How to make dog friends or at least not make people hate you, Fang’s underqualified guide to hostility management

26 Aug

If you are anything like us cool kids here at TDS you’ve noticed that dog people can be… shall we say difficult, to get to know. From just plain shy to downright nasty, the dog community is as varied in temperament as the prototypical high school as portrayed in “Mean Girls”.

And cynicism.

 

While I could name the cliques, it usually comes down to breed and social class and personality. That’s boring, so we’ll save you that minefield and simply go through some basic etiquette rules that will keep people from actively trying to ruin your life (at least in theory).

 

1) Say something nice about everyone’s dog

 

Be serious. No one likes Crocs.

 

Channel your inner Southern Belle lead with a compliment even if you hate it. Compliment the shit out of something. No need to gush since no one likes a kiss-ass, but a cursory, accurate compliment (It helps if you mean it but sincerity isn’t really a requirement for some people) can go a long ways as a conversation starter. The best compliment you can pay a performance dog person is simply “Your dog looked so happy out there.”. While you have to mean that particular one (I own the beaten wife-heeling dog. Don’t try to placate me), it’s incredibly effective and seriously, it’s that easy and usually the start of a solid acquaintance-ship.

Not a compliment.

If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t bother faking it, but come up with something you can defend, or precede your compliment with your “outsider” status. e.g. I’m not really familiar with <aspect> but your dog’s <attribute> was <adjective>. You can head off the “Oh? What’s so gorgeous about him?”* that some pissier-than-thou types will throw at newbies to fluster and upset them.

*There’s a time and a place to educate a protegee. Teaching newbies to have an eye is different from public shaming. Learn the difference.

 

2) No one likes a kiss-ass

It’s Ruby Tuesday’s. This isn’t anarchy.

 

It’s one thing to be nice and complimentary, it’s another to be an ass-sucking lapdog. Friendship does not require consensus on every topic (It would be very odd if it did) and having your own opinion, and not just parroting the opinion of others is a big step in being your own person in the dog world. Some opinions are easy to form and are simple aesthetics, others involves some straight-up education and take time to learn. Take the time to learn it and don’t take someone else’s word as true gospel until you’re willing to defend that opinion in a knock-down drag out fight.

 

3) Discretion is the better part of not being an asshole

I mean, it’s me! I have commitment issues and an Oedipus complex. You’re better off without me. Feel better now?

 

Honestly, people don’t want honesty. For those of us who are “bullshit challenged” it can be a struggle not to just beat the liars into the ground with the nearest blunt object. However, that is socially unacceptable and apparently illegal so we make do with discretion a.k.a Silence or if you’re good, tempered honesty. So if you’re not sure of your audience, keep it to yourself.

 

4) Loose lips sink (friend)ships and reputations

Close enough.

 

In the realm of honesty, is just shutting the fuck up. Sometimes shutting your mouth is the only thing to do. You will have opinions. People will do things that make you reconsider the voluntary extinction movement. And despite what your mother told you, your eyes won’t actually get stuck in that backwards rolling position. Shooting off your mouth unchecked is rarely the smart choice, particularly if you want to not have people hate you. Calling that dog a fat-ass in earshot of owner friends, even if it’s true, is bad form and not a great way to win friends or influence people. Commenting on how a dog looks depressed in the obedience ring or how you’d be embarrassed to show said dog are opinions best kept in your head and filed under B for ‘Bitchy things best unsaid”.

If you’re new, you will not have much cachet regardless. Thoughtful and well-articulated opinions will be received well, but in general a response of “And you are?” is the best you can expect to running your mouth thoughtlessly. Sometimes those people are assholes but most of the time they’re just not as impressed by you as you are. The concept of “paying your dues” is very much alive in dog events and a little respect for your predecessors and frankly, betters,  goes a long way. You are nobody until you prove you are a worthwhile contributor and being conscious of your reputation is very forward thinking.

 

5) Respectful doesn’t mean doormat

No is not a dirty word.

 

Respect works both ways. Disagreeing with others is part and parcel of human nature. You are 100% entitled to your opinion. No one should have the capacity to make you feel badly about expressing an opinion respectfully shared in an appropriate environment. Someone screaming “Troll” at you or dismissing you off hand because they got all butt-hurt over your opinion being different than theirs is seriously not worth the mitochondrial strain of a single ATP conversion.

 

Lock the Doors. *nerd joke*

 

6) You’re entitled to your opinion, but you’re also entitled to be wrong.

 

Wallow in your wrongness like a pig in filth.

 

You are not the Pope. Your opinions are not infallible and the world does not actually revolve around you. Be prepared to have your opinion challenged and to be forced to admit that you may not know it all.  I know you may find this hard to believe, but even The Dog Snobs get things wrong sometime. Accept being wrong gracefully and sometimes, even if you’re not wrong it’s not worth the screaming hissy fit to prove your point.

 

7) Neutrality isn’t sexy but it’s smart.

Okay, maybe a little sexy.

