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Bit of a Rant

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Kayak, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. Kayak

    Kayak Active Member Registered

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    This is more of a rant than anything but I'm hoping someone can help me get on some good social platforms (pref. FB) for dogs with behavioural/training problems, where owners discuss different methods.

    I was a member of a facebook dog behaviour and training group, but have removed myself after reading a post from a lady who has a dog who is DA/HA around unfamiliar (or strange) triggers (people/dogs). It wasn't her post that got to me but the posts of every other member of the group. She was asking about using a balanced method of training, as she'd had no progress with 100% PR and her dog had redirected onto her strongly for the first time which she believed showed he was getting worse with her training instead of better. The thing is she only asked about switching from his harness to a collar that gave her more control (a check collar) following the redirection and already people were losing their minds and calling her cruel and saying she did not care about the dog she had lived with and worked with for however many years. She had rescued the dog and he had been placed with her despite his issues, or maybe the rescue didn't know.

    I read all of the comments and every single person there was rightfully advocating positive reinforcement. At the same time they were telling the OP who seemed to have been a long standing member of the group and also a member who normally uses PR methods, but is considering something else, that she never cared for the dog, was cruel, didn't deserve him and should...here's the kicker...Put the dog to sleep. It's better to kill the dog than training it if you have to learn a new way of teaching?

    When did PR stop caring about the dog? Is there a name, like PR trainer, for the people who like to work with individual dogs using whatever method works best for the dog instead of the person holding the lead? The post struck a nerve as it reminded me of me and my dog back when she was younger and I was less experienced. 3 professional trainers met with me and my dog and told me to put her to sleep as she was dangerously out of control and instead I began working with her and listening to her and it was literally an overnight change. When I stopped caring about the opinions of strangers and started caring about the feelings of my dog she miraculously felt so much better.

    I'm scared that people have forgotten that owning a dog is about the dog. Everybody seems so quick to advise PTS and clickers but when the dog has been raised on PR methods with a born and bred PR handler and the problem behaviours are persisting and in fact getting worse, it normally means the handler methods do not agree with the dog. I see so many owners doing the wrong thing by their dogs just so they aren't condemned by a bunch of strangers who insist they know the best way. I've seen so many people actually take the advice to put their dog to sleep because PR methods weren't working. I was very close to listening to the masses and putting my dog to sleep as well.

    My DOG knows the best training method for her and my next dog will know the best one for him and it might not be the same so I might have to get used to training differently despite being most comfortable with PR training. It's not about me, it's about the dog. Does anybody know any social platforms for people who work with their individual dogs regardless of what that dog works best with? I've left my comfort zone for dogs many times and I'd like to speak with people who are stepping out of their comfort zones for their dogs as well. My current dog flourishes on balance and stability and I'm hoping to find a facebook group who will not condemn me for working with her to give her the best life. She gets told "no" sometimes and wears a collar, not a harness (though I have a harness for when we do nosework). An open minded group who discuss training methods instead of boycotting them would be nice. If anybody is part of any group like that and it's appropriate to share the details I would appreciate it as I enjoy reading the positives and negatives of every method, idea, tool, story to make an informed decision.

    If this isn't an appropriate topic please remove :) I had another gander through the rules and couldn't see anything about this.
     
  2. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    I don’t know any groups I’m afraid but it really drives me mad when people are so quick to judge others. The poor person ends up feeling like the worst dog owner in the world when really they had the guts to come and ask others for help and advice. In the end people will just keep their mouths shut for fear of being verbally attacked.
     
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  3. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    I was a member on one of these groups for about 5 minutes..The group mentality was like a pack of hyenas ripping to shreads anyone who didnt agree with the group 100%.

    Its one of the reasons I avoid groups.
     
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  4. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    People get so evangelical, don't they? And then they lose sight of the goal, and all common sense along the way. I'm a staunch supporter of positive methods (though I can hardly hold Jasper up as a shining example of the results), but the metaphor of kicking your telly when all else has failed does apply. (Please people, I'm not advocating kicking your dogs!!)

    I know someone who after trying EVERYTHING positive to stop her dog jumping up and biting her, over a long period of time (we exchanged a lot of PMs so I do know she gave it her all), eventually used a shock collar. Result - the dog wasn't traumatised, he was more 'What was that?' than fearful, and before long he stopped jumping up, but was still 100% happy on walks, not cowed into hiding his feelings, and their relationship improved shedloads. Even though I do support the ban on shock collars because of their potential to cause harm, I can't say that this person made the wrong choice.

