Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What's fair is fair... Right?

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my family, but they are certainly not animal-savvy, with the exception of my mom and I. I am solely responsible for walking my two dogs, bathing all four dogs (although sometimes my sister will bathe our Dachshund), and training, for the most part, has fallen on me. I love animals, and find them easier to be around than humans most of the time.

To the point - my stepdad spent an upwards of 1.5k on our English Bulldog, Tank. For the record, I reccommended to him that he take his business elsewhere and find another breeder, as the sire was extremely aggressive (tried to attack people through his fence, but my parents thought "It's okay, because he's protecting mama dog!". NO. Human aggression is NOT okay, in any circumstance, unless it comes when needed, ie, you're walking your dog and a stranger approaches with some nasty intentions.), and on top of it, the dogs were way off the breed standard. We all have heard my complaints about breed standards; even being age 15 at the time, I knew that if he was looking for a genuine bully, he'd be better off looking somewhere else. But of course, with the parent mentality, I was wrong about all aspects of the breeder and Tank was brought home with our two other dogs. Our intention was not to have any dogs at first, but after seeing Aero and Qrikket, we fell in love and were at their house nearly every day from puppyhood to handle them. Off the bat, Tank was aggressive, dominating, and was a bully. Even after being housetrained, he still has no qualms about lifting his leg on various objects in the house, and nor does our Dachshund. Interestingly enough, we got rid of Qrikket, who I had bonded to and taught 20+ tricks by age 4 months, for piddling (you know, hyperactive puppy stuff), and Tank continued to soil the house.

Fast forward two years. I have been the only one who has ever taken Tank for a walk in his three years of life, and I have only taken him around five times. The last time I walked him, he slipped his harness and chased a lady and her kids down the street to attack her dogs. Unlike many people, I do not try to fix problems that I know are beyond my range of skill because it can cause many more problems in the long haul. I have not walked Tank because I cannot control him if he decides he wants the dog on the other side of the street. He goes insane when any dog comes into view, female or male, German Shepherd or Yorkie. MY stepdad didn't take the effort to socialize him. IMO, if you don't have the time required to properly raise a puppy, you shouldn't have one.

My stepdad, who bought him purely on the premise of loving English Bulldogs, has nothing to do with him. Tank sits in a 6 x 4 cage almost 20 hours of the day, with exception to potty breaks and someone occasionally letting him out. I like Tank, and I think it is EXTREMELY unfair of my stepdad to keep him caged away. He cannot be let out with Aero and Buddy, as he is an instigator of fights (although he usually ended up in the vet with puncture wounds in his earlier days), so we have two packs going on in the house - Aero, Buddy, and the family, and Tank and Bentley. My stepdad refuses to neuter Tank (and trust me, I have suggested it on multiple occasions only to be waved away and told that "Tank will be a stud dog"), and he is, I believe, a cryptorchid. I cannot confirm this, as I'm not a vet, but one testicle appears to be undescended, which may mean he is sterile anyways. We all know the benefits of speutering, but apparently my stepdad was left out of this knowledgeable circle. There is even a lady wth four Englsh Bulldogs (the females are almost always bred on their heats, sadly), who offered a breeding to one of her female bullies. BIIIG no no. Never breed a dog with issues such as dog or human aggression.

My stepdad plays the computer for hours a day, whereas he could be walking the dog he loves so much. Recently, we have found someone who wants to adopt Tank - a good idea, IMO. He would be somewhere where he'd be loved, neutered (!), walked, and played with. He would be an only dog, so all their attention could be focused on him, like he deserves. Unfortunately, this hits a sour note - my stepdad refuses to give him up because he "loves him", and always suggests getting rid of OUR dogs (Buddy and Aero), although they are extremely well behaved family pets. The people are still willing to take Tank, but time and again it's refused. This is how I see it - Tank does not get exercise. He has spent most of his life in a cage, which I think is cruel beyond reason. My stepdad refuses to walk him, although he has plenty of time to do so and has more capability of controlling him should an issue with another dog arise. He also makes my siblings and I feed and water Tank... although he is usually sitting around 10 feet away from the crate, playing the computer. He loves Tank, but I think for him it's more the fascination with owning an English Bull. He certainly didn't do his homework when bringing the dog in, and now Tank is suffering for it. Sometimes I play with Tank, who loves nothing more than a good cuddle and playing fetch, but my stepdad has nothing to do with him unless it's the off occasion he decides he wants Tank out. He then spends about 10 minutes playing with the dog, and then goes back to his computer.

The situation angers me more than you know. I have told him to swallow his pride, it is in Tank's best interest that he goes to a home where there will be a more devoted owner, as has my mom, but he refuses to let go. It's sad seeing him sit around all day. My question is, what the hell do I do about this? As mean as it sounds, I've thought of letting Tank loose so that AC can pick him up and place him since my stepdad won't. My mom has tried to talk him down, as have I, but it just doesn't work. I am beyond frustrated by this.


Trypton88 said...

I just found your journal [link from Fugly HOTD]. You should join livejournal and post to 'spo_prevention'. I can't help - sorry, I'm not a dog person.

They can help! Good luck!

L said...

Perhaps you could "take Tank for a walk", have him "accidentally" slip the leash in the yard of the family who wants him, report his missing status when you go home, spend a while "looking" for him, and stop your step dad from instantly replacing him with a new puppy since you're still "in mourning" over the missing dog? >;P

It's frustrating to see family ignoring other family members. Bully breeds especially need their good neighbor manners. Maybe you could get him some dog-related presents for Christmas, or move the crate next to the computer so he can't ignore him?

horseys4me said...