 

Dog people on the whole are rabid about what they believe to be the best for our canine compatriots. If you ever want to be called every nasty name in the book bring up any hot topic dog issue (Pinch collars, Raw Feeding, Spay.Neuter) and watch the fur fly. Particularly online every disagreement  is treated as some moral objective when for most of us it comes down to familiarity, efficacy and convenience.. We tend to forget that total agreement on every issue isn’t a precursor for a friendly acquaintance and as such tend to shut out everyone who disagrees before their point is even made. Public neutrality offers you several alternative options and can garner more specific helpful information from all corners. You don’t have to placate the idiots, but refraining from calling them stupid publicly until they’ve proven it beyond a reasonable doubt is usually a smart move.

 

8) Forgive us our trespasses

They really are most of the time.

The road to being an asshole is paved with opinions and bullshit both of which fall freely from the mouths of the guilty. That being said, purely being opinionated with a bad delivery can drill holes in the little Jersey Barrier between Asshole Highway and Opinionated but generally a helpful friendly person Boulevard. Give people the benefit of the doubt if you’d like it in return and even if they are an asshole, be willing to let it go. Forgetting is something else entirely.

 

 

As an introvert with hermit qualities in combination with having the unfortunate tendency to just say what comes to mind regardless of audience, the few friendship making skills I personally retained into adulthood mostly consisted of bracelet making and token food offerings. I still find myself exceedingly uncomfortable in group situations but if I can break the ice with these general rules, anyone can. You’re welcome.

That’s what’s up.

How Shitty is Your Breeder? Another Dog Snob Guide to Life

23 Aug

A few weeks ago a loyal reader sent us a suggestion. Normally, we don’t take suggestions but this one happened to hit home so, here goes.

 

Every dog person starts somewhere. Sometimes it’s with a dog from a shelter, sometimes a rehome from Craigslist and very rarely, people get their first dog from responsible breeders. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, Real Dog People (™) have very humble beginnings. That’s right, It’s very common for future RDP to get their dogs from backyard breeders (Occasionally,  wannabe RDP get their second and third dog also from bybs…. but we won’t continue to beat that dead horse.)

 

Since Backyard Breeders get sneakier by the day, we’ve compiled a list of red flags that your dog might be from less than honorable origins.

 

1) Your breeder has a shitty website or a presence on the web in all the wrong ways. … and by shitty we mean like our previous post . We don’t expect world class here, but a slick website with easy purchase options, half-filled out health info, and fake, or shall we say creatively exaggerated, titles are a bad bad sign. Other bad signs include where they advertize (Puppyfind? EBay? Craigslist? Nextdaypets? Come the fuck on) what they advertise (Super tiny teacup titweasels!) and realistically who they associate with (Dawgs 4sael 4Cheep on Facebook does not imply quality).

2) How much do you spend at the vet in your puppy’s first year? We aren’t talking normal puppy stuff like shots or that time Fluffy inhaled the contents of your trash can. We’re talking genetic issues and those lovely little surprises that come from puppies raised in less than sanitary conditions. Bad things happen to good breeders, of course… but a puppy with ten different kinds of worms, missing one or both balls, or just generally poorly configured is much more likely to have come from a shitty byb than from a good breeder… and suddenly that 600 dollar puppy isn’t looking better than the 1,000 dollar puppy from the good breeder down the road. 

Not Relevant, but Potnoodle loves sloths and creepy pick up lines.

 

3) You’ve never actually been able to verify any health testing records with OFA or anyone else and the breeder is cagey about their existence or keeps saying they’ll show you but they never actually surface. Option B of course is your breeder doesn’t believe in health testing. If it were a problem it would have been an issue with the parents, right? Sure, except the parents are usually too young to see degenerative conditions and gone to other pastures by the time the issue appears later in life. Out of sight, out of mind. Also that’s not really how most genetic issues trail on down the lines.

Well, we can… Average puppy buyer, not so much.

4) You haven’t actually heard from your breeder since you picked fluffykins up from the Wal-Mart parking lot. Your breeder doesn’t respond to your inquiries about poor health or your accomplishments until you drop the “Looking for another puppy” bomb. *Ka-ching* noise is all they hear and it’s all they can do not to pee in delight.

5) Your contract or agreement is less valuable than the Sonic napkins we pitched this evening. While most contracts are borderline unenforceable and heavily favor the “Possession is 9/10ths of the law” ideal, most breeders at least put together something halfway decent so you don’t wind up with a genetic and temperamental nightmare. Some simply will hand you a health certificate and toss you and your puppy out on the unforgiving aisles of the Walmart parking lot. Something is writing is great, shit that matters in writing is better.

You could say we were ‘thirsty’ for pictures in this article. And no, we won’t apologize for that awful pun.

6) You mention your breeders name at your first dog event and people that have the same breed start making shifty eyes. “I’ve never heard of them” or “Ohhh… tsk” the more polite ones will say, while the more straightforward owners lecture you on the horrors you are in for in your puppy’s future. Most of us will just wince and nod in the corner. You’ll learn one way or another.

Your Breeder Sounds… nice.

