Archive | May, 2015

Know Thy Dog

27 May

We have a confession.  Are you ready?  Sure?

Our dogs aren’t perfect*.

Shocked?  Despite being Dog Snobs, our dogs have their foibles.  What stops us from being Dog Hypocrites though, is that we are well-aware of these issues and do our best to manage them.

Training and management are key for pretty much everything dog-related. Is your dog an asshole around other dogs?  Doesn’t like being in tight spaces like elevators?  Wants to eat kids? Hates skateboards?  That’s cool….as long as you don’t sit back on your laurels and let them act a fool.  Training can work wonders, but can only go so far so fast.  Until you have a handle on your dog’s issues, manage the shit out of them.  Putting your dog into situations that you know they are an asshole just makes you an even bigger asshole.

 

The first step, like most things, is acknowledging you have a problem.  We know that you love your baby fluffy-kins more than cheese and crackers, but not being willing to admit that they can be an asshole in certain situations doesn’t do anyone any favors.  Your dog can still be your favorite thing in the entire world…and still be a jerkface at times.

Once you’ve acknowledged that your dog is not in fact the Mother Theresa of the canine world, the next step is coming up with a plan.  Pro tip:  Hoping it just goes away is not a plan.

 

Sometimes this plan may involve simply paying better attention to your surroundings or advocating for your dog, but sometimes it might actually take some lifestyle adjustments.  These changes can range from changing the time of day you go on walks to avoid triggers, muzzle-training your dog, or accepting that you will have to take the stairs instead of the elevators because your dog turns into Cujo in tight spaces.  Trust us, people will judge you far less if you have to occasionally dive head-first  into a bush to avoid other dogs on a walk than if you let your dog release the kraken on every single dog who passes by as you stand by and twiddle your thumbs.

We get that having a dog who is an asshole can be a work in progress and that sometimes there are slip-ups, but intentionally having your head so far up your own ass that you don’t even admit that your dog is an asshole, well…that’s just shitty.

 

*not perfect, but pretty darn close!

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If by Precipitate you mean Asshole, then Yes: Health Testing, Disclosure and you. A Rant.

21 May

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.”

You are that chunky bit that looks like the bottom of a park bench right there. That’s you.

Bah dum chhh! Chemistry nerds (or just people who took year 9 science) will get this joke and that’s because it is true and hilarious. One area where “the precipitate” is something even more unpleasant than the gunk floating in your test tube is dog breeding. That’s right kids, if you as a breeder aren’t part of the solution, you’re not only part of the problem you are the problem. Full stop.

What pray tell is the problem? Well, that depends on who you ask, but I’ll break it down for you.

For better or for worse (depending on who you ask) in the United States breeders, hoping to do the right thing by their dogs and developed in conjunction with universities, veterinarians and people who just gave a damn, created tests to quantify the quality and health of their stock. How well that works in the case of OFA hips/elbows is debateable* but the genetic tests and marker tests alone have been a wondrous addition to the world of dog breeding. In educated hands they make what was once a total crapshoot in terms of health, something potentially predictable; as much as these things can be and for breeders who care that is a wonderful, wonderful thing. It allows breeders and buyers to make truly informed and educated decisions on where they want their program to go in the case of breeders and functional dealbreakers in terms of what is and is not acceptable, needed or wanted. I truly love what testing has brought to the table in both of my breeds, and this dear friends is the crux of the issue.

Anything short of full disclosure on health testing results is spitting on your breed standard, insulting fellow breeders and defrauding your buyers. Full Stop. No Excuses.

Every Single One

I’m not sure when “A little information is a dangerous thing” became the norm in dog breeding but we need to knock that shit off. Information is glorious. Information does nothing but allow you to make BETTER decisions for your dogs.


“But Fang! People are mean and other breeders are cannibals. One sign of a problem in my dogs and they won’t sell me a dog or breed to mine and I won’t be able to sell my puppies, woe is me poor innocent waif blah blah.”

Ahem


Newflash! People are already trashing your dogs, your haircut, your personality, what you bred, what you didn’t breed and they’re doing it on hearsay. People say your dog has shitty elbows and carries EIC and sneezes lime Jello? Prove them wrong, test and make that shit public. Or prove them right and show you have nothing to hide. You know what sketchy? A breeder who does not test.

Secondarily, you know what’s really sketchy?  A breeder who hides the bad things. Guess what kids, people who care are going to do the research. If there is a lack of a test on one of your dogs but suspiciously everything else has it with sunshine and rainbows flying out its ass? That’s a bad sign. “Why wasn’t “x” done when everyone else was?” To people in the know, I’m sorry but the implication of that is you’re hiding something. Who hides things? Scummy, suspect people.

