Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

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Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby Calypso » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:08 pm

The people on ODO with conformation experience have pets who they happen to show in the ring to demonstrate that the dog meets the ideal breed standard, or close to it. Show obsessed people need to meet the pointy end of my steel-toed cowboy boots! You know the people who only show their dogs, keep them in huge kennels, see no worth in the dog except for in titles and as breeding stock, etc.

Monday the GM told me she spent a good chunk of time that morning talking to someone, assuring her that despite what the breeder told her, teaching the dog to sit on cue will not ruin it for the ring. In fact, being able to tell the difference between the cues for "sit, down, stand, and belly up" will actually make the "stand" cue stronger, because the dog will actually understand it. Not to mention the multitude of show dogs that come through our doors who can sit or stand in the appropriate place.

Then the GM asked me to help her today with an evaluation for our Manners class. The dog - a golden - is a champion, but had acted defensively against the neighbor's dog on a couple of occasions. The dog spent 4 years of her life in a kennel, in a crate, on a grooming table, or the ring. She can stand beautifully, but she stress pants and tucks her tail constantly. In 6 weeks she's only gotten her tail up a few times. And she is so stressed by traveling that she gets explosive diarrhea. Unfortunate since the owner is looking for a traveling companion and the breeder assured her the dog was well traveled and was fine on long trips. If by fine you mean she doesn't bark constantly.

Don't get me started on an otherwise dear person who kept her rough collie in the cold and dark as much as possible to make her coat grow thicker. The theory was that the dog's body would think it was winter. No, the dog's body thought it was genetically programmed to have a lighter coat, which is more practical for a working dog. Sigh.

Like I said, I know there are excellent dog owners who show their dogs. I just haven't encountered any new ones lately. :(

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby Sabine » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:23 pm

Ugh, that is so sad. :(
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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby QBert » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:00 pm

oh good {deities of your choice} that infuriates me. I have had people insist that teaching a sit will wreck a dog for the breed ring - otherwise rational, intelligent people, standing there with their bare faces hanging out and uttering such nonsense. It always astounds me.
I wonder how they managed to finish that poor Golden if she stresses out so badly. local shows only? drugs?

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby JudyL » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:18 pm

Gee, and I thought Ben was somewhat messed up from his early years. When I was at the breeder's house to adopt him, I was telling her about my girls getting underfoot in the kitchen when food is being prepared. She said something that I took to mean that he was trained to stay away from people's feet, but I've since realized that he was trained to watch people's feet, I mean really focus and stare at them. What is that all about, so that he is always ready to move in the direction of the handler's feet? :stupid:

Speaking with the breeder at another time, I was telling her that I was surprised how little socialization he seemed to have and that he's a very insecure dog. She told me that she only gives enough so that the dogs will tolerate the judge touching them and isn't out of control being around the other dogs in the ring. Right, don't bother to consider that the dog will have a life outside of the show ring. :banghead: The home before mine said that he "made a scene" with every dog in their neighborhood, but at this point I'm discounting that whole time of his life to living with idiots in general. :rolleyes:

He also didn't know "sit" when he came to me. At least that was easily and quickly resolved.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby maxs_mommy » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:57 pm

I don't show my dog so there's my disclaimer. With that said, I'll never understand the mentality that dogs are nothing more than furniture to be of use to the person, weather that's to say they have a dog or to show/breed, I don't get it. Training or no, why would you get a dog if you're not going to make it a member of the family? Kinda reminds me of the beauty queens that don't know how to function except to smile and wave.
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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby Moemer » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:43 pm

I can't tell you how many 6-8mo pups I get through class and private training as 'mature' purchases who could NOT deal with life. The dogs weren't necessarily shown, just never sold, or maybe the breeder rethought keeping it. Then sells the under-socialized dog from their secluded country property into the big city. Sort of off topic, but still stupid! (also a Sheltie from the above situation who was DEBARKED by the breeder. Seriously.)
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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby RobinS » Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:06 pm

I have yet tohave a client with a show dog that didn't have issues.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby QBert » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:07 pm

I have yet tohave a client with a show dog that didn't have issues.
but how many clients in general do you have that have dogs with no "issues"? If they don't have issues they aren't all that likely to consult you, are they?

