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Owner Profile: The Cesar Millan Wannabe.

6 Jul

Description: We all know them, none of us love them. That’s right- The Cesar Millan Wannabe (CMW). Whether you are a fan of CM or want him to burn in the lowest pit of hell, you have to admit this person is annoying.  Really, really, annoying. The entirety of their dog knowledge is gained from reading CM’s books and watching his program religiously.  Their own dog is usually terribly behaved and completely ignores CM’s most often used catchphrase “Tsst”.

His hero, his teacher, his man-crush.

Common Locations:  Dog parks, where they can impart their “knowledge” on innocent bystanders and demonstrate alpha rolls on unsuspecting dogs.  Trolling internet forums where they pick fights with anyone and everyone who will give them the time of day.

Even the dogs are doing it.

Wardrobe: “Be the Pack Leader” and “Leader of the Pack” t-shirts, rollerblades, fanny packs and dog packs strapped on each hip. Dogs are usually wearing cheap slip leashes, or more recently the Cesar Millan branded products.

Manny pack in so-so many ways.

Breeds Owned: Just about any breed can be owned by the CMW, but they do tend to enjoy having “power” over the larger more powerful breeds like Rotties, Pit bulls, and German Shepherds.

That’s a funny noise you’re making. Do you have food? I like food.

Skill Level: Very Very low, the CMW has never spoken to an actual trainer other than to tell them what they are doing is completely wrong.

Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica.

Catch Phrases: “TSST”, “You need to be calm submissive”, “No talk, no touch, no eye contact.”

Dogs can read, right?

Anecdotal Evidence:

BusyBee:  Volunteering at a local shelter, I’ve encountered more CMWs than I can count.  Recently while taking out a puppy with a potential adopter, it became remarkably clear that I was dealing with one of these types.   Within a few minutes of pointing and “tsssting” at the poor confused pup, he proclaimed “This dog won’t mind me.  I can fix that.  Just need to show her who is boss”.   When I pointed out that she responded much better to positive reinforcement (and promptly showed him how eager she was to please when she had some direction), he told me that he didn’t believe in bribing his dogs and that the dog only responded to me because I had known for a while (note: It was my first time meeting her as well).   After a few more minutes of him pointing and commanding the puppy to do things, he tried to force the puppy into a “sit” and got angry when I asked him to please not do that.  I said it was time to go back inside and he stomped away in a huff.  Needless to say, the CMW did not end up getting a dog from us.

A few more episodes and she’ll be ready for the obedience ring,

Potnoodle: My favorite CMW just happens to be a relative of mine. He seems to be fairly convinced dogs are born knowing that “tsst” and a claw hand means bad. His own dog, upon hearing the noise, would roll over on his back. When he visited my house, he tried it on my Australian Cattle Dog/Border Collie mix and she just stared at him like the idiot he was. He then attempted to tell me that the B, the mix, was clearly a red zone case and was challenging him with eye contact. I told him that we had a trainer and that maybe he needed to see one too.

Well you’re stupid. Next please.

Fang: There’s a local “trainer” (and I use the term loosely) who runs around pretending to be a combination of Cesar and Jesus. His concept of clicker training is truly a marvel. He has his own Youtube channel which I will sometimes watch for my own amusement. Unsurprisingly, he has an amazingly devoted following, who are equal parts frustrating and stupid.

I’m not being aggressive, just dominant.

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Owner Profile: In Over Their Head Ignoramus

15 Jun

Description:

Having done little to no research before obtaining a dog, the The In-Over-Their-Head Ignoramus (IOTHI) now finds themselves with a dog that they are woefully unprepared for.  These individuals likely chose a dog based on appearance or on movies/books that portrayed certain breeds, and have no idea what they are actually in for. While this is never good for a particular breed of dog, sometimes through their own good nature it all works out okay*. Dogs like Golden Retrievers, Collies, and most German Shepherds show a remarkable resilience in this kind of relationship mainly due to their willingness to please no matter how stupid the request. In some of the more independent minded breeds or more sensitive (read: prone to neuroses) breeds, this relationship will consistently turn into something inside of a “Die Hard” movie, complete with explosions and heavily accented German.

It is important to note that most IOTHIs fall into one of two subtypes:

Type 1:  These individuals realize soon after getting the dog that they are in over their head and step up to the challenge.  These are the kinds of people, who as a breeder, you would want your puppies to go to as their second dog.  Type 1 IOTHIs, upon realizing they are so far over their heads they will drown and/or be eaten by their creature, tend to take on training and socialization as a crusade.

