When Pugs Were Pugs

 Don’t you see the danger, John, inherent in what you’re doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun. – Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park
Photo: charlesdeluvio

Photo: charlesdeluvio

I love dog training, and I am fortunate enough to be constantly learning.  One of the greatest sources of growth for me has been my clients and readers.  You never let me down with your succinct and intelligent commentary.
Recently, a post on breeders vs. rescuing.  Karen Privitera’s response to the debate blew me away:
Forgive me; this is going to be long….I am conflicted.
Pugs have been a part of my family for three generations … they’ve been part of us for well over 85 years. For years, I knew of no other families with pugs; but we had magazines, books and pug organizations …and we had no debilitating medical problems with our dogs.

My earliest memories are of correcting people; it seemed like nobody knew what they were:
“he’s not a bulldog, he’s a pug”
“no, he didn’t run into a wall”
“that’s not very nice, he’s not ugly…I love him”

Fifty, forty years ago — I didn’t see pugs with their tongues hanging out constantly (birth defect); I wasn’t hearing or reading about nasal enlargement surgeries or the rest of it.

For the past 5 decades, none of our pugs have been purchased from a breeder; they have all been from shelters and legit rescue programs. One was adopted after being featured on Captain Penny’s Pooch Parade in the 1960s.

In 1981, a pug won Best of Show at Westminster. I recall telling my Vet that I hoped that “win” didn’t set off crazy popularity. I remember him looking at me oddly and asking “why?”.
I was shocked that he didn’t seem to be thinking —or concerned — about the long-term ramifications of a frenzy of bad breeding.
But that’s exactly what happened — and suddenly pugs were everywhere: in commercials, on greeting cards, etc.

…then “Men In Black” contributed to the irresponsible growth of the breed and so on & so on…

Ask long-time Dalmatian breeders what happened after the 101 Dalmatians movie came out.

Not a single pug of my grandparents’, my aunt or my immediate family ever required nasal surgery or had medical issues related to their respiratory system.
None of them were ever used for breeding.

Truth be told, I wish the day would come where only responsible, licensed, well-regulated breeders are permitted to sell animals.
I *wish* there weren’t so many animals dumped, abandoned, “born just for profit”; I will spend the rest of my life only having pets that come from those unfortunate situations.

I personally will not go to a reputable breeder, ever, for any future pets … not while so many other dogs are in shelters.
I wish I could.

In a different world, how I wish the breed hadn’t exploded — bringing all the physical problems now suffered by these sweet animals and perpetuated by greed & ignorance.

The breed is not inherently bad: irresponsible breeders are BAD.
Don’t buy from the Amish, EVER.
Don’t buy from people who “just wanted their dog to have one litter” and have no idea what the hell they’re doing.
Don’t purchase off of Craigslist; be responsible and do some damn research.

And while I’m on my soapbox: there’s no such thing as “teacup” or “miniature” or “micro” — they’re the result of runts being bred to runts. None of that is good.

Photo attached of my Grandpa — long before me. Sadly, these healthy pugs don’t look like what you see today.

Pic courtesy of Karen Privetera

Pic courtesy of Karen Privitera

Thank you, Karen, for stating exactly what needed to be said.

keep

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

#MyDogIsAnAsshole

“Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” – Dumbledore

ddog

This is my Darwin.  I rescued him when I was 19 years old. He was my best friend for 12 years before he crossed the Rainbow Bridge about 10 years ago. He was also a complete asshole.

Darwin once found a dead raccoon in the back yard, and rolled on it. It was the worse smell I have ever endured in my entire life.The smell emanating from my dog was unbearable. Like a summo wrestler took a shit on a burning tire. It was kinda cathartic to finally admit it out loud: My dog is an asshole

It would have made a maggot gag.

I spent over 4 hours trying to get the smell off of him, and at that point, me as well, thus causing me to have to cancel a date with a guy I had been crushing on foh-evah. Like, since 4th grade.

Darwin seemed to have problems with skunks. Especially how he envisioned his relationship with them…

…versus the reality.

As Dumbledore pointed out to Harry in the quote in the beginning of this post, fearing to name something what it actually is can be detrimental.  I hear this a lot from my clients.

Client:  Hi, I’m interested in dog training. I have a 7 month old puppy.  He’s been biting us, jumping, stealing things from the counter and this morning chewed our sofa.

 

Me: Wow – he sounds like an asshole!

 

Client:  He is!  Thank you for saying that! I love him but he’s SUCH an asshole!

It’s okay to call a thing a thing.  It doesn’t make you a bad dog owner, and as a matter of fact, you may feel better when you finally accept that your dog is an asshole…you can move on now.  Start to address why he is that way, and what steps you can take to address the behaviors that are unsavory. Begin to Pilot his behavior, and answer his questions.

Because let’s face it.  Your dog isn’t bad.  He’s just an asshole.

He has a very good reason for everything he does.

- Chewed your slippersSeparation anxiety
Counter surfingNever properly taught boundaries.
Pees in the house? Overstimulated outside

So it may seem to you that your dog is an asshole, I think what we all mean is your dog is a great dog, he sucks at being human. Some dogs just get how to “human” easier than others.  Congratulations, your dog sucks at it.

 

Now let’s learn how to communicate your adorable little asshole.  Because let’s face it, he probably thinks you really suck at being a dog.

What’s the most “asshole” thing your dog has ever done?

Photo: charlesdeluvio

Photo: charlesdeluvio

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio