If you are planning on getting a new dog, did you know that you can leverage the health and longevity of your dog by actively seeking breeds that have good health indices and longevity as part of their genetic make up?
If you are planning on getting a new dog, did you know that you can further enhance the likelihood that your dog will live without debilitating diseases like hip dysplasia by actively pursuing breeders that screen specifically for diseases that affect their breed, and aggressively require stringent testing from the owners of potential breeding partners?
If you are planning on getting a new dog, did you know you can also increase the likelihood that a carefully bred, carefully selected prospect is more inclined to reflect predictable temperament and desirable traits that suit your home and lifestyle?
Did you also know that every one of those aforementioned things are within the grasp of every human on the planet with a little forethought and planning?
THE INTERNET IS NOT JUST FOR WATCHING CUTE CAT VIDEOS and no, “doing your research” requires a little more than looking at Google ads that appear ‘above the fold’ on your tiny little phone screen.
Although there is no such thing as a sure thing, there is absolutely no reason that the average owner cannot find a suitable dog that matches their personality, lifestyle and personal aspirations, without being made to feel guilty about “shopping” not “adopting”. We’ll get to that. Be patient.
Do you know why they don’t/can’t or won’t?
Let me count the ways:
1) Apathy/unrealistic expectations- most folks think one dog is like any other, and select based on looks or distant memories of the dog they had as a kid, or remembered someone else having. It happens a LOT. I counsel first time dog owners every day and the 3rd or 4th question I ask is “What made you decide to acquire [this] dog?” Invariably the distilled version of their answer is “my family had one growing up” or “s(he) looked like a dog I knew when I was a kid”, and let’s not forget the ominous “I just think that having one would be really cool”, to “I love their ‘look’!”
Dogs are as unique as fingerprints. No two are in any way identical. Even maternal twins.
Take note- I use the words acquire, procure or buy. If money changed hands, you bought that dog. You didn’t snatch it from the jaws of death, you did not hire lawyers to initiate and secure the legal ramifications of “adopting” a child. You bought a dog. If thine eye offends thee, “acquire” and “procure” work nicely. They identify you as a normal, educated human being and not a virtue signalling tunt.
2) Irresponsible custodians- Yes. Bad breeders do exist. If a breeders goal is exotic colors, coat textures or patterns or other physical attributes and the dog is ostensibly a purebred with a published breed standard, these exotic features are considered disqualifying faults. I can almost assure you with a pretty high rate of accuracy, that person isn’t breeding with your best interests at heart. The flaws in human nature permit these people to exist, because as a species, we are no better than crows who collect shiny objects. Just stop it.
Critical thinking is being selectively bred out of human populations as quickly as new insidious diseases are being bred into dogs by poor selection criterion and not testing for flaws adequately.
I’ll be the first one to endorse the purposeful outcross of two distinctly different breeds of dogs in order to enhance features of either or both. Popular sires tend to create issues. Look at Quarter Horses, German Shepherd Dogs, Arabian Horses… countless of dozens of other examples. Dalmatians, Basenjis, Flat coated Retrievers. Hell, all the retreiver breeds. Bernese Mountain Dogs…
Any breed with an inbreeding coefficient so high that there’s only two dams and one sire in the whole pedigree. At least with food animals YOU GET TO EAT THE MISTAKES.
Dogs aren’t shoes that get discarded when they show wear or you have outgrown the “look” you’re after. They are living, breathing beings and should be accorded the respect their heritage as descendents of the apex predator class afford them. Have some fucking respect.
You get the point, I hope.
Never EVER go to a breeder for information about their breed, or their dogs. As I have suggested many times, seek the council of professionals that don’t have an agenda. You don’t have a dog YET, so they have nothing to sell you. Remember that. Talk to kennel owners that do high volume boarding. Not some shithole “daycare”, but an actual, bona-fide BOARDING facility that handles hundreds of dogs every week. They want to make their lives easier if you do choose them as a place to board your dog. Trust me, they’ll tell you who the asshole breeds are. And don’t ask the gum smacking chippie staring at her phone, waiting for her boyfriend to text her dickpics. Ask the manager of day-to-day operations. As a matter of fact, poll a few boarding places.
3) The overwhelming preponderance of shitty information, brought to you by assholes with an agenda- Otherwise known at TMI (Too Much Information) Overload.
Everybody wants to sell you something. Even me. I’m writing a book. When it comes out I want you to buy it. I train dogs. I would hope that your selection of me as your trainer is predicated on the information I have made available to you; which gives you insight to the expectations I have for my clients, and an assurance of your success with a clear goal and a clear head unmuzzied by fiction or bullshit.
Breeders want to sell you dogs. They will lie to get you to buy them. They will lie about their pedigrees (newsflash, Frenchies don’t come in long coat varieties, nor is Blue Merle a color that occurs in the breed organically. That 12 thousand dollar dog you just bought? Super cute. Not a Frenchie). They will lie about their health screening protocols. They may SAY they screen for heart issues or whatever, but there is never any documentation. Most damaging of all? Your uber expensive designer puppy lies dying on your vet’s exam table and that shitty “contract” you signed gives you nothing to fight with. A decent breeder wouldn’t do that. And yes, there are designer dog breeders that health screen. Finding those unicorns is tough, but by dawG they’re out there.
