Archive | January, 2014

WTF Wednesday: Woah edition

30 Jan

So this week’s WTF Wednesday is a little different.  Instead of bringing you some ludicrous dog-related product, BusyBee has decided to tell you a little story.

hAB729A2B

Thank goodness we’re here.

So about two weeks ago I got a random message from Potnoodle asking me if I knew that Mr. T had been in the September issue of Dog Fancy.  After I assured that no, that wasn’t possible, she told me how she had been sitting in a vet office waiting room flipping through the backlogs of magazines.  While perusing the September issue, she nearly fell over when she spotted Mr. T’s giant head staring back at her on the page, at which point she stole (borrowed?) the page and messaged me.

How does one’s dog end up in a magazine without you knowing, you ask?  Well, a friend who works for the city submitted an application for their “Dogtown USA” contest over a year ago and as part of the application she asked a bunch of us for photos of our dog out and about.  Having never heard anything from the magazine, we assumed we hadn’t been chosen and totally forgot about it.  That is, until, Potnoodle randomly stumbled upon Mr. T’s picture in a crumpled waiting room magazine.  I literally would never have known that our town had been named a runner-up and that Mr. T was featured had Potnoodle been bored in a vet waiting room that happened to have an old copy of the magazine.  Woah.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here is Mr. T’s magazine debut.  I just hope it doesn’t go to his head…

unnamed

 

 

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Genes Count Too aka If I hear “It’s all in how you raise them” one more time… A rant by Fang

28 Jan

In pretty much the best giant eugenics experiment ever, we created dogs to do our bidding and refined, perfected, or destroyed (depending on your perspective) domestic dogs into very specific types and breeds with defined characteristics. If there is one thing breeds can tell us, genes count too, kids.

When we’re born, there are certain things about us that are relatively set in our genetic codes; We’ll typically have hair, we may need glasses, teeth should arrive at some point with a heart and lungs etc. When a dog is born it is a dog. Theoretically with ears, eyes, four legs and a tail. For some people, it all stops there. A dog is a dog and there are no difference beyond that point. For people who acknowledge the existence of nature (So, everyone who haz a smrt) it’s a lot more complicated than that.


There’s a weird myth in dog training, and I think we’ve all been guilty at one time or another, in telling another person that “It’s all in how you raise them”. For owners and handlers suffering under the constraints of BSL and often the little lauded shelter worker*** it becomes a truism comforting those who lack knowledge on their breeds or who’ve read into all the hype and media and simply come across as ignorant morons. For serious dog folk, sometimes it’s something we say just to shut people up, and for spectators and the unwashed masses, it’s often something they’ll say as a justification to do something incredibly stupid that all common sense and logic would say is not probable e.g. stick their head into my car with the doors closed and the windows cracked, because my dog was “raised right”.

Go ahead and pet Fluffy, he was raised by Nuns. That isn’t growling, he’s purring...

Go ahead and pet Fluffy, he was raised by Nuns. That isn’t growling, he’s purring…


After a long weekend of showing and explaining for the umpteenth time that “No, a Malinois is not a good idea to buy for your toddler”, I’ve had it. It is not “All in how you raise them”. Unfortunately while the basic premise is true (Any person given the proper skill set can raise any given stable dog to be at least semi-reasonable indoors and out) the details are a bit fuzzy and then we have problems. Those details are such things like inherent breed traits including the major and common behavioral quirks that anyone who has done a modicum of research would understand.

Perfect pet for your toddler, if you don’t like your toddler very much.

Perfect pet for your toddler, if you don’t like your toddler very much.

All of the training and puppy to in the world will not turn my Cattle Dog into a Pug. If I wanted a Pug, I’d own a Pug. If I expected my Cattle Dog to act like a Pug, I’d be a moron. If I was telling people cattle dogs are the same as Pugs I’d be a moron and an asshole. Before getting my Cattle Dog I fully anticipated getting nipped, my little dogs potentially getting chased around a bit, some dog aggression, a healthy dose of “I like my way better”and probably a fair amount of human wariness. I’d also expect a high energy velcro dog who appreciated a good time. I expected this because it’s commonly accepted as typical of the breed. What I got was a little bit different (All dogs are individual) but most of those things still appeared to some degree and I have a functional Cattle Dog with her own personality. Good training has quelled many of her worst habits but she is what she is, and as long as it’s polite and functional, I’m mostly okay with that.