Complete with pimp outfits.

Type 2:  Oy.  These are the ones you have to watch out for.  These are the people that usually end up tying their dog up in the yard or surrendering it to the shelter when they can no longer deal with it.  These owners are how seemingly rare breeds end up in shelters. Oddly, these are also often the repeat offenders. The Malinois was too much? Well, surely a Dutch Shepherd will work out better… only after dumping the Malinois, of course.

*The dog may be fat, under-stimulated, neurotic, bored, and untrained, but it’s probably not going to kill anyone/anything and/or be taken to be put down in a five year timespan.

Breeds Owned:

While the IOTHI doesn’t seem to own a particular breed, they do own breeds that fall in to two archetypes. They either own a herding breed that requires an insane amount of excercise (while being mostly sedentary creatures themselves) or they own incredibly rare and usually aggressive breeds. We can only assume they get these breeds (usually imports) due to some inescapable language barrier where “No” means “Yes” and “completely inexperienced means “give me that one who is trying to gnaw through steel”.

Potnoodle once saw this on a late night program on NatGeo when she was like… twelve. Yet, through a simple google search she found it. At least GOOGLE a breed before you buy it , dumbass. Be sure to watch to the end for a classic IOTHI.

Skill Level:

In reality, low. In many of their own minds, at least when they first get the dog, quite high.   Thankfully, most IOTHI are humbled by their dogs pretty quickly, realizing that they have no idea what they are doing.  The deciding factor in skill level over time, however, is whether they are a Type 1 or Type 2.  Type 1s will step up to the challenge and increase their knowledge and skills and have a good shot at ending up being an appropriate owner, while Type 2s continue to muddle through dog ownership mostly being totally oblivious to how unskilled they are and how much they are not meeting their dog’s needs.   We should also note, that there are also those IOTHIs who truly begin to believe over time that are dog experts of the highest caliber. They also aren’t shy about their “prowess”, and pass out bad advice like poop-scented business cards.

Smells like… the dog eats beneful.

Common Locations:

At the dog park with a ridiculously inappropriate dog. At training clubs, being avoided by all of the people with common sense. At breed specific events, gathering with the other idiots that own breeds they are ridiculously under-qualified for.

We’re guessing at least 1/6th are IOTHI.

Catch Phrases:  

“So I shouldn’t take my Fila to the dog park?”, “I can only take my 8 month old Border Collie on a 15 minute walk per day.  That should be enough, right?” “Why is my dog bred to bite livestock into submission trying to bite my ankles!”

Anecdotal Evidence: 

   Around the same time I got Mr. T, a neighbor (early 20s college student) came home with a German Wirehaired Pointer puppy from a local breeder.   I was honestly quite shocked, because I had literally never seen this kid stumble out of his apartment any earlier than noon.  I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and thought that maybe the dog would give him a reason to rise earlier and actually leave his apartment for a reason other than scoring weed.  However, it didn’t take long to realize that this guy was in way over his head, had no clue, and had no intention of getting a clue.  Every time we saw them (which wasn’t a lot) the puppy was a complete spaz, who clearly wasn’t getting enough socialization, exercise, or stimulation.  Apparently this kid missed the memo that said that pointers can be rather willful, are powerful and energetic, and can become bored and hard to manage without enough exercise.   About 6 months after bringing home the dog, the owner made a rare appearance outside (sans dog), and informed me that he had sent the dog back to the breeder because he wouldn’t stop chewing his couch, tearing holes in the carpet, breaking things, and so on.  He told me that the dog was just ‘wired wrong’, taking absolutely no responsibility for not having met the dogs needs in the slightest.  I was actually relieved when he said the dog had gone back, because this kid had NO idea how to raise any dog, let alone one with high energy.  I didn’t see the kid for another few months or so, which wasn’t entirely surprising, but when I did finally run into him, I was in for quite a shock.  Yep, I ran into him and his new imported German Shepherd, who only responded to commands in German.  Seriously.  The kid carried around a notecard with all the commands on it (Platz!  Platz, you dumbass!!).  This dog was a whole helluva lot of animal, and I was shocked that anyone would have given him this dog in the first place, but I guess having rich parents with fat wallets will get you far these days.  By the time I moved away about a year later, the dog had changed from a well-trained dog (due to pre-import training) to a complete maniac who completely ruled his owner’s life.  It’s now been three years since I last saw them, but I would be incredibly surprised if he still has this dog…and not at all surprised if he is now dabbling in Tibetan Mastiffs.