    I don't have any experience of the sort of group you're after, but there is a group for reactive dogs on FB that I've heard recommended many times. If you're specificially interested in reactivity issues it might be worth joining and lurking to get a feel for it. But the different methods in dog training can be so divisive that I'm not sure you'll ever find a group where some people in the different factions don't start flaming each other.
     
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  5. Shalista

    Shalista Active Member Registered

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    its not 100% PR but the r/dogtraining subreddit is extremely active and ive had some positive (pun intended) interactions on there. if you cant tolerate ANY discussion of punitive training then perhaps its not for you though.
     
  6. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    QUOTE, "Kayak:

    ...I was a member of a facebook “dog behaviour and training” group, but [i left] after reading a post from a lady with a dog who is Dog-Aggro / Human-Aggro around unfamiliar ... people/ dogs. It wasn't her post that [upset] me but the [replies from] other members.

    She asked about using a BALANCED training method, as she had made no progress while using 100% positive reinforcement , plus her dog had redirected [his aggression] onto her strongly for the first time, which she believed showed he was getting worse with her training instead of better.
    ... she only asked about switching from using a harness to a collar that gave her more control (a check collar) following the redirection, and already people were losing their minds and calling her cruel and saying she did not care about the dog she had lived with and worked with for however many years.
    She had rescued this dog, & he had been placed with her despite his issues, or maybe the rescue [wasn’t aware of his issues, prior to his adoption/ departure].

    ...

    ... Everybody seems so quick to advise [euthanasia] and clickers, but when the dog has been RAISED [with positive reinforcement] methods with a bred & born pos-R handler yet the problem behaviors PERSIST & in fact, get worse, it normally means that the handler’s methods do not agree with [this] dog.
    ...

    ________________________________
    .


    I find it really odd, @Kayak , that U would use the phrase “euthanasia & clickers”, as if these 2 things are commonly paired in conversations about pos-R training. :confused:

    They are not - training discussions normally focus on training, & euthanasia is usually only brought up as a last resort, for truly unfixable physical or behavioral issues — issues that either severely affect the dog’s quality of life (untreatable pain, for instance), or which constitute serious dangers to others - such as a history of dangerous aggression.

    “Balanced” as an adjective for “training” is usually a euphemism for the use of both rewards AND physical or emotional aversives in training, which isn’t “balanced” at all.

    ‘Balance’ means maintaining equilibrium; punishment is not needed to avoid SPOILING an animal.
    Pos-R does not somehow require a certain amount of physical or emotional discomfort to prevent the trainer ruining the pup or dog with “too much” undiluted positive, rewarding training, LOL. :D

    Zoos, breeding facilities for endangered species, & other captive-wildlife situations use pos-R training to teach husbandry behaviors to their animals; nobody puts a shock collar on an orca, or a choke-chain on a parrot, or a no-pull harness which painfully constricts onto a dairy calf who will be shown in halter as an adult, in a 4-H arena. o_O
    They are all taught using rewards - which can be food, social, physical (stroke, scratch an itch, massage...), play, etc; anything, literally, that the individual animal is willing to WORK to earn.

    Re this particular dog, U say he’s been adopted by his current owner, who was asking for advice on some problem behaviors. How old is this dog?
    I ask b/c the longer a behavior has been practiced, the longer it takes to install a new habit in place of the former habit. // If he is only 18-mos to 2-YO, the likelihood that he can be retrained is higher than if he’s 5-YO; those additional years of rehearsing dog-aggro or human-aggro will make it much more difficult & a much, much longer process. :(

    Also to clarify, he was not “rescued by” his adopter! — the organization that placed him with this woman was not abusing or neglecting him, surely?!... :eek: He was fed regularly, given vet care, kept in clean surroundings, etc.

    As an adoptee, he was not raised with pos-R methods; nor was he reared by a “bred & born” pos-R trainer. He got whatever rearing, from whomever, & then he was surrendered, or found roaming stray, or somehow otherwise arrived in the care of the rescue group... then she chose to adopt him.

    How long has she had him?
    Has she seen a veterinary behaviorist, or a CAAB / clinical applied behaviorist, for a consultation?

    U say she wanted to use a “check collar” for greater control -
    does that refer to a choke chain or infinite slip collar? Or are U referring to a limited slip martingale collar?
    A wide martingale, at least as wide as the dog’s cervical vertebrae, is just as effective in restraining a dog, yet it does not have the potential for injury or cause behavioral fallout, which a choke chain or an infinite-slip collar risks.

