This blog began with 16 letters from people from Brindi's world - who know and like her, including her groomer, vet, kennel owner, neighbors with kids, neighbors with dogs, and friends of Brindi's owner. It is growing fast with letters from supporters near and far. See FREE BRINDI for a blog kept by Brindi's best friend, Francesca Rogier. Best friends are forever!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Trainer Opinion: Silvia Jay

August 12, 2008

To Whom It May Concern,

After a lengthy phone conversation with Ms. Rogier, owner of Brindi, I feel compelled to forward my professional thoughts about Brindi’s behavior. Please note that following statements are very preliminary only. This letter is intended to provide an explanation for Brindi’s behavior, and an educated opinion how likely it is for Brindi to do serious damage to a dog or person (any age). Please link directly to read why I feel I am qualified to make these statements.

The facts that Brindi is able to attend and complete obedience class with a well known and respected training facility; that she is able to socialize and play with dogs she is familiar with; and that she is cohabitating with a cat and even allows her (the cat) around her food, indicate that Brindi is not an aggressive dog, but circumstantially reactive to dogs she perceives as a threat (imagined or real is irrelevant). The position where a bite happens is important, because it indicates motivation. The fact that Brindi neck grabs leads me to believe that she feels unsafe and threatened. But her bites seem to have been very inhibited – no deep punctures or shakes, no severe damage or kills, no redirected bites to humans that go in between to break the dogs up. In other words, Brindi exhibits a good amount of self-control.

Dr. Ian Dunbar, Veterinary Behaviorist and world-renowned expert on dog behavior, states that a dog that attacks once and does severe damage is considerably more dangerous than a dog that has several incidents but does little to no damage. In my professional experience, I agree. To my knowledge there are no reports that Brindi ever attacked a person. She doesn’t bite a person that pulls her away from a dog she’s attacked. Every dog has the potential to bite, including Brindi. That fact that she never bit a person in the past, and that the motivator for the attacks against dogs seems to be fear, not predation, indicates that she is not any more likely to bite a person than most other dogs.

Based on my experience, the behaviors Brindi displayed are not uncommon, and euthanasia for a dog that has not killed, not done serious damage, and never attacked a person, seems unwarranted. Quite frankly, the preemptive action to euthanize to guaranty society’s safety from dog bites 100% means that almost all dogs would have to be executed.

Also, to cage a dog that lived at an overcrowded dog hoarding place again for a lengthy period of time, and to prohibit the owner, Ms. Rogier, to visit her, is cruel.

I reiterate that this is a professional opinion only, based on experience. In order to be accurate about Brindi, I would have to personally assess her. If given the opportunity, I would be willing to do that, and/or work with Ms. Rogier on an action plan how to manage Brindi better, how to get obedience where it counts – in and around her home, and how to establish a kind of leadership where Brindi feels safer and is less reactive.

With regards,

Silvia Jay
Dog Behavior Expert and Professional Member of the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers CAPPDT
Greenfield NS

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