I know LOTS of show dogs who have no "issues". And I know lots of pet dogs from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds and historys that have major, debilitating "issues". I know show dogs who are trained not just for the breed ring but for the world, they have excellent coping skills in unfamiliar settings and situations, many are therapy dogs doing visits in hospitals, nursing homes, libraries to read with kids, what have you... they are beloved and treasured family pets who happen to have a pageant career. Many have titles in one or more performance venues whick implies man hours spent one-on-one with their people. Some are bred somewhere along the line, some serve as ambassadors for their breed, for dogs in general, and for the show community without ever producing offspring.

Some are debarked, and I just can't get too worked up over that personally. I would prefer it not be done, but I have known dozens upon dozens of debarked dogs and not a single one has ever given me reason to believe they suffered anything behind a mild sore throat for a day post-op and a day of feeling a little blech from the anesthesia. None had any difficulty communicating vocally. I do not discount the potential for risk of complications i n the future if a debarked dog needs to be intubated, but I have never seen it happen (and the dogs I have known who died under anesthesia were not debarked.) The dogs bark at squirrels and leaves and doorbells and skateboards, they bark and yammer at each other in play and at people who are slow to serve up supper - they just aren't as loud. It's less invasive and less significant an body modification than dewclaw removal and it's done by a vet under anesthesia, which most dewclaw removals are not. I'll campaign against snipping off dewclaws long before I get upset over debarks.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby Calypso » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:35 pm

Havana's got her championship - UKC so it's not as bad, but she still needed basic ring manners. Two of our trainers have campaigned dogs in specialty shows and the like, but they are able to sit and do agility and be dogs. We've had a couple of show dogs in our puppy classes - and to my knowledge neither one has sat in the ring. (I'm not sure the ridgie every actually sits anywhere, but that's not a show dog thing, that's an obnoxious dog thing.)

It really is the lack of socialization that pisses me off to no end. The golden today was never given treats in training because she was just supposed to work because she was told to. She was flown out to CA from WI with a handler and then driven to CO and flown back to WI. On her first trip out to be a normal dog she got out of her car crate and had a poosplosion. She has been trained to just stand there and get moved around. It was so obvious when we watched her today. And when she felt the dogs were too close to her (about 6-8 feet apart like in a class) she stress panted a bit and then became a "carpet golden" of total learned helplessness, just melting into the floor because she knew at least no one would ask her to do anything else.

I had Cavalier - supposedly one of the jesters of the dog world so scared of people he wouldn't take a treat from me for almost 3 months. Guess what? The breeder was considering showing him and then let him go at 22 weeks. I don't think he'd ever left the house. And a PWD who I thought was from an abusive home, but actually wasn't used to other dogs or people looking at her unless it was the show ring.

We do get a good number of people who have show dogs who also do other things like agility or competitive obedience and they are great dogs. They have confidence and enjoy life. So I'm definitely not going to paint all show afficianados with the same brush. And there are show dogs who only show as their "activity" who are also confident and happy. But they usually don't come from actual kennels of dogs where the most promising get farmed out to paid handlers to take them from show to show until they're finished or it's too expensive.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby connie » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:54 pm

I have yet tohave a client with a show dog that didn't have issues.
but how many clients in general do you have that have dogs with no "issues"? If they don't have issues they aren't all that likely to consult you, are they?

I know LOTS of show dogs who have no "issues". And I know lots of pet dogs from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds and historys that have major, debilitating "issues". I know show dogs who are trained not just for the breed ring but for the world, they have excellent coping skills in unfamiliar settings and situations, many are therapy dogs doing visits in hospitals, nursing homes, libraries to read with kids, what have you... they are beloved and treasured family pets who happen to have a pageant career. Many have titles in one or more performance venues whick implies man hours spent one-on-one with their people. Some are bred somewhere along the line, some serve as ambassadors for their breed, for dogs in general, and for the show community without ever producing offspring.

Some are debarked, and I just can't get too worked up over that personally. I would prefer it not be done, but I have known dozens upon dozens of debarked dogs and not a single one has ever given me reason to believe they suffered anything behind a mild sore throat for a day post-op and a day of feeling a little blech from the anesthesia. None had any difficulty communicating vocally. I do not discount the potential for risk of complications i n the future if a debarked dog needs to be intubated, but I have never seen it happen (and the dogs I have known who died under anesthesia were not debarked.) The dogs bark at squirrels and leaves and doorbells and skateboards, they bark and yammer at each other in play and at people who are slow to serve up supper - they just aren't as loud. It's less invasive and less significant an body modification than dewclaw removal and it's done by a vet under anesthesia, which most dewclaw removals are not. I'll campaign against snipping off dewclaws long before I get upset over debarks.
This, 1000%.

