Friday, 6 July 2018

Breedism is alive and well

Imagine if a child slapped a teacher in class.

And when the teacher went to talk to the parents they said “well she has red hair you know, it’s just how she is….

Wouldn’t you agree that the teacher might feel that was rather a rubbish answer?

Do we really believe that behaviour is caused by the colour of our hair, and that we can’t change it?

Thankfully not.

But let’s look at some canine examples:

Rufus the cocker spaniel is an intense, worky, intelligent little boy. He can get overexcited easily, and sometimes grabs hands. 

Right from the beginning Rufus showed us that he wasn’t always keen to share his treasures (stolen items and chews). But then Rufus seemed to get grumpy about his bed. And then he got a bit grumpy about getting out of the car.

None of these things were happening every day, but there was probably some grumbling or air snapping once a week.

If you searched the internet, it would tell you that cocker spaniels are often prone to resource guarding, that they don’t like sharing. You might see some scary stuff about “cocker rage”. And that it’s just because they’re a spaniel.

Now I’m NOT saying that breed characteristics aren’t important. The centuries of breeding for specific behaviour has a big effect on the dogs we own now.

But it’s not the whole picture. 

Dogs are dogs first of all, and they are all individual. 

When we see a change in behaviour one of the first things to rule out is any medical factors like pain.

Rufus is only 5 months old, yet when his dedicated mum took him to the vet on our advice they found he was uncomfortable in his hips. X-rays found some hip dysplasia and Rufus is now on a course of pain killers plus laser treatment.

Since we put some management in place, and Rufus started his veterinary treatment, there have been no more problems.

Sometimes it’s not “because they’re a spaniel/terrier/insert breed here”. 

Very often it’s because they are a living breathing creature who is struggling to cope.

Take action

Make sure you get to know your dog or puppy. What’s normal for them? Are they ever reluctant to get out of bed or off sofas? Can they be snappy when you touch them? 

If you are concerned about their behaviour talk to us AND talk to your vet.

And another thing 
You might have seen news coverage of yet another misguided campaign to discriminate against staffies.

Here at WCC we feel very strongly that breed specific legislation is not the answer to any problem. A more useful guide would be “Deed Not Breed”. If you’d like to add your voice to the protest please write to your MP. Even if you have written before, we have to keep trying.  

And you can sign this petition too:

So, that's my little rant for the week over...tune in for the next one on why we should be leaving those kids alone...


What's going on in WCC Land?
Don't forget to tell us you're coming to the Sunday Sports and Social Club this month - we welcome ALL breeds, and we promise a relaxed atmosphere with the chance to learn more about your dog.  

Did you miss out on our Canine Activity Foundations class for the next block? Or did the dates not work for you? No need to feel like you're missing out, because Clare is leading a whole day of Canine Activities and Fun on Sunday September 9th

A workshop for those who want to know more and try out some of the different activities we offer!  We'll cover Core Skills; Parkour Basics; Agility Foundations and Starting Scentwork. 
Check dates and book workshops

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