Another Dog Story...

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nkettles73

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

Tom, I am so sorry for your loss and know first hand how horrific this experience is. This same thing happened to me this past week with my Juvenile male Sulcata (the gardner left the gate open and neighbors dog getting in the back yard). Thank you for sharing your story so people are aware of things that can happen when all precessions are taken.
 

ChiKat

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

DanikaM said:
Our dog is interesting... we have always had a lot of small animals(cat, lizard, tortoise, ect.)and all she does is sniff them and walk away not caring. She makes sure she doesn't kick any creature while she's walking and is perfectly fine. I would still never trust her completely alone with the tortoise but I just wanted to share the side of someone with a dog that is used to them. Even for her a HUGE size she is put at the bottom of the pyramid. Lol. In their world it is probably rabbit, cat, lizard, tortoise, dog. Yes, rabbit in the lead. She chases the cat around the house.

I have a 6-lb Chihuahua and a 15-lb mix who are great with small animals. The 15-lber used to snuggle with my pet rats (SUPERVISED) and they have both sniffed Nelson, but know they are not to get too close to him.

I would still NEVER EVER leave them alone with him. Even for a second. They are DOGS. Even if they are the sweetest, most harmless little dogs, you can't fight natural instincts. My dogs could see Nelson as a toy. It is not a risk I am willing to take.

Like Tom said, those are the dogs that end up hurting tortoises. You obviously wouldn't leave your aggressive, animal-chasing dog with your tortoise. It's when you let your guard down for a second because your dog is so sweet and loving, that these tragedies happen. :(
 

Laurie

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

ChiKat said:
DanikaM said:
Our dog is interesting... we have always had a lot of small animals(cat, lizard, tortoise, ect.)and all she does is sniff them and walk away not caring. She makes sure she doesn't kick any creature while she's walking and is perfectly fine. I would still never trust her completely alone with the tortoise but I just wanted to share the side of someone with a dog that is used to them. Even for her a HUGE size she is put at the bottom of the pyramid. Lol. In their world it is probably rabbit, cat, lizard, tortoise, dog. Yes, rabbit in the lead. She chases the cat around the house.

I have a 6-lb Chihuahua and a 15-lb mix who are great with small animals. The 15-lber used to snuggle with my pet rats (SUPERVISED) and they have both sniffed Nelson, but know they are not to get too close to him.

I would still NEVER EVER leave them alone with him. Even for a second. They are DOGS. Even if they are the sweetest, most harmless little dogs, you can't fight natural instincts. My dogs could see Nelson as a toy. It is not a risk I am willing to take.

Like Tom said, those are the dogs that end up hurting tortoises. You obviously wouldn't leave your aggressive, animal-chasing dog with your tortoise. It's when you let your guard down for a second because your dog is so sweet and loving, that these tragedies happen. :(

I saw your name as the last post on this thread and my heart sank, I thought no, not Nelson! So happy to see it wasn't what I thought it was :)
 

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

Tom said:
My best friend has a group of russians. One male, three females. He and I have similar backgrounds and interest in reptiles. We experienced the big boom of reptile popularity together in the early 90's. We have a habit of swapping reptiles back and forth. We had a water monitor that we shared and a pair of dog tame amethystine pythons, recently some bearded dragons and a couple of snakes had an extended visit with me... you get the idea. Well he got married and had kids before I did and when his first son was a few years old, "Uncle Tom", bought him a hatchling russian at a reptile show that we all attended together. His son named the tortoise Horace. That was around 8 years ago. As Horace grew and thrived, my friend added a young CB female. As Horace reached maturity he predictably got aggressive with his female and so my buddy added a couple more females to make a nice group. He built a large outdoor pen and his tortoises have done very well living outdoors for him in the warm dry CA air. Recently he bought a new house with a huge backyard and moved his adult tortoise group into a large new outdoor pen with lots of nooks and crannies and hidey holes. Horace, and his hopefully upcoming offspring, were intended to be in our family for many generations...