I've been involved with Sheltie rescue for 20+ years and with the breed for longer than that. If I told you some of the things we have seen done to Shelties because their barking pissed off the morons who owned them, you would have nightmares for weeks. De-barking is like abortion: NOBODY is in favor of it, but sometimes it prevents something far worse. I will never just slam someone who de-barks a dog without knowing the facts of the situation. *I* had my Pip de-barked when she was 2, and I do not think it was a horrible thing to do. She is 15 now, she is very happy, she has a great life, and as Kara said, complications are not a given.

I've also known plenty of 'breeder dogs' that were placed in pet homes when the pups were grown out and went oversize or showed poor dentition or something else that disqualified them from the show ring. My Sundance was breeder dog, and a sweeter, less problematic dog I have never known.

Most breeders and I don't get along, though, because I feel strongly that the Sheltie breeders I know neglect working ability, organic health, and structure in favor of producing a typey dog that the judges like. I also see, to my great disappointment, that some breeders even now don't work with rescues and actually talk down the breed rescue groups. They should clean up their act, unless they know exactly where each and every dog they've ever produced is right this minute. I'm just saying. :tongue:

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby emmas_mom » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:05 pm

....also a Sheltie from the above situation who was DEBARKED by the breeder. Seriously.)
Many of the sheltie breeders out here debark their puppies while they are only weeks old. When I asked one of them about it (when I was tracing Eddie's tattoos), I was told she does it because shelties are so yappy and debarking helps ensure they won't lose their home for excessive barking! We're talking about wee pups here, before any attempts at training. I've had two shelties who were not debarked - one virtually never barked, the other was a bit barky but not annoyingly so. Then I had Eddie who was debarked as a very young pup by the breeder, and drives me absolutely bananas with his constant, irritating, raspy squeeky non-bark.

And don't get me started on unethical breeders who are VIPs in their breed clubs but don't take responsibility for an oops litter sired by their champion dog while being looked after by their cousin who is also a breeder, let a dog from the oops litter be given away (unneutered) to live six years of his life in a backyard, and don't intervene when that person advertises them 'free to a good home' (still unneutered) nor when contacted by the rescue that finally put an end to this madness ..........personal experience from researching my Eddie's history.
The breeder in question is all about shows, and has not an ounce of commitment to the quality of life of the non-champion pups from her litters.

I know of a few very ethical, very caring, very responsible breeders. But most that I deal with (which, to be fair, comes about because of either tracking down tattoos from dogs that come into rescue or because one of their dogs is lost and I'm helping with the search - so not the cream of the crop, to be sure) could care less about the dogs that don't make the cut in the show ring.
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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby QBert » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:12 pm

and sometimes dogs who do get out in the world and ride in cars and get to be dogs still have delicate sensibilities and freak out over things and lack confidence. Upwarddog's puppy grew up not just underfoot, but under MY feet. I took her for rides in the car, she went to stores and parks, she walked on grass and concrete and carpet and tiles, got patted and fed, she saw other dogs big and small, even met a cow. Nothing freaked her out. things that startled her or frightened her earned a scooch back out of the way, often back into my ankles or up against a wall/shelf (not at high speed, not panicked, just backing up) and she'd plop down on her fat little butt and watch from her chosen safe spot. Nothing could have led me to expect her terror of the staircase in her new home, or the problems she has had with encountering strange people or dogs.

and none of that means a thing other than that it was the individual jackwagon who failed the poor Golden not because they were show people but because they are fools.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby connie » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:12 pm

It seems inappropriate, to me, to de-bark a puppy. I have never known that done, clearly a different mind-set in this area than that Jean mentions, and thank goodness. However, I am not defending every instance of the practice, just saying that de-barking in and of itself is not a horrible or appalling thing.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby Moemer » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:18 pm

I think it is absurd for a breeder to debark the breed that they CHOSE to breed, knowing full well that it's a big mouth dog.
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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby Calypso » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:35 pm


and none of that means a thing other than that it was the individual jackwagon who failed the poor Golden not because they were show people but because they are fools.
That is a good point. Many dogs who have never seen the inside of a show ring are trained without any treats, forced into sits, and live by learned helplessness. This dog we happen to know was a kennel dog unless she was on campaign, which certainly didn't help. On the other hand, at least they got the temperament right because when she did go on the offensive, she barking and growled her piece and then left it at that. She did not continue to make any displays. Waaaaaay better than too many goldens we see around here now.