What it comes down to is expectations. A person who would thrive with a Maltese may not do so well with a Malinois and vice versa. Overwhelmed, underprepared and frustrated, these dogs tend to get turned into breed rescue with a hearty headshake and a shrug from the rescue folks themselves. What can you do if people don’t do their research? Absolutely nothing. What can you do if people are telling them the opposite of accepted wisdom? Absolutely nothing. So here’s the deal. While I’m personally very glad your dog is easy and wonderful and doesn’t have any of the traits I’ve mentioned or you “dealt” with them through the most menial of ways, please do not devalue the warnings experienced breed people have given to others, by giving your anecdotal and irrelevant experience. I’m glad your Malinois loves kids (So does mine, bfd. It’s not a kid’s breed.) and I’m glad your Fila just loves the mailman. Really, we’re all sure you’re wonderful but your flukey dog has less to do with you and more to do with genetic weirdness than anything else. You don’t get to take credit.

 

*** BusyBee will be tackling the fine line between advocating and foisting in the next installment.

10 More Things You Really Need to Stop Doing

18 Jan

We recently posted a list of things we wished dog owners would stop doing.  If you thought that was an exhaustive list then you don’t know us very well.  Here are 10 more things we continue to judge you for.

1.  Stop pretending like you know it all.  

Newsflash.  It’s totally ok to not know something.  If you don’t know, ask.  Or just stay silent.  But please don’t continue to incorrectly interject yourself into dog-related conversations, internet forums, and groups.  Chances are good that someone will actually know what they are talking about, which will just make you look like an even bigger idiot than you probably already are.

2. Being that person who never has poop bags

We get it.  We’ve all been there.  That panic-stricken moment when you reach into your pocket and realize you are fresh out of poop bags.  It happens.  But it shouldn’t happen every day.  It’s not that hard to keep one in your jacket or, we dunno, invest in those new-fangled poop bag leash attachments.   If you’re that person that finds themselves asking random strangers for extra poop bags every day, you’re doing it wrong.  And we judge you.

Still not a valid reason to leave home without a poop bag

Still not a valid reason to leave home without a poop bag

3. Saying you adopted your dog when you didn’t.

If you got your dog from a breeder, you bought it.  And that’s perfectly fine.  Did it come from craigslist? Did you “rescue” it from a shitty breeder by paying for it? If so, you didn’t adopt your dog. Stop using that.



4.  Claiming your shelter dog is a rare breed.

Yeah, so the chances of your shelter dog being a PBGV mix….pretty slim.  And the chances of it it being a Chinook?  Even slimmer.  Do you really think there are rogue Vallhunds roaming around bumfuck impregnating every bitch in sight?  It’s perfectly ok to not know what your dog is.  Hell, it’s half the fun of having a mutt.  It doesn’t make you seem fancy when you label your dog a rare breed or mix thereof.  It just makes you look silly.

Your mom is an idiot

Your mom is an idiot

 

5. Doing the bare minimum health testing

OK shitty breeders. The public is on to you. They read in this one article online that dogs should be health tested. Maybe some of the smarter ones even have letters floating around in their head (CFA? No… that’s the crazy cat ladies. FFA? No, that’s those nice kids that sold me the wooden bench. What WERE those letters?) So, what do you do? Put “Vet Tested Parents” on your craigslist ad or even just having the hips OFA’d and not doing any other health tests. Buzzwords, they don’t just work for advertising health food.

Testing complete.  This is definitely a dog.

Testing complete. This is definitely a dog.

6.  Letting your dog get fat in the winter

There is no such thing as “winter” weight for dogs.  It’s not like they can hibernate all winter in chunky wool sweaters and no one will notice they’ve gained a few (or 15) pounds.  We know that in parts of the country the weather gets pretty nasty in the winter.  That’s fine.  There are plenty of things you can do with your dog inside to keep their exercise levels up.  Or maybe you could just feed it less if you know exercise will be lower.  Dogs shouldn’t be yo-yo dieting, and frankly, from what we’ve seen, letting your dog get fat in the winter is just a stop on the way to having an obese dog in the spring.