My friend's wife's Uncle Joe (not his real name) has been having some health issues and has not been able to get out with his dog as often as he'd like. He asked if he could turn his dog loose in the big backyard for some exercise. The dog was a medium sized mutt, very well trained, well behaved, great with the kids, great with all people, and he had been to the house many times before. The dog never showed any interest in the tortoises or their pen way over on the far side of the yard and was not "critter crazy", in any way. The uncle is a good man. I know him and his family well. He understood about the tortoises, knew about them and agreed that the dog would never be left unsupervised in the backyard and that he would remain with the dog at all times. He had been over with the dog several times without incident. The dog NEVER showed any interest whatsoever in the tortoises or their pen. All went well on the current visit and uncle Joe sat in the backyard with his dog while it exercised and played. The time came to leave and Uncle Joe stepped into the house to say his goodbyes. Goodbye turned into a conversation and conversation turned into a discussion. We've all done this, I'm sure. Mind you, all of the people involved are intelligent, thoughtful, decent people. We are not talking about apethetic people who don't know any better, or don't care.

My buddy came home from work, greeted the family, and went to his room to change out of his work clothes. Outside the bedroom window he could see uncle Joe's dog chewing on something. Never even thinking of the tortoises, he went outside to see what the dog had found... To his shock and horror the dog was gnawing on, and removing pieces from one of the adult female russians. She was still alive while the dog worked on her, but she was too far gone to be saved. To his further shock and horror, Horace was in many pieces just a few feet away. Horace and his female are dead. Gone forever. They will not be bringing joy to our families any longer. This tortoise was to grow up with my nephew and still be his companion when they were both old men. Just a few minutes of inattention is all it took. Done. I am shocked, horrified, angry, sad, and rapidly approaching numb from thinking about it.

This is not about temperament or training. It is simply a dog's natural instincts. Any dog, any breed, any time, any level of training. I am a professional dog trainer. My dogs are the best trained dogs in the entire country and I have the National trophies to prove it. I allow my dogs around all of my tortoises of all species and sizes frequently, but NEVER, unsupervised. Please believe me when I say:

DOGS AND TORTOISES SHOULD NEVER NEVER NEVER BE LEFT ALONE TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not for a minute, not for one second. Not while you go to the bathroom. Not while you quickly answer the phone. Not while you check on the kids. Not while you bid farewell to beloved family members for the evening... Everyone makes mistakes, but some things should just NOT be left to chance.

This one hit very close to home with me, but I have seen it many times. Blood on the dog and adults hands, tears on the children's faces... Spread the word people. Don't let this happen!













Hi Tom, I am so sorry about Horace and the other female Russian….I think it's especially sad to read this story so close to you, because it's so obvious how much you're committed to your pets and how much you love all animals particularly tortoises…I am so so so sorry!!!!! :0(
 

RosieRedfoot

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

I have two labs as well as a tortoise and a myriad of small critters. My one dog, the black lab, can be left with the rodents and rabbits with no issue. He ignores them. But when he saw Rosie the tortoise wandering about he had the stalking-prey look so I know he can't be trusted with a tortoise. My other dog has such a high prey drive that every bug that crosses his path has to be chased and eaten. I once let him see the gerbils (him in his crate and them in a cage) and he was whining and shaking and trying to claw out of the crate to get at them. I never let him even near the critters or the door of the critter room. My dogs, when I'm not home, are in crates in the living room and the tortoise and rabbits and rodents are in a second bedroom behind a shut door. When I'm home I still leave the pet room door shut unless the dogs are outside behind a locked outer door. I don't trust my dogs around my small pets one bit. I trust my black lab to not attack them when I'm home since he listens, but the yellow lab has such a high prey drive his hearing/obedience shuts off. This is why I've yet to build an outdoor pen. Not because I fear for raccoons/cats/people stealing her, but I fear my own dogs would find her and kill her. Some day, when she's bigger and we own a house, I will build a separate tortoise-safe yard. But for now she gets to live in her inside pen and partly in her outside pen (when the dogs are kenneled). It makes things difficult, but it's just something I have to do to keep all my pets safe.
 

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

This is terrible. I had my dog behind the gate the other day when I was letting my Russian walk around and my mom and sister were like: "let the dog out! She looks so sad! She won't harm the tortoise!" Then I told them this story and my mom understood that it was for the best that the dog be kept behind the gate.
 

jtrux

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

My dog (German Shepherd) is very interested in my Leopard. When I wake up I take Cooper outside and let him soak up some rays while soaking in some warm water and I stay pretty close by and my dog just constantly interrupts his bath. I'm always running her off, i'm worried if I wasn't around she would pick him up and GULP!
 

