My hot-button topics in the dog world

The more I learn about dogs, the more opinionated I seem to get. Anyone else feel that way? 😉

It’s hard to keep my mouth shut sometimes. I don’t like writing combative or purposefully aggressive posts here, but I do have strong opinions.

Secret garden shepherd. #gsd #backyardliving
Secret garden shepherd.

Over the years, here is what I have come to feel most strongly about with regard to dogs. So, without starting any kind of ranting and raving session, here — simply put — are the topics that I have a hard time keeping quiet about:

  1. Inhumane breeding practices, merely to fit the sacred “breed standard.” (See: bulldogs, pugs, most brachycephalic breeds, many toy breeds, most any breed without any current working line.) The more I read, the more I am convinced that we all just need to get mixed breeds. (Says the woman with a purebred German shepherd, one of the most physically effed purebreds there is. I know, I know…)
  2. The deeply damaging use of shock collars (euphemistically termed “e-collars”) in dog training. Many of the most respected trainers, behaviorists, and dog bloggers have written about the detrimental effects of shock collars (see Patricia McConnell and Jean Donaldson, to name a few). Eileen and Dogs also has compiled helpful articles and videos on this topic. What particularly interests me about this divide in training is that the people with the most expertise, academic background, and scientific credentials are always against the use of shock collars. The people without scientific credentials always seem to be the most vociferous proponents of shock collars.
  3. Cesar Millan being respected as a “trainer.” I always cringe as soon as someone starts throwing around the words “pack leader,” “dominance,” or starts making that silly “tsk, tsk” sound and then poking their dog in the side. God forbid they follow his other tactics at home (flooding, alpha rolling, wrestling fearful dogs to the ground, etc.).
  4. People who use retractable leashes for everyday walks. As the owner of a reactive dog, I think that is all I have to say about that.
  5. Toy or tiny breeds that are not trained, simply because they are small and “cute.” My Mega-E Dog recently wrote a post on this that resonated with me. I often see toy breeds get away with behavior that is simply appalling, merely because they are tiny and can be scooped up in one’s arms. They are still dogs. They still need to be trained.
  6. Breed-specific legislation. And as the owner of a frequently maligned breed, I am well aware of how silly and damaging these regulations are.

What are YOUR hot-button topics, related to dogs? And feel free to share if you disagree with some of mine! This could be a healthy way to release steam without starting an Internet war…

And, on a happier note: Trina already has a slew of approved adopters interested in her (no surprise there). Now we just have to choose the best family for her! Wish us (and the little pup) luck!

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18 thoughts on “My hot-button topics in the dog world

  1. #5 is probably my BIGGEST bug bear! I can’t stand it when people with little dogs don’t bother with any training. As a fellow pet sittier, I often dread pet sitting for these dogs because they can be really obnoxious. Obviously this isn’t universally the case, and I have some friends with small dogs that are very well trained, but I find that many times people treat toy breeds like interactive stuffed animals as opposed to actually dogs. Ok, rant over 🙂

  2. I agree with all the same issues, but being a trainer #2 and #3 hit me the most. People want a quick and easy fix to their issues. Sometimes I feel I have to un-train things they have learned on TV and help them see that the best way to learn how to “control” your dog is not by way of physical strength, but by the strength of your relationship. Once they get that the rest is easy!
    #6 is also at the top of my list, Having a German Shepherd myself I am also consistently annoyed by breed-specific topics. Especially, when someone lets their toy breed get in my dogs face before I have a chance to stop it. They wonder why my dog growls at their little dog. I just say that you are lucky she did not eat her and I praise my girl for the nice warning she gave the little monster. I consider that a well mannered dog!

  3. We (myself, OH, and three large dogs) are regularly charged by unconfined little dogs on our walks. Most owners think it is funny. I do not. My big boy is reactive, and can be a mean asshole. I would feel terrible if he were to lash out on an unfortunate little dog. Drives me nuts.

    Retractable leashes…no. Maybe for swimming, or exploring areas not crawling with people and other dogs. “It’s ok, he/she is friendly!” I don’t care, control your dog.

    Neurotic “yard dogs” who have little interaction with their humans.

