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Author Topic: Docking and dew claws.  (Read 8816 times)

Moleskins

  • Joined Sep 2009
  • England
Docking and dew claws.
« on: September 09, 2012, 01:19:45 pm »
I had all of my ESS pups dew claws taken off yesterday and 4 of the 5 had their tails docked. It was done at a vets. Not my own because they weren't keen on doing it ( though he did have a change of heart when I said I was going to another vet ).


I had to prove I worked my dogs and I had to hold the pups while they were done.


I'm just wondering what the consensus of opinion is on this topic. The vet that did them was all for it, he's had dogs with injured tails and they can be very difficult to get healed up due to the lack of flesh available to cover the wound.


The owner of the stud dog said he wouldn't sell a pup unless it was docked because he'd experienced the damage at a later age issue.


In years gone by they obviously started to do it for a reason. Was that reason the fact that if the dog injured itself it was hard to sort out the problem. Whereas if you do it as a pup it takes away both the risk of injury and the problem of healing if there is an injury.


There was little or no blood yesterday, the pups did wriggle and squeal but they did that this morning when I weighed them. Would I do it again, yes. Why didn't the 5th one have his tail docked? The lady who's having him specifically didn't want him done.
Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2012, 02:17:13 pm »
The tail-docking issue all got very emotional in the 70s and 80s, when some breeds, many of them by then non-workers or which, if they did work, did not work in environments where they were at risk of tail damage, were having their tails docked very very short.  Vets were unhappy at 'mutilation for fashion' - we'd outlawed ear-trimming in this country decades earlier.  Also, where the tail was docked very short, it was a medical issue; the muscles around the anus didn't develop sufficiently and caused such dogs subsequent problems, including anal gland blockages, etc.  I think there could even be nerve damage, and certainly considerable pain, when the tails were docked so very short, too.

At the time, the KC appeared to be dragging its feet.  Apparently the issue was that there were no words in the breed standards of docked breeds for what tails should look like! 

Since then, the KC have updated the relevant breed standards and now, in theory at least, a tailed dog should not be penalised for carrying a tail in the show ring.  Indeed, I think it is now an offence to dock the tail of an animal where there is no medical reason, so dogs which are purely for show should now be tailed.  And all breeds (I think - someone will tell us if there are exceptions) are now docked with sufficient tail length that the anal musculature develops properly.

The grey area is dogs which either don't work (companion dogs) but which do run about in the country, and because of their breed are likely to run through undergrowth, and dogs where the docking cannot really be justified on the basis of potential damage - smooth coated hunting dogs, and dogs which don't hunt, for instance.

Personally I think I would dock a dog with a highly feathered tail where it is likely to spend quite a bit of time running about in gorse, brambles, etc.  But frankly I'd prefer the breeders to be breeding out the feathering which is causing the problem, and working towards not needing to dock.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Moleskins

  • Joined Sep 2009
  • England
Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2012, 03:06:22 pm »
Interesting and informative reply but ......... about breeding out the feathering.
The vet yesterday was searching for the word to describe an ESS tail and I prompted him with 'enthusiastic'
'Exactly' he said. Isn't that part of  the problem, they wag the tail so hard that it whacks something and does the damage.
Also I'd be a bit loathe, in view of some of the problems with breeding in / out certain features to try to get a tail with no feathering.
Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2012, 03:18:26 pm »
The vet yesterday was searching for the word to describe an ESS tail and I prompted him with 'enthusiastic'
'Exactly' he said. Isn't that part of  the problem, they wag the tail so hard that it whacks something and does the damage.

I don't think anyone would deny that a Labrador's tail is enthusiastic!

about breeding out the feathering.  Also I'd be a bit loathe, in view of some of the problems with breeding in / out certain features to try to get a tail with no feathering.

Yes, it's something that would have to be undertaken with a great deal of care.  One would hope that the breeders would make their mating choices firstly on the basis of health, vigour and correctness to type, and then, given a choice of several mates, select the one with the least feathering.  But we could do with some experienced breeders (of which I am not one) to talk us through how this could work and what would be the practicalities and dangers.


Of course, there is an alternative, which is to closely trim the tails of such dogs - using sheep or horse trimmers, for instance.

What do those of you with working / hunting dogs think about that?

If you have a feathered breed which is currently docked, would shaving the tail solve the damage problem?

If you have a non-feathered breed which is not docked and which runs through undergrowth, do you find your dog's tail getting damaged by so doing?
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2012, 03:34:31 pm »
Truthfully I think it's fashion/what we're used to, more than anything.