Fang: Have I ever mentioned the Craigslist Fila? No? Alright then, that’s a story. Filas (or Brazilian Mastiffs for the rest of us) are not what you’d call a beginner’s dog. In fact they fall under the category of ‘Probably shouldn’t be owned by someone lacking a sugar plantation and a quirky lack of concern over human life’. These are serious serious dogs within one registry* their extreme dislike of anything they were not raised with (Called ojeriza) has been likened to genetic mental illness. It’s xenophobia with teeth. So, you ask yourself, why one earth wouldn’t I want one of these actually man-eaters on my cul de sac? I really hate the neighbor kids on my lawn. The mail-lady has been gaining weight recently and a fast jog would do her some good. I’ve always wanted to see a pony-sized dent in my neighbor’s BMW when he blocks me in. To even be aware of this would require research, and in the case of **Pooper, that was clearly not the case.

Brazil: It’s where you want to be. Also, we’re bringing back the gratuitous shirtless man pictures. We missed those.

I am not ashamed to admit I tend to read Craigslist. As a hobby it beats accordion and I can usually find things to mock on the blog. I did, however, in the ‘Pets’ section notice a post which caught my eye. I’ll save you the amazing details but basically these people were in search of the man who sold them a Fila off of the aforementioned website.  I filed this information away in my head like a good little weirdo and thought nothing more of it. A month later my boss got a phone call about a dog who was creating issues at home. It was… you guessed it, a Fila! I of course was ridiculously excited. My taste for potential mayhem is only outpaced by my love of Indian food and this situation had the potential to be better than Naan (No, it didn’t. Nothing is better than naan). I begged to tag along and was appeased and the entire ride to the client’s house had me bouncing in my seat. The first question out of my mouth to these haggard people of course was where they got the dog. “Craigslist” was their somewhat embarrassed reply. They had picked up the puppy in a parking lot after reading roughly five words about the whole transaction. “Protective” “Good with kids” “$250”. Pooper of course was kind of a back-yard-bred breed typical dog. He was knocking over strange kids who came to visit and growling in their face. He was running across the street to “greet” the neighbor with barking, growling and some more charging for good measure. He also pulled on the leash which was neither here nor there.

Quick, get the spoons and soup tourine. This is a big one.

At some point they at least had the grace to look embarrassed admitting they had finally read about the breed on ‘the Google’ and were shocked at what they’re acquired. After the training session we have heard from them periodically. Pooper luckily seems to be a mild-mannered if still rude dog and he’s missed the extremes popular in his breed. His owners are what I’d call a Type 1.5. Still totally over their head but not into the training enough to really commit, but Pooper’s generally stupid nature has given them that leeway.

Free dawg. Protection 4 U. May ate ur gardeners. Srs. Replies onlee.

*The sketchy registry where a dog can’t be registered as an adult unless it actually tries to eat a judge.

**It’s not even to protect the owners. The dog was really just a shitter. Also his name rhymes with Pooper. I’ll give you one guess.

Potnoodle: My local feed-store is a pretty nifty place. Self serve dog wash, western wear, good quality dog food, and everything in between. It also allows the employees to bring their well behaved dogs to work. There was a girl that worked there that had a really nice little terrier mix that came to work with her every day. Unfortunately, she didn’t feel safe when she locked up at night so she decided to buy a Giant Schnauzer. It was a lovely little puppy, then it hit it’s teen years. She had decided to do some “personal protection” training with a local trainer who … isn’t the best. After the third time her Giant Schnauzer completed an unprompted bark and hold on someone trying on wranglers in the dressing room… she was fired.

Honestly, maybe the dog was just a fashion critic.

Do you know any In-Over-Their-Head-Ignoramuses?  Anyone care to own up to being one?  Share below!

Dog Owner Profile: The Know-It-All Novice.

3 Jun

Description:  

The Know-It-All-Novice (KIAN) knows more about dogs than you do, and they are more than happy to tell you about it.  They also happen to be woefully wrong about 97% of the time. That 3% accuracy rate is, however,  usually not a fluke.  Rather, it’s a shocking ability to regurgitate facts gleaned from internet forums, books, blogs (heh), or through lengthy arguments in Facebook groups on what they ‘actually meant’.