    If she “needs greater control” because she is getting the dog too close to strangers, whether human or k9, then that’s inappropriate; she needs to work with him at a distance which keeps him under threshold, or IOW, sufficient space must be given so that he does not feel either threatened or overaroused.
    She can only reduce the distance between him & the stranger as his own established emotional response to strangers IS CHANGED by b-mod, to a new, happy or relaxed emotion.

    I would also suggest, as a safe comfortable alternative which provides excellent control & safe restraint, a properly fitted front-clipped Y-harness, with the leash clipped to the chest of the harness.


    As for Ur own dog, dogs do not “choose” their training methods; we humans, who are their owners, trainers, handlers, vets, groomers, & all the other humans who interact with them, choose what tools & methods we will use. :)

    No dog that I have ever met in my life would freely CHOOSE to be trained with startling, painful shocks, nor would any dog choose to be trained with harsh double-handed jerks on a collar... even if that was merely a buckle AKA tag collar, abrupt hard jerks on one’s neck are not pleasant. :(

    I don’t know why pos-R was supposedly a failure, but I suspect it was the skill of the owner, not the method, which made it ineffective.
    Flooding is an especially likely culprit; highly reactive dogs with long histories of explosive aggro, can become intensely aroused by something as minor as the jingle of car keys, as they think it’s the sound of collar tags rattling on another dog, who is approaching them.

    I have worked with many reactive & even aggro dogs, some of them deemed legally dangerous, over the years; I have not used any physical aversives in either training ( teach a cued behavior) or b-mod (alter undesired behaviors) in decades.
    In over 40 years of working with other folks’ pets, I have recommended euthanasia exactly TWICE. // I don’t know where or why ppl get the idea that pos-R trainers are all trigger-happy, & cheerfully suggest that every dog with problem behaviors ought to be killed; I have specialized in b-mod since 1985, & euthanasia very rarely comes up at all. o_O
    If anyone suggests it, IME it’s usually the owner, who often just doesn’t know what to do, & is frustrated, worried, & discouraged.

    JMO & IME, YMMV,
    - terry

    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
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  7. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    I don't think Kayak is complaining about people advocating one or other training methods, but that when one does consider, and ask about, a method that doesn't fit 100% with the group ethos, they don't just get reasons why they should try something else instead, and why what they are considering could make things worse and stress the dog - they get FLAMED. To think that it's better to euthanase a dog rather than try, say, a check collar is just ridiculous (though it's fair enough to explain why a check collar won't work or could harm the dog physically or mentally).

    I honestly think that FB is a lousy platform for discussing training methods and giving advice, and it seems to attract idiots, flamers and knee-jerk reactions. Good advice, even for a simple problem, can be lengthy, and advice such as 'Keep him in his comfort zone', 'Teach him to trade', or whatever can be woefully inadequate. Which is my excuse for some of my very long posts :D Nuances can make all the difference. That's why I far prefer forums like this one.

    Can this forum be bettered? If anyone asks for advice about using an aversive, then there's going to be a lot of people advising strongly against it, but hopefully they will be as respectful, reasonable and polite as possible given the strength of their feelings. And also, hopefully people will be brave enough to speak up if they have used aversives and they've worked for them. Free speech and avoiding dogma is essential, otherwise online platforms just become echo chambers.
     
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  8. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    I think you’re right JudyN. I enjoy Facebook but you seem to get a higher level of trolling on there. I don’t know whether it’s because it’s hard to keep track of. It’s hard not to respond or get into an argument but then I don’t think anything you said would be right with that type of person!
     
  9. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    As an aside, I began training my 1st dog at just 10-YO, under the instruction of a local breeder of high-quality GSDs who also had several (quite possibly all) of the then-titled, actively breeding GSD dams in the USA.

    At the time, it was very rare to bother getting a bitch titled, in the breed ring or in any of the few sports available (comp obed & Schutzhund were pretty much the entire menu of activities for purebred dogs), it was too hard to schedule events around a bitch’s estrus cycles, & besides, it wasn’t thought to be important.
    So male dogs got the ribbons, certificates, loving cups, & titles; bitches simply got bred.

    Mrs Arnold’s bitches, in strong contrast, usually had their AKC Utility Dog titles before they were 2-YO, flying over one of 2 3-ft hurdles as directed to fetch a glove or wooden dumbbell behind one of them, leaping broad jumps, moving accurately to heel off leash, & so on.
    Along with being structurally sound & healthy, with excellent pigment, all her dogs had wonderful temperaments; she’d flown to Germany after WW2 & hand-picked her foundation stock in person. Her dogs were healthy minds in healthy bodies, affable but cool with strangers, tolerant of children & intrusive handling by the vet, bold when challenged.

