Anthropomorphism

For the love of all things sacred please stop saying PET PARENT, FUR BABY and other terms that take away your ownership of your animals! You are NOT their GUARDIAN you are their OWNER! You are not ADOPTING you are BUYING your pets! I don’t care if you get them from a shelter you are still BUYING them! I don’t adopt puppies, I sell them. I don’t PLACE dogs, I either give them away or I sell them. Either way the same scrutiny of interviewing is followed as if I were selling a puppy.

Slight tangent on this topic – please indulge my wandering mind this morning – I am tired due to long nights with newborn puppies . . .

I re-home dogs who come into breed ‘rescue’ but we aren’t truly rescuing them – we are re-homing them. Some get re-homed because some breeders have failed to educate buyers and this isn’t the best breed for them. Others get re-homes due to owners passing away or becoming too ill to take care of them. Some get re-homed due to poor training and therefore the dog doesn’t understand how to live peacefully. Some get re-homed due to poor breeding practices producing difficult temperaments. Others get re-homed due to illnesses their owners cannot afford to care for. Many reasons Staffords come into ‘rescue’ but none of them are truly rescued. We aren’t jumping into raging rivers or burning buildings to pull them to safety. I mean, if that’s what you did then by all means you did rescue a dog. And stop with the argument of ‘rescuing from meat farms and puppy mills’ because bullshit. Meat farms, true places raising animals to feed humans, do not breed purebred dogs. All those Goldens we saw on the news that we were told came from meat farms – they were either stolen or purchased from breeders and then sold the gullible American market. It’s also no secret the Amish breed dogs to sell – they breed whatever is popular at the time. You aren’t rescuing them from them either – you re making room for more livestock (puppies). Stop the demand and you stop the supply. Simple AF.

Did you also know that some ‘rescues’ breed dogs to sell as rescues? Yep. True. Did you know there are a couple huge purebred dog auctions in this country? Some less than honest ‘rescues” and some shelters go to these auctions to purchase dogs to ‘adopt’ to you, the gullible public. Again, stop the demand and the supply will dwindle.

Now, back to the topic – Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. Such as your PETS that you OWN.

When you anthropomorphize you give strength to the nutty Animal Rights folks who want to take away all of your rights to own pets or raise livestock. I’ve blogged on that topic before – the difference in Animal Rights and Animal Welfare. Know the difference. Stop supporting and giving energy to the extremists.

Health Testing in Staffords

Let’s talk health testing.

Only 974 Staffordshire Bull Terriers are listed in the OFA health database. That may sound like a lot of dogs until you start thinking about how long the database has been around, how many Staffords are born each year (according to AKC they average just below 900 puppies registered annually) and how many people show and breed them. The OFA database includes all registries.

Don’t believe me? Check for yourself – then check how many are CHIC numbered as well – only 82 of those 974 if you want to know:

https://www.ofa.org/advanced-search?num=&registrar=&btnSearch=Begin+Search&namecontains=N&part=&namecontains=N&breed%5B%5D=SBT&variety%5B%5D=&sex=&country=&birthday_start_month=&birthday_start_year=&birthday_end_month=&birthday_end_year=&birthday=&rptdte_start_month=&rptdte_start_year=&rptdte_end_month=&rptdte_end_year=&rptdte=

I absolutely think we can do better. It’s not terribly expensive to do this testing, especially in light of how much some people charge for those untested puppies. I know of several breeders asking $3500 for puppies coming from un-health tested parents. Additionally their puppies aren’t even eye checked. Even if a breeder charges $1800 for a puppy and you factor in the cost of CHIC eligible testing the parents and the puppy eye checks we are only talking maybe $800 for each parent. Thats for the basics…..L2-HGA, HC, eyes, cardiac, hips, patella and hearts. We also check all of that plus thyroid, DM and Penn-hip most of ours that will be bred from and the performance dogs get at least L2-HGA, HC, puppy eyes, hips and hearts.

Why are Stafford breeders not testing? I can speculate either the money would take away from the income of breeding (a totally foreign concept to us since we tend to lose money on each litter) or they are hiding something, ignorant or don’t care. None of this is acceptable. Had every breeder tested for all DNA hereditary conditions and only bred non-carriers beginning back in 2005 when the DNA testing began we could have completely eliminated L2-HGA and HC from the breed in 2-3 generations. Read this again.

Now I am not saying to eliminate all carriers from breeding – our gene pool is too small for this . . . but had we tried it 14-15 years ago even for a couple generations there would be NO L-2- hydroxyglutaric aciduria or inheritable hereditary cataracts (also know as juvenile cataracts) in this breed.

For over ten years The Stafford Knot has been preaching to test all Staffords and also educating buyers about asking for proof of testing. This is STILL not happening today! What are we doing wrong? How are we not being effective? What sort of marketing is required to get the word out?