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The KIAN, in their defense, is not a lazy dog owner. Despite their current dog (or dogs) being their first real project animals, they have pulled out all the stops. They are exceptionally dedicated to their canines. They are in a phrase, the ultimate keener. They not only take classes, they take *all* the classes. They don’t have one DVD, they have *all* the DVDs, the books, the streaming account, and the associated training package which comes with its own color-coordinated tote-bag. They have the dog, they have all the gear, they have all the effort, but sadly they have none of the common sense.

The lack of common sense is really not their fault. That comes with time and all the classes in the world can’t make up for sheer sweat and hours. What is their fault, however, is their total inability to to comprehend that they may actually be wrong. From insisting dogs are primates (Yeah, for real), to suggesting Filas to novice handlers, to believing that peanut butter and flax is the  ideal canine weight loss solution, sometimes it seems that they only arrive at these conclusions via Yahoo Answers. There really is no other explanation, and you cannot convince these KIANs of their inaccuracies. These are conclusions they must reach for themselves, or be killed after pissing off someone badly enough, whichever comes first. We’re all for knowing more about our companions but in this instance, a little bit of knowledge is a very dangerous thing.

She just wouldn’t stop talking about reinforcers.

Common Locations:  

Often seen handing out unsolicited advice to innocent passersby, internet forum users, or dog park patrons, the KIAN tends to haunt locations where they can best spout their knowledge  (or lack thereof) to what they assume is a rapt audience. The KIAN can also be found in basic or slightly more than basic obedience classes correcting the instructors while insisting that they know how to do what they are obviously struggling with… they ‘just forgot’. When not alienating others with their strangely militant ideals, they are attempting to add to their experience pouring over dog training manuals and internet forums

“Lemme Do it!”

Breeds Owned:

Unlike some of the types of dog owners we’ve profiled, the breeds owned by the KIAN are widely varied. There is no particular benchmark as to what’s owned, but usually they will insist at their dog’s superior skills at something it was only vaguely bred to do more than a century ago.

All of the dogs, none of the talent.

Skill Level:  
Low to Moderate.  The KIAN has certainly read a great deal about dogs and has the utmost confidence in their abilities as a dog handler and owner, but in all actuality, they are usually going about things all wrong or mostly right with just enough wrong to muddy the waters.  Just don’t try to tell them that.

Yeah, the wheel is spinning but I’m on a lunch break.

Catch Phrases:

“Well, I read that…”, “I’m positive I’m right”, “My professor* told me…” “My research indicates that…”

Was it this professor? Because if so we can understand.

*fictional professor

Anecdotal Evidence:

BusyBee:

As part of my volunteer work at a local shelter, I facilitate meet-and-greets between potential adopters and our available dogs. A recent encounter with a KIAN left me wanting to bash my head in against the kennel wall.  This particular guy said that although he had never owned a dog before, he had done a lot of research and felt well-equipped to adopt.  Within about 20 seconds of the bringing the dog (an adolescent Pit Bull mix) out to meet him, the guy made it abundantly clear that he was a grade-A KIAN.  From correcting the way I was holding the leash (he was wrong) to telling me that Pit Bulls were bred as guard dogs (wrong again), pretty much everything this guy said was incorrect, and yet he was ultra-confident (see the Dunning- Kruger Effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect) in his statements.  Needless to say, I was quite relieved when he decided not to adopt that day.  If he did indeed end up adopting a dog from another shelter, I am sure he spends his time correcting and talking over every other dog owner or obedience instructor he meets.

Potnoodle:

My favorite, or least favorite depending on how you look at it, KIAN currently owns his first ever dog. Not his first dog as an adult, first ever. However, he knows alll there is in the world about this dog, this dog’s breed, and all the other dogs in the universe (which are inferior to his dog, because his dog’s breed is the best). How does he know this, you ask? Has he attended multiple training classes? Does he regularly visit dog shows? Is he involved in training at all? No, but he does read a lot of blogs and really that’s just as good… right? No matter, his dog is better than yours and that was on his first try. Imagine how amazing the second one will be.

images-1

Fang:

