About a Dog

 

There is a story about a dog in the Everett, WA, animal shelter. It describes the dog as a “gentle giant.” It is a Mastiff/Akita mix, weighing 150 pounds. Giant, indeed. This is the description of this dog from the KOMO Web site:

This Mastiff and Akita mix is a very happy 6-year-old gentle giant in need of an owner who has experience with large, strong breeds. He is smart, knows a few basic commands and is always willing to offer a paw. The home must be cat and dog free, the shelter advises. Bo also requires a securely fenced yard and is not suited for apartment living. Children in the home should be dog savvy and at least 12 years old.

Does this sound like the description of a “gentle giant?” Follow the link for a video and the complete story.

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  1. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    I’ve heard mastiffs described as “portable sofas”.    They’re supposed to be very mild-mannered.  But it’s still a 150 pound dog.  It could kill a kid by sitting on him.

     

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    RushBabe49: Does this sound like the description of a “gentle giant”?

    Not really, no.

    • #2
  3. Eric Ciaramella Member
    Eric Ciaramella
    @BishopWash

    Like the “gentle giant” Michael Brown from Ferguson. 

    • #3
  4. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    I’ve heard mastiffs described as “portable sofas”. They’re supposed to be very mild-mannered. But it’s still a 150 pound dog. It could kill a kid by sitting on him.

    I agree that his size is an issue.  But Akitas are not portable sofas.  Their personalities are described as “complex” and people are generally advised not to have other animals around, as they can turn aggressive without warning.  So it is highly possible that this dog is a gentle giant around adults and possibly even children and other animals, but the shelter is being careful about where he is placed.  This poor guy needs a home and I have no doubt that in the right one, he’s a great dog.

    • #4
  5. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I like dogs but they’ve unfortunately turned into fashion accessories in some quarters.  I expect some hipster with a one bedroom to try to adopt this one so he can take it to Pet Smart or the local brewpub, and then be miffed when the shelter shows him a beagle mix instead.

    • #5
  6. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    akita’s are (I am told) statistically the most aggressive dog breed.  

    a friend had one.  A mutual friend went over to help with some party prep. The dog, without warning attacked viciously.  described as shark bites, where they latch on, and shake their heads, ripping out flesh.  I personally cared for this friend for months, (with the help of many others). 

    The owners refused to put the dog down.  until it, a few months later, without provocation bit one of them savagely.  

    for the record, I love dogs, have had many in my years, with fantastic success and absolute unconditional love.  We are getting a German Shepard pup in about 12 days.  We were declined  by a local pet adoption agency a few days ago.  They were “reluctant” to give us a dog unless we were fully committed to fencing our yard.  We have 19 acres. I told the good lady, who was passionate about her responsibility to find good adoptive homes, we will get a dog.  it will live an amazing wonderful life here with us.  I have taught all my other dogs to be hand and whistle trained to heel, obey and have fun.  We have always taught our dogs the boundaries of our property and they always obeyed.  well that is a lie, we did have a border collie /beagle mix once.  She was smarter that 50% of the people here on Ricochet, and 74.3% of the rest of humanity.  about every 6 months, she would get  this look in her eye, and despite any whistle, command, plea or gesture, she would take off.  She always did this when I saw her too.  kind of like a “I’m leaving now, you can’t stop me, but I’ll be back” look. when she came back, she smelled like something.  Dead catfish, cat poop, skunk, whatever was the most foul odor she could find and roll in.  

    When she sheepishly returned, she would run directly up to our shower and stand there , waiting for me to join her to clean her up.  To get the proper perspective, she was never allowed up on the second story , nor on furniture.  So when she came home stinking, she new she was going to get a shower, and she ran to the taboo place every time.  Thinking back on her, she might have been smarter than 51% of the ricochetti.  She was an amazing dog. i hope our new puppy is almost as smart. 

     

     

    • #6
  7. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    border collie /beagle mix once.

    Not surprised at all…..my mother still talks about her amazingly intelligent border collie from decades ago.  He had that strange, punishment-accepting rebellious streak, too.

     

    • #7
  8. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    I had an Irish, Gabriel, who was an inch taller than the standard – 36 1/2″ at the withers. He was 165 pounds. If he stood up I could stretch his front paws up an make a mark on the wall higher than 7 feet. A gentler, sweeter dog never walked the earth. So big isn’t bad.

    They say of Irish Wolfhounds: “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked”. I’m glad I never provoked him. My head could (literally) fit between his jaws.

    I agree that the Akita part makes for a raised eyebrow perhaps, but Bo sounds like a terrific dog.

    • #8
  9. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    The only thing worse would be “Bo was formerly owned and trained by Michael Vick” . . .

    • #9
  10. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator
    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker
    @AmySchley

    Yeah, how dare an advertisement say “gentle giant when handled properly” instead of “only good at being a fur coated razor blade.” What are they trying to do, get him adopted instead of euthanized? 

    Big dogs need to be secured behind big fences so they don’t hop over when, say,  some stray in heat wanders by. They need room to roam and use their muscles. They need to be around humans who don’t think it’s cute to pull their ears and poke their eyes. They need to be kept safe from knocking over little ones unintentionally. They need to be kept away from smaller animals that trigger their prey instinct.