7) Your dog looks different from those pictures you saw online while researching your breed. You got pulled in to the rare colors scheme. Every breed guess is “*Intended Breed* Mix”. Turns out, a breeder that breeds for good pets and therapy dogs…. doesn’t always hit the nail on the head.

Should have done your research.

8) Your breeder is breeding dogs across multiple registries, particularly if they are the same breed but registered differently.. If “Papered” is used as an attribute anytime in your correspondence that”s a bad sign.. While for most breeders papers are a foregone conclusion (AKC, UKC, Canadian KC, KC, FCI, KNPV etc) for crap-pushers they are a sure sign to Joe Stupid that the dog is A) Valuable B) Worth Breeding and C) Healthy. Crap-registries have been created specifically to exploit this completely false equivocation. Some less than savory breeders will breed within this framework until they manage to get their hands on their more legitimate AKC/UKC counterparts. Most will continue to breed their crap dogs ignoring health testing, actual quality, soundness, the market and common decency while preaching about their working dogs who incidentally are usually 20-40lbs overweight and have never actually seen a decoy or a cow in the entire span of their existence.

Actually worth more than ContKC papers.

9) Your puppy is health certified, but not guaranteed past a couple of days. We know, this one can be confusing. A Health certificate verifies that the puppy you are being handed is healthy… right now. A Health guarantee… well it guarantees that your puppy will be healthy for the foreseeable future. This isn’t going to save you if you’re stupid and take your 8 week old puppy to the dog park, but it will protect you if any genetic health issues pop up.

 

10) Your breeder is not a member of your breed club. While this isn’t always an indicator, since some breed clubs are snobby and elitist (Here’s looking at you, PCA) and some are moderately psychotic (Hahahaha, yeah not going there), your breeder should be involved with a local breed club,local kennel club, or even a working club if that’s their focus.

 

This  is hardly a complete list, but if your dog came from a breeder that fits into one or more of these categories…. you might have fallen prey to the dreaded BYB. We forgive you, until you do it again. Then we will mock you.

 

Speaking of shitty breeders, the AKC just released their list for nominations for Breeders of the year. Congrats to the good multiple breeders on the list! We admire your dogs and your dedication to your breeds’ health, integrity and temperament. Many years of continued successes and furthering your accomplishments…. To the shitty breeders on the list, well, we hope your raging case of karmic herpes clears up sometime in the next few reincarnations. We doubt it, but you know, trashy behavior begets trashy karma.

WTF Wednesday: Just pick up your damn dog poop like a normal person

20 Aug

Because using a plastic bag is too much work, we have found yet another poop removal product that panders to the…useless.    Like the Poop Freeze , The Poop Trap,  and the AuggieDog Pop Vacuum before it, the Ash PooPie (really, must that second P be capitalized) promises to revolutionize the way you pick up animal waste  .Yay?

 

It’s like a magic wand for turds. BIPPITY-BOPPITY-POO!

 

This product reminds us of wart Freeze Off in the most disturbing of ways. Press this device in to the blemish on your yard (or face) and just like that…gone. We do have to wonder about the smell though. Can you smell the burning poo? What do you do with the little pile of shit ash that is left behind…. leave it there? Do you carry it around on walks and leave the little piles of ash on other people’s lawn?  We have questions, and this video answers none of them. It does, however, answer the one question we didn’t ask. Can it be used on human waste? The answer is yes… but we don’t want it to be.

 

 

Don’t Dunning-Kruger it up: BusyBee gives a brief psychology lesson

18 Aug

I want you all to add a new phrase to your vocabulary (other than assmarmot and twatwaffle, which should already be there):

“He really Dunning-Krugered that one!”

Confused?  Wondering what the hell a Dunning-Kruger is? Think I’m just making up words now?  Well kids, it’s my favorite cognitive bias (wow…nerd alert).

According to Wikipedia, “The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias manifesting in unskilled individuals suffering from illusory superiority,  mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude”  (Read the original study here)

Still confused?

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Simply put,  people suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect are unskilled and unaware.   That’s right, it’s a double-whammy of ineptitude.

MjAxNC0xZDU1ZjVhMTRkNmU5MDlj_52e83fd048990

As many of us embedded in the dog world know, people Dunning-Kruger it all the time. That guy who insists that he’s the best dog trainer in the world and yet can’t get a decent down-stay out of his own dog?  The woman in an online forum who always has (bad) advice to shove down peoples’ throats?   The craptastic breeder who insists that her dogs are the best despite having no titles? That 19 year old dude who says he’s a dog training expert? (pro tip: 19 year old dudes aren’t experts on anything, except maybe consuming large amounts of food…and masturbation).

What do all these people have in common?  They’re totally Dunning-Krugering it.

Are you sure it's not you?

Are you sure it’s not you?

 

As many trainers can probably tell you, unskilled dog owners are easy to work with.  They can be taught and most are eager to learn.  But if they’re unskilled and think they’re the best thing to happen to the dog world since martingale collars?  Watch out.  These are the people who will literally drive you to the point of madness as you beat your head against the proverbial wall trying to deal with them as they merrily perch on the top of “Mt. Stupid”.

images

Don’t get stranded on Mt. Stupid. It’s a long way down.

