Social Question

Aster's avatar

Why would a well-fed, watered St Bernard dog living with other St Bernards keep running away?

Asked by Aster (18756points) April 28th, 2011

A family member keeps 3 St Bernards. One is old and arthritic; the other one is a year old puppy. The puppy’s sister has a broken leg that was bitten by a copperhead but runs away continually. She was found five miles from home today. They live on seventeen acres but wasn’t chained up today out of kindness; she is chained up about half the time. Why does she keep running off? She has her elderly mother there who probably is the one who broke her leg by biting it. She will stay at home now for a few days to a week then wander off again and be on someone’s porch or be seen romping with a pack of dogs. She was spayed.

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29 Answers

syz's avatar

Why not put up a fence? Neither running loose nor being chained is a good option for a dog.

john65pennington's avatar

Are you sure she has been spayed?

Seelix's avatar

I’d run away too if my mom was biting my snakebitten leg.

crisw's avatar

Do they ever let the dogs in the house? Chaining is cruel and behaviorally destructive. It’s no surprise that a bored and lonely prisoner tries to escape…

Aster's avatar

The snake bite happened 2 weeks ago. The leg break was 6 months ago.
She was rarely chained. When I’d go over there she wasn’t but when she began running away they began chaining her at times. then when she was not chained she’d run off for days. I always believed that a “dream life” for a dog would be to live out in the country on 17 acres with it’s mother. They all hunt rabbits and rats and are well fed.
Yes , John; all were spayed/neutered after the puppies were born.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Lets see, I’m a puppy with lots of energy, I’ve got a cranky arthritic mother that bites me and breaks my leg, snakes all over the place, and when they want to keep me around they hang a chain on me. I don’t know what would make me want to run away. Build him a big fenced in area and let him out alot for playtime. Sounds like he’s just being a typical year old dog.

Seelix's avatar

Yup, they need some fencing. Like @Adirondackwannabe said, I’m not surprised she’s running away.

john65pennington's avatar

Okay, she has been spayed. Are you familiar with an Alpha dog? Most dogs are not an Alpha dog and they yearn to run with a pack for security. I learned this with my border collie. He is an Alpha dog and run away, taking several dogs with him. He comes back, but most of the other dogs are still out there.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

She might be bored. Do the dogs ever get a walk? Or is their ‘exercise” limited to being chained in the yard?

crisw's avatar

And you never answered- are the dogs ever allowed in the house? Do they get any human interaction?

A dog’s dream life is to be at home, being loved, with her family- not running loose, getting bitten by snakes and attacked by other dogs.

Aster's avatar

Many dogs do not receive love 24/7 because parents WORK. Her mistress works part time; her master works full time. So when she is not working and she’s home the dogs get human interaction; more than if she also worked full time.
Dogs that either poke their heads in the brush or roam off and do this quite often get bitten by snakes if they live in the country where people do not keep their “lawns” mowed. Obviously , when she got snake bitten, she was not chained up. If she had been chained it would have been less likely to occur. To suggest that 3 St Bernards should live inside a small house is absolutely ridiculous but I’d be happy to send all 3 over to your place @crisw, where everything is done to perfection. The mother is believed to have broken her leg but it can’t be proven.
@ANef_is_Enuf I have honestly never heard of dogs who live on 17 acres having a collar and leash put on them and being taken for a walk. Where they live, they can go on a walk all day long if they wish. Run, walk, hunt, kill.
@john65pennington no; I haven’t heard of an Alpha dog but I will investigate this.
@Adirondackwannabe whether or not they have “snakes all over the place” is an unknown. I hope not. The dog was bitten by a snake a mile from her house and almost died. The vet was called to the location, she was administered anti-venom and was taken to his office overnight.

Aethelwine's avatar

All dogs are different. We have two blue heeler/black lab male dogs, neutered, from the same litter. One listens to us well, the other has a mind of his own. If they aren’t properly supervised outside, the one that doesn’t listen well will run off for hours if we don’t catch him, and we live on over 200 acres.

It sounds like a fenced in area is what is needed for this dog.

Seelix's avatar

If the dogs’ owners work and can’t be around to keep an eye on them all the time, the answer is simple. Fence in an area of land and keep them in there when no one is home. No chains, room to run. Easy peasy.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Aster well, I don’t know how long the chain is, or how much roaming they are able to do on that 17 acres. It was a genuine suggestion. Dogs like to explore.