    And most importantly, they need to be around someone willing and able to assert himself as the pack leader. After all, that’s why most dogs have discipline problems: the humans have let the dog become the alpha. When they show food aggression, or nip to herd, or even tear things up when left alone, it’s because the dog is trying to act like the pack leader. 

    My living situation isn’t such that I could have a big dog like Bo, but if it was I’d take him in a heart beat and enjoy my gentle giant. 

    • #10
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Some big dogs are better with fellow pets than others.

    • #11
  12. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I’ve known a couple mastiffs. Big, dumb lugs. My niece had one named, Dozer, as in bulldozer. Apropos. The worst he ever did was knock stuff off the end tables by wagging his tail. 

    But, Akitas? No. Just no. Why is it the Asian breeds are so monstrous? Akitas, Chows, Shiba Inus. . . It doesn’t matter what size, they’re predictably unpredictably aggressive. I won’t have an aggressive dog and I don’t like it when my neighbors have one either. Very few people are proficient dog trainers capable of bringing out the best of dogs bred for aggression. I have unpopular views on this subject. I may have to post.

    • #12
  13. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator
    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker
    @AmySchley

    Percival (View Comment):

    Some big dogs are better with fellow pets than others.

    Some definitely are. Others are like my parents’ weimaraners who are death on four legs to any animal they can run down, and at 85 and 90 lbs of pure muscle, that’s quite a lot. On the other hand, they’re very sweet, if clumsy and hyper, to people. And as for aggression against other dogs, well, I wonder if they’re just being safe or if Bo decided to teach a mouthy Chihuahua rat who was in charge. Can’t say I’d blame him; sure, they can’t kill you like a big dog, but the flip side is that too many people let them be aggressive because “it’s cute.”

    • #13
  14. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):
    hen they show food aggression, or nip to herd, or even tear things up when left alone, it’s because the dog is trying to act like the pack leader. 

    I agreed with you until this statement. Dogs are social animals – to be abandoned by the pack is a fate worse than death. If a dog is tearing things up when it’s left alone it’s not trying to be the alpha, it’s having a nervous breakdown.

    • #14
  15. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator
    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker
    @AmySchley

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):
    hen they show food aggression, or nip to herd, or even tear things up when left alone, it’s because the dog is trying to act like the pack leader.

    I agreed with you until this statement. Dogs are social animals – to be abandoned by the pack is a fate worse than death. If a dog is tearing things up when it’s left alone it’s not trying to be the alpha, it’s having a nervous breakdown.

    There are multiple causes, but in a wolf pack, the alpha goes exploring while the others stay behind, waiting for the alpha to come back. If a dog thinks it’s the alpha, part of its panic at being left behind is that its pack isn’t behaving properly. The destruction isn’t asserting dominance, agreed, so much as freaking out because it thinks it’s his job to go find you and put you back where you belong. 

    • #15
  16. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I’ve known a couple mastiffs. Big, dumb lugs. My niece had one named, Dozer, as in bulldozer. Apropos. The worst he ever did was knock stuff off the end tables by wagging his tail.

    But, Akitas? No. Just no. Why is it the Asian breeds are so monstrous? Akitas, Chows, Shiba Inus. . . It doesn’t matter what size, they’re predictably unpredictably aggressive. I won’t have an aggressive dog and I don’t like it when my neighbors have one either. Very few people are proficient dog trainers capable of bringing out the best of dogs bred for aggression. I have unpopular views on this subject. I may have to post.

    Dogs were long bred for purpose as you point out. The things that made them useful in the past are inside them still, and breeds that are killers – of deer, lions, bears, etc. remain dangerous. 

    More than that though, some cultures are more practical/rational than others regarding the relationship of animals to humans; I suspect that the Chinese are less given to ‘fur babies’ than we are (though the one child policy may have changed that). 

    • #16
  17. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Stay tuned for new post title.

    • #17
  18. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    I was pleased to read comments from fellow members here that Bo sounds like a dog who will be a great pet for the right home.

    It is important that people who adopt a large dog are able to handle the animal. This doesn’t suggest that without proper handling the large animal would be mauling people or other animals to death, like some furry Godzilla. Rather it indicates  that an over sized mutt can be very strong. If you aren’t dog savvy, you may not realize that any large dog who pulls when out on a leash needs proper training while in a choke collar, until they  learn not to pull. Otherwise the new owner’s face may mesh with the hard cold concrete they and their new pet were out walking on.

    It is common advise for a shelter to suggest that children  be older if the family is adopting a rescue animal. These dogs sometimes  come with their own variety of PTSD, and older children are apt to understand the needs of the new family member better than younger kids.

    For instance, my dog Bella has been with us for 4 and a half years. Yet she still is skittish about drinking water in front of either of us. If kids are around for a weekend, she’ll put off eating or drinking when they are in the same room. She has no aggression over the issue – she just gets uptight and won’t eat or drink if there are people she doesn’t know around at meal time.This is because  when she was out living on the streets of Clearlake, people threw stones and kicked at her to keep her away from their pets’ water bowls.

