Don't Dump The Dog
by Randy Grim
reviewed by Pam Green, 2013, 2014
Don't Dump the Dog by Randy Grim is about the common reasons people return dogs to shelters, mostly dog behavior but really the ignorance of people as to how to prevent or cure such behaviors. Grim runs a shelter in St Louis , MS, that is mostly stray and feral dogs, Stray Rescue <www.strayrescue.org>
He writes with a great deal of (mostly sarcastic) humor as well as a lot of exasperation with human stupidity.
|SITE INDEX||BOUVIER||RESCUE||DOG CARE|
|PUPPY REARING||TRAINING||PROBLEMS||WORKING DOGS|
Don't Dump the Dog by Randy Grim is about the common reasons people return dogs to shelters (or reasons they dump a dog into a shelter in the first place), mostly dog behavior but really the ignorance of people as to how to prevent or cure such behaviors. Grim runs a shelter, Stray Rescue, in St Louis , MS, that is mostly stray and feral dogs.
He writes with a great deal of (mostly sarcastic) humor as well as a lot of exasperation with human stupidity. Each chapter begins with a letter or e-mail from an adopter as to why the dog is not working out and why they want to return the dog. Then there's the reply Grim would like to send but refrains (I might add that my own censored replies would be at least as biting, my frustration at least as great). Then there is the discussion of the problem and how to prevent or cure it.
In between chapters are "Quick Fix" advice consisting of the "dumping excuse" and Randy's "quick fix" reply.. My favorite is probably Excuse "my boyfriend doesn't like my dog" and the response "dump the boyfriend", advice I have given on many occasions.
I rather like his humor (similar enough to my own) and may steal a few of his lines for future use when appropriate. I suspect other rescue workers will have similar reactions.
Randy's behavior advice is pretty good. (I do have some annotations of my own of course, mostly adding details.). Some people might object to his occasional use of "startle" tactics such as the penny can (one I'd think most dogs would rapidly habituate to and ignore) and occasional use of mild aversives. but most of the advice is based on desensitization, counter-conditioning, reinforcing more desirable behavior, and so on, all of which are very kindly techniques utilizing positive reinforcement and positive associations. There's emphasis on teaching the dog to relax , trust, and enjoy. His discussion of why you don't do alpha rolls and other physically hostile behaviors is quite good and quite picturesque : don't do these things unless you like spending time in the ER. I think most of us would find plenty of bits here that we'd use when we talk to normal people with a dog "problem".
Many of the problems he deals with are based in fear, not surprising as he deals with feral dogs and abused dogs (including dogs rescued from the dog fighting situation). For fear issues, Nicole Wilde's Help for Your Fearful Dog is a more detailed exposition, but lacks the humor and the primary orientation to rescue work
List of chapters and problems discussed
Randy's explanations are given in everyday language and down to earth examples. So it's a good book for ordinary dog owners, because it will make sense to them. Mostly he avoids the technical language one would address to behaviorists and trainers, language that doesn't tend to resonate well with normal people.
This is a good book for dog owners and adopters as much as for shelter and rescue workers. The message is not to get rid of your dog but to be willing to work on those ordinary (and not so ordinary) problems.