 

7. Using “Ewe” instead of “You” in your herding dog’s name.

We get it, puns are funny. “Ewe” can stop now. (OK, not as big of a no-no as the others but that stopped being funny 300 AKC names ago.)

We beg ewe to stop

We beg ewe to stop

8.  Talking in “puppy speak”

Pwease stwap tawking wike a  widdle puppay, otay?  Gag.  Is that really how you imagine your dog talking?  For real?  Why would you wish a speech impediment on your dog?  In addition to just plain being annoying, it really is hard to understand and can be down-right headache inducing.   If you’re going to give your dog an accent, at least go with Australian, ok mates?

*insert lame justification for having hot shirtless male here*

*insert lame justification for having hot shirtless male here*

9.  Asking for serious medical advice on the internet.

Seriously.  Step away from the keyboard and get to a vet.  Now. There is a about a 0.0007% chance that the guy answering your Yahoo Answers post is an actual Vet and like a 94% chance he’s a loser that lives in his mom’s basement and knows how to google. (Thinking that doesn’t quite add up to 100%?  Good.  We leave the rest to your imagination.) Do you want a degenerate that knows how to google to give you medical advice? No?  Didn’t think so.  Go to the vet.

Don't trust him, his pants were photoshopped on

Don’t trust him, his pants were photoshopped on

10.  Treating training class as dog play time.

Did your trainer specifically advertise the class as socialization time? No? Then stop treating it like that. While it might be all fun and games for you, some people are there to actually train their dogs and they don’t need yours lunging at the end of the leash trying to “play”, especially if it is a class for people that intend to compete

We're tired.  It has the word class in it.  Go with it.

We’re tired. It has the word class in it. Go with it.

*Agree? Disagree?  Just want to complain?  Go for it!*

WTF Wednesday

16 Jan


This brings a whole new meaning to “that’s a nice set of puppies”

Admittedly the three of us spend more time in “sensible” shoes than heels, but really?   Would people actually wear these?  What would you say if a colleague came in to work wearing them?  Are they anatomically correct?   Is there a chocolate starfish on the heel that we just can’t see from this angle?  Are these puppies speutered?  Would wearing these officially make you the craziest dog lady around?

With all this said…they’re still better than Vibrams.

Dog Breeds II: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly e.g. My Neighbor has one of those.

6 Jan

Back, by popular demand, is the Dog Breed Profile. This time around, we thought we’d hit the big three. That is, the breeds AKC declares most popular every year circa 2011 (Shhh, we like to pretend Goldens don’t exist sometimes. Then we go to obedience trials and cry a little bit). This is, of course, according to their registration and has very little to do with what dogs are actually sitting (More like humping) at the popular table, but we’ll ignore that.

Pretty much.

Labrador Retriever

Eww. They’re recessive…

We’ve been harsh on labs in the past, we can admit that. We may have called them dumb, over friendly, oafish. There is no denying it though, America loves them. They’ve been the number one breed in America for… a long long time. We don’t do actual research for these blogs so we don’t know how long. It’s been a while, just stick with us.

The Good:

1. Labs are genuinely nice dogs. The vast majority of the time, they’re pleasant to be around. They’re that iconic bro dog, sort of easy going but ready to go when you are. They make great exercise partners, love to play fetch and they can be great family dogs. They’re pretty much the dog everyone thinks about when you hear “I want a puppy” from the mouths of children. For an active family or individual there is a labrador for all seasons from the heftier plough horse Labradors to the sleek seal-like field-breds.

i gots a buuurd.

2. If you want a general bird retrieving buddy, there’s no reason to look any farther than a good lab. Even the worst bred among them still has that instinct, even if he’s destroying what passes for his hips doing it. We’re kidding. Labs actually have better hips than a lot of breeds, but given the sheer number of them out there… Good luck telling that to your vet. There’s a reason the go to dog for most hunters is a Lab. They do the job, they do it well and they do it with a good attitude.

The Bad:

1. Popularity comes with a price. See above mentioned lousy excuse for hips. Also, do us a favor. Open a new tab. Go to your local shelters page. Now look at the breeds. How many of those are lab mixes? Hell, how many of those are purebred labs? The shelter is overrun with black labs and mixes. Indiscriminate breeding has been hell on the breed. If you just want a companion, please do not pay $300 via Paypal for a ‘purebread silver lAbrader’.