Labradors have some of the most enthusiastic tails I've ever seen and they're never docked, ditto foxhounds. Neither are setters and retrievers, both very feathered. Border collies are effectively feathered, can work in rough vegetation on fells and no-one ever docks them.

As for dew claws, certainly I've seen torn ones and that must be sore, but all my existing dogs have them and though they all dig, they don't seem to tear them.

Sam, our ESS, was a working dog, had his dew claws but a docked tail (we got him as a 8 month old pup). I really don't know that he would have been disadvantaged by a full tail, but he would have looked unusual. I did a double take the other day at a Rottweiler with a tail - handsome dog, it looked good.

That said I docked the tails on all my hill sheep - argued that it was for flystrike, but Herdies and Swaledales live in the same conditions and have full tails - I think therefore it was perhaps fashion....?

Moleskins

  • Joined Sep 2009
  • England
Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2012, 03:54:59 pm »
Truthfully I think it's fashion/what we're used to, more than anything.

Labradors have some of the most enthusiastic tails I've ever seen and they're never docked, ditto foxhounds. Neither are setters and retrievers, both very feathered. Border collies are effectively feathered, can work in rough vegetation on fells and no-one ever docks them.


That said I docked the tails on all my hill sheep - argued that it was for flystrike, but Herdies and Swaledales live in the same conditions and have full tails - I think therefore it was perhaps fashion....?
Labs and Springers do very different jobs on a shoot though, one normally sits at a peg and retrieves the other runs through all the cover.


The phrase 'sticks like sh1t to a blanket' fails to mention that the blanket isn't make from the wool of a Herdwick or Swaledale. I've got Ryelands and their wool would be ideal for making said blanket. Hence traditionally some breeds are docked, another isn't.


Slightly different point but along the same lines, years ago walkers used thumbsticks, we've had to throw them away and re invent the walking pole. Did the 'old guys' know something we've had to re learn. Is this the same with docking ? They must have started it for a reason.



Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2012, 03:56:31 pm »
That said I docked the tails on all my hill sheep - argued that it was for flystrike, but Herdies and Swaledales live in the same conditions and have full tails - I think therefore it was perhaps fashion....?

I was told that the Swaley ewe needs her long tail to protect the udder from cold in the winter on the hill.  And certainly, Swales at 300m+ get 'crutched' - rather than having the whole tail clipped clean - before tupping, so that the lower part of the tail retains its woolly warmer for the udder.  Lower down, the whole tail is clipped, so you could argue that those sheep could have been docked as lambs.

And no-one ever satisfactorily explained why I shouldn't dock my Swaley wether lambs.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2012, 05:12:19 pm »
You'll probably know that in Scotland we aren't allowed to dock at all - one of the reasons I bought a natural bobtail dog 6 years ago, I also have a natural bobtail bitch, who I acquired about the same time.

I was asked a couple of years ago to use him on a springer bitch - for £1500.  But I refused - you know my opinion on cross breeds.

Not sure I would refuse nowadays as it would certainly help working springers up here - I hear of so many tail injuries - and not just in working dogs.  My pal's rescue springer had to be docked at 3 years of age because she banged her tail incessantly against the furniture and was always bleeding.

I find it strange that the Government bans docking puppies at 2 days of age, but allows their dew claws to be removed, and also allows lambs tails to be chopped.  It all smacks of lack of knowledge and aforethought
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2012, 05:35:33 pm »
I've never worked a springer so can't really comment but I would have thought its the bashing it on branches and briars that causes injury not the fact that it is feathered?  Wiemies, Viszlas, GSP's etc are docked for the same reason and they are not feathered?  So I think people should have the choice of whether to dock their working dogs, but I totally disagree with docking for "fashion", showing or tradition.  However most people wouldn't object to males being castrated - and thats removing parts which are probably more special to the dog than the end of his tail  :roflanim: :roflanim:
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