I guess what frustrates/saddens me is that I see a breeder who is doing so many things right and I get excited that things might be changing. Then I meet several idiots in a row who profess to love dogs enough to breed them and spend thousands of dollars on shows, but stopped bothering to better their knowledge of animal husbandry and training. I know it's changing slowly and if I ever do breed a litter it will be with the knowledge the great breeders I've met have shared with me and hopefully to make an example of how to do it right. In the meantime, any show-eligible dog I get will be show to some kind of championship just to show it can be done my way. The way where the dog gets to be a dog who also shows off some good looks and a fussy walk. AND CAN SIT AND STAND AND KNOW THE DIFFERENCE!

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby emmas_mom » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:42 pm

I think it is absurd for a breeder to debark the breed that they CHOSE to breed, knowing full well that it's a big mouth dog.
Amen to that - if you can't stand dogs barking, don't choose to breed a bunch of barky dogs! :crazy:
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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby connie » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:58 pm

I also have a huge problem with a vet who will de-bark puppies. If it's a solution for a dog who later is a problem barker, that's one thing. Doing it at the request of breeders, that's unethical. Does anyone register any complaints about the vets who do that, Jean?

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby emmas_mom » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:06 pm

I also have a huge problem with a vet who will de-bark puppies. If it's a solution for a dog who later is a problem barker, that's one thing. Doing it at the request of breeders, that's unethical. Does anyone register any complaints about the vets who do that, Jean?
I haven't been able to find out which vet(s) are doing it. I do know it isn't the ones I use, but the breeders have evaded my question or claim to 'forget' who did it.
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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby Calypso » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:17 pm

Probably because debarking, like unidentified neutical insertions, collie ear tipping, and other surgeries that are never done but are totally done happen in the back of RVs or mobile vet vans at shows or places where dog people gather. I suspect I know who does it around here - he also didn't think that he was treating dogs from a dog fighting ring. Because those injuries happen frequently to pit bulls who lie around pampered and sleeping on people's beds. Don't know if he debarked a friend's dog, but she got the dog already debarked from a breeder at 18 months. Then the dog got spooked because she'd never seen a skateboard before (and probably never an adolescent kid or more than 3 people at the same time) and backed out of her collar and was missing for 4 days...my friend only had the dog for a day or two at that point! And she couldn't even hear the dog barking if she was caught somewhere because, you know, she'd been debarked! Thankfully she is fine and exactly the kind of sheltie princess to make sheltie lovers proud. :)

I'll bet if you wanted to debark your dog, the breeder would remember PDQ who does the surgery.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby UpwardDog » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:29 pm

I don't know if there are more crazies in conformation than other competitive venues. I'd love to see things change such that a temperament test or some sort CGC perhaps was required to become a champion and that the dogs could do what they were bred to do.

I've seen things I don't like in other dog sports ie. agility -- dog living crate to agility field to "build drive" who never get time to just go for a walk or hike and just BE. Dogs who are bred and kept such that they are highly aroused = stressed much of the time again in the name of "drive". *Most* of the dogsport people I have met have been good.

Same holds true at competitive kid things from toddlers in tiaras, to dance moms, to parents screaming and coaching from the sidelines at kid's hockey/soccer games or parents pushing their kids to the brink in an effort to get high grades at school.

People like to compete, they like to win through their kids/dogs and some have some messed up ideas about how to accomplish that. I suspect most of the people really don't see their choices as being that bad for their kids/dogs. I had a really nice mom at school today tell me her 2 yr old dogs barks like crazy at men and they "just can't seem to break her of it." I wondered what's been done in the name of "breaking her of it" by this frustrated but very well intentioned person. I don't think hitting kids is a great way to teach them but I know good people who are loving moms who do it.