 

So the next time a know-it-all dog owner/trainer/groomer/breeder pisses you off with their unwavering (over)confidence, just smile, nod, and chalk it up to good ‘ole Dunning-Kruger.

images-1

 

**So minions, any experience with the Dunning-Kruger effect?  Found any good ways to combat it? Just need to vent?  Share below!**

Meanwhile in Crazy Town a.k.a. And the point of this is what exactly?

11 Aug

Any of you reasonably up to date on dog show drama may be reasonably well-aware of what we’ll refer to as “Piper-Gate 2014″. For those of you unfamiliar, the very abbreviated version is a Sheltie named Piper escaped from her caretaker when her owner was off at her breed’s national back in April. Through several somewhat iffy transactions over a holiday weekend, the microchipped but unregistered Piper ended up in a breed-rescue. Within a short period of time, the owners of Piper had returned, contacted the rescue, and began what should have been a simple, albeit documentation-intense, return process. Last week after much batshittery, the matter hit a courtroom where the judge ordered the return of Miss Piper to her owners. Seems simple, despite being overly dramatic and filled with stuff Dr. Phil needs to produce a show on including internet bullying, larceny accusations and what we can only assume are “I know you are but what am I” rubber/glue threats.

Right on, you creepy bald bastard!

 

However, instead of returning Piper, the rescue posted a $10,000 bond (Here) .  Wait, what?  $10,000?  Do you know how far that would go in most rescues and how many other animals that money could save?  Why would any good rescue give that kind of money to keep ONE dog that has loving and responsible owners who desperately want her back and after all this drama really didn’t need to be rescue in the first place?  Oh, that’s right.  Ego and making a statement against breeders.  We get it.  Many rescuers are vehemently against breeders, but Piper is not a shitty BYB Sheltie who ended up in a home with some yokels.  She’s a much-loved champion dog from a good breeder who happened to get lost.

 

Too Late. She said Spite.

 

Really our question is, to what end is the rescue fighting this? If the real mission of the rescue is save and rehome unwanted Shelties, they certainly are barking up the wrong tree.  Why not spend their energy and money pulling other dogs from shelters who truly don’t have anywhere to go?  We’re pretty sure that this has become more about people than about the animals and we really don’t like the people.

 

…except on command.

 

 

Unfortunately for good rescues this has, in much of the ethical breeding community, created a major backlash. Why would breeders support a rescue who wouldn’t do their best to reunite a dog with their owners or breeders? Ethical breeders take their responsibilities to their dogs incredibly seriously and being painted with the same brush as BYB garbage millers does not induce a particular love of donating to said organizations.

 

“Rescue keeps calling me at night and breathing heavily.”

This is just another case of when everyone would be better off if rescues and breeders could work together.  So many more dogs would be saved in the long run, but unfortunately both sides have to be willing to work together, and Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue has certainly burned  firebombed some bridges.

 

I put a Hollister on your face. That’s how much I hate you.

 

So dear minions, until cooler heads prevail (Or Ohio just gets wiped out in a Noah’s Ark styled flood) Piper will remain in limbo. What can you do to prevent such an incident happening to you?

 

-Microchip, register, and keep your microchip information up to date. IIt can serve as proof of ownership in many states. Make sure you have a secondary contact (Breeder or a trainer-friend is usually a good choice) in case you are for some reason unreachable.

-Keep current full body and profile pictures of your dogs to use for ‘Lost Dog’ posters and for quick identification in places where microchip scanners aren’t readily available.

-Make and keep good rescue/shelter contacts. Volunteer, transport or offer clerical assistance to rescues in your area. You will never know when that networking will be helpful. The more eyes looking for your pup the better.

-Have a “Lost Dog” plan in place for any pet-sitters or friends who will be watching your dog. A simple checklist of who to call and where to check first as well as friends and contacts who can help put legs on the ground (or on the Facebook groups) to help find your pet.

 

 

Be the cooler heads, kids, and with luck Piper will be home, safe and sound shortly.

 

Bill Nye’s got this. Bring it down a notch, peeps.

Owner Profile: The Hounding Hypochondriac

5 Aug

Description:  Always convinced that their dog has been stricken by some horrible (and rare) malady, The “Hounding Hypochondriac” is well-known by their beleaguered vets and on  internet forums as that woman who swore her dog had ebola last week because he reverse sneezed for 15 seconds three days ago. We totally understand worrying about our dogs. A little neurotic watchdogging is good for the soul, really.  And obviously it’s better to catch a serious health issue sooner than later, but somewhere between “My dog looked at me funny, better call the vet” and “My dog is bleeding profusely, I’ll just slap a bandaid on” is a happy medium.  A happy medium that the “Do I Need a Vet Dunce” (stay tuned for this owner profile coming soon) nor “The Hounding Hypochondriac” have never known.

Not a dog.

 

Common Locations:  Vet clinics, Yahoo forums, Facebook Groups not necessarily of the medical variety, and the Facebook pages of veterinary friends demanding medications for issues of dubious seriousness.

