you say it.
Everyone in my
family seems to forget the time St. Max was hit by a car he
was chasing. Or the time he bit the kid biking by. Or how he used to sneak
in and sleep on the furniture when no one was home. Or the time he had diarrhea
all over the hardwood floors. Or how he used to eat the Christmas ornaments
off the bottom half of the tree.
Since I’ve been
an adult, I’ve never had a perfect Great Dane--but every single one of
them was perfect for me.
|Myth 5: I need a one-acre yard
to exercise a Great Dane. He’ll eat me out of house and home.
BUUUUZZZZZ! I’m sorry. A brisk 30-minute
walk once a day will do. Danes are the epitome of couch potatoes. Danes
are more suited for apartment dwelling than, say, a Jack Russell terrier.
Many live very happy lives with no more than a side-fenced yard for potty
breaks. Because of their low energy level, a full-grown Great Dane eats
less than an active German Sheppard, Lab, or Border Collie.
|Myth 6: I want a dog without dominance
issues, so I want a female.
In the wacky world
of dogs, that’s just not true.
For starts, it’s
impossible to make gender-based absolutes. But once you spend time around
them, you’ll start to notice there are plenty of hyper, dominant females
out there. You’ll also notice lots of mellow, roll-with-the-punches males
(especially after they make that all-important trip to Dr. Knife).
It all depends
on the individual dog, but don’t think for a minute that a female is a sure
ticket to a passive, submissive pooch.
|Myth 7: Great Danes are “Outside
Great Danes have
the same fur and skin as a Chihuahua.They have no subcutaneous fat layer.They suffer GREATLY from too cold AND too hot.
Danes are people
oriented dogs, and must feel a part of the family. Danes have developed
mental disorders from being kept in the yard, on a chain, or even kept in
a separate area, the garage, or an outside kennel. It’s called “kennel shock”
and several of our foster homes have worked months with dogs with this problem,
sometimes, with patience, it can be worked through. Sadly, some have never
Danes are heavy
dogs and lying on the ground causes them pain. It’s even painful to lie
on a padded carpet without a cushion. They must have a bed at least 4” thick,
or hip, elbow, and arthritis problems will occur.
|Myth 8: My 8 month old Great Dane
is biting people. He’s not lunging or growling, but he makes little nips
on arms and legs with just his front teeth. I can’t keep an aggressive dog.
This is called “flea biting”. It’s
what happens when those cute little puppy bites go uncorrected. And if your
dog’s doing it, he will continue to do it--and do it harder and stronger--until
you DO correct it.
Fortunately, it is relatively easy
to fix in most dogs. Just tell him “Don’t bite” in a very firm voice when
he starts, it’ll startle him, then pet and praise when he stops. If the problem
is really out of hand, you may need to call in a trainer for a few sessions.
|Myth 9: I’m unsure about getting
a rescue dog, because I’m afraid he won’t bond to me.
That sound you hear is all the people
with rescued dogs falling over laughing. Because the exact opposite is
nearly always true--your rescue dog will CLING to you.
Look at it from the dog’s perspective.
He’s spent the bulk of the last year on a 6-foot chain in someone’s back
yard because he committed the unconscionable sin of no longer being a puppy.
At some point during the day, someone may remember to bring him food and
water. The only attention he gets is when they yell at him for barking.
Finally, they take him for a car-ride--dumping
him in a wooded area where he can have a "fighting chance." Despite everything,
he waits there for their return or tries to get back home. He finds water
somewhere. He raids trashcans and gets sick. If he’s extremely lucky, he
survives long enough for an animal lover to find him and bring him to the
Then he sits in the loud, scary shelter
run, starting to lose faith that his family will ever find him. The kennel
people are nice, but he is one of a hundred needy dogs they have to care
Finally, the shelter calls us. And
you take him home.
You not only bring him into your house,
you give him his own bed and bowl, and a crate where he feels safe. You
speak quietly. When he messes on the carpet, you don’t seem to mind--you
just take him outside and then clean it up. You feed him regularly AND give
him toys and treats and Nylabones. He sleeps in your room. He may even have
a big brother or sister to play with. He gets kisses. And when he goes out
in the car, he always comes back.
Your rescue dog’s biggest
fear is that you will spontaneously combust.
He’s not going to let you out of his
sight for one minute. People with rescue dogs learn to function with a
150 pound shadow following us everywhere.
That said, there are some dogs who just never learned to connect
with people, but that becomes apparent very quickly--long before we place
him with you.
|Myth 10: I don't want to have
my rescue dog spayed or neutered because:
it's not natural/she should be able to have a litter/I
want my children to see the miracle of birth/etc.
In fact this is
a non-issue, because evedry deaf Dane leaves DDRI already spayed or neutered.
If everyone prevented irresponsible breeding, we'd be happily out of business.
Do not humanize your dog--no one's asking you to neuter yourself. Your
dog will be healthier and more comfortable once s/he's shifted into neutral--and
will also be a much more pleasant companion.
Neutered male dogs
roam less, mark less territory, and are generally less aggressive. Spayed
female dogs avoid the messy and annoying heat cycles, associated personality
changes during the cycle, and are not at risk for unwanted pregnancy. And
both males and females are less likely to get certain illnesses.
As for the miracle
of birth, well, there's another related rite of passage occurring to
20 million dogs a year in this country, 25% of them
purebred. It happens every day at your local animal shelter. Mostly it is
done humanely. But most parents are not as eager for their children to see
Last but not least
is the issue of genetics. Most deaf Danes suffer from an inheritable from
of deafness that is tied directly to their genes. And those same genes
can be deadly. Because of that, they must never be allowed to breed. For
more on the issue of deafness and genentics check out our links page.
by Betsy Morris of MAGSR. Reprints (and modifications for breeds) permitted
as long as you give us credit!
DDRI thanks Betty for her kind permission
to change for our deaf Danes and rescue group, and for permission to reprint
have men who will exclude any of god's creatures from the shelter of compassion
and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow man.
- Saint Francis of Assissi
© Copyright DDRI, 2002-2011