As for de-barking, I'm not a fan because it's surgically treating a symptom and not the cause. Personally I don't think dogs sound any less annoying de-barked and I would much prefer people address the cause. However if it lets the dog stay in it's home and the owner not go crazy, it's probably better than the alternatives. I also agree that it's certainly not worse than my aussie having her tail bobbed right off-- a practice I hope will come to an end in my lifetime.

Ear tipping- I thought was done by taping? I dont care about taped ears. I can't be bothered, but I don't see it as a big deal.

The one that really gets to me is the poor pitties who's ear cropping is basically cutting them right down to nothing and breeding dogs for qualities so extreme they are basically disabled-- from faces so flat they have breathing and breeding problems to back ends so extreme that almost tip over and plenty in between.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby QBert » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:21 am

I can't address any other regions, but here debarks are not some cloak-and-dagger back-alley procedure done in RVs. They're done in the vet clinic by the vet under anesthesia. There's nothing covert about it.
The story of the loose dog who couldn't be found because she couldn't be heard strikes me as allegorical/embellished? One of the more common arguments against the procedure, that a dog in distress would be unable to voice their distress - and patently untrue. Every so often, an individual dog will recover from a debark with a bark that is utterly silenced but that is quite rare. Normally they simply have a quieter, less piercing bark than their natural voice. And of the few I've encountered who had silent barks/howls, even those could vocalize a bit in Basenji-like yodels and mutters and chortles.
I continue to be unable to fathom why debark arouses such passion. Much of the world has banned ear cropping, tail docking is banned or frowned upon in almost as many regions of the world, but neonate dewclaw removal is still nearly universal and surgical sterilization is very widespread - it seems to me that the next crusade would be better waged against major surgical body modifications that affect a dog's function, growth and well-being rather than a procedure which has little if any effect on their quality of life or their overall health.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby connie » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:29 am

Same here with de-barking. I have never heard of it being done by anyone other than a vet. I didn't know anyone would even attempt it; unlike ear-cutting (which plenty of yobbos try on their own, unfortunately!), you need tools for de-barking that most people don't have sitting around their kitchens. A flexible tube with a laser on the end is used, and I would have no idea where to obtain one! Also, every single Sheltie breeder I know (quite a few, actually) would not DREAM of having a de-bark done by other than a DVM. The potential for damage to a valuable dog is simply too great. (And I've never known a vet who would accommodate a request, if he/she received one, that he perform surgeries anywhere other than in the vet clinic.)

In my area, there was great consternation when Dr. Shields retired some years ago, because there aren't any other vets around who are familiar with the procedure. So while vets who perform this are few and far between, that doesn't mean the breeders go back-alley, it just means they travel farther, pay more, and gripe more loudly.

On the CISR website there is information about de-barking and the rescue says that if you feel you must have this done, please contact us for information and a referral. Many vets don't do it anymore (which I find incongruous with the fact that they are removing claws from cats all day long, but never mind ...) around here, either. The rescue coordinator makes it her business to know of vets who are familiar with the procedure.

I also am told that vets who do de-barks won't do puppies because the vocal chords could grow back and the bark return. The procedure is a nick in the vocal chord(s) so that the sound produced is muted, and people I asked said that the dog should be an adult before de-barking is considered, for that reason among others.

As for the lost dog that could not bark -- my Shiri is not de-barked, and yet one rainy night 6+ years ago, she got lost and stood on the sidewalk next to the busy street for nearly half an hour before I collected her. Never uttered a peep. I know MANY Shelties who will not make a sound if they are terrified.

I think there is a lot of misinformation and disinformation about de-barking out there and that it finds an audience among people who dislike the practice. And yeah, it arouses emotions that I don't see associated with things like tail-docking, generally, or -- again -- cat/kitten de-clawing. I don't know why.

A lot of breeders who keep a larger number of Shelties do de-bark for the convenience of the owner. While I don't like that much, I also don't think it's the most heinous thing that they could do. I think feeding Science Diet is much worse -- seriously. And many, many people who wound up with a Sheltie who could not be trained to refrain from barking are glad that the de-barking option is available to them. I am one of those people.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby Calypso » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:07 am

My friend with the lost sheltie was more upset about the lack of socialization than the debarking. And if it must be done, then yes, it should be done by a responsible vet. But when someone can't remember who debarked their dogs, particularly puppies, that speaks to me of something a bit shady.