There is one of these in every other training session. Nevermind trying to instruct them, suggestions are shot down with sniper-like precision lies. They know that, tried it and it didn’t work but their current fumbling will get them through it. Mind you, when it doesn’t it becomes the instructor’s fault and words like incompetence and refund are bandied about. My personal favorite KIAN was owned by a *ick* Cockapoo and both she and her husband attended classes regularly. The husband was a great sport and really took the training to heart. He worked the dog at home and made huge progress very quickly. His KIAN wife merely coasted through making half-hearted attempts at what we suggested, a blank expression taking over her face any time any correction to her (lack of) method was suggested. She was insisting that just telling the dog that she loved him would get him to acknowledge her presence and therefore listen while also saying she has sources to back this up. She literally spent the whole hour telling the dog she loved him and patting his chest. That’s all fine and dandy, but if you are actually paying for advice, you may want to give a courtesy listen. In her last three classes she actually told instructors that they were wrong until the last when she was told that she could continue to come to classes but since she wasn’t going to listen it was an exercise in futility. My second favorite happened to be the owner of a young dog who insisted that her attempts to bite me while I was showing him the correct fit for a flat collar (!) were just her learning to wrestle other dogs. He also insisted on putting this twenty pound dog on a choke chain large enough for a mastiff and insisting that the chain should touch the ground. It was literally the most ridiculous conversation I’ve ever had with someone, including when I’ve been drunk. KIANs are a menace to society and I can only hope their sudden explosion in numbers fades away soon.

It’s forgetful juice, sadly the hangover is almost worth it.

The Types of People that Do Agility.

1 Jun

Agility is a dog sport which attracts all kinds, and we mean *all* kinds.   In this entry, we will do our best to categorize a few of the most common types of people you will encounter when involved in agility and the dogs who are stuck with them.

*sigh*

Ex-Conformation Types

If you see someone running a Chow or a Shih-Tzu or any other completely unbiddable breed, it’s a good guess that they are one of these people. They aren’t there because they love agility, and they aren’t there because they love training. They are there because someone told them a balanced dog has titles at both ends and the dog refused to chase a lure.

Not the kind of balance we're talking about

Not the kind of balance we’re talking about

Seriously Serious Types

These are people that have Border Collies or Shelties or Aussies ( and maybe a Papillon). They don’t have time for your questions and actually having questions means you will never be friends. Noticeably, all of their wardrobe comes from Clean Run or at least has ‘tech’ in the name of the fabric somewhere. Much to Fang’s chagrin, these are also people who wear Vibram Toe-Shoes, which are Crocs for people with money.

But Uglier.

Casual Competitor

The casual competitor has a good perspective on it all, mostly. Barring some unforeseen instances where the competition monster erupts, these are good people. Unfortunately, it’s a very small step from CC to our previous category. An early warning sign is going from a breed they actually enjoy to a Border Collie. (We refuse to believe anyone actually enjoys Border Collies.)

“I’m ready. Are you ready? I’m ready. Ready for anything. Ready. Ready. Ready. You’re ready! Get ready now. I’m ready. Ready.”

“I’m ready. Are you ready? I’m ready. Ready for anything. Ready. Ready. Ready. You’re ready! Get ready now. I’m ready. Ready.”

The Best Q is a Res-Q  People

They are more than happy to tell you how abused their snappy Border Collie was before they got involved in agility and would love to tell you the story of how their heart dog was rescued and got them involved in agility. They are often identifiable by the T-shirt sporting their favorite phrase “The Best Q is a Res-Q”. If you mention looking for a dog to these people, they automatically know one that would be “just perfect!”… some actually do, and some just want to pawn off a dog from their backyard rescue.

Your thoughtfully bred dog is satan. Get used to it.

The “I have this breed because I wanted to go to nationals and there are only two in the US doing agility” type

It’s considerably easier to get to AKC invitationals with a Shar-Pei than it is with a Border Collie. There’s a reason for that. So, how does one circumnavigate the system? Get a Border Collie in a weird little hungarian terrier suit. That’s right, a Pumi. If you have  the money to import a dog from the wilds of eastern Europe, you can make it to nationals. You’ll just have to switch breeds again when people start breeding them in the US. *cough* pyr shep*cough*

Fang loves these and doesn’t do agility (yet) so Potnoodle can shut her whore mouth.

Recreational Agiliphile

These individuals routinely take classes and engage in various agility-related activities, but don’t actually have plans to compete for a variety of reasons.  Although the RA is generally more closely aligned with the CC,  they can also come in an annoying subvariety.  These sub-RAs are those people that take up most of the instructor’s time and don’t really care to do things properly.  It is not uncommon to see sub-RAs admiring their dog on top the A-Frame and expecting everyone else to stop and coo in admiration.  This sub-RA is often the bane of existence for the Seriously Serious types who treat every second in class as integral to achieving  agility supremacy. They’re even annoying to the CC or the other RAs

Did we miss any agility types?  Do you recognize yourself in one of the descriptions?  Share below!

