Sunday, March 8, 2009

On dog trainers and them fighting Chow Chows

News agencies are always reaching for a local spin and dog bites are no exception.

Recently, a 2-week old baby was fatally mauled by the family dog after she was alone in a bassinet with the free-roaming dog. The dog is a mutt; a Golden Retriever-Chow mutt. That did not stop the 250+ news agencies who reported the mauling to use Chow exclusively in the title. The dog has been euthanized, though he showed no aggression at the shelter.

Inaccurate "breed" labeling aside, a local news agency decided to "ask the experts" on the matter and called up some guy from a training center that I refuse to even name (you can click and read the article for yourself).

But instead of an expert opinion, we get flagrantly inaccurate information and fear-mongering.

A chow is actually a fighting breed, like Rottweilers and Dobermans
Well, no, a Chow Chow is not a fighting breed, they were bred for hunting, guarding, food and companionship. Rottweilers and Dobermans were not bred originally for fighting, either. I guess I should be happy he didn't mention the breed generally brought up when it comes to "fighting". I'm not, because any smearing of breeds means individual dogs may be killed for, you know, maybe, possibly "turning".

It gets better:

Certain breeds have a very high risk of this type of behavior
If that were true, should we not be wading waist-deep in the bodies of infants massacred by those high-risk breeds? There is no breed of dog at a high-risk of eating children. None. There are only individual dogs with low-arousal, low-bite thresholds, lack of socialization and training who have a greater likelihood of using teeth to convey a point. There are dogs who get put into situations where they are 100% guaranteed to fail. This dog was friendly with strange adults in a stressful environment, the dog shelter. This dog sounds like he may very well have had a nice, temperament but zero experience with tiny, squishy infants and how to interact properly with them. This dog is also a mutt. Did he mean Golden Retrievers are at the top of list with Chow Chows too?

Well no:

The more domesticated a dog, the better they are around children. Breeds such as Siberian Huskies, the chows, the Akitas, dogs of that nature -- all of which I happen to love, so it's not a personal opinion -- but those dogs are just generally a little bit wilder, a little bit aloof and more independent, and so therefore they're just not as responsive toward a child
Whoa - what? First, all dogs are domesticated. I don't care how aloof that Chow Chow or Peruvian Inca dog is - they are domesticated. Second, dogs of that nature? What on earth does that even mean? Fluffy dogs? Sled dogs? Dogs with erect ears and curly tails? And finally, if a breed is supposedly less responsive toward a child, then should they not be masters of being with children? I can't think of a dog I'd rather want than one who didn't give an iota about grabby, grubby, obnoxious toddlers.

That isn't what trainer-man meant, of course. He seems to mean that certain breeds (Huskies, Chows, Akitas, dogs of that nature) are so aloof and so independent and so very wild that they cannot possibly cohabitate with children without killing them. Which is silly, even more silly coming from a dog trainer (who doesn't want "personal opinion" of supposedly liking these dogs to get in the way of baseless "fact").

I can only conclude that this man is masquerading as an expert on something he seems to know very little about.

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