Archive | July, 2014

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.

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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.

10 things we’d love to ask Back Yard Breeders.

1 Jul

Imagine it. Maury, the Dog Snobs edition. We, TDS, are allowed to question a variety of backyard breeders.Imagine the drama, imagine the ratings! It’d be the best episode of Maury not involving a paternity test. You see, we here at TDS are on a mission. With all the dumbassery kicking around it’s about time we get some things answered by the people who’ve annoyed us most these last several months; Backyard Breeders. Any BYBs out there willing to give us an answer? Should we just start emailing these to random breeders?

 

1) Why did you choose to breed your dog? Don’t give us that bull shit about how much you love the breed and how your kids learned so much. We want to know the real reason.

 

… and is traumatized forever.

 

2) What made you think it was a good idea to breed a dog without health testing/on pre-lims? Are you too cheap to do proper testing?  Too lazy? Or just too dumb? And for those of you that know what health testing is and choose not to do it, what makes you think you know more about PRA/Hip Dysplasia/ Patellas than any number of vets. We see that website page you’ve written based on pseudoscience, and we don’t believe you have magic x-ray eyes.

Go home Morpheus, you’re drunk.

3) Have you actually done any research (Google doesn’t count) on breeding, whelping, and raising puppies?  Or is this just something you plan on making up as you go along and pleading for help on yahoo answers at 3 am when something inevitably goes wrong?

Girl dog + boy dog= Puppppppies

4) No but seriously, why’s there so much Jesus involved in your dog breeding? Did god come to you at night and say “Here’s a get rich quick scheme, breed malti-poos”. We’re no experts on Jesus here at The Dog Snobs, but we’re pretty sure he frowns on being an idiot.

Even Jesus thinks you’re a douche.

5) Do you actually care who your puppies end up with, or is anyone with a PayPal account and a dream good enough?

 

The true path to romance.

6) Quick quiz and you’re not allowed to google… Do you know what a CHIC number is? OFA? The meaning of Clear, carrier, affected?

7) Do you even like dogs? Serious question.We know you like the MONEY you make from dogs but like… what about the actual dogs? If you do, why aren’t you out like… doing something with them?

8) Are you stuck in 1994? Seriously, the autoplay music and the butterfly cursor may appeal to your dumbass taste but it looks like a 12 year old girl built it on angel fire in 2003. You’re making bank, hire a web designer.

 

9) There are decent dogs a few generations back in your pedigrees, how the hell did you get them? What happened that rushed you so rapidly downhill? (Not always applicable)

We’re calling shitty breeders Frank now, it’s a thing.

10) We’re guessing you don’t refer to yourself as a backyard breeder, so what do you call yourself?

It’ll go just like this.

Alright minions, any questions to add? Want to start emailing this blog link you your favorite BYBs? (We’re joking about that. Sort of.)