    A decent animal  shelter usually is careful that any pet leaving their facility has no food aggression or other habits that would end up with the dog hurting the new adoptive parents. A decent dog shelter wants everything to work out splendidly. It is becoming more common than ever that local dog trainers come in as volunteers and work with the problem dogs at a shelter so that they become adoptable in short order.

    On Dec 31st, Bella and I just managed to end our 3 months of fostering a younger pup, Petey. He had been being raised in a boarding kennel, with other dogs. Before being adopted, he needed to become familiar with being inside a home, and to substitute the aloofness the kennel situation had created with warmth and affection for people. When I took him around the community to drum up interest in him, he knew what to do. He turned on the charm and razzle dazzle. He’s been in his forever home for a month now, and I was so relieved to get a call last week that “He’s a great dog, and neither of us know how we got through our lives without this little clown to cheer us up.”

     

    • #18
  19. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    My son and his fiance recently rescued a greyhound available for adoption since several states just abolished racing. Even at three years old, and with several large bare patches on his body from being in a crate 20 hours a day, he adapted immediately to the new house. I would advise anyone considering getting a dog to check out these mistreated animals, there are several sites on the internet devoted to their placement and welfare.

    • #19
  20. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    My son and his fiance recently rescued a greyhound available for adoption since several states just abolished racing. Even at three years old, and with several large bare patches on his body from being in a crate 20 hours a day, he adapted immediately to the new house. I would advise anyone considering getting a dog to check out these mistreated animals, there are several sites on the internet devoted to their placement and welfare.

    But have a good area for them to run. They are coursers and used in racing for a reason.

    • #20
  21. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    My brother had a mastiff, a real beast of a dog.  A Japanese mastiff, he called it.  Also known as a Tosa, or “Japanese Fighting Dog”.  This dog was a gentle giant unless you had chickens.  It seemed to think a chicken was a chew toy.  So it jumped the fence twice and killed a chicken.  So the city told my brother he had to euthanize the dog.  Never mind that the guy next door was was keeping chickens against city ordinances.  Never mind that the dog had never, not ever hurt any person, or any other animal except the chicken.  Tore my brother up.  My sister had two of these dogs, one of which had to be put down for health reasons.  Those two dogs, aside from knocking things over all the time and drooling like Nancy Pelosi looking at an impeachment pen, weren’t bad dogs at all and never hurt a fly.

     

     

    • #21
  22. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Spin (View Comment):

     Those two dogs, aside from knocking things over all the time and drooling like Nancy Pelosi looking at an impeachment pen, weren’t bad dogs at all and never hurt a fly.

     

    A dog has to be really good to snag a fly. I’ve seen them try, but I don’t remember ever seeing one succeed.

     

    • #22
  23. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator
    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker
    @AmySchley

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Those two dogs, aside from knocking things over all the time and drooling like Nancy Pelosi looking at an impeachment pen, weren’t bad dogs at all and never hurt a fly.

     

    A dog has to be really good to snag a fly. I’ve seen them try, but I don’t remember ever seeing one succeed.

     

    • #23
  24. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    I talked to my brother.  I had the story wrong.  The dog did kill the neighbor’s chicken.  But my brother moved.  Then someone called animal control and said the dog was chasing a kid.  But three neighbors said simply it had gotten out and was walking down the road.  My brother told me that actually the dog had hip trouble, and he decided that it was better to put him down than try to get it fixed, as the dog was getting on in age.  

    But still, the dog never hurt a fly.  Just a chicken.  And who can blame a dog for hurting a chicken?

    • #24
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Spin (View Comment):
    And who can blame a dog for hurting a chicken?

    Not me. They are born to die.

    • #25
  26. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Those two dogs, aside from knocking things over all the time and drooling like Nancy Pelosi looking at an impeachment pen, weren’t bad dogs at all and never hurt a fly.

    A dog has to be really good to snag a fly. I’ve seen them try, but I don’t remember ever seeing one succeed.

    Bella keeps our house semi-fly free all summer long. She really hates flies and stops whatever she is doing to nab them. I keep tabs on her insect catching as bees might not be good for her.

    • #26
  27. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    I have a gentle giant dog story.

    My eight-grade history teacher was a 5′ 120-pound woman – soaking wet. (For some reason she never had any trouble maintaining discipline in the classroom. Even brawling 6’+ muscular jock types walked quietly around her.

    She had a St. Bernard that outweighed her by at least 40 pounds. The dog’s name was Metternich. (Told you she was a history teacher.) Big, gentle dog. It would sleep in the back of her Volkswagen  Beetle when she was driving. 

    One day she got pulled over for some minor traffic issue. Dog’s asleep in the back seat. She rolls down the window as the cop comes up. As he leans in the window, Metternich’s head comes up, like a rising dragon. He looks sleepily at the cop and lets out a single bass WOOF. She looks at the dog and simply says “Down!” The dog goes back to the floor, and she continues the conversation with the cop.

    He gave her a warning.

    • #27
  28. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    I’m with Smug.

    • #28