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Introducing tortoise and dog

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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I think this thread has veered from my original question which perhaps wasn’t clearly written.
I really want advice for reducing interest In the tort from my Labrador. I’m not suggesting a set up like my friends but when Aesop (tort) goes back outside in his outdoor run I don’t want Rollo (dog) to sit and stare at him all day. I just wondered if anyone had any tips, but I think my instinct is to not make a fuss and the dog will get bored eventually.
There is simply no way to do this. The dog will not lose interest and even if it appears that he/she has, your tortoise is at great risk of mauling. Many people have the dog and tortoise coexist for years with no problem and seemingly no interest from the dog. Then, one day, they find their tortoise all chewed up. The response is always: "He's never done that before..."

You can hire a professional dog trainer that does snake breaking clinics. They know how to create a negative associate between dog and reptile. In the case of rattlesnakes, it is to protect the dog from harm. In your case, it would be to protect the tortoise, but the concept is the same.

The best policy is to have separate areas for dog and tortoise, and have physical barriers between them at all times. Introducing the scent, and any attempt to introduce or desensitize the dog is only going to generate more interest. As a professional dog trainer specializing in aggression and problem dog cases, and also a tortoise keeper with decades of experience, I know how this will go. I've made all the mistakes and watched many others make them too. I hope you are one of those intelligent people who can learn from the mistakes of others and not have to make them yourself.
 

AesopSlow&Steady

New Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
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15
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Inverness
There is simply no way to do this. The dog will not lose interest and even if it appears that he/she has, your tortoise is at great risk of mauling. Many people have the dog and tortoise coexist for years with no problem and seemingly no interest from the dog. Then, one day, they find their tortoise all chewed up. The response is always: "He's never done that before..."

You can hire a professional dog trainer that does snake breaking clinics. They know how to create a negative associate between dog and reptile. In the case of rattlesnakes, it is to protect the dog from harm. In your case, it would be to protect the tortoise, but the concept is the same.

The best policy is to have separate areas for dog and tortoise, and have physical barriers between them at all times. Introducing the scent, and any attempt to introduce or desensitize the dog is only going to generate more interest. As a professional dog trainer specializing in aggression and problem dog cases, and also a tortoise keeper with decades of experience, I know how this will go. I've made all the mistakes and watched many others make them too. I hope you are one of those intelligent people who can learn from the mistakes of others and not have to make them yourself.
What an incredibly patronising response! Thank you for your advice, I think you may have misunderstood my query - or perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. I have found a solution anyhow.
 

SweetGreekTorts

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
911
Location (City and/or State)
Tucson, AZ
I don't find Tom's response to be patronizing at all. And he provided a very sufficient answer to your inquiry.

You're wanting to know if your dog and tortoise can peacefully coexist with your dog having no interest in your tortoise, correct? It really cannot be done. I can see that's not the answer you want, but it's the absolute truth. Dogs have natural instincts and we can never predict how they will react in any situation, even one they have been through before. They might get along fine together at first, but that instance will come when the dog attacks the tortoise, even under supervision, and all it needs is mere seconds to do damage.

I've seen too many stories (with gruesome, heartbreaking photos) of people who had trusted their dog with their tortoise and then one day their tortoise got mauled without warning. The last one I saw, the damage was too severe and the tortoise was euthanized. It all could have been prevented, had those people kept their tortoise safely in its enclosure and completely out of reach from the dog.

Tom gave great insight and he's had years of experience which is why he's trying to help others from making mistakes.

But in the end, it's your dog and your tortoise, so you are going to do what you think is best. Hopefully nothing bad will happen, ever. Good luck [emoji106]
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
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Just to add a further anecdote for your edification:

I operated a turtle and tortoise rescue for many years. About 6 or 8 years ago an older couple brought me Mildred, a desert tortoise with three legs. The story was that they had Mildred since she was a hatchling. When she was about 10 years old or so they bought a lab pup. The pup grew up in the same backyard as Mildred and they lived together for about 15 years.

One summer the older couple went away on vacation leaving the house and animals to be cared for by their adult son, who came over twice a day to look after things. When the couple got home they discovered that Mildred now had only three legs instead of four. The dog had chewed off one of her legs in their absence.
 

SweetGreekTorts

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
911
Location (City and/or State)
Tucson, AZ
Just to add a further anecdote for your edification:

I operated a turtle and tortoise rescue for many years. About 6 or 8 years ago an older couple brought me Mildred, a desert tortoise with three legs. The story was that they had Mildred since she was a hatchling. When she was about 10 years old or so they bought a lab pup. The pup grew up in the same backyard as Mildred and they lived together for about 15 years.

One summer the older couple went away on vacation leaving the house and animals to be cared for by their adult son, who came over twice a day to look after things. When the couple got home they discovered that Mildred now had only three legs instead of four. The dog had chewed off one of her legs in their absence.
Very sad. I have also rescued a tortoise that had been attacked by a dog with its previous owners. No missing limbs, but a chunk of the plastron was ripped off and lots of exposed shell bone on the carapace, though overall it all has been very slowly healing since I've had her (you can see the greenish areas where her new layer of shell is). She's a fully grown female Russian tortoise.

I've been treating her with regular soaks, fresh food and water daily, fresh air and natural sunlight, and a safe haven away from dogs. She's doing great, just takes a long time to heal up completely.
20190505_125004.jpeg20190505_124949.jpeg20190505_124941.jpeg
 

Lyn W

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
18,324
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Very sad. I have also rescued a tortoise that had been attacked by a dog with its previous owners. No missing limbs, but a chunk of the plastron was ripped off and lots of exposed shell bone on the carapace, though overall it all has been very slowly healing since I've had her (you can see the greenish areas where her new layer of shell is). She's a fully grown female Russian tortoise.

I've been treating her with regular soaks, fresh food and water daily, fresh air and natural sunlight, and a safe haven away from dogs. She's doing great, just takes a long time to heal up completely.
View attachment 271475View attachment 271476View attachment 271477
That is so sad but you're doing a great job and I hope the poor thing makes as good a recovery as possible.
I have a tort with a missing foot which had healed over by the time I got him, but the vet told me it could have been chewed off by a rat or a dog - a horrible thought!
 

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