Some very well known breeders do not test their dogs. It’s true. Go to that link above and see for yourself. Health testing is only one component in breeding dogs. But it’s a great start. Temperament testing is another but this is subjective and has many influencing factors at play. Health testing, especially those which have DNA testing availability is black and white. Do not rely upon ‘clear by parentage’ for your answers either. LOOK IT UP! ASK FOR PROOF! These are members of your family which you are buying and taking home.

If you could guarantee a family member wouldn’t get a disease wouldn’t you do that?! Be smart. Do your homework. Educate yourself.

So you want to buy a puppy?

So here’s the thing people. on this website I have written out practically a guideline, step by step, how to seek out, decide upon your breeder, interview with and then purchase a puppy from a responsible preservationist breeder….. it’s not rocket science. Look for the signs of a breeder who isn’t paying their bills by selling puppies and find one with a passion for the breed. Look for one who raises the dogs in their home with the utmost care and breeds the best to the best they possibly can. Look for one who will go above and beyond health testing, enriching and caring for and raising their dogs. Look beyond the show and performance brags and try to see the motivation they have to wanting to breed.

As I have written many times in this blog – breeding isn’t for the faint of heart. Breeding the right way is expensive and time consuming and overwhelmingly a huge part of a breeders life….not because they always have puppies and not because they have a ‘business’ to run but because of all the expense, heartbreak, pain in the ass interviewing – weeding through possible buyers/homes to see who can possibly give a puppy they have created the best home for its entire life.

A responsible breeder truly cares about each puppy they produce and want to follow its life and remain in touch with the buyer to hear of how its doing, offer a shoulder for heartaches and difficulties, offer mentorship to those wanting to learn, offer congratulations on all achievements, help with anything at all if the help is needed or asked for. A responsible breeder wants to know if there is sickness, injury or even worse. A responsible breeder wants to know the whereabouts of that puppy – always.

So when you are having that conversation with a breeder you may be interested in developing a relationship with – PLEASE – don’t just answer their questions with what you think they want to hear. PLEASE just answer their questions with the TRUTH. Don’t be that chameleon who mimics what you see the breeder is looking for UNLESS this is actually who you are. And then just be YOU.

Its a simple concept really. Reply with the actual truth. And then follow through with your words. Your answers do not have to be perfect. There is no perfect. Just be you. Thats all we ask. I want to find great homes for the dogs I produce or the dogs I am fostering or re-homing. Just tell me who you are, what you are about, how you raise dogs and how you intend to treat this one. Don’t make shit up. I promise I won’t lie to you – and you promise not to lie to me. Deal?

#petpeeves

Today’s blog entry is just a short #petpeeve list.

STOP using phrases which anthropomorphize your dog! Seriously. Stop.

Some of the phrases which really rustle my feathers are ‘pet parent’, ‘fur baby’, ‘nanny dog’ and referring to owners as ‘guardian’.

These animals are our pets. We own them. They are not children. We may spoil them and love them very much – but they are not tiny fur covered human children. You are doing your dogs a huge disrespect by not understanding that they are animals whom we choose to allow to live in our homes. Respect them as animals. Respect them as individuals.

And I have written before about how much I detest the ‘nanny dog’ phrase. It’s terribly misleading. Staffords can be quite tolerant to abuse, sadly. And it is because of their patience and reliable nature that kids who aren’t respectful can get away with abusing them. By abuse I mean – climbing on them, laying on top of them, pulling fur, ears, tails, lips, hugging them and basically using their dogs as furniture and toys. They try so hard to put up with this but as the dogs owners and as parents its up to us to train our children NOT to treat the dogs this way. Not only is it disrespectful to the dog, its harming them mentally and sometimes physically. Learn to understand your dogs body language and you will see – they hate this. Look at the eyes, tails, body posturing.

Don’t allow your kids to hug your dog. Don’t allow your kids to sit on the dog. Dogs hate that. Offer your dogs the choice to get away, always. Not all Staffords love kids either. Most do. Not all. Dogs are individuals.

As someone who has worked in Stafford rescue I can tell you the #1 reason Staffords are surrendered is due to the misunderstanding of one of two key Stafford behaviors. Number one is the misunderstanding by the adults in the home of how ‘nanny dog’ doesn’t mean Staffords will put up with EVERYTHING forever. It doesn’t mean you can leave your Stafford alone with your kids all day long without supervision. Doesn’t mean your Stafford will always tolerate being teased.

Train your kids. Supervise always. Treat your dog with respect. Using the nickname ‘nanny dog’ or ‘staffy’ is confusing and misleading. This breed is a gladiator not a teddy bear. Yes, of course they can be super soft and loving and wonderful with children and adults – but they also are dogs. They can only take so much. Every single Stafford bite case I have seen ends up being a humans fault. Let’s help this breed succeed.

Let’s begin by understanding how these cutsie phrases need to go away.