Beewyched

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • South Wales
    • tunkeyherd.co.uk
Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2012, 05:58:45 pm »
I'm totally with Annie  :thumbsup:
I think our setters would look ridiculous without tails, they wag like mad too, but then the breed was bred for a purpose & the feathering protects the tail (even if they're a nightmare to de-tangle  ::)  ).
My wiemaraner is from south of the Boarder & was bred by a dual-purpose breeder & he (the dog  ;)  ) is legally docked & de-due-clawed.  It doesn't seem to bother him at all that he's got what my OH calls a "stumpy rump" & IMHO I think it's better for him. 
A lot of dogs with "whippy" tails end up splitting them (my dalmation did - bless her - several times), which is extremely painful for the dog & expensive vet bills for the owner & it often results in the dogs needing to have it amputated in the end.
Tunkey Herd - registered Kune Kune & rare breed poultry - www.tunkeyherdkunekune.com

sokel

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Jun 2012
  • S W northumberland
Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2012, 08:18:01 pm »
All I can say on this one is each to there own and I dont agree or disagree that people should/shouldnt dock but I personaly would never dock, even when we showed a traditionaly docked breed and docking was still legal for all breeds we never docked and still managed to get placed at crufts
As for the tail injury on working dogs My old vet would not dock even before the law came in and  told everyone that had working dogs if they got tail injurys he will treat them free of charge. that was in the early 1990s and right up untill he retired in 2009 he did not once have a tail injury come in  ::)
Graham

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2012, 09:01:36 pm »
All I can say on this one is each to there own and I dont agree or disagree that people should/shouldnt dock but I personaly would never dock, even when we showed a traditionaly docked breed and docking was still legal for all breeds we never docked and still managed to get placed at crufts
As for the tail injury on working dogs My old vet would not dock even before the law came in and  told everyone that had working dogs if they got tail injurys he will treat them free of charge. that was in the early 1990s and right up untill he retired in 2009 he did not once have a tail injury come in  ::)
I don't like docking to be honest, and our breed doesn't have it's dew claws removed, so in fact the Scottish Government did me a favour.  That wasn't the point I was making.  It was the inconsistency that I was highlighting.  It is just plain incongruous.  Lambs can be docked although they are sentient and on their feet from birth, but dogs can't be unless their breeder works his/her dogs. And it would seem that puppies whose owners work their dogs, or who can wangle a letter to say they do, don't feel the same pain as puppies whose owners don't work their dogs, or who live in Scotland.
It is a similar ill thought out law to the Dangerous Dogs one
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

HelenVF

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2012, 09:15:03 pm »
My old springer had a tail.  When I first bought her, I thought she would be ok.  How wrong was I?!  She had no end of problems and most of the time, just when we were walking.  She was forever cutting it and making it bleed.  I remember bringing her home from a popular dog walking spot covered in blood because she had cut it, wagged it and it had hit her on each shoulder.  I got a few looks about that, I can tell you.  I vowed never to have another spaniel with a tail, and I haven't.

HPR's: a friend who breeds gwp's is in Scotland and she had to leave tails on and we didn't think it would be a problem because they just don't enter cover like spaniels.  Again, we were wrong and I've heard a few horror stories about them damaging their tails.

Setters don't need docking as they are worked on the moor, generally, and don't damage their tail, although my oldest bitch does when she wags it against the kennel! 

Very much pro docking here.

Helen

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2012, 10:05:41 pm »
When I said I didn't like docking I meant me personally having my own pups done - I hated it, so I am glad I don't have to do it - and that is why I bought natural bobtails, so I never have to do it again..  I do however think that it is the right thing for a spaniel due to the way it's tail performs, whether the actual animal is worked or not.

My breed, Brittany - Epagneul Breton is it's French name - emanated from a French naturally short tailed hunting Spaniel - Le Fougeres - the high spirited one!  So we have bobtails in the lines
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Moleskins

  • Joined Sep 2009
  • England
Re: Docking and dew claws.
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2012, 10:26:57 pm »
A few of these posts really highlight my point - some of you have had problems and some haven't. So was the thinking years ago, when docking started, that it was better to do all dogs on the assumption that if you didn't a proportion would damage their tails.


Let's not forget, in those days there wasn't the animal medicine we have today, so a damaged tail could cost you a valuable ( in terms of hunting ) dog, making it far more preferable to dock rather than risk losing later.


'Aha' you say 'but today we have vets and medicine'. We do, but as said previously lack of flesh on the tail makes surgery difficult and healing hard. That IMHO is the justification for docking today, nothing to do with fashion just practicalities.

PS to all this is that my vet happily cuts the nuts off all the boys and rips half the innards out of the girls.
Something the Scottish Parliament are happy to see happen. I didn't know your docking law was different up there. Thanks Doganjo for pointing out.


When looking to buy Skip one breeders website near enough said 'if you need to ask price don't ring, if you intend to spay or castrate don't ring unless you'd do the same to your son or daughter'. Ouch!

« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 10:33:14 pm by Moleskins »
Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.

 

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