Owner Profile: The Baffled Amateur

25 May

Yeah, that’s about right.

Everyone was a beginner at some point, right? Well, in this next installment of the owner profiles we are discussing that person who just never gets with the program. Somehow, even after owning a dog for years the most basic information has completely eluded them.

Are you for real?

Are you for real?

 

Description: When interacting with the Baffled Amatuer (BA), it becomes apparent that despite owning dogs for years, this person still does not understand the basics of dog training, behavior, or even anatomy.  These are individuals that no matter how much advice they get, classes they take, or reading they do, they never seems to quite “get the the hang of” dog ownership. Strangely these people often have some of the most extensive and best help available to them, yet they never quite grasp the subtleties that make basic survival possible. This causes us to wonder how the BA has managed to exist as long as they have.

 

 

Common Locations: The vet. They spend an ungodly amount of time at the vet or asking people if they should take their dog to the vet. They are also training class regulars, frequently taking and dropping out of classes when their total lack of comprehension is only topped by their dog’s utter confusion. You may also find them standing baffled in front of any number of aisles at the pet store staring vacantly as though they are communing with a world only they can see.

Fantasia can arise anew. Also, the Pupperoni is cheaper at costco.

Breeds Owned:   The BA tends to be an anomaly in breed picking. Like much of the country, the top ten breeds are exceedingly common. The BA however, will with astounding frequency, own not only uncommon, but downright rare breeds as well. How they found them, let alone were given permission to purchase without their guardian (because most BAs shouldn’t be allowed out without some kind of assistance) is beyond us, but apparently they have magical powers that render breeders powerless against their “I can haz puppy?” pleas.

 

There are under 1,000 of us in the country and I STILL end up owned by a moron.

Skill Level:  Low.   Very, very, low. Surprisingly, however, you will see the BA making an effort (just a poor one) at any number of dog related activities. Their sense of accomplishment however is disproportionate to the reality. A CGC becomes a Nobel Prize while a Rally Novice title is the ‘MacArthur Genius Grant’. Their perfectly average* dog is now a titan of canine perfection and the rest of us will never hear the end of it.

Catch Phrases:  “I just can’t stop him from pulling on leash”, “How did you do that?!”, “Do you think this is serious?”

 

Yup. Very Serious.

Anecdotal evidence:

BusyBee:  Living in an apartment complex in the middle of a large city, I spend a lot of time outside in the park near my place with Mr. T, and as such, have met quite a few neighbors and their dogs.  Although I have seen a lot of idiocy (that is an entirely different blog entry), one neighbor in particular stands out as being a classic BA.  Despite having owned dogs for over 30 years, this woman still lacks the most basic of dog skills.  After kindly directing her to a local positive reinforcement trainer to work with her latest dog (which at 3 years old barely responded to his own name), I literally saw her in the park attempting to use her clicker as a remote control (pro tip: it doesn’t work that way).   I am also fairly certain that this woman thinks I am a wizard because I have taught Mr. T basic obedience such as “sit”, “down”, and “stay”.   Seriously, her head almost exploded when Mr. T.  backed up on cue. While I get that everyone has different levels of dog sense and skill, I just don’t understand how someone can own dogs for 30+ years and still think that teaching a dog to sit is an advanced trick.

 

What magical voodoo is this? He sat? Maybe if I hit pause again…

 

Potnoodle: My life is filled with these people. Between grooming and agility class, they cycle in and out of my life. Unfortunately, one person seems to cling. This person has several dogs of the same breed, all of them ridiculously fat and badly behaved. Whenever this person is given advice, it seems like she only picks up on a few key phrases. “Your dog needs to lose weight. You should probably have his thyroid checked, but also try more excercise and replacing some of his kibble with green beans.” becomes “replace his kibble with green beans.” She is then shocked that anyone would want to do such a cruel thing to poor schnookums. When she first brought her dogs to class, the instructor told her to walk around the field and get her dog aquainted with the area. Now, several class cycles later, she still walks the dog around the perimeter every time they come. Honesstly, it’s like working with a two year old.