 

Breeds Owned: Inevitably the HH has a dog who could eat arsenic for breakfast, get hit by a car at lunch and be ready for Alpo at dinner. Typically the HH’s dogs are disgustingly healthy in part due to extreme preventative care and a bubble-boy existence but also just because their owners are so aware of potential issues the dogs just don’t come into contact with dangerous objects all that often.

Also works as an effective fart catcher

Also works as an effective fart shield

 

Skill Level:  Varies widely.  Ranging from the sport dog owner who worries that a quicked nail will ruin their dog’s chances at the next trial to the owner who thinks Fluffy might have the plague because he didn’t want to fetch today, the Hounding Hypochondriac is frustratingly common. Vast majority will however be on the very low to mid-low range. Most experienced owners will have a bucket-full of tricks for the most banal of dog-issues and will see the vet after the simplest fixes have been tried and failed.

Step away from the computer. It’s just a little gas.

 

Catch Phrases:   “How late is the e-vet open?”, “How do you know if your dog is dying?”, “Is that a pimple or a mast cell tumor?”, “I think I need to google that”, “Is poop supposed to be <shade of brown>?”

 

Wardrobe:  PJs, Scrubs and a purse big enough to contain an entire mobile first-aid kit.  You never know when you will need to intubate your own dog.

And Vera Bradley Purses

Anecdotal Evidence:

 

BusyBee:  I feel like I live in two worlds-one in which I am surrounded by knowledgeable dog people with good dog sense (i.e. you all), and one in which I am the most savvy dog person around.  In the latter area of my life, I am usually the one who receives worried texts, emails, and phone calls about Fido’s latest malady.  Whether it’s concern over a dog licking his nether regions (why does a dog lick his balls?  because he can, duh), being concerned because a puppy lost a tooth (it’s something they do), to deciphering doggy diarrhea for my friends, I’ve pretty much heard it all.  In terms of poop, yeah,  I’ve pretty much heard every possible “diagnosis” ranging from poisoning to  giardia to late stage stomach cancer.  Pro tip: dogs get diarrhea sometimes.  Shit literally happens.  And if that shit isn’t happening over an extended period of time, relax and take a deep breath before you give yourself stress poops over nothing.

It’s not a tumor

Fang: So that whole working for dog businesses thing? Yeah, I get these assbags and their internet diagnosing counterpart the “Do I need a Vet? Dunce”  All.The.Time. From the 12 year old labrador mix who was freaking out from the word “boarding” (We informed the owner when he arrived to take her home and usually that is the end of any further poop discussions. Three days later, rather than having taken our advice to keep her on the bland diet and bring her to his vet the next day, he had to drag her to the e-vet at 3am and $400 later informed us that we had Parvo and should be shut down… Umm. Pardon? A rapid call back had us clarifying immediately that the vet had not in fact informed him the dog had parvo it was just “On the list of what the internet said it could be.”) to the person who is demanding I give an opinion on their Golden Retriever’s rash since it’s probably ringworm (No, it’s not but I’m not going to tell them that since I’m not their effing vet!) to the idiot who straight up announced to me that their dog was autistic (They clarified by saying it was Asperger’s no doubt thrilling the ASD community to no end) and therefore would never have good manners… So here’s the deal, don’t call me with your Munchausen-by-proxy-server canine conditions. In fact, if we’re really friends you know it’s best not to call me at all unless you need real assistance with something that isn’t trying to talk you off the ledge of stupid you wandered up on to via Google and Dog Forums. I’m apt to push you off while calling you stupid and hanging up on you.

 

Potnoodle: Much like Busybee, I do have to occasionally interact with non-dog people. These interactions are typically just me repeating “Take him to the vet” over and over again.  In my younger days, I’d occasionally offer the “Give him some pumpkin” or “Try a benadryl” approach but over the years I’ve learned this is enabling and the next thing you know you’ll be bent over a 120 bloodhound pulling out spay stitches while she tries to remove your arm. True story. Lesson learned, and now I sound like a broken record when I’m called for vet advice… even for the most trivial of things.

Perfection is overrated a.k.a. 8 Simple Rules for Keeping it in Perspective by Fang

28 Jul

This morning I came across this blog post a friend had shared. I’ve read it repeatedly now and it’s still resonating in my head as strongly as it did the first time.

Different ringing but close enough.

There’s been a rash of fairly low-level competitor acquaintances dumping (Not always literally but returning to breeder or finding them a pet home) dogs for reasons that I can best describe as asinine. I’m not talking permanent injuries or congenital defects that make training impossible in a situation with limited time for a limited number of dogs where the dog in question would be left out or not given the attention needed. Nor am I talking about major dog v dog conflicts where management is not an option. I’m talking about the person with no titles complaining about the lack of drive in her eight week old puppy. I’m talking about the person bitching about how her 10 month old just wants food when their tug game is lackluster at best. I’m talking about that dog you seen in class who just sparkles with how gifted they are and all their owner can see is how easily distracted they are by “Everything!” and all that they do wrong. This is of course a vicious cycle of stupid and only leads to more dissatisfaction down the road. It’s not an easy cycle to break out of either (I would know since I’ve been there) so I wrote down my own personal mantra and I’ve decided to share it because I am generous and loving and pretty. You’re welcome.

