Monday, November 26, 2018

On My Soapbox

If you get your dog from a reputable, responsible breeder, I will support you.  I will not push an "Adopt Don't Shop" agenda or accuse you for being responsible for dog overpopulation or full shelters when those things have nothing to do with you.

If you get your dog from an reputable, responsible adoption or rescue group, I will support you.  I will not tell you that a puppy from breeder is always a better choice or claim that adult shelter dogs all have behavioral issues and are not safe for a family.

If you compete with your dogs in the myriad of activities that organizing agencies have to offer, I will support you.  I will not accuse you of exploiting your dogs for prize money or green ribbons or "forcing" them to do something for someone else's enjoyment.

If your dogs are beloved pets, couch potatoes, hiking partners, fetching buddies, I will support you.  I will not share images of grossly overweight animals to allude to the idea that a healthy, happy dog kept as "just a pet" is somehow inferior to a show dog or working dog.

If your dogs are working to better our world, or the worlds of their owners, through service, livestock tending or guarding, sledding, hunting, police work, or any of the other things they may have originally been bred to do, I will support you too.  I will not make claims that having dogs spend a lot of their time outdoors is mean, or carry on about their work being dangerous.

I'm really tired of the divisiveness.  Yeah, the Greyhound thing started this.   Meme after meme being shared on Facebook, on either side of the argument, about all of this so-called "abuse" going on. Too many people pushing different agendas when really, they each want the same thing: to own their dogs and share the life that THEY want to share with them.

Just because I may opt to give my dogs the type of life they have, doesn't mean that it works for everyone or every dog.

We are too quick to use the word "abuse," I think. A show dog or working dog that spends its entire life doing show dog things or working dog things is not being abused.  While far removed from the duties of the average American pet, please remember.. having dogs just so we can dress them up (yeah, I do that), spend thousands on pet food (yeah, I do that too) and paint their nails funny colors (OK, this one's not me) is a relatively new thing.

Likewise, a slightly pudgy pet dog or a dog who is a certified couch potato is not abuse either. Remember.. not everyone has the time, money, or desire to hunt with their beagle or herd with their Border Collie.  If the dog has a roof over its head, food and water in its bowl, adequate vet care, isn't engaging in destructive or dangerous behaviors and is loved by whoever takes care of it, why are you being so quick to get on your soap box?  All you will accomplish is swaying those "pet people" to believe you're a snob rather than having them ally with you when the dog breeding legislation pops back up.

Maybe I wouldn't give my dogs either of those lives.  Maybe some people feel that either or both those things are wrong. But.. it isn't abuse and it doesn't require any legal interference.

Abuse is somebody choking the show dog when it doesn't perform or overfeeding their overweight dog to the point that it cannot walk normally due to excess weight.  Go ahead, get involved then.   Let the existing laws do their work.

All you people who gasp every time you see a male dog who still has all his parts (*owned by someone responsible who isn't going to make him meet up with the random pretty girl dog down the street) - guess what? If dog breeding wasn't a thing, and every animal ever put on this green earth was spayed and neutered, then we'd eventually have no more dogs (or at least not enough to meet demand), and definitely no more dogs bred to serve specific purposes. 

And on the flipside, if everybody got their dog from a breeder and shelters weren't a thing then we'd have no homes for some of the truly lovely shelter dogs that are capable of many of the same things their purebred counterparts are.  Not to mention, we'd possibly not have enough responsible breeders to meet the public's needs and you'd see an uptick in backyard/puppy mill-type operations.  Maybe those "rescue people" will find themselves suited well to a purebred dog one day.  Maybe they won't.  Just because someone does not choose to get a purebred dog doesn't mean they don't support and stand by them and their purpose.

I am ambivalent about Greyhound racing.  I do not know enough about it to completely decry it and tend to think that if there was widespread abuse, we'd see it and hear about it.  I do think the industry provides a ton of well-adjusted pets once the dogs retire and I take in to account the fact that 100+ rescue groups opposed the ban.  I do think that a percentage of people voted on a quick snap Yes or No decision without doing research and weighing the pros and cons. But that isn't what this post is about.

What this post IS about is understanding that some people do things with their animals that I'd never dream of doing.  Just like I do things with my animals that some others wouldn't ever dream of doing, either.

And that's OK.  Short of true physical or mental anguish... leave each other alone.  I love my mutts and think they're both pretty fantastic.  They suit me and my lifestyle well.  BUT, I have loved, admired, or worked with purposefully bred dogs, shelter dogs, working dogs, family pets, and everything in between. Support each other and learn about each other rather than trying to pass laws about things that you might not know everything about.  Educate the people around you on your ideals for animal ownership but let them make their own decisions.

There's room for everybody.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Double Trouble

I had a very informative private lesson with Red yesterday, getting him ready for the beginning of what I hope to be a very successful stint in the Obedience and Rally rings.  I was told that I have talent on my hands with him, by someone who is one of the leading obedience people in my area.

It has basically led to me redefining heel position for both dogs.  I TAUGHT them both to forge.  I got away with it with Marge because she always had a tendency to get laggy in competition, but with Red, it's pushing him in front of me and causing us to flub up really simple stuff.  He isn't being "bad" - he doesn't understand the criteria!

The prescription: several small sessions a day "doodling" and getting both dogs comfortable in *real* heel position.  Doing lots of set-ups so I form the correct picture in their heads of what "heel" looks like. Of course, I took it upon myself to use these exercises for Marge, as she was home and comfy in her bed when I had Red out at the lesson, but since I want to bring her out for her CDX next year.. it's worth doing.

So far, so good.

It's fun (albeit sometimes stressful), having to juggle Red, Marge, Obedience, Agility, Rally, and (for Marge) Nosework plus a real life.  Still, I don't think I overdo it with them.  Just a couple of weeks ago, they were out at about hiking all over the place.  Trails that I didn't know Marge could do - yet she made it all the way up and all the way down with no issue.

Maybe I'll actually revive this blog and start posting again.  At least I know that 2018 will not go by without at least one entry!

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