This ain’t gonna cut

 

Fang: Like Potnoodle, these people are inescapable. Somehow I managed to get herded into teaching obedience classes, and like the moron I am, I usually go along without complaint. Every single class always has at least one of these unique specimens that make me want to smash my head into the nearest moving vehicle so my own training time is a welcome break, or so I once thought.  I am unlucky enough to train with one of these BAs regularly, and despite my avoidance, I frequently get to hear of the great things they have done. Their recent string of failures mind you are to him, all the dog’s fault. Hundreds of hours, four different trainers and numerous complete failures in training all attributed to his own errors are  then carried to the ring and he refuses to believe he has done a single thing wrong. A recent smackdown by someone I respect hopefully reached into his brain because he has been AWOL since it happened. Thank goodness for small miracles. His dog will never be so lucky.

 

*We’re not bagging the titles or the accomplishments, as for some dogs these will always be a distant dream, but rather we are talking about the disproportionate acclaim for something fairly pedestrian on an average pet (i.e. one without reactivity, anxiety, etc).

Owner Profile: The Suburban Outdoorsman

16 Apr

For this installation of “Owner Profiling”, we bring to you the “Suburban Outdoorsman”.

“We have time for this blog because we’re single. It’s our party and we can include half naked men if we want to.”

Description:

At first glance, the Suburban Outdoorsman (SO) appears to be an avid hunter or outdoor enthusiast.  They drive the largest of SUVs or trucks, dress in camouflage or lumberjack plaid, generally paired with heavy duty work boots.  However, upon getting to know them, it is clear that these individuals have never actually spent time in the outdoors (no, walking an outdoor mall does not count) or done anything remotely rugged. Sitting in a bus to go up a mountain is no more a hike than sitting in a Denny’s.

 

I guess there could be squirrels in that… but nothing else from nature.

 

Common Locations:

Found deep within the suburbs, the SO is rarely is found outside of a 3 mile radius of their home. The SO can often be found shopping at Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop buying things for themselves or their dogs that they will never actually use. It is not uncommon to see them walking around the block with a bear bell attached to their dog’s collar.

See, it says outdoors. That totally counts.

Breeds Owned: Hounds, Pointers, and some varieties of retrievers. In the south, you’ll also find them amongst the suburban “hawg dawg” set with curs, catahoulas and various other hunting breeds.

 

Douchebag Spotted!

Skill Level:  

Low. These owners commonly buy breeds that are typically seen as outdoorsy and then have no idea how to handle them.

 

I’m ready! Where’s the cows? We are hunting cows… right?

Catch Phrases:

“Does this camo vest come in XXL?”, “I totally intend to maybe one day in the not-so-near future take my dog hunting..or on a hike”, “I had a dog just like him when I was a kid, he was a great hunter”

 

He was really more of a hunter gatherer

Anecdotal Evidence:

 

BusyBee:  There is a monster truck that I see daily in our garage, equipped with Bass Pro stickers, deer decals, and a pro-gun bumper sticker.  By first appearances, it looks like this guy is heavily involved with hunting.  However,  I happen to know the guy who owns said truck, and let me tell you, he and his Vizsla have probably never seen anything outside of the city limits.  Although his dog wears an e-collar at all times (yes, while on-leash in the city on walks around the block), I’ve also seen his dog prance, jump, and whine when faced with puddles or any sort of mud, so I’m having a hard time imagining them barreling through the trees after a duck or rabbit. I’m also pretty sure that the truck never leaves the garage, as it is always there and way cleaner than my own admittedly urban car.  Given that even the city gets muddy and gross in the winter, I highly doubt his car has seen anything other than a Taco Time drive-thru.

 

Potnoodle: Living in the south means I’m constantly surrounded with these people. Just because you have a twangy accent and access to Real Tree merchandise does not make you a sportsman. When dogs are added to the mix, it gets even worse. Turns out, if you want to hunt with a dog, you have to do a little more training than buying it a bright orange collar. My poodles have more experience in the field than these people and that drives the SO nuts.

 

Fang: I admit it. I love Gander Mountain. What I do not love, however is the expanse of camouflage worn by every dog who walks into the business where I’m employed. These 4000lb Labradors have only ever seen one kind of duck, and it generally can be purchased at Petco. Plastic orange collars, camo vests and bedding, manly man toys of ducks, grouse and geese, like their dogs would even know what to do if they came across one. Thankfully, dogs are much more forgiving than they (and we) deserve. Most are entirely content to grow larger on the couch while their owner spins tall tales of Paul Bunyan proportions about their hunting prowess. It doesn’t, however, make their owner less of a douchebag. It just means their dog forgives them for being a lying liar.

Nothing about this is forgivable.

Dog Owner Profile: The Undercompensator

5 Apr

We know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.  Psh….like that will ever stop us.  Next up in our dog owner profiling category is the large man with a small dog, or as we like to call them, The Undercompensator.

