Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not All Owners Are Created Equal

Poor Lily. I have mentioned her before. She is the wheaten terrier with an invisible fence on the busiest street in my town. Since the installation of the invisible fence about four years ago she has become increasingly dog reactive. She charges the fence line teeth flashing and snapping and then gets zapped by her collar (and yips - so I do know for a fact she is getting zapped). She reacts to dogs in cars driving by and across the street.

I will no longer walk downtown in the afternoon because I know she will be out in the yard and dive bomb us. The poor dog is out, alone, almost all the time. I can count the times I have seen her with humans and it doesn’t take more than two hands.

Earlier this week John came home and said, “I think they gave Lily a lobotomy.” My response was, “What on earth are you talking about?” “She didn’t dive bomb us.” The full implications of this didn’t sink in.

Last night John and I took the boys for a late night walk downtown. Lily was out in her yard. I got to see firsthand what John was talking about. Instead of dive bombing us, she moved away from the sidewalk and slunk down in a submissive posture. My heart BROKE.

Since the owners have done ZERO training with this dog the entire time they have owned her – ZERO – I am left making the assumption she was attacked by another dog due to her fence fighting. It left me emotionally quaking and muttering about *&%$! @ssholes who should not be allowed to own any sort of animal.

I was praying she would be inside when we returned, but of course she was still out. NO animal should be turned into the fearful submissive mess I saw last night. I know it happens all the time, but to watch it happen and have zero recourse because TECHNICALLY they are not abusing her, well there are no words for it. It sucks. It breaks your heart. It makes you, or at least me, want to break things.

I know some dogs can be very successful on invisible fences. There is another dog on an invisible fence on one of our walks and the dog is chill as can be. He just sits and watches when he is out, which is not very often. His owners do not use the invisible fence as an excuse not to walk and socialize their dog. I see him out and about with his owners often.

There is no good ending for this post. A good ending would involve dog-napping Lily and placing her with a family that cared an iota about her mental health. Having watched what has happened to Lily I cannot say I think invisible fences are a good thing. In fact I believe a significant amount of thought should be put into the merits of installing an invisible fence and I do not believe most people do that.

10 comments:

Diana said...

I will tell you I had an invisible fence once. I lived in a neighborhood where our backyard linked with lots of other poeples backyards. My kids and the neighborhood kids ran from yard to yard playing. I didn want a fence so we chose an invisible fence. A lot of training went into teaching my dog the boundries. I can not recall a time when he tested it and got shocked. We also tested the shock on ourselves to feel it. It felt like when you touch the prongs of a cord to an electric socket. Also my dog was never outside when I wasnt home and he hardly ever was outside unless we were with him. But the invisible fence worked well for us. BUT its not for everyone or every dog. Diana

Katrin said...

Oh wow that is heartbreaking Julie. Such a sad story. But honestly my 1st reaction when you wrote about her new fearful behavior was "they had barkbusters out"

Jules said...

That’s the crux of the matter, Diana – a lot of training went into working with your dog and the boundary. Maybe I have a very poor view of humans but I think most people do the minimal amount of training. Also how savvy is your average person about their dog’s temperament? I don’t think this WT should have ever been on an invisible fence. Now the Aussie and his owners up the street are a brilliant example of an invisible fence working.

Oh Katrin, I didn’t even think of barkbusters. Obviously something REALLY horrifying to Lily happened to her and given the owners are so absent I doubt it was directly by their hand. It is heartbreaking.

Kathy said...

I think the danger with invisible fencing is that it seems so nice, and sweet and what could the problem be? Well, it does not stop other dogs from getting your dog who is then left defenseless, and gosh how horrible for a dog to see things they should love, other dogs, kids, people and get shocked for looking at them, is there any better way to train a dog to hate things? heck I would rather see someone get a kennel then have a dog sitting out and getting taught to be scared of their world or getting attacked. You just wish these people could experience how much more fun a dog is when they are around you more and part of your family.....like why have the bother and expense and work of having a dog when you do not take advantage of them cuddling with you or following you around the house? Just my opinion...

Sara said...

Having been bitten by a dog, and watching my own dog get mauled by a dog who crossed over his invisible "fence", I really think they should be illegal. They are not safe for keeping dogs (or other animals)out of your yard, and certainly not reliable at keeping dogs contained.

Its not a fence at all. My dog lived with scars(the size of two hands) the rest of his life, when a real fence would have prevented the brutal attack. Their insurance company did require them to erect a real fence afterward.

Red Dog Mom said...

I'm with Kathy on this one. Whenever people tell me they want to get IF for the dogs I say that while it can work quite well you need to remember that it only keeps your dog in - it doesn't keep other animals and people out. Poor Lily.

Dawn Small said...

I agree with Kathy as well. I really wish they were outlawed. The dogs are vulnerable to every person or animal who wants to come into the yard, while they themselves can't escape. Terrible things.

Fencing doesn't have to mean the humans in the family can't come and go out of the yard. That's why god made gates.

Jules said...

Sara - I am so sorry to hear you had such a horrific experience. I personally think they should be illegal as well. And Kathy is so right - what is the point of having a dog if you are just going to stick them out in the yard?!

Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

I love (sarcasm) how your town went to all the trouble to establish BSL but can't be bothered to deal with this dog that I, as a non-resident, have been harassed by as it screamed at Tessie in the car from the confines of its yard. Priorities.

I agree with Katrin -- my first reaction was that they must have hired some moron to put a shock collar on her and give her a level-10 correction every time a dog came by. :(

Mango said...

Oh that is just terrible. My next door neighbor has the sweetest little dog and she keeps saying she wants an invisible fence. Now they do walk the dog and play with it, but she is always on a six foot leash and they want her to run around. I have suggested getting her a 50 ft. line so they can safely throw the ball for her in the yard but no luck so far. Sigh. At least they don't have the invisible fence (yet).