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

jtrux said:
My dog (German Shepherd) is very interested in my Leopard. When I wake up I take Cooper outside and let him soak up some rays while soaking in some warm water and I stay pretty close by and my dog just constantly interrupts his bath. I'm always running her off, i'm worried if I wasn't around she would pick him up and GULP!

She probably would. That's is why dogs should NEVER be left unsupervised with a tortoise.
 

Rio

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

I'm so sorry to hear that this happened to your babies. I have dogs and I'm a new potential tortoise owner, and this is a very grim, real warning that needs to be heard.
 

BentleytheTort

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

This honestly made me cry.It's amazing how these little creatures get to your heart and fast.
Good luck to you Tom and Sorry for your losses.Hopefully you have saved a tort's life with this post!
 

mtdavis254817

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

Tom said:
My best friend has a group of russians. One male, three females. He and I have similar backgrounds and interest in reptiles. We experienced the big boom of reptile popularity together in the early 90's. We have a habit of swapping reptiles back and forth. We had a water monitor that we shared and a pair of dog tame amethystine pythons, recently some bearded dragons and a couple of snakes had an extended visit with me... you get the idea. Well he got married and had kids before I did and when his first son was a few years old, "Uncle Tom", bought him a hatchling russian at a reptile show that we all attended together. His son named the tortoise Horace. That was around 8 years ago. As Horace grew and thrived, my friend added a young CB female. As Horace reached maturity he predictably got aggressive with his female and so my buddy added a couple more females to make a nice group. He built a large outdoor pen and his tortoises have done very well living outdoors for him in the warm dry CA air. Recently he bought a new house with a huge backyard and moved his adult tortoise group into a large new outdoor pen with lots of nooks and crannies and hidey holes. Horace, and his hopefully upcoming offspring, were intended to be in our family for many generations...

My friend's wife's Uncle Joe (not his real name) has been having some health issues and has not been able to get out with his dog as often as he'd like. He asked if he could turn his dog loose in the big backyard for some exercise. The dog was a medium sized mutt, very well trained, well behaved, great with the kids, great with all people, and he had been to the house many times before. The dog never showed any interest in the tortoises or their pen way over on the far side of the yard and was not "critter crazy", in any way. The uncle is a good man. I know him and his family well. He understood about the tortoises, knew about them and agreed that the dog would never be left unsupervised in the backyard and that he would remain with the dog at all times. He had been over with the dog several times without incident. The dog NEVER showed any interest whatsoever in the tortoises or their pen. All went well on the current visit and uncle Joe sat in the backyard with his dog while it exercised and played. The time came to leave and Uncle Joe stepped into the house to say his goodbyes. Goodbye turned into a conversation and conversation turned into a discussion. We've all done this, I'm sure. Mind you, all of the people involved are intelligent, thoughtful, decent people. We are not talking about apethetic people who don't know any better, or don't care.

My buddy came home from work, greeted the family, and went to his room to change out of his work clothes. Outside the bedroom window he could see uncle Joe's dog chewing on something. Never even thinking of the tortoises, he went outside to see what the dog had found... To his shock and horror the dog was gnawing on, and removing pieces from one of the adult female russians. She was still alive while the dog worked on her, but she was too far gone to be saved. To his further shock and horror, Horace was in many pieces just a few feet away. Horace and his female are dead. Gone forever. They will not be bringing joy to our families any longer. This tortoise was to grow up with my nephew and still be his companion when they were both old men. Just a few minutes of inattention is all it took. Done. I am shocked, horrified, angry, sad, and rapidly approaching numb from thinking about it.

This is not about temperament or training. It is simply a dog's natural instincts. Any dog, any breed, any time, any level of training. I am a professional dog trainer. My dogs are the best trained dogs in the entire country and I have the National trophies to prove it. I allow my dogs around all of my tortoises of all species and sizes frequently, but NEVER, unsupervised. Please believe me when I say:

DOGS AND TORTOISES SHOULD NEVER NEVER NEVER BE LEFT ALONE TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not for a minute, not for one second. Not while you go to the bathroom. Not while you quickly answer the phone. Not while you check on the kids. Not while you bid farewell to beloved family members for the evening... Everyone makes mistakes, but some things should just NOT be left to chance.