Collie ears are supposed to be done by taping, but it doesn't always take. I heard a great UKC judge say "I don't care about the ears, collies don't run on their ears." I love that judge. But prick ears aren't typey enough for many and a slit to the cartilage in the right place will cause them to tip. It's just not supposed to be done because it is supposed to be a natural tip that can be passed on through breeding or something.

And Heather is right. It isn't just conformation where people are so selfish. Agility is getting rather scary and then there are the crazy breed combinations coming out for flyball - coydog mixes anyone?

I think we can all agree at ODO that we want our dogs to be pets who are allowed to be dogs. We do the best we can with what we know to give them full lives. And so it is very frustrating to us to find people who are in any walk of life who seemingly should know better, or care more, but don't. I really didn't want this to be a bashing of breeders or conformation people in general, just venting about a small part of the population who have their heads so far up their asses that they can't seem to do what is best for the dog.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby connie » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:15 am

Won't get any disagreement from me on the topic of people who have cranial-rectal inversion, and I'm always made very sad by it when dogs are involved in it.

Years and years ago, when I got my first dog at the tender age of 35, I thought I would meet a lot of people who were like-minded about dogs and whose company I would enjoy. And I did, and I have! But I also met way more of the other kind. I guess the people who have sense and sensibility are always in the minority, and even having dogs doesn't make a twit into an intelligent, reasonable person. Too bad. :frown:

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby SherriA » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:02 am

I'll admit to being one of those people who is horrified by the idea of debarking a dog. I don't know a lot about it, so this is gut feeling stuff. Why put a dog through anesthesia which is always a risk? Add to that, my reaction to the sound of a debarked dog - it sounds unnatural and painful to my ears - and, well, yeah, I don't like the idea of it at all. Like I said, that's not a researched, well informed opinion, just my gut reaction and probably similar to the reaction a lot of people have to it.

Of course, to put that all in context, I hate ear cropping, tail docking, removing cat claws, even simple ear taping. Maybe that's why I'm not a show dog person; I don't understand why anyone would put their dog through that for cosmetic reasons. I understand there was a historical reason for some of those procedures and they served a function. I get that, and for whatever reason, that doesn't bother me as much. But just for looks, not for any kind of work/function? That I don't agree with.
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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby connie » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:09 am

Sherri, FWIW, it's the lightest anesthesia available -- it's only so the tube can be inserted. The procedure takes five minutes. My Pip was in at 10 a.m. and out the door, in the car to go home, at 10.45 a.m., fully alert and awake. This is not the level of anesthesia needed for a spay, a dental, or even a neuter.

And yes, if someone has a dog whose barking is a problem and cannot be addressed -- the owner can't be with the dog 24/7, obviously -- through training, this is a procedure that can help. It's often not the owner that objects to the barking, it's the community and the neighbors.

I don't expect anyone to like it, as I said, it's not something a typical dog owner *wants* to do. I've had eleven Shelties. One was a candidate for de-barking. This is not a given for a Sheltie or for any breed.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby SherriA » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:38 am

Does debarking actually reduce the incidence of barking? I've only known two dogs that were debarked and they were both rescues so no idea how much they barked before the procedure, but they sure were talkative when I knew them. And, while it was quieter than a full on barkfest, it was also a much more disturbing sound than normal barking. It was an awful, grating, harsh, raspy bark that sounded like it should be painful, though I've been assured it wasn't. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I'm not sure what was gained by it. But maybe these dogs were not the norm and it usually does reduce or eliminate barking? It could be that's why these dogs ended up looking for new homes if the owners thought this would make the barking stop and it didn't.

And to get back on topic, I have a friend who breeds Collies. She breeds beautiful working dogs. Her dogs do rally, agility, herding, therapy work, and they're pampered pets. She spent years learning about the breed and working with a mentor before considering having her first litter. She's doing it the "good" way, from where I'm sitting; she's trying to improve on her dogs not just in looks but also in temperament and working ability. Often is seems that the focus has gotten so narrow, honed in on a certain trait or characteristic, but there ARE good breeders out there, as much as I tend to shy away from that crowd in general. I wish a "championship" required more than just some wins in a show ring. I wish it required some achievement in a functional area as well - obedience, rally, nosework, agility, herding, flyball, tracking, whatever - just something more than looking pretty (whatever defines pretty at the moment).
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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby connie » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:53 am

