NLDA Forum for Working Lacy Dogs

Pet Lacys - a cautionary tale
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Author:  Julie N [ Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Pet Lacys - a cautionary tale

Working dogs vs. pets... This is always a hot topic in the Lacy world. Inevitably, people are attracted to these beautiful and unique dogs that only want them as house pets. And some breeders will not only sell to pet homes but also breed for pet homes. This can definitely have a negative impact on the breed as a whole. But it can also be a nightmare for the individuals and dogs involved. So before you buy or promote the Lacy as a pet, please think about Sadie.

I found out about Lacys on the internet. I was researching dog breeds and made it to the Lacy. Everything I read said they were perfect. Supposedly they were well suited for an active owner, and as someone that liked to jog and hike every day, I fit the bill. It even said they were suitable for apartments, so even though I lived in downtown Austin without a yard, I didn't think that would be a problem. I contacted a breeder, went to visit the litter, and picked up a little blue female two weeks later.

We had a few rocky moments in the beginning, but things seemed OK. I was writing my graduate thesis, so I was home a lot and we took tons of walks. We went to the dog park several times a week. I socialized her with strangers and she would sit politely for treats from little kids. We did have trouble in puppy class because she would growl and snap at other pups for the smallest transgression. She'd even bow up to big dogs if she wanted something they had. I corrected her for all these things, but in the end it didn't do any good.

At about 7 months old, her adult drives kicked in, and she became increasingly difficult to handle. She started having real fights with other dogs, not just snapping. She often drew blood. And I was horrified by her sudden change around children. Despite her early socialization, she started to see kids as some kind of prey. She would literally try to bay them, barking and circling them, reaching in to nip, just like a dog working hogs or cattle. Of course I didn't know it at the time, but it was her instincts shinning through.

Without an outlet for her drives, they turned into extremely dangerous behaviors. She became very protective of me and my belongings. One time, a dog came up behind me when I was sitting on the ground at the park, and she lunged to attack. I reflexively put my arm up and still have the scars. I lived with two roommates and she wouldn't let them near my bedroom. I tried exercising her more, but at one point we were going for 12 mile bike rides and there was no change. I took her to several trainers and no one could help. Of course what she really needed was a job.

The final straw came when, in a three week period, she bit two people. Both were because they tried to stop a dog fight. One had to go to the hospital. The other was my roommate, and they told me to get rid of the dog or move out. I was devastated. My active pet, the one that people said would be so perfect, was a dangerous nightmare.

All this time I was begging and pleading for help. I got a few passive suggestions, but nothing that worked. Until one day I posted that I had to get rid of Sadie. Finally a very kind hog hunter stepped up with the one solution I hadn't tried. He said he could train her to be a hog dog for a month or two while I found a new place to live. Despite being a vegetarian that was staunchly against hunting, I agreed, because I had no other options.

Sadie still has problems, but with a lot of work I can keep her stable. She has been hog hunting for a year now and absolutely loves it. When she sees her cut collar, she goes nuts with excitement. We are now training for agility as well, and even though it isn't a substitute for hunting, she will leave the other dogs alone in class if she is able to get after hogs on the weekend.

So for all those that want to justify purely pet Lacys... Even though some Lacys are watered down enough to make it in suburbia, what about those that aren't? Can you handle a situation that ends in multiple bites and great heart ache? As a pet owner, are you willing to do whatever it takes, including rearranging your life, to keep this dog? Are breeders willing to take the dog back if the owner can't handle them? Or will this unfortunate dog contribute to the growing population of Lacys in shelters?

Please think about it.

Author:  MisB [ Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pet Lacys - a cautionary tale

I know first hand how hard you have worked with Sadie.. :ymapplause:
And I have always been blown away by your commitment to her !

This link is in the breeding & genetics section but I wanted it here too, this guy has a couple good articles about working breeds being kept as working breeds
and why..


Author:  TedH71 [ Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pet Lacys - a cautionary tale

I guess I'm lucky that mine just chews stuff like diapers, maxi pads, and cardboard and sometimes some misguided kid's toy and surfs the sink when he's bored. Other than that, he's happy to chill unless some hapless and idiotic squirrel or rabbit wanders by then it's on! :)) That's why I'm planning to buy a $500 silent treadmill from the Colby family which handmakes them and have had pit bulls in their family for over 150 years now. Just google Colby pit bulls and you'll get their website then you can see how much they sell the treadmills.

Author:  MisB [ Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pet Lacys - a cautionary tale

Unfortunately Julie & Sadie's story is not a rarity
Many a "pet" owners have called or emailed asking for advice
or re-homing options. And as you can see from the rescue & re-homing section
what was considered a "rare" breed has now found it's way to being a "pound"
dog just like all the other breeds.

Proper placement of this breed is crucial, especially if the breeders are breeding for quality
WORKING dogs. Which they should be since they are after all a working breed..

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