Thursday, February 25, 2010

What my friend sent me

A couple of days ago, a friend sent me a link to a website for a person who sells, ahem, miniature Golden Retrievers. Upon viewing the site, "I thought of your blog," she said.

Oh, how well she knows me.

She knows, for example, that I will be wanting to tear out my admittedly very short locks over not only the fact that this individual appears to have at least five different litters of Golden Retriever mixes available now, but also takes deposits before any "matings" even occur. As for training advice, this individual not only highly recommends that buyers acquaint themselves with the videos of this trainer, but also goes out of their way to differentiate that trainer from this trainer, who is probably far more knowledgeable.

But, in the interest of maintaining my coiffure, I'm going to keep my hands off my head. Instead I would pose the following questions to this individual -- and, in fact, to any individual who engages in similar enterprises:

1. What steps have you taken to guarantee the health of your puppies? Have the parents' hips and elbows been certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals? Have their eyes been checked by the Canine Eye Registration Foundation? Since Goldens are involved in your breedings, have you had a veterinary cardiologist evaluate the parents' hearts? (Goldens are subject to an often deadly condition called subaortic stenosis.)

2. Have you stopped to consider whether a trainer who specializes in what appear (at least on TV) to be abusive dog handling techniques -- is suitable for any dog, much less a fragile, impressionable puppy? Have you also considered whether a trainer whose techniques are opposed by many in the scientific community is the best choice for those who purchase your dogs?

3) Have you actually investigated the work of the trainer whom you seek to differentiate your preferred trainer from?

4) Although you say that some of your dogs are registered with the American Kennel Club, would you perhaps care to elaborate on why you are now using this registry instead? (I can guess, but your explanation would be interesting.)

Just wonderin' ....


Anonymous said...

Susan, you exhibited remarkable restraint. Not to be confused with the restraint used by "that trainer."
Linda Rehkopf

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

As I often joke, we'll know the end of the world is coming when people start breeding "mini" Great Danes or "mini" Mastiffs.

I'll never forget the looks I got while volunteering at an agility trial when I asked if a particular dog was a sheltie or a really small Australian shepherd. I'd never seen a "mini" Aussie before. I know what's what now, but then, I truly was stumped.

Susan said...

Fwiw, the AKC doesn't recognize mini Aussies any more than it recognizes miniature Golden Retrievers.

Anthony Holloway said...

I think calling this person a breeder is very generous. Just because they put two dogs together and naturally get puppies does not make them a breeder. The behavior you described is just irresponsible on many levels.

Susan said...

Anthony,you're absolutely right. The individual cetainly is a breeder -- but not a responsible or reputable one.

Retrieverman said...

I don't trust anyone who quotes Cesar pyschobabble.

My problem is that I prefer field line goldens, and it's hard to find anyone who trains the dogs with modern methods. The field trial and hunting test books are all about putting a lot of pressure on the dogs.

I now understand why lots of field trial and hunting people don't like goldens. They aren't the sort of dog that works well when they are afraid. The trial Lab is a dog that has a "tougher constitution" than our eager to please and sensitive dog. I do know of someone who is trying to get a golden through the AKC hunt test system without aversives. He's having hard time, because the dogs are so smart that they start trying to retrieve the quickest and most efficient way, which means breaking the line.

I actually consider them to be a more "old-fashioned" retriever than the Labradors are.

Maybe it's because we're so used to goldens that this certain trainer tends to launch us. But any dog can be trained using learning theory.

I'm not opposed to doodles in theory. If the health tests are done on both the retriever and poodle, I'm fine with that. But in practice, I very rarely see this.

Susan said...

I'm not necessarily opposed to so-called designer dogs in theory, either. But I don't know that any of these dogs are being screened for health problems, and that *does* elicit my opposition.

It's my understanding--pls correct me if I'm wrong--that a lot of those who train for AKC events use traditional methods. There's the classic example of getting a dog to release a dumbbell by pulling on his ears. And a person who I really respect maintains that electronic collars are pretty much necessary to train a dog for field trials. If that's the case, no thank you (not that my dog seems interested anyway).

And I agree that any dog can be taught using learning theory. It may seem slower and less direct to do so, but the result is a dog that's *happy* to work, as opposed to a dog who's afraid *not* to.

Retrieverman said...

The ear pinch is called a "conditioned retrieve" (or force fetch).

It is deemed to be necesary to get a retriever running on a line to pick up a blind (something it must retrieve but doesn't know where it is).

They all use e-collars. It's just a given.

It's actually affecting how the Labrador retriever is developing as a gun dog. Many of the trial lines are too hyperactive and too intractable for the average home.

As for mini-Aussies, the AKC was going to recognize them as North American Shepherds, but they would be placed in the Non-Sporting group.

Susan said...

Why did the AKC end up not recognizing the so-called Mini-Aussies?

Retrieverman said...

They wanted to be in the Herding group, not the Nonsporting group. The Australian Shepherd Club really didn't want them in, which is why they made them change their name to North American Shepherd.

Retrieverman said...

The North American shepherd name dates back to when the breed was recognized by the American Rare Breed Association, and they couldn't go by Australian shepherd, because that was now an AKC breed.

Just needed to correct that little bit.

Susan said...

Thanks for the info, Retrieverman.