  4. I agree with most of yours. Another one, specific to me, is when people tell me how abused my Greyhounds have been because they were raised to race. Funny that the most horrific cases of Greyhound abuse always come from “pet” owners and those crazy coyote hunters out west. They are treated better at the track than most people think, but I will avoid all talk on the subject on my blog at any cost. If you want to see Greyhound people get ugly, that’s the topic. It just irks me for people who have never met my dogs to tell me that they’ve been abused. If you meet them, you’ll see that they’re extremely outgoing, social, well adjusted and socialized dogs, which doesn’t exactly suggest abuse to me. *sigh*

  5. All of those plus two more! I really dislike when people complain about a behavior their dog does yet when I suggest hiring a trainer they say, “Oh I don’t have time for that.” Oh, well then good luck with your dog. Also folks who just buy the cheapest dog food because “they’re just dogs.” Drives me nuts. Working in a pet food store that only sells high quality food, we get asked a lot “what is the cheapest food you have and how big is the bag?”. They want 40lbs of food for 30 bucks. o_O

  6. I’m with you on all of them. I’d also like to add
    1. Puppy mills
    2. People who do not train their puppies and then drop them at a shelter when they are young adults
    3. Greyhound racing
    4. Dog fighting
    The common thread is people who do not value the dog and care for them the way they deserve.

  7. The poo…! Ok, that doesn’t really have much to do with the training if the dog, but I think it says a LOT about what kind of entitled a$$ the owner is if they can’t be bothered to clean up after their dog – OR if they pick it up, only to leave the bag somewhere if they don’t find a trash can withing the next 60 seconds. Gaaah!

    /rant over

    oh, and yappy, timy dogs that are allowed to run free – lady, I don’t care how cute you think your little furry ant is, if you let it nip at my feet, something bad will happen (hopefully to you, lady, not to the dog).

    /rant really over

    /big, well behaved dogs – no problem, I might even approach them if the owner encourages it 😉

  8. I have so many hot button topics that at times I just want to pass on blogging all together. I’ll share a few…
    – people who don’t educate themselves on dog health and nutrition; I know that it’s not easy, but when I see people being so resistant to feeding their dog better, it pisses me off.

    – people who adopt, because they fell in love with a puppy, with no thought to how to care for the puppy, if the puppy will do well in a house full of small kids, and if they can afford to care for a puppy (yes, I thinking of a specific person)

    – people who toss away their pets when they become an inconvenience

    – people who attack others just for having a different POV – what happened to having a discussion; I’m open to different opinions, but I’m not open to being bullied into changing my mind

    – the defense of puppy mills for the sake of protecting all breeders – this just makes me sick and I’ve butt heads with individuals who do this many times. I have no problem with responsible breeders, but for them to attack people who are trying to raise awareness of the atrocities of puppy mills feels, to me, like misdirected focus

    – people who walk their dogs off leash and shout “he’s friendly” without any thought that my dogs may not be, or may be in training, or may be recovering from a fearful interaction

    – people who don’t pick up after their dogs, especially when they poop in the middle of the train – come ON!

    – although I’m a fan of Cesar Millan and would LOVE to speak with him (his history is fascinating), I see television training programs as a way to make dog owners who are about to give up on their dog see that they’re not alone and THEN they should hire a dog trainer – not try and practice techniques they see in a 20 minute period with commercials. I had to leave a local dog group, because a CM fan was, IMO, abusing his dog and I couldn’t handle it anymore. I asked him not to treat his dogs like that near me or my dogs, because rolling his dog may result in his dog becoming fearful and aggressive and I didn’t want that energy directed at us. Disgusting.

    As you can see, I can go on and on and on 🙂

  9. I feel the same way about most of your views on dog training and breeding. Shock Collars should be illegal. Though with dog training is hard sometimes to draw the line between training and torture. How do you train those toy dogs not to pi on your carpet? Is the pounding on the floor with a newspaper a good idea, or will it scare them?

    Also, I believe Cesar Millan is great with dogs, and it seems they love him back. Maybe wrestling dogs may seem cruel to you, but believe me, my dog loves it when I wrestle him to the ground.

    Breeding rules, shock collars, and retractable leashes…those are cruel artifacts.

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