This one hit very close to home with me, but I have seen it many times. Blood on the dog and adults hands, tears on the children's faces... Spread the word people. Don't let this happen!













i agree that dogs and torts shouldnt be left alone.... i have a dog and it sounds bad but how i broke her of messin with my torts was..... id pick up my tort and hold it out to her... the moment she would sniff it id smack her in the snout and tell her NO!.. I did this over and over.... It may sound mean but now she wont even step in there pen, and when their walking around she completly avoids them... she wont even look them in their eyes


i agree that dogs and torts shouldnt be left alone.... i have a dog and it sounds bad but how i broke her of messin with my torts was..... id pick up my tort and hold it out to her... the moment she would sniff it id smack her in the snout and tell her NO!.. I did this over and over.... It may sound mean but now she wont even step in there pen, and when their walking around she completly avoids them... she wont even look them in their eyes
 

jtrux

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

Although your method worked i'm a little concerned. I'd suggest in the future a different method only because your dog is supposed to trust you and by offering the tort to the dog and then correcting it, you're sending mixed signals. I'm not a dog expert but when it comes to training a dog you have to think like they do. You're the (hate to quote The Dog Whisperer but I am) pack leader and you have to be consistent all the time.

I'm not trying to sound like an a$$, just giving my opinion so don't take it personal.
 

tort1

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Cats and Tortoises

Hi Tom

I may be getting a Sulcata tortoise but I already have a cat, the cat is 4 years old and the tortise is going to be a baby if I gwt him. Can cats and tortises mis together?

:tort:
 

tortoise3456

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

That's so horrible, I'm terribly sorry for your loss :( I hope that they're in a better place..
 

Tom

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RE: Cats and Tortoises

tort1 said:
Hi Tom

I may be getting a Sulcata tortoise but I already have a cat, the cat is 4 years old and the tortise is going to be a baby if I gwt him. Can cats and tortises mis together?

:tort:

Sometimes. The safe bet would be to have an enclosure that restricts the cats access to the tortoise, thereby eliminating any risk. Coincidentally, a closed up enclosure is also the best thing you can do to house your new baby. Read this:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-32333.html
 

Team Gomberg

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

I understand the dog/small tortoise concerns and risks.

I wonder though if there is hesitation with a dog and tort being left alone if the animals in question were a 100+lb sulcata that free roams the yard and the family "chihuahua/pom/pug" that just goes out to potty.

Can even a little dog hurt a big tortoise?? I am thinking the danger would be the other way around, lol. Tort chasing the toy breed dog??

Does anyone with think its ok/less of a risk/nothing to worry about to have their LARGE sulcata's be around fairly small or medium sized dogs?? Or is that still a no-no danger possibility to the tortoise?
 

Tom

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

Still a risk for both animals. Sometimes the small dogs will still chew on a big tortoise. They can gnaw on them like a giant cow hoof. Many tortoises will just close up in their shell and wait for the "predator" to go away. Chihuahuas might be less likely to do this, but small terriers are much more likely. Some tortoises will start doing some herky jerky ramming. If a small dog gets caught between a hard place and a big tortoise, it could easily have bones broken or be killed.
 

sibi

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

I'm so glad you wrote about your experience, Tom, because many here are rethinking how vulnerable their torts can be, even if the owner doesn't have a dog. It's experiences like this that can make a person so passionate about careless owners who's torts have died and /or have seriously been attacked by their dog. However painful it has been for you, I appreciate and share your passion. Because I've read your experience, I will forever internalize that pain as if I had gone through it myself. I have never trusted dogs or even other people enough to leave my babies w/o my being there. Sorry that you had to go through this so that no one else has to!
 

jaydog6644

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

team tort!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


my friends tortoise was killed by his dog:/
 

surie_the_tortoise

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RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

Tom you sir are a good man for telling that story with dignity. sorry for the loss of you and your family.
 
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