What a frustrating situation you're in! Have you tried telling him the dogs miserable - and if he "loved" it so much he should want it to be happy? Or showed him the statistics on unneutered dogs. Or is he at the point where hed prolly be just fine and dandy if he attacked someone? Too bad he wont bite your step-dad then maybe hed want him gone! -- Tho im totally up for the "whoops he escaped" method at this point lol. I really dont know what else to suggest unfortunately :( Its not like u can call AC on him for not caring for him bc YOURE caring for him.... What about offering him a different less aggressive dog that could be integrated into ur family that he might like instead?? ok thats all my suggestions. Keep us updated on what happens and goodluck!

LegendsLiveOn said...

We have a Dachshund he likes, but Bentley has a Napolean complex and is always nipping him.

I might pick him up a leash and a harness as an incentive ;o)

He's not people aggressive. He loves people, but he doesn't like other dogs. The people he'd be going to would be a single dog household. They're a gay couple from my mom's work who have done their homework and know that he comes with a little baggage. He is deathly afraid of "rustly" things. I think a newspaper blowing in the street could incite a heart attack. Lol.

GoLightly said...

This is why kids get to grow up and leave their parents. I wish I could give you some of my years to get you out of there quicker, Dog-Gone. Nothing worse than living with non-like-minded individuals. But the years will pass quickly enough, you'll see.
Keep up what you're doing, it's all you can do. They are the grown-ups. If you "lose" Tank, he may just get another, and you're back to square one. Keep learning, and telling them what you've learned and know. It's possible it may sink in before you move out, to go to vet School:)
Can ya tell which career choice I'm rooting for?
It's REALLY hard, next to impossible, to train dogs using one person in the house only. You know that. Kudos for trying, and keeping your temper.

Remember you have to work with large animals, in vet school. Think of Tank as a Bull. He is!
He's challenging you, because he can. Ya need Cesar, for an intervention. Heck, you're on the left coast, at least:)
Good luck, DogGone, I feel your pain.
I don't like the bullies, I'm afraid:(
Literally. Bad training in these breeds in a loaded gun waiting to go off.
Be careful, and good luck!

Meaghan said...

I'm sorry honey! My DAD is like that. We had a chocolate lab that my dad bought. He got it as a status symbol and left the training and care to my mother and I. It was his idea to get it even thought no one had the time to train him. It made me very mad. Dogs are not accessories. My dad is dumb.

may said...

I like L's suggestion! I would definitely "lose" him on a "walk" sometime. Poor dog, it's not his fault he's got so many issues, but it sure isn't fair for you to have to deal with it without the help of his OWNER.

I'm so sorry you have to deal with this bullcrap. My stepdad sounds exactly like yours. (Psst - are you my little sister??? :P)

jayjenjo said...

If anyone ever needs an english bulldog rescue contact, go to

This is the Bulldog Club of Ameica National Rescue Network (BCARN). BCARN network members and BCARN member rescues placed over a thousand dogs nationwide last year.

Because of their current popularity, a lot of dogs are being bred who should not be. Rescue unfortunately is seeing plenty of Tanks right now. Many of the rescue network volunteers are experienced with dog aggression/rehabilitation issues.

Very few EB rescuers, trainers etc...will use a harness as bulldogs are masters of escaping them and will use them to do "weight pulls" with whoever is on the leash. Unless a particular dog has a particular upper airway issue requiring it to have a harness, even a flat collar may help control the beastie better than a harness. I had a 40 pound bitch on a harness nearly pull me over once! I also has a joyful run around the Corning, Ca. area rice fields trying to catch a willey old bulldog who backed out of his harness and went for a nice jog.

If your step dad could be persuaded to sign him over, most dog-aggressive EBs can be rehabilitated and placed (after neutering). And unfortunately, being cryptorchid will not affect his fertility but could lead to cancer. Rescue does not place dogs who demonstrate human aggression.

For Southern California, the contact info can be found at

Jennifer Joseph
Bulldog Club of America
BCARN(501c3) member
NorCal Bulldog Rescue (501c3) volunteer/member

LegendsLiveOn said...

JayJenJo - Thanks for all the information! I have looked into Bulldog Rescues before and I would much rather have him placed through there than, say, our local HS (known for being assholes). He's a good boy, he just does NOT like other dogs in his space. He did exactly what you said in the harness - just backed right out of it! I was amazed.

I heard that cryptorchidism can lead to infertility on a few vet sites, but upon looking further, he's only unilateral, not bilateral, leaving him to still be fertile. Ack! I am definitely going to put the pressure on neutering. Hopefully it'll be done. My parents can't complain about price, because I can show them several low-cost speuter clinics.

Wish me well! :o)

lil_peanut said...

-shudders- There is nothing worse than a powerful, willful, untrained dog.

My boyfriend's family bought an English Bully because they're 'sooo cute!' and then never bothered training her. She's also a pup from a very aggressive bloodline. Her dad couldn't be handled by anyone and had to be sedated to be taken to the vet. Her mom wore a shock collar so that the owners could distract her when she got snappy. :( They paid well over 3k for this vicious beastie puppy when they could have spent half that and bought a pup from a well mannered lineage.

Now, I am the behavorist at the local shelter and so I'm always asked to 'train' the poor dog. They seem to ignore the fact that I'm there maybe two days out of the month. -rolls eyes- I do know that you don't agree with the Ceasar-type training but I've found that sometimes with dogs like Tank and Mizz Beastie it's the best way to get them safeish to socialize with other dogs in the house. The whole pack mentality thing, you're top dog, the less aggressive dogs are under you and then the aggressive one is bottom rung. It's a half assed solution, but it's possible to make it work so that they can get some time being a dog and not all cooped up all the time. :( I would also second the suggestion to use a flat collar for walks, tightened so that you can fit two fingers between it and the skin and the width of 1-2 of Tank's vertabres. It might be easier to control him using that instead of a harness.