To the average non-pet parent, we may sound like we're "beating a dead horse." Everywhere we look, whether it be social media or the news, breed discrimination and breed specific legislation (BSL) are constantly being discussed. Unfortunately, despite the consistent attention, breed discrimination is a daily issue for parents of "dangerous dogs" like pit bulls, mastiffs, rottweilers, and others.
BSL affects pet parents' abilities to find adequate housing, live in comfortable neighbourhoods, and even perform daily tasks like going for a walk or visiting local parks. This topic is considered controversial, because there are many people who believe BSL to be necessary, regardless of the fact that it has proven to not only cause harm to responsible pet owners, but also smear the lines between legal and illegal.
Most cities, counties, or even whole countries with strict BSL laws in place neglect to perform mandatory tests like DNA, proper physical exams, and behavioural assessments before impounding dogs and fining owners. They simply base decisions on the physical appearance of the dog (square head, broad chest, short snout). More often than not, this results in illegal, hasty euthanasias, that leave pet parents crushed and without justice.
We've all read an article, attempting to convince us that training tools -such as prong collars, e-collars, chains, and others are harmful and should be banned. We are not denying that these tools, when used improperly, could cause bodily harm to an animal. What we are denying is the claim that the tools are solely responsible.
Take a shovel for example. A shovel is a common tool found in most households around the world. Their everyday use as a tool is completely harmless. However, that doesn't mean a shovel can't be used to harm someone.
Any tool, when used improperly, could cause damage. That is why people are held accountable for their actions when they choose to use a tool for that purpose. Why should training tools for dogs be any different?
Prong collars and e-collars are frequently a topic among pet parents. Unfortunately, they've been given a bad reputation by those who choose to believe biased articles, usually written by pet-parents without training tool experience.
These tools can be used in a multitude of ways for a multitude of reasons. Don't ruin the experience for everyone else just because you can't see the value in the tool or its results.
Like children, all dogs learn differently. In a perfect world, we would be able to use positive reinforcement training on every dog and they would all become model citizens. Sadly, not the case. No dog owner wants to discipline their dog, but many have few options.
No, this does not mean always being angry with your dog, or disciplining to the point of abuse. There needs to be a healthy balance between positive and negative reinforcement. Many pet parents argue that distraction training is the best method, but others believe that this causes frustration in dogs and often leads to issues with aggression.
Every pet parent should understand that there is no one right or wrong way to train your dog. You simply have to test all methods to see which works best for your pup.
A well-behaved dog is a safe dog.
Body modification... How do we even begin to discuss this controversial topic?
Modifications like ear cropping and pinning, tail docking, and dewclaw removal are a common practice among breeders and are used to uphold a certain "standard" for each breed. To be honest, these modifications are generally for superficial pleasure, rather than enhancing the life of the animal.
Let's start with tail docking. A dog's tail is a continuation of its spine. When severed, the vertebrae are broken off and the muscles are torn. How unpleasant does that sound? Most people would argue that puppies don't remember the pain, but what difference does it make if the puppy remembers or not?
Now for ear cropping and pinning. A dog's ears are a very necessary and sensitive body part. The ears are used to keep dirt particles from floating into the ear canal, as well as locate where sounds are coming from. Dogs are able to move their ears independently for good reason. Why take that away?
When a dog's ears are cropped, whether it be professionally or at home (shame on you), the risk of infection is increased by 1000 times. These infections can be serious and spread to the brain, which is accessible through the ear canal. Dogs with cropped ears are proven to be more likely to contract infectious diseases, suffer from yeast infections of the ears and head, and have constant dirt particles building up in their ear canal.
These dogs also become higher maintenance and must have their ears cleaned on a regular basis.
Every dog is beautiful in its own natural way. Love them for who they are not what they look like.
Breeding is a touchy subject for rescue nuts like us. With 1.2 million dogs killed in the United States each year, how can we support breeding?
Even with the recent popularity in adopting rescue dogs, pure-bred dogs still make up the majority of family pets. Despite the fact that shelters are filled to the brim with pure-bred dogs themselves, people want exactly what they are paying for. If they want a golden retriever, they better damn well get a golden retriever and nothing else. Not a 99% retriever 1% lab mix. They wouldn't dare risk having an impure dog.
If you are an educated dog lover, you can see the total irony in pure-bred dogs. Pure-bred dogs are only "pure" because they have been inbred for so many years to ensure that the physical appearance adheres to breed standards. Though the dog may look perfect, it is more likely to suffer from mental and physical disabilities.
Each dog couple and their puppies can produce 67,000 dogs in just 6 years! That's a little insane. If we spayed and neutered every dog in the U.S. today, we would still have enough dogs for every family to adopt for the next 10 years!
*These opinions and statements do not reflect those of World of Angus