Aster's avatar

What do you mean, “how much roaming they are able to do?” As much as they like, far as they like all over the entire acreage. But the other ones stay up on the deck or porch most of the time, sleeping while the dog in question runs off. I think I’ll suggest that they fence off a portion of the land but for one dog and the expense involved I doubt they’ll do it. I hate to see this dog chained.

Ladymia69's avatar

Who is the dog being chained for?

If she runs off and gets killed by another animal, or bitten again, that is what happens in the wild all the time, and at least she was free and doing what she wanted to be doing instead of being chained up for the master’s peace of mind. The only people being upset by that would be the selfish owners, who would then fret over the “expense” of the vet, and the sadness it would cause them!

St Bernards are not cheap. If you can afford the 3 dogs, you can afford a damn fence on your property to allow them freedom without chaining them! If you can’t afford what you need for the dogs’ well-being, don’t acquire the dogs!

Aster's avatar

I see your point but at the same time I feel firm in my belief that most people with farms and dogs never think, “hmm we’ll need a fence.” some do but most do not. Not with 17 acres. We had a dog once on 7 acres and it never once ran off. No fence; no chain. Australian shepherd.
About a month or so ago one St Bernard was found in the woods having mostly been eaten by I don’t know what. But they do have wild boar and for a few days a buffalo. Really.
They do not fret over vet expenses but , yes, they do cry over the loss of their dogs regardless of the circumstances.

Ladymia69's avatar

If they don’t fret over vet expenses, a fence shouldn’t be a concern, either. It is the difference between allowing the animals to have some sort of pleasurable life, and chaining them up in inhumane misery.

Aster's avatar

I guess you’re right. It’s a matter of priorities or what they wish to spend on what. At least their 2 tiny dogs live inside. And as I think I said before the reason the dogs are able to run off and/or die is because they have been unchained.

crisw's avatar

Maybe they should rehome the dogs. From what you said, they don’t have time for them. What use is a dog you just keep in a pen, and what kind of life is that for a dog?

We lived with dogs in the country, on acreage, for ten years. They never were allowed to roam, so they never got eaten by predators,or had broken legs or snakebites- or were poisoned, or hit by cars, or shot, or taken in by Animal Control. Our dogs lived in the house, with us, with a snake-proofed dog run attached to the house with its own dog door so they could go out when they wanted to (they were never confined to that pen.)

Aethelwine's avatar

@Aster There are many dogs at the ranch my husband works at. This is on more than 300 acres. The dogs that don’t run away are allowed to roam. The dogs that do run have a fenced in dog run and are only out of the dog run when the owner or someone can watch them. You do what you need to do for the type of dog you have.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @crisw

Chaining by it’s sheer nature evokes an ‘escape’ desire.

HELLOOOO! If someone chained YOU to a tree all day wouldn’t your main focus be on escape?

Ladymia69's avatar

@Aster For the sake of these dogs who cannot speak and need someone to advocate for them, PLEASE do what you can to convince these people to do the very best thing for the dogs, be it get a new fence, get a new great home, or whatever includes NOT chaining them or imprisoning them in any way. Thank you! :)

Aster's avatar

@ladymia69 You think I should tell them they should move out and get a new house? One dog wanders; the rest stay on the patio. They won’t chain her up that often; they don[t want to do that. So she won’t be alive that long. ):
No way they’ll move.

crisw's avatar

@Aster

@ladymia69 is not saying they should move. The “new great home” is for the dog, not for them!

Ladymia69's avatar

@crisw Thanks for clearing that up. I meant a new home for the dogs, one in which they can be free to roam and not be chained up. If the owners are unselfish people who want the best for their animals, as opposed to only seeing their animals as a possession (“it’s mine, no one else can have it!”), they will do what is best for the dogs.

Aster's avatar

Did I say they chain up their dogs? I’m sorry if I said that . If they’re chained up one would not have been found weeks ago with little left but his head and the female would not have been found a mile away in a man’s yard dying from snakebite. She was brought home on day 2 then in a few days was found 5 miles away on someone’s porch. And I thought I said their mother stays on the porch or patio. And that 2 tiny dogs live inside.
This does not sound to me like dogs who are chained up and not free to roam. or maybe I’m hallucinating? I must be losing my mind, finally.

Ladymia69's avatar

@Aster I think that is the impression you had us all under.

Bottom line: They need to get a fence or dog run,or talk to someone who can help them figure out a way for the dogs to be able to roam a bit but still be protected. For the safety of other animals in the area and the dogs’ own safety, they should not be allowed to just run off and roam wherever they please. That the dogs are allowed to do so and that the owners throw up their hands about what to do is lazy pet-ownership.

Aster's avatar

I already did. I told the “damn people” to get a fence!!

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