I am sticking up for the "bad dogs." "Bad dogs," you say?? "No such thing! Only bad owners!" and I AGREE wholeheartedly. HOWEVER, if you were me, and worked with the type of dogs I work with on a daily basis, you may, LIKE ME, get to a point where you feel the need to say to the HUMAN masses.. STOP trying to make every dog be this picture-perfect image of what the ideal Disney dog is supposed to be, and acknowledge the poor kid for what he actually IS and work with him based on IDENTITY, not some silly, fur-mommy version of what YOU think he's supposed to be.
Just for the record, I have NO problem with any breed specifically. I have no problem with ANY breed, based on breed. I have a BIG problem with some of these owners, and here's what I mean...
People come to me every week, every DAY, with the same type of issue... "My dog started barking at other dogs." "My dog started lunging at strangers on walks." "My dog started fighting with my resident dog." I am NOT excusing any of these behaviors, and it is NOT right to chalk it up to: "that's just how he is." Again, that is NOT what I'm saying.. but what I am saying is this:
STOP trying to make every dog be this Picture Perfect Image of what this "ideal" dog is supposed to be. Dogs are individuals - that is one thing they certainly have in common with us. People get guard breeds (Mastiffs, Dobermans, American bulldogs, Borboels) and wonder why, as they are maturing, their dogs are getting a little weary of strangers... Why the F*CK do you THINK? Did YOU pull the same sh*t at age twelve as you did when you were 24? (Hopefully not... Thank GAWD I'm not either of those ages anymore... lol.) And not for nuthin', but you KNOWINGLY got a guard breed (i.e. dog meant to be a guard dog - guard against some sort of stranger, be it human or [other] animal - in some sense of the word), and then expected it, without your proactive intervention, to just grow up to be this super people-friendly, loving, uber-happy "I love everybody"-type dog just because YOU got it and didn't abuse it?? It doesn't make any sense. That's where Education comes in, and "I didn't know" is NOT a good enough excuse.
Let me reiterate for the record, I am NOT saying that every member of a certain breed (i.e. guard breeds, in this instance) are going to be or behave or act in a certain way based on their breeds. Did you know that only .25% of a given dog's genome are responsible for the way a dog looks? Meaning the other 99.75% have to do with EVERYTHING else: digestive system (any idea how complicated THAT is?), sight, circulatory system, brain stem, etc. etc. (isn't enough space in this article to illustrate the point as profoundly as I'd like to). What that means is just because a dog is a member of the "retriever" breeds does NOT mean that he is automatically going to retrieve - plenty of people I know will attest to the fact that there are many Labs, goldens, flat-coated retrievers, who could give a F*CK about retrieving. It does happen. The point of that paragraph was that just because a dog is a member of a certain breed (or even/especially MIXED) does not mean he/she will carry the traits of the known breed, meaning I am not discriminating against breeds based on breed. That would totally go against everything I stand for.
THAT being said, back to the point: I'm sticking up for the "bad dogs." I have four pit bull type dogs myself ranging from American pit bull terrier (my service dog) to Great Dane/pit bull dog mix. One of them, named Patches, has more of a defensive demeanor than the rest. I have done a TON of work building up his confidence, and building his trust in me to handle a given situation, HOWEVER... if I am alone in the car with him at night, best not stick your hand in my window, and I have no desire to f*ck with that. Same goes for when I am in the house alone with my four pit bulls roaming around (usually snuggling with me on the couch or playing games together), and the FedEx guys knocks. They hit the door like a ton of bricks - you've never seen a delivery guy run back to their truck so fast; and I can easily call them off, meaning I say, "Boys, here." And they come right back. Not even kidding. But if I don't know who's there and I'm not asking them to do anything, I don't interfere. I let them take the upper hand. They trust me to handle the situation, so if I say, "Hey, enough" that's good enough for them: they will instantly let you right in and anyone who has been to my house can attest to that. What boggles my mind is the insane amount of people who try to change the innate characteristics that are natural to a dog to suit their own needs to the point that it becomes UNREASONABLE.
If you wanted a Labrador retriever, why didn't you GET a Labrador retriever? My dogs are amazing and a handful COULD be "dog park dogs" - if you seriously want to know how I feel about dog parks, see this: http://www.hexdogs.com/2/post/2013/05/ask-me-how-i-feel-about-dog-parks-here-it-comes.html - but I choose not to subscribe to that (arguable) lunacy because I have PIT BULLS. If any negative interaction DID occur, in which direction do you suppose the finger would be pointed??
An amazing amount of people come to me in desperation to GET their dog to be a "dog park dog." Let's be real here: not every dog is meant to be a "dog park dog." Quite frankly, I think it's stupid. For one, the most obvious article on the long list of reasons I HATE the dog park is this: DISEASE. You may have NO idea how many stupid people bring their dog to the dog park minutes or days after they got it off Craigslist, or as a foster - even stupider (word?). These people have no idea what they have - or don't have - and they just unknowingly bring it right in to the park to expose everybody to... hmmm... the amount of illnesses I could interject here is amazing - did you know many of these diseases, including a super-common one, Giardia, is transferable to humans (rarely, but still)?
NOT only that, but you CANNOT control the type of "supah smaaaaht" individuals that come to the dog park. As indicated in the previous paragraph, people bring dogs they don't even know to the park. They - the humans - text. They have picnics. They drink coffee. They don't pay attention to their dogs riding each other. They are just generally dumb as sh*t. You can't control everybody else's actions, so you are left to control yourself & your dog. To PUT your dog in that position is sometimes (not just sometimes) asking a lot, especially if yours has a history of fighting with other dogs. Not "smahhht."
In short, WHY is this article entitled "Sticking Up for the Bad Dogs?" Because I feel like screaming from the roof-tops - I'm doing it via internet at four in the morning - "WHY, if you wanted a f*cking Labrador, didn't you GET a Labrador?" (ONCE again, because I know the comments are coming - nothing against Labradors.)
Nothing in this WHOLE article suggests NOT training, NOT socializing, simply ACCEPTING the fact that your dog "is how he is..." That is NOT what I mean. I mean the OPPOSITE of that. DO train. DO socialize. DO break molds. NEVER accept it when some idiot trainer says "You will never __________________." Never accept that; do the damn thing.
But on that note, I am sticking up for the "bad dogs" when I say this: recognize your dog for who he is, seek out the advice of a qualified - TRULY qualified - professional, and let's be real. STOP trying to make every single dog your stereotypical golden retriever; (and for the last time, if you haven't picked up on the fact that I am generalizing here and not taking a "dig" at a specific breed, I don't know what to tell ya). View each dog for the individual that he is, and work together accordingly. If, for some insane reason, I wanted a "dog park dog," I wouldn't have gotten PIT BULLS. There is a wise-ass saying that goes, "if at first you don't succeed, do what your f*cking dog trainer told you to do in the first place." In many cases... FACT.
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