4) The absolute NONSENSE being fed through an assortment of folks who have literally and figuratively NOTHING to substantiate their claims, beyond emotive whinging about how buying a dog somehow subjects a dog in a shelter to die. Bullshit. Speaking of shelters, lots of recidivism there. Lots of people getting maimed or killed by dogs coming out of the rescue/shelter industrial complex. I used to work in those hallowed halls. I know how the numbers work. And I’m sorry, the alleged claims of actual purebred or recognized breeds being equal to or greater than mixed populations? Lol.
Less than 10%. A lot less. Of course if it includes looking like a pit bull, I would imagine in some municipalities, to some ignorant do-gooder, it looks like a hunnert %. It ain’t. And guess what else? A LOT of those dogs are not suitable pets for first time dog owners! But that doesn’t stop these morons for letting 5 year old dogs transported up from West ByGawd Wherever who have never seen the interior of a home, let alone a crate, and offering them to 70 year old widows living with their 90 year old mothers, now does it? Any support for those people when things went wrong? Nope. And adoptive “pawrents” were made to feel GUILTY when they BEGGED the shelter to take the animal back.
5) Rescue retail- learn something about dogs, willya? And STAY. IN. YOUR. LANE.
You don’t know what you think you know and need to start being more selective in the animals you recieve and the animals you place. And just because you spew some moralistic trope about recycled love and all that other nausea-inducing bile, you are not exempt for being largely responsible for the 70 + attacks, maulings and deaths on owners, caregivers or others since January 1 of this year.
Think that’s a fabrication? Google dog attacks and read the articles. Draw your own conclusions. I’m not doing your work for you any more.
Want to know the most insidious truth of all?
The USDA APHIS has exempted shelters and rescues while holding the deliberate and thoughtful breeders hostage as if they were some sort of criminal. More illicit dog transports occur domestically by an order of magnitude for shelters and “rescues” than by folks transporting deliberately produced animals. Many of the rabies outbreaks in the northwest can be directly attributed to the transport of “rescue” animals from outside the continental US. How is that even a thing? But breeders are being regulated out of existence.
That’s good ole’ common sense for ya!
Spare me your moral outrage. Change it. Demand better.
6) Veterinarians are not gods. Except my vet. I’d take a bullet for my vet, he’s that valuable to me. Question everything your vet suggests. If you are not satisfied with your veterinary care, interview other vets. It really is that simple. The other side of that coin is you have to know a little bit about veterinary medicine to actually have an opinion on care. If you don’t, stfu until you do. Stop asking for special dispensation that you neither earned nor deserve. It just makes you look bad. Your vet will thank you to periodically let him see your dogs, and they should be cared for; in decent weight, decent coat and relatively clean, as in not caked in shit and piss. Expect to be judged if they are poorly kept. Expect it to be justified. Don’t blame your vet if stuff goes south. If you waited elebenty days/week/eons to address a health problem, remember the first maxim. Vets are not gods. You brought that stupid shit on yourself.
7) Groomers can only work with the material they are handed. Next to good vets, if you have a hair breed, don’t wait til that dog is 6 months old and matted to the skin before looking for a groomer that will work with you. Learn how to handle your dog when it is very young to prepare it for handling by strangers, like vets and groomers, because if you wait and have to hire people like me, I’m gonna make it worth their while, and you are going to pay for it. Begin interviewing groomers immediately. Maybe even before you acquire your new dog. Don’t be a fool and wait. If you do, nobody will take you seriously and you will be unwelcome everywhere. Nobody likes an asshole dog. There’s usually a reason they are assholes.
8) Trainers. I was a dog owner before I was a trainer. I had to find a dog trainer or my dad was going to kill my dog. It was easier then; find a dog club, go to classes. Be done with it. I also had a breeders support and learned about handling very early in life.
These days finding a decent trainer is a cesspool of pit vipers who have no interest in your success, only your wallet. It’s garbage, but a naive public gobbles it up because they have nothing to compare it to, and since Joe Dunderhead shawk cawler trainer says the cowering dog on the place mat is normal, who are they to judge?
And so as not to seem biased, Franny Fingers the clickerhead whose sum experience as a dog trainer is with a 4 month old PlatinumAussueMiniGoldenPomDoodle F2Gen that she took during the Zombie Apocalypse online screeches about her wokeness as she tells me to “get educated” with the science of dog training.
Get a grip, honey. I have a dog I’d like you to meet. His name is Bruno, he weighs 130 pounds at least, and he opened up his owners face like a fucking hot pastrami on rye. Come! Show me how it’s done!
But I digress. Research trainers. Read about them online. Look for the information between the lines. Do they have reviews? I am sure not all of them will be glowing, but knowing the capricious nature of the human animal, smart people weigh the information, hopefully. Talk to your prospect. Set up an appointment to meet them. Have some respect for their time, because if there’s one thing we hate more than anything is someone who doesn’t value the single non-renewable resource of time. You don’t get to complain about the results you didn’t get because of the work you didn’t do, and the advise you refused to take.
You wouldn’t do that to your lawyer. Not even your hairdresser. We are professionals. Respectful treatment will be returned in kind.
Blame us for your lack of initiative and refusal to hold yourself accountable doesn’t make your problems training problems. These are management problems, and reside solely at your feet.