 

Yes, yes I am.

 

1. There is no perfect dog

An example of the perfect do…Damn it! Where’s that damn Cattle Dog? Put her back!

This seems kind of obvious but you’d be surprised what a trap it is to fall into. Fun exercise for you, think of your perfect dog and the traits it would have… Now how many of those do you think you have control over? How many of those traits are fluid? Are you really confident you know what it is you have at 8 weeks old, or fresh from the shelter or rescue? A puppy out of two ideal parents is not necessarily going to be a carbon copy of them, though the chance is slightly higher. Personalities are as changeable from one puppy in a litter to the next as the weather is in Maine and trust me when I say sometimes personality clashes between dog and owner do occur.  Good breeders can direct you to ameliorate this issue but you’re SOL if your breeder is stupid/incompetent or just Craigslist garbage. If you get exactly what you want in temperament, skill-set and drive, what are the odds they’d be sound too? What are the odds that with that perfect dog who is sound too, that your training and relationship won’t ruin it before it has a chance to reach the top? Even people who espouse owning their perfect dogs are doing a major disservice to the rest of us. Kennel Blindness isn’t just for breeders. Glossing over the journey and difficulties you had getting there insults not only your work ethic and the meaning of the title. It also propagates the myth of certain breeds being the lone victors in specific sporting areas. No dog comes pre-trained. No dog is born bonded to their owner. The sooner that ridiculousness is dissolved the better.

 

2. Train the dog you have

Probably won’t work for that either.

So your dog isn’t perfect, sorry about that. I’m sure it was a major blow. In the spirit of that, no two dogs are the same. While you can use frameworks of the same ideas for training etc. it will rarely progress in an identical way. Things go faster or slower according to handler skill and dog aptitude and how many times you have to start over or try something new. As an example, after nearly two years of dubious success I went to a new trainer and started my bitch functionally from scratch on her heeling. She had been trained by me sans much assistance to heel off-leash with no leash ever really having been used. It was pretty swiftly pointed out to me in our first session that she didn’t seem to know where heel position was and would drift in and out to get her snacks and then go back to doing her submissive wife impression six feet behind me. On leash we go, back to the beginning, and what do you know in two weeks I have better heeling that we had in literally months upon months of effort. What had worked for the gander did not in fact work for the goose and being willing to change the approach patched a giant leaking hole in the big picture. Unwillingness to be flexible in your training is a road to ruin. There is always another option and just because your dog doesn’t fit in your normal sequence of events, doesn’t mean there is even a problem.

 

3. Until you get there, you don’t know what it is that you need for the ride

 

Toolbox, suitcase, same thing

Why is it always the people who’ve never been there who know best what it is that their dog is lacking and therefore preventing that success? I know more handlers with RNs who have never even stepped into the Obedience ring who “know” that their dog can’t do that because of some perceived flaw; More in fact than I know people who train for success… For my training purposes  Z is an OTCh quality dog. She has truly terrible ring stress and she is not a speedy working border collie nor will she ever be a flashy retriever and not what many would select off-hand as a competition dog. She is however well-trained, tidy, precise, a naturally gifted training dog  and while I’m not holding my breath for many HIT they’re within reach if we work for them. I train her like I’m training a dog who is going to be the National Obedience Champion. Is it realistic? Probably not. While I could realistically envision a UDX with much tribulation, an OTCH is unlikely. My dog however doesn’t know that. For all she knows and anyone watching would know, I have a world class dog and I’m training her to be world class. I won’t know how far we go until we get there and neither does anyone else.

 

4) The dog probably isn’t the problem

 

And you, don’t forget you.

Dogs are rarely the problem. Pretty much all problems come down to training and/or relationship. If you neglect one, or both you won’t succeed.

 

5. If the dog is the problem, you learn to work through it

 

I could have danced all nig…. Shit no, it’s that mountain one again…. Ford every stream

Okay sometimes it is the dog, so what? Very few issues are insurmountable if you’re serious about your goals.

 

6. If you can’t find the good in it, it’s time to stop

 

Any time, Ryan. Any time.

There are days when nothing is working or going right and usually when those hit it’s time to call it for the day. When those days turn into weeks or months and you find the joy sucked out of your training, it’s time to give yourself and your dog a mental holiday maybe even a change in venue to find the joy again.

 

7.  Expectations should be fluid

It’s not that I’m unhappy, I’m just not pleased with that…

I may train my dog like a world champion, but I’m not going to leave her tied to a tree if she’s not one. While we all have hopes and dreams, tempering those with a healthy dose of reality is a good thing. I know what my dog is; I choose to see her how she can be and where she can go once ‘x, y. z” are fixed. I’m not the kind of person who is happy with just a “Q”. Our highest score, or our fastest clean run is worth very little to me if I feel something lacking in bond or effort. I’ve won decently sized classes (Rally, don’t judge) where I was disappointed in my performance more so than the dog. While there is nothing inherently wrong with being pleased with a “Q”, as a highly competitive person (I know. It’s not a trait I’m proud of.) I know myself well enough to know what it takes to make me happy after a competition. While I work to improve scores etc and my goal of a HIT at our national is still very real to me, I know that if I’m getting something resembling effort in a new place from a tired dog in a crazy venue, my expectations will have been met.