2. We did call them dumb, yes. Really though… it’s more… oafish. Herding dog people may find this particular quality more obnoxious than others. Labs assume everyone is their best friend and it can get them in trouble most notably with other dogs but also with cows, vehicles, electric fences and car interiors.

The Ugly:

1. This is the part where we talk about breed splits again. Labs are the original split breed. You have your blubbery show line labs that can sort of waddle around the ring, you have you crazy high as a kite field line labs that are like living with a border collie with an oral fixation, and then you have something in between that is mostly produced by BYBs and that’s the lab that lives in most of America’s living room.

If you put it down , it’s fair game.

2. There’s a solid chance your lab will eat your house in the first two years of his life. Seriously, they are notoriously naughty puppies who must taste everything… and we mean everything. .

Beagle

Beagles are one of the most recognizable breeds out there, and it’s been our experience that people either love them…or hate them.  Beagles tend to be amiable little fellows with a lot of character and it certainly can’t be said that they are boring.  This breed is known for its irresistible floppy ears, expressive eyes and merry, happy-go- lucky character that transmits happiness and joy.  Plus…Snoopy.  Everyone loves Snoopy.

Still not cuter than Uno.

The Good:

1.  They love their people.  Beagles tend to be people-oriented and can make great family pets.

2.  They’re a small dog that isn’t fragile.  Beagles are kind of like crossover SUVs.  Slightly lower to the ground, sturdy, and good for many purposes.

3.  Beagles are awfully cute.  Their big brown eyes are incredibly soulful and expressive and seemingly get them out of a lot of trouble.  Beagle owners will tell you that they are hard to stay mad at.

The Bad:

1.  As a general rule (and yes, we know there are exceptions) Beagles are not great off-leash dogs.  They are scent-hounds after all.  When a Beagle catches a scent, their nose will hit the ground and they will go after with the intensity of a fat kid trying to find a cupcake.

2. To a Beagle, your home is nothing more than a giant buffet.   Don’t be surprised if you find your Beagle “shopping” in your home to find their next snack.  Trash, food, that old sock..nothing is sacred to a Beagle. And that pizza you left on the counter while you answered the phone?  Forget about it.  Just be glad if the plate wasn’t consumed too.

3.  Beagles are very intelligent dogs, but they’re not necessarily eager to please, which makes them more of a training challenge. In fact, Beagles can be downright ornery if his priorities conflict with yours.

The Ugly:

1.  Arooooooooooo.  While many owners of Beagles find their distinctive voice charming, rest assured that most of your neighbors will not.  Especially at 6 am when they spot a squirrel in the backyard or just want to let you know how happy they are that it’s breakfast time.

2.  Beagle Stank.  To be fair it’s more of a collective hound-breed stank. It’s a real thing.  Beagles, despite having short fur, are known for being both high-shedding and rather odorous. It’s a stank that just don’t come out.

3. Their “The world is my oyster… Let’s eat it” attitude makes them more than a little prone to obesity. They have the ‘Fat and happy’ mindset down to a science and keeping them thin is a science unto itself.

German Shepherd

How badly do you want this ball back?

How badly do you want this ball back?

America’s favorite since Strongheart (Pre-Rin Tin Tin. Look it up.) graced the silent movie screen, German Shepherds are still the perennial “Protective Dog” for the masses. Theoretically every German Shepherd should be brave, protective, active family companions with the brains and the power to do just about any task set forth. In practice… well… let’s just get to the list.

The Good:

1. They are hard working. No one can say your GSD is really a dummy. While they may not be the smartest brains of the class when only compared to Border Collies and Poodles, they’re certainly willing to put in the effort and the hard work to get that ‘A’. What they don’t have in raw brain power, they make up for in worth ethic. Even then, the brain power can be pretty impressive….

2. Well-bred, well-socialized shepherds with training are wonderful active companions and all the better with a job. They crave work and a purpose. It’s always a little surprising German Shepherds aren’t more popular in the obedience ring. Unsurprising is that they have their own sport (IPO) that showcases the qualities of a good German Shepherd.

3. Eager to please doesn’t even begin to cover it. Not only has the good GSD read the rulebook, they keep a copy handy in case you need to change some rules and they can be prepared for other rule changes in the future.