Description:

Lately, we have been noticing an interesting phenomenon— very masculine looking men driving in their monster trucks or strutting around the street with a dog the size of a Dorito on the end of the leash. They are usually seen with little teeny dogs (often wearing rhinestones collars) that are almost always on the end of a flexi-leash.  It is impossible to run across an Undercompensator without wondering what this is all about.  It is clear that small dogs are seen as being vulnerable, cute, and in need  of protection. Could it be a part of these men needs to feel held and protected — a vulnerable, powerless aspect that feels small and cannot be expressed to other people because of cultural conditioning? Men are not supposed to be vulnerable, especially these men who make their living in such physical and “manly” fields.  Or could it be that these men are just in fact extremely secure with themselves and throw cultural norms to the wind. Either way, as big as these men are, physical size cannot outweigh their teeny dogs’ massive attitude. Approach Princess Puddlekins with great caution. They may be tiny, but they’ve got backup.

Serves him right for calling me short, Fucker.

 

The Undercompensator tends to wear clothing that accentuates their physicality (think muscle tees, athletic pants, and tight crew neck t-shirts) and often have jobs that require raw physical strength, such as construction, personal trainers, or hitmen.

Close Enough. Hello Sir!

Common Locations: The Undercompensator knows no geographical  boundaries.  From big cities to small towns, The Undercompensator can be seen proudly walking his dog…or carrying it in his giant arms.

What you expected a Chihuahua? Racist!

 

Breeds Owned: Chihuahuas, Papillons, Miniature Pinschers, Boston Terriers… if it’s under 20lbs and can wear a sweater you’re pretty much set.

It’s like the beginning of a musical… *snap* step *snap* twirl *snap* double pirouette.

 

Skill Level: Low to medium. These dogs are often spoiled, overweight and untrained. While some men with small dogs will disprove this, overwhelmingly most dogs who belong to Undercompensators are spoiled rotten.

 

Catch Phrases: “It’s my girlfriend’s dog”, “Size Matters”

“Yup. So your girlfriend must fondle the dog when she Frenches him. Gotcha.”

 

Anecdotal evidence:

 

BusyBee: There is a particular Undercompensator in my apartment complex who owns the tiniest of chihuahuas–literally the size of a city rat.  I should note that his dog probably has a more expansive wardrobe than I do (and yes, I’m only mildly jealous) and is spoiled rotten.  The first time I heard him speaking baby talk while holding his dog tightly against his enormous pecs, I literally had to stifle laughter.  Mind you, this is the same man that I see constantly at our gym and whom I refer to as “the grunter” due to the excessive man noises he makes when weightlifting.  (For the record, I’m pretty sure he could bench-press me).  I guess I should be inspired by his ability to ignore gender stereotypes, but I swear every time we cross paths while letting our dogs out, I can’t help but see the irony in the fact that his little princess is being carried around as to not get her feet wet, and my own dog is purposely farting upwind.

 

Judging by the steroid induced muscles, the dog isn’t the only thing that is tiny…

Potnoodle: I’m a bit ashamed to say my own father is one of these men. When I was growing up, he always had Jack Russell Terriers in the house (As well as larger ‘outside’ dogs) and he now has a Chihuahua and a Westie/Maltese mix. He absolutely spoils both of them. They go everywhere with him, to the groomer once a month, and both look like little sausages on legs. They both have sweaters that he has no shame in putting on them when it’s nippy out. He has a water bottle contraption that he keeps hooked to his belt loop when they go out on hot days.  The chihuahua is down right nasty and only likes my father. The Westie mix is a much more pleasant dog, fortunately. My dad says he will never be without a small dog, god help us all.

 

“My dad can kick your dad’s ass.”

Fang: Late to the party but my stories can be summed up in a few words; Bikers, Yorkie, Boarding, and Inconsolable. Dropping off ‘Zachary’ the Yorkie was like a departure scene from some war movie. His owners, two very large men in biker-leather were sniffing back tears dropping off their sweet prince with what could only be described as a metric fuckton of gear. This dog’s bed cost more than mine let alone the toys, treats, food and outfits. They called every day to see to his well-being and when they picked him up there were tears of joy. Zachary was in the tolerable end of temperament and generally should turn out okay-ish but the dichotomy frequently surprises other clients who witness such exchanges.

pug-meme-puppy-squeaky-toy

What do you think when you see an Undercompensator and his pint-sized pooch?  Share below!