 

8. At the end of the day I have my dog

 

They are literally at every dog show. It’s ridiculous.

And she still loves me even if I made her prance around a ring and didn’t buy her the hotdog she was eyeballing over in concessions.

 

I’m not out trying to be a motivational speaker (If you knew me, you know I’d be really really bad at it. I’m too practical to disagree when people point out the bad) but this is the list I keep when I feel myself wishing my monsters were anything other than who they are.

 

And though she be but little, she is fierce

And though she be but little, she is fierce

.

So is this one... The Malinois not so much.

So is this one… The Malinois not so much.

 

Many thanks to Sarah Stremming for her thought-provoking blog post. Great stuff and great points. Good luck and TDS wishes for your success in the future.

And… in case you missed it, we’re having a mini-contest on the Facebook page. Share the link for the ACDCA Team Rally group raising funds for our mini-snob in training, Carlin from our Facebook page, and you can win a new TDS t-shirt design. Donations, well-wishes and Dog-in-Tutu photos also appreciated We’re almost halfway there and only a few days into fundraising. It’s a good cause kids. Break out your change purse.

WTF Wednesday: Resource Guarding Edition

24 Jul

According to the manufacturer, the “Beware of the Dog” game will ‘keep the children giggling and the parents shrieking’.

 

That’s right, kids, it’s all fun and games until little Johnny loses half of his face when he tries this with Fluffy in real life.

 

 

Sex Toy or Dog Toy Saturday

19 Jul

I scream…you scream…we all scream for ice cream…

School may be out for summer, but it’s pop quiz time!  Ok minions….Your goal is to guess for each of the three pictures whether they are a dog toy or a sex toy.

 

1.

2-vibrator-1

2.

images

3.

petco-rubber-ice-cream-cone-with-squeaker-dog

ANSWERS

1. This friends, is a sex toy called the iScream Silicone Sex Toy, and according to the manufacturer, you can throw it in the the freezer for a ‘cool’ sensation before using it.  Yep, definitely scream-worthy….

2.  It’s pink, flexible, and bullet-shaped, but alas, this is a dog toy.

3. Despite looking “ribbed for her pleasure”, this is indeed an innocent dog toy that you can pick up at your local Petco.

 

What is that we hear in the distance?  Is that the sound of the local ice cream truck?  Hmm….we’ll pass.

 

I’m not an idiot so don’t treat me like one. A.K.A Why must some vets be dicks?

17 Jul

As true snobs, we love our vets. Who else is as interested in our dogs’ poop as we are? Most vets are awesome people doing a relatively thankless job for very little reward other than maybe not getting anal-glands squirted on them occasionally.

It is a pretty good reason to not wear that ugly Bridesmaid’s dress.

 

There are however exceptions to the rule and we’re going to bitch about them.

 

I, Potnoodle, am going to start off with a story of the event that kicked off this blog entry. First, you must know a little back story. I work for a person who owns dogs. Sometimes I am responsible for the care of those dogs. Recently, my boss has been ill so I’ve been more responsible. I work Monday through Friday. I came in yesterday morning to find a slightly smelly crate. No big deal, loose stool happens. It was bath day anyway. As the day went on, I noticed the dog responsible for the loose stool was a little lethargic. OK. I alerted my boss and my boss’s spouse and gave a dose of flagyl that the regular vet has prescribed for emergency loose-stool issues (because what doesn’t that fix, right?) This morning (Tuesday) I came in to  no accident but a very lethargic dog that didn’t want to eat. Off to the vet we go, after consulting with my boss. I knew shit was going down hill when I arrived and realized which vet was on duty. The normal vet is an older guy, up on the latest info but not unwilling to go olds-school if needed. He’s got a great personality and listens to what the owner has to say. And then there’s the younger guy. He’s arrogant, to say the least.  Also, I’m pretty sure he’s a backyard breeder of Caucasian Ovcharkas… but that’s off topic.

Anyway, I got there and described the dog’s symptoms, what had been going on, and his instant reaction is “Parvo.” Which, okay. It’s that time of year.  Maybe if I had just picked this dog up at the shelter or  from some byb. However, that is not the situation here. The dog hadn’t even been to a show recently and she’s not a fucking puppy. So, my reaction is. “Well, no vomit and it doesn’t really smell like Parvo to me.”

“Well, it does to me.” he says, before running a barrage of tests and telling me how traumatic Parvo is. At this point, he’s convinced me. I mean, he’s a vet right? He surely wouldn’t go on a rant about parvo if the dog wasn’t extremely likely to have parvo…. right? I’m ready to burn my clothes, bleach the house… all of it. After an excruciating wait, he breezes back in the room and doesn’t even mention parvo. Starts going over results with me.

“So wait, it isn’t parvo?”