No, it doesn't reduce or eliminate the amount of barking. The dog doesn't stop barking, there is no discomfort associated with barking, and the dog continues to vocalize, but at a volume of 2 instead of 8 or 10. Miss Pip is still an indefatigable barker. I know it's a sound many people find disturbing, but there are many dogs/breeds that vocalize normally in ways that can be quite startling. One dog I met, can't remember what it was, had a bark that was a scream -- it sounded like raccoons in mating season (yes, I know what that sounds like). Blood-curdling, to me, but NBD to its owner. I guess you/we can get used to anything! :lol: While I don't like the sound of Pip's whisper-bark, I liked her full bark less. And so did the neighborhood.

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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby emmas_mom » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:21 am

Does debarking actually reduce the incidence of barking? I've only known two dogs that were debarked and they were both rescues so no idea how much they barked before the procedure, but they sure were talkative when I knew them. And, while it was quieter than a full on barkfest, it was also a much more disturbing sound than normal barking. It was an awful, grating, harsh, raspy bark that sounded like it should be painful, though I've been assured it wasn't. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. .
That's my Eddie! And it may be quieter, but it is still loud enough that one day when I was out without the dogs, my neighbours heard Eddie carrying on in the mudroom of my house so they came running over to check if everything was okay. (I have such good neighbours! :love: ). They looked through the window and he was just getting all excited at the cat, who was sitting on top of Mitzi's crate tormenting her with swipey paws (no harm - paws couldn't reach Mitzi. But Eddie knew Allie was being a tease apparently).

I definitely prefer the full on natural bark to the fingers-on-chalkboard bark.

Oh, and one side effect of debarking for many dogs, including Eddie, is constant gagging and bringing up water after drinking - something about cold water that triggers a reflex in the nerves around the scarred vocal tissue. It quite alarms my visitors.
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Re: Ugh! Show-obsessed people!

Postby QBert » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:59 am

Does debarking actually reduce the incidence of barking?
Not even a little - and some dogs really don't have all that dramatic a reduction in volume, but it does reduce how much the sound carries, so neighbors in close quarters might still hear the dog but may be able to turn on the TV or stereo and not have the barking be disruptive.

More and more I find owners/breeders are trying to at least ameliorate having to anesthetize by combining the debark with something else like microchipping or light dental work. I don't know anyone who is cavalier about having to put the dogs under anesthesia.
... It was an awful, grating, harsh, raspy bark that sounded like it should be painful, though I've been assured it wasn't. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.
but this isn't necessarily due only to the procedure - I used to care for a Boxer whose natural bark sounded like a debarked Pekingese. She had never suffered any trauma or illness that would have affected her throat or larynx, she just barked with a bizarre squeaky wheezing, raspy voice.
Oh, and one side effect of debarking for many dogs, including Eddie, is constant gagging and bringing up water after drinking - something about cold water that triggers a reflex in the nerves around the scarred vocal tissue. It quite alarms my visitors.
this too. Although it certainly is something that can be brought on by the procedure, it is also something that can affect unaltered dogs. None of the debarked dogs I know in person have this problem, and of the dogs I know who chronically gag, choke, and retch up water, not a one of them is debarked.

I'm caring for two pups in ear tape today. Neither one of them shows any indication that they even know it's there, doesn't bother them an iota, doesn't affect their hearing, doesn't involve any trauma to their ears, doesn't impede their ability to "use" their ears expressively. It's another thing that I don't understand having any strong feelings about.

As in so many other issues, I have no intention of belittling anyone's opinion, or diminishing the importance of the issue to the other person. I would never dream of trying to tell someone else that they ought to debark or tape ears. I just don't understand the viewpoint or why they feel so very strongly that they want to take away my right to choose to have certain things done. Me, personally, I will cheerfully tape ears all day long but I object to automatic neonate dewclaw amputation and mandatory surgical sterilization. I will never have another dog's ears cropped and I encourage and support those who are bucking the trend in traditionally cropped breeds. I have somewhat less strong feelings about tail docking but again I support and encourage those who choose to leave their animals intact knowing that the dogs' show careers may well be a struggle and that they invite rudeness and derision from their peers. But I am not yet ready to support banning the procedures.


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