It really is, dog.

Dog people eat our own. We know we do and we should own that. We hold others to our own, hopefully high standards, and love our dogs, our breeds and our communities to distraction. We want what’s best for all of those and often times, the vehemence and nastiness in those disagreements spirals out of control. This however is no excuse.

I will argue to the ground that any information, regardless of actual result or status, is the only service breeders can offer their buyers and the public at large. You cannot guarantee health, beauty, temperament, titles, or a death date beyond reasonable precautionary measures but you can offer piles of information for those who want to hear it. If someone doesn’t want to hear it, they probably don’t need one of your dogs. You can also offer other breeders the courtesy of allowing them an unvarnished look at other lineages and what they could be risking or breeding in to. Would you not want the same courtesy? I can tell you from just clicking through databases, a single bad result does not remove a dog from the breeding pool. It removes the shock of a bad result in offspring, and forces breeders to be more conscientious about future breeding choices (And what is and is not a good choice to minimize or eliminate a problem). What about this is a bad thing?

In essence anything short of full disclosure on a database such as OFA which is publicly accessible to any and all who may look is morally reprehensible.

Or at least the standard clump and toss in some extras for funsies. Otherwise you’ll be viewed with suspicion, doubt and distrust. It’s up to you, really.

Any information is better than no information.

Complete information gives the community at large a better chance at beating back the ever encroaching health problems that plague breeds. Hiding that information is an insult. Do us all a favor and try being part of the solution. It’s the right thing to do.

And now you know.

*But only a little, so no excuses peeps.

WTF Wednesday

21 May

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You know the annoying dog hair that gets all over your clothes and furniture and into your food and makes you question why you got a dog in the first place?  Apparently now you can make good use of it by having a dog hair sweater made.

Given how much time we spend trying (to no avail) to look like we haven’t just rolled around in a giant pile of dog hair, we aren’t sure how we feel about these. On the one hand, maybe wearing an actual sweater made of your dog’s hair is the best way to stop all the nasty comments from non-dog owners about how fur-covered you are.  On the other hand, it might be a sign that you have just given up on ever trying to look nice.

We’re all about bonding with your dogs, but this may be taking it a bit too far.What do you think? Would you wear your dog’s fur as a sweater? Would you still be our friends if we did? Let us know!

**Feeling inspired?  You can buy a handy dandy book here or follow the simple directions here. **

You can’t Google Maps that Shit: a.k.a. That mythical farm is a myth and you’re an idiot. A Rant by Fang.

14 May

So we’ve all seen it. The person trying to home their senior or near-senior outdoor dogs because of <insert bullshit reason here>. Inevitably this dog needs to live on a farm or on a ranch to be a “Working dog” or washed out of being a working dog because they harassed the neighbor’s livestock or can’t live in the house because it’s never been inside and has no concept of what a door is let alone how to ask to go outside because they’ve never spent a night under a real roof. It’s depressing, it’s sad and it pisses me off and here’s why.

Brace yourself for your Thursday dose of sunshine kids….

There is no farm or ranch or outdoor preserve that will take your neglected, poorly trained, stock-chasing, cat-killing, senior who isn’t house-trained, leash trained and whose concept of manners ends somewhere around not actually shitting in their own dish, dog.
Rest assured dear-readers, I am by no means equating these poor pathetic creatures and their careless owners to the real working dogs who sleep in barns, fields or kennels and spend their days making life easier for their hard-working owners. These dogs are treasured members of their teams. The ignorant presumption that any wild dog will be “happier” or “better behaved” on a ranch is as asinine a statement that exists.

The only field available to them is Elysian and it will be courtesy of a rancher when that dog, who you dumped into some god-awful Craigslist slum scenario will escape and go frolicking with those cows and sheep you had so hoped they could live with in their new home. Problem being of course, the rancher doesn’t see it as playful frolic but as harassment, and a danger to their livelihood and it will end quickly and with a literal bang.

I’m truly sorry your priorities have changed and your life is made more difficult by the lack of forethought or effort you put into acquiring your dog in the first place. I’m also sorry you will truly have to struggle if you want to make your dog even remotely re-homeable. But most of all I’m sorry for your poor dogs who’ve not been given the chance to be that adored pet or that treasured working dog, but who’ve been left to fester in ignorance and training neglect. I’m also sorry for the puppy you see no issue in bringing into this den of idiocy because you want it  now and everyone else is a bunch of meanie pants or are totes jelly of your life choices.

With starving sharks…