“No, but it might be A, B, or C”

DUDE. I was having a fucking panic attack. You can’t just come back in and start prattling about fluids and bacteria in the gut.  All these scare tactics because I gave the dog a flagyl … the exact thing you’re going to give the dog in the back room as soon as I leave? What a bag of dicks. A bag of dicks that sent the dog home… with flagyl, two days later. To clarify, I have no issue with the man treating the dog and doing whatever is needed. That’s why I brought her in. I do have issue with the condescension.

 

No work dog photos allowed...so have a Poodle

No work dog photos allowed…so have a Poodle

Fang:
When I moved to Florida against my will and kicking and screaming, I kept my inherited dogs with the vet they had been with previously. Why not? They have emergency services, a decent enough pile of clinicians and can always fit you in even if it will take three hours. Now in this practice there were about 5 vets, but by sheer misfortune I always got the same one, let’s call him Assbags McGee. Dr. McGee is what one could call a pompous jackass. Questions about the effectiveness about a new Flea/Tick topical carried by the practice gleaned “Just use Frontline every two weeks, it’s the same thing” (No, it really isn’t), and over the realistic recovery time on my then elderly Jack Russell’s large lipoma removal was “I wouldn’t bother since I doubt the wound would heal but we’ll do it if you want” (Expertly not answering the question) and lastly my choice to Ivomec most months earned a lecture on how the dosing was impossible and I’d surely kill the dog with my lack of ability to do simple math. Yeah. Thanks asshole. Helpful. Anyway, lack of other local emergency options kept me there with reservation. I would very occasionally get my preferred vet there but Dr. McGee still managed to be there all the damn time. Even requesting the specific vet, the desk would screw it up half the time. An incident with Beatrice was my personal breaking point. I’ve been back twice to pick up management prescriptions for the oldest dog but have moved everyone else to my current practice and have no intention of ever returning for anything beyond maintenance on the 17 year old. As it happens the practice was recently and not very publicly sold to a conglomerate and now only Assbags McGee and his partner in shitty medicine, Bitchburga MacGuinty (Yes, the ulcer on the the bitch’s cornea is obviously the 3rd eyelid, good catch Dr. Magoo… The university vet wasn’t scratching his head over that one at all…)  is left. We now take the extra 20 minutes to go to the university run emergency clinic up the road. It’s not worth the idiocy and expense of the headache and misdiagnoses.

Sweet Bea

Sweet Bea

 

BusyBee:

When I first brought Mr. T home at 9 weeks old from the shelter, he had some minor hair loss and a rash.  A few days after having him home, I took him to a local vet down the street from us.  The vet informed me that it looked like a mild case of demodex mange and that he would need to do a scrape to confirm.  Not long after, he came back into the room and informed me that it was indeed demodex and that we could start treatment immediately.  Being a new dog owner, I agreed to his treatment plan and let him dip baby Mr. T in a Mitaban dip.  I asked the vet if there was anything to watch out for, and he assured me it was safe and not to worry.  I admit that I should have done my own research, but I was a first time dog owner and so taken aback by the diagnosis that I didn’t give it much thought.  Turns out that was a mistake.  Just a few hours later, Mr. T’s entire body was bright red and vomiting, he felt hot to the touch, and had terrible diarrhea.   I immediately called the vet who did the treatment who assured me that everything was fine and to give it time and quite frankly, talked down to me like I was some neurotic puppy owner.  At this point, I knew I had to trust my gut, so I ended up having to rush Mr. T to an emergency vet to have him treated for his severe reaction to the dip.  The vet at the ER was amazing and took the time to explain everything to me, helped me ease my guilt for not knowing better, and took excellent care of my pup.  Turns out that Mitaban dips are never recommended for puppies less than 4 months old and are usually only considered in more severe cases.  Poor pup never should have gotten dipped. After Mr. T recovered, I called the original vet office and was bounced around voicemail and vet-tech and “conveniently” was never able to actually get ahold of the vet despite trying for weeks.  When I stopped by, the receptionist was incredibly rude to me and insinuated it was my fault that my puppy had gotten so ill.   While I take some responsibility in not being a more knowledgeable consumer, it infuriates me that this vet did a risky treatment on a young puppy and never bothered to follow up or return my calls.   You sir, are an asshole and a terrible vet…or at least that is what my Yelp review said until you deleted it.

Baby Mr. T says, “I pity the fool who gives shitty care to this adorable face”

Baby Mr. T says, “I pity the fool who gives shitty care to this adorable face”

 

We have vet readers, we know. We love our vets. We trust them with our dog’s care on a regular basis. We also know that some vets get clients that come in and have already diagnosed their dogs or act like their dog is dying because it had some soft stool. WE AREN’T THOSE PEOPLE. We didn’t come in demanding meds. We came in looking for a diagnosis and we want you to take the time to explain that diagnosis. We don’t want to be a page ahead of you, we just want you to keep us on the same page and give us good care. These are our pets (And Potnoodle does love the dogs at work like her own, you only have to be Facebook friends with her to know that.) When a loved one is ill, there’s a lot of stress. All we ask is that you calmly, and without overstating or understating anything, help us understand what the fuck is going on.

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