Category Archives: Dogs

Training Tuesday – Being a Pack Leader

 

 

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What In The World?

Coming from the horse world, I’ve seen a lot of wacky things we human do to animals. It got me thinking about some of the commonly accepted practices in the animal world, why we do them, and if some of them really should be tolerated at all. Let me preface this post by saying I am not an animal rights activist. I do believe, however, that we who choose to share our lives with animals have an obligation to respect those that rely on us for their care.

Horse Vaulting

Vaulting

I love horses. It baffles my mind to this day that these magnificent creatures put up with all the crap we do to them; from riding, to driving carriages, to jumping obstacles and even gymnastics or shooting guns off their backs. I whole heatedly believe that some horses genuinely love their “jobs” and so long as an animal is  willing and able to perform any of these feats, all the power to the trainers.

The horse show world on the other hand, has some pretty messed up practices. Just like “Toddlers in Tieras,” some owners or trainers will do anything to get that perfect look. Take for instance the Arabian and Saddlebred horse world, where people literally put hot-stinging ginger up the horses butt so the horse will raise his tail higher than he naturally already does.

Unlike in the Quarter Horse world, where people want the opposite, a flat low hanging tail which is sometimes achieved by “nerving” or “tail blocking.” This is done by literally cutting the nerves the top of the tail so it falls flat, but it also prevents horses from being able to use their tails to swish away biting flies.

It seems like most of the stuff done in the horse world that is demented revolves around competing or showing. What I don’t get is the common practices that we do to every-day pet dogs. Ear cropping and tail docking are really something I never truly comprehended. I understand tail docking in some preventative measures, for hunting dogs, etc. However, as a family pet I never got it. Someone please enlighten me.

Declawing pet house cats so they won’t rip your furniture apart always has been weird to me. A lot of people don’t realize that decawing a cat actually entails amputating part of each of little Fluffy’s toes, including the claws. I have two cats, I have been clipping their toe nails with a $4 set of nail clippers for the last 9 years and have never had one piece of furniture ruined due to scratching. They even have these plastic and rubber claw covers on the market now, if you’re so inclined to have a fashionable kitty while you’re at it.

What other weird practices are out there in the animal-keeping world have you always questioned?

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Puppy Is Not an Age, It’s a Behavior

Marley Bad Puppy

From the movie Marley and Me

How many times have you seen a puppy nipping and biting, jumping on furniture and crapping everywhere? How many times have you heard, “Oh he’s just a puppy…” And how often does that puppy turn in to a 60lb lab and still have the same characteristics 2 years later?

It’s like those parents who have 4 year old kid who slaps and bites and throws temper tantrums over not getting Fruity Pebbles in the supermarket…and they think it’s cute.

It’s not cute, it’s annoying. Just like your puppy is annoying when he is destroying my brand new shoes. Or when he’s shoving his nose in my crotch as soon as I walk in the door. Or when he’s slobbering all over my knee when I’m trying to enjoy your dinner party.
It’s never too early to start training your puppy. Just like raising children, whatever behavior is allowed from an early age, is a learned behavior your puppy will think is acceptable in to adulthood. It’s easier to teach your puppy from an early age what is acceptable behavior, and to nip bad behavior in the bud before it’s too late!