    Her dogs were well-nigh perfect, but Mrs Arnold had one flaw: although she was a very fair trainer, humane and consistent, & praised all the dogs whether her own or clients’ dogs 4 or 5X as often as she corrected them, plus her corrections were judicious - never heavy handed or harsh - she still used & required CHOKE CHAINS in her beginning class. :(
    Because of the choke chains, she also required all dogs to be at least 6-MO to start group class (even tho she began training her own pups by 3-MO).


    So perforce, I learned to train with a choke chain, but I didn’t like it; I thought it was overkill, & that there had to be a better way. My puppy enjoyed training, & even years later as an adult, he would periodically go into the springhouse where his leash hung on a hook, get up on his hind legs to get it down, & find me wherever I was on the farm, to beg me to put his leash on & work him. :rolleyes:
    With 40 acres to roam off leash, woods & fields, a stream to loaf in, groundhogs to harass, livestock to patrol, shady nooks to snooze in, U’d think he could find something more rewarding than heeling for a few “Good dog!”s, but no - leashed work & praise were his ultimate.

    The saying among trainers is that “every trainer ruins one dog” - understood to be their first trainee. Wolf was not ruined, he was a fantastic all-around useful farm dog, with excellent manners & very biddable- but I credit that to him, not to any brilliance on my part.
    Ten years on, I could have made him a national champ in Comp Obed; then, I hadn’t the skills or knowledge. :(

    But by the time I was 18 or 20, I was using buckle collars or martingales, no infinite slip collars, no prongs, no shock, & rarely any corrections whatever; occasionally I would use a verbal interruptor (“oops”, meaning wrong answer - Try again! :) ) or an added instruction (‘Wolf, I said sit - thank U.’).

    The older & more experienced I became, the less corrections of any type I used; they were superfluous, & even counterproductive.
    I focus on what I want the dog TO DO, & if I get that, there is no need whatsoever to think about what behaviors I don’t want. :)

    The last time I corrected any dog, in training or in b-mod, was probly around 2000, when a tall scruffy terrier-coated skewbald lurcher type came into care, at P.A.C.C. in Virginia.
    She was godawful on her 1st night in class, & actually WENT AIRBORNE, lunging and barking, when she exited the car - trying to grab another dog!
    I mean all 4 feet off the ground, lunging, mouth wide, in an all-out attempt to bite a dog who had done NOTHING to her. :eek:

    I took the leash from Georgia, her foster parent, & the next time she went airborne, shouted “No!” loudly & checked her sharply in midair, so that she came down to ground on her feet just six inches or so ahead of where she’d launched.
    Then we went to class, & although she barked at every dog who walked within 10 feet of her, she lunged at none, & no one, human or dog, was bitten.

    That was an emergency - we couldn’t have her leaping like a fanged gazelle at innocent passersby. :eek: // For the next week, she came & stayed with me for b-mod, & I discovered the root of her reactivity: her bangs hung over her eyes from her luxuriant eyebrows, & she could not see other dogs clearly, to read their social intentions or their signals. She could only hear them, & panic, threatening them so they’d back off.
    I cut her eyebrows, & like a miracle, her lunging simply ceased. She still needed b-mod, but she was far less anxious, no longer defensive & blind. :). It was the quickest shortcut to calmer behaviors in public I have ever experienced. :D
    A month later, she was adopted, with special instructions to always keep her eyebrows neatly trimmed.

    By & large, I find aversives to be about as necessary as teats on a bull. ;) In an emergency, yes, U need to prevent a dog from injuring any other dog or person, keep them from maiming or killing or harassing livestock or wildlife - but that’s not training.
    Training has a plan, known goals, etc.

    - terry

    .
     
  10. Janer

    Janer Member Registered

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    :D:D:DLaughing at the bangs over her eyes. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can make a difference.
    Well done for spotting that. I’m just happy if Roxy and Spike will sit and stay on command so I’m no help on training forums.
     
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  11. Free spirit

    Free spirit Member Registered

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    Can I just ask without bringing a storm of criticism on my head what all these trainers/behaviourists think we did with our dogs before they came on the scene. I am 70 years old and before my current dog i had owned four dogs in my lifetime from when I was a little girl. All of them came when called sat when told knew how to stay. I allowed myself to get pulled into this whole professional training nonsense with poor results. I have gone back to using my common sense . I know I won't get a straight answer because people don't want to admit there is another way.So will someone just answer my first question what do you think we did with our dogs before the current fads.
     