4. They do make for an imposing picture. Not that we recommend walking through a meth-lab with them and expecting no harm to come to you, but the fact remains that many people will cross the road to avoid “Police Dogs”

The Bad:

1. Health issues abound in the popular breeds. From allergies to dysplasias, DM to chronic ear infections, German Shepherds do not have the best track record in terms of overall health. It’s not all doom and gloom, but it’s not awesome either. Thankfully a lot of it can be avoided through careful breeding and research.

2. German Shepherds are going to make you prove it. “What is this ‘it’” you ask. ‘It’ is everything. if you lack consistency or the ability to lay down rules with fairness and authority this is not a dog for you. Adolescence with a German Shepherd is hell. German Shepherd puppies can be incredibly trying to raise. Aside from the “fear periods” (Which seem absurdly out of proportion to other breeds) at a certain point the “I don’t want to you can’t make me AAHAHHHHHHHHH! *bite* *snap* *hiss*” of sexual maturity begins, and everything you did as a puppy is seemingly forgotten as some hell-monster comes to live where your reasonably okay GSD puppy once resided. If you aren’t prepared to handle that with dignity, calmness and tequila, this will not be the breed for you. Also, be totally prepared for strangers to think you’ve been beaten by your spouse…Bruises, scrapes, black-eyes (No we’re not kidding). If Malinois are Maligators, than GSDs are the Landsharks.

3. Oh my Sweet baby Jesus the shedding. German Shedders is a not-funny or remotely amusing “joke” that merely describes the sheer horror of 70lbs of undercoat all coming out all the time.

4. Every asshole has had one. “It was 300lbs, vicious but rescued a kitten from a tree.” These people are incredibly annoying.

The black and tan bandersnatch! Wait no, sorry. GSD.

The black and tan bandersnatch! Wait no, sorry. GSD.

5. If you have anything but a Black and Tan with the saddle marking, be prepared to be asked about your ‘Coydog’/’Wolf/Husky/Mutt at regular intervals. Your “No, he’s a German Shepherd” will be met with weird looks, snorts of derision and even people calling you a moron not-so-under their breath. If you don’t love the irony, stick to a different breed.

6. Much like labs, these dogs should have a working temperament which is not conducive to spending all day, every day in a crate. They are physical dogs who can have the youthful ‘Bull in a China Shop’ mentality. These are not appropriate dogs for your 90 year old Nana.

7. Do you like having insurance? Well your premium probably just went up. GSDs are frequently included in BSL which can make owning one a headache.

The Ugly:

1) Want to get yelled at in multiple languages from ten different directions by strangers on the internet? Start talking about German Shepherds. German Shepherds are at the heart of every dog debate that exists ever. Structure? Bloodlines? Work Ethic? German? Dutch? Czech? Showlines? We won’t go into details, just wander onto a dog forum and you’ll see pages from both sides. It is equal parts understandable and ridiculous.

2) You know how we called Labs the ‘original breed split’? Well, we lied. This is the big one folks and it’s a doozy. In layman’s’ terms, there are functionally three factions, four if you count useless BYB type. The first faction is the American Show Lines. The second are the High Lines, so think German show dogs. The third are the working line dogs. Each of these have further subdivisions and so on and so forth until each side only support one dog at one kennel ever, but you get the gist. Each side criticizes the other for temperament, health, angulation, “true working ability” etc and if you are unfamiliar with pedigrees or general faction alliances you can get yourself tangled up in an argument you didn’t even know you started. We have no vested interest in who you pick or why, but do yourself a favor and really really do your research. You can be burned badly if you don;t.

3) Finding a breeder who is A) Quality and B) Will give you a nice pup is a huge undertaking. See Ugly Section 2 for details.

4) Lastly, and most glaring is the total lack of consistency in the breed as a whole. We can not conclusively say that the average German Shepherd you run across won’t be a bundle of nerves, insecurities and teeth willing to bite the hand that passes by, nor can we guarantee they won’t be so bold and social their interest in other people borders on labrador-like.. The best you can really hope for is finding a type that appeals to you and researching the snot out of it. Mentors in this breed are worth their weight in gold, but make sure to keep an open mind to what characteristics you want, not just what someone tells you to want.

As always we highly recommend looking into performance oriented clubs and sports to help guide you to someone who may have the dog for you. If they have to see you every day, it’s not likely they’ll give you a crappy one. As always, you’re welcome.