Rescue Journal

it ain't ain't rocket science...

Carol  ·  Apr. 17, 2011

and i think we ain't all that brilliant either.

somewhere along the line we lost good old fashioned common sense. we have made living with pets so complex and is no wonder so many families fail at the end of the day.

when i was driving into maple ridge today, i saw someone walking their dog...and it looked like she was decked out for a covert operation...the outfit, the trappings, the intense-on-an important-mission of doing it "right." didn't look like much fun for either of them...not her nor the dog.

it used to be walking the dog was sort of relaxing...the dog got to sniff around and pee on every blade of grass and the person got some peace and quiet and a chance to breathe in fresh air, look up at the sky and see what spring flowers the neighbors just planted.

now there are puppy classes to graduate from, basic obedience to overcome, books of canine philosophy by whisperers, trainers and experts, dog birthday parties, playdates, and doggy daycares cuz heaven forbid the dog should ever be left home alone.

we made it so much work and study and running around to do it right...that we freaking well sucked out all of the fun.

my sister and i did our first dog obedience classes with our white shepherds when i was about 13 and she would have been a couple of years older. i remember 2 things...practicing in the driveway religiously 20 minutes each day and fritz (my sister's dog) reaching over and picking up the instructers poodle by the head during a sit stay.
back then you had to have a 6 foot leather leash and a training collar (choke chain)..that was the equipment back in the seventies to prove to the rest of the world that you were intelligent and in control of your dog. i got kicked out of one obedience group with tyra 15 years ago because i dared to insist on using a flat leather collar. i had finally learned by then that it wasn`t nice to close off the airway on your beloved dog.
now we have prong collars, martingales, halties, no pull harnasses, flat collars and quick release collars. you can buy pee pads, dog diapers, and belly bands...yesterdays newspaper used to work fine. you can even get airine approved, plastic indoor confinement crates that double as some kind of prehistoric comfort den. except...domestic dogs haven`t denned in more than a thousand least until now in this new age of knowledge. of course we ignore the fact tht even the denning dogs from a couple of thousand years ago..didn`t have locking doors to make them stay inside that is a pertinent but inconvenient fact that we like to ignore.
and you can find a trainer anywhere who swears by any one of these. we use positive reinforcement, behavior modification, flooding, bonding, de-sensitization, telepathy, visualization, clicker could fill an entire public library with just books on the right way to teach and live with dogs in your family...or you can watch tv, rent a video, pull it up on the computer and learn it all that way.

and tell me...what has all of this research and effort actually brought to the dog....cuz what i see is a bunch of folks strutting around blithely speaking the current and politically correct `dog`talk...but inside that furry body, the dog`s are a freaking emotional mess.

we think we know so much about them that we twist and bend them into our personal pretzels to be what we say they are and do what we say they need.

they just need to be dogs...not little soldiers in our quest to have the perfect pets.

if you ask me..perfect pets with perfect people are perfectly stepford big time scary.



I'm proud to say I am very welled trained. Our MacKenzie (16 yr old Westie)gradually taught me that he likes one chair in the living room, that only one person can sit on the couch in the TV room with him (any more and he feels crowed), that he likes to rush to the park to see his friends but dawdle back, that he likes to be fed exactly at 7:00am and 5:pm, that a cookie should be ready every time he comes in from the yard and so much more. When the sad day comes that he is no longer with us, I hope our next dog will be such a good human trainer.


Right on, Carol. A lot of what you say applies to cats too. Check out any cat magazine and you'll see what I mean. At this point in time my house holds 6 much loved cats (all of them rejects of some description). Except for the computer desk, the kitchen counter and the basement hobby room the whole house and kenneled in back deck is theirs to do as they please. If they want attention - fine. If they don't that's OK too. There are no kitty Christmas presents, parties, jewelled collars or $200 canopied pet beds. What they have is a safe, warm, dry environment to be cats in. Not kitty barbies or lifestyle accessories. If we accept the animals for what they are not for some preconceived notion of what they should be, there would be a lot less rejects out there. Sorry, this is a bit rambling but its how I feel.

Mauro Salles

Rocket science is "Cartman vs. The Dog Whisperer" ==>


another thing about dogs... we have to train them, it's true, but we have to train ourselves to bend for our animals just as much, if not more.
when we first brought home Charlie, the info and warnings from his previous home made no sense...he fit in seamlessly... but then, we run our home alongside our dogs. they said he was aggressive, loud, anxious, noisy... of course, we didn't know at that time he was kept chained up in a tiny yard from being a young dog (when he got too big to be tied up in the kitchen), never walked, and never shown who was in charge. when he came here, he has an open area to walk, a home and bed indoors, no leashes in sight, and no one to worry him. he also has two little dogs to look after and run with, so he has an occupation and company... but he knows who is in charge, and he knows who to go to when there's a problem with himself or anyone else... us, as his carers and protectors.
it's amazing what dogs are capable of.... but we expect too much of them.


it always seems to be an odd dance between what must be done and what we must do.
i never got into the whole dog culture. i know, it's ODD, considering i have three dogs, but it doesn't appeal to me. it's cute, and slightly ridiculous at times, but it seems to be a way to lavishly spend to show just HOW into your dog you are.
but, we have to remember "dog culture" (clothes, leashes, ideas, training) is also fashion, and it changes. who knows what'll be in fashion in another twenty years. like all fashions, i just take what works/what i like and leave the rest.


just wanted to share my 2 very big proud moments of today.
getting fiona and shrek to look at me (for a treat!) instead of trying to pull us across the street to the little barking dog.
fiona running to my pub table for her meds (in a pill pocket) instead of over to Taz' bowl for her food +/- a fight.
yay progress!
i have stopped walking shrek, fi and taz all together as it was no longer fun. everyone was going in 5 directions, one wanted to smell this tree while the other wanted to pee on the other tree and one was bound to just stop and stand still. it was a gong show. and no fun at all.