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  12. Biker John

    Biker John Well-Known Member Registered

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    I think, though without any evidence, for a long time people simply used comon sense, and for most it worked well. Then a few people got an idea that their way was the only / best way and wrote books and later went on TV. At this a lot of 'normal' people thought they would be better if they followed the trend. This brought about the daft ideas like 'a dog wanting to dominate its owner'. So other groups of people then tried to set about getting other ideas into the general doman.
     
  13. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    Like Free Spirit I think a bit of common sense goes a long way .
    The problem is common sense is dead, and people need a ready made answer that comes along as quickly as a microwave meal. Many (not all) people now buy dogs because its a fashion or it fits a hobby or it fits a group.. Many have 'designer' dogs that stroke their snowflake ego and lord help you if you point out that their snoodlecockerjugsashizadoodle is actually a mongrel. People like to belong, they like to say I wear so&so's clothes , use so&so's scent follow x y &z on twitter or FB and the trainers they choose reflect that wanting to belong,, I use so&so's methods..

    Oh and when it comes to obituaries I think free speach and free thinking is next on the list...
     
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  14. Shalista

    Shalista Active Member Registered

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    *nodnod* i feel like people latch onto other ideas if someone is charismatic or good looking and they don't stop or think. Here in the states Ceasar Milan is huge and i respect alot of his ideas (namely encouraging lots of exercises as a panacea against most behavior problems) but people latch onto that stupid little TSST that he does and thats all they follow. drives me nuts. THINK PEOPLE! just cause he's rich and famous doesn't mean he's all that.
     
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  15. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    I think that for some new dog owners they might not necessarily realise they are doing damage so having a good trainer to follow and take guidance from is important.

    For example, A family I knew were using a vibrating collar to stop their dog from excessively humping every dog that crossed his path. They were told by the vet is was most likely a dominance problem and were convinced he would get over it.

    However, when I walked him I knew instantly it was a stress related problem. He was licking his lips, giving body shakes and showing the whites of his eyes. When I told his family this they were genuinely shocked, they never would have thought it was anxiety/stress when meeting new dogs.

    He now goes to a lovely behaviourist who has a safe enclosed field and he sees the same dogs each week when he goes to socialise. Out on walks with his family he isn’t allowed to linger when other dogs approach, they just walk him straight by without stopping.

    Without someone to explain this to them he would have continued with the same problems and would have most likely gotten worse
     
  16. Free spirit

    Free spirit Member Registered

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    Good i am very pleased that they got their dog problem solved.I would never criticise anyone seeking help should they need it. What I would never do is subject them to a foot long rant as to why that should have done it my way.
     
  17. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    I think people get so tied up in the theory that they will twist the evidence of their own eyes to fit the theory rather than consider that the theory may be wrong, or need tweaking. It's a bit like creationists or flat-earthers will come up with increasingly outlandish explanations and conspiracy theories to explain their observations. So, on the one side, people try to blame everything on the dog being 'dominant', even when a moment's thought would make it obvious the dog is insecure, or has just learnt that a certain behaviour will get it what it wants, and on the other side, people stick so rigidly to positive training that they find it hard to accept that a sharp 'Oi!' might occasionally do the trick.

    We don't get this with children, do we? We all seem to accept that 'Oi!' works at times, ignoring bad behaviour and rewarding good works at others, and sanctions can also play a part - and that each child will be different.
     
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  18. Free spirit

    Free spirit Member Registered

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    As always you speak a great deal of sense we will always have people with opposing views and that is fine it is part of being human. Just as long as we don't try and force our views on others like doorstep religious zealots. We can ask for advice of we need it and just enjoy the chat if we don't.
     
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  19. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    Sadly we do get it with children, the 1960s/70s saw the Dr spock thing now its the blasted naughty step and every child has ADHD or autism, both of which are in my family for real and it is not an excuse for rude bad behaviour. But challenge any one of these things and you get the wrath of mothers everywhere over your head. Oi is in most cases now sadly an absolute no no..
     
  20. Free spirit

    Free spirit Member Registered

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    My Mum used to knock lumps off me.but I never doubted she loved me. As an adult i daren't go in her house and say i liked something because it would immediately be in a bag for me to take home. I miss her so much God rest her.
     
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