Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The 5 Types of "Dog People"

I was thinking today... well, moreso yesterday.... about why it is that there is so much tension and bad energy in the dog community and I narrowed it down to the main culprit being the fact that most dog enthusiasts fit into very different types of "dog people."

The Typical Dog Owner
The typical dog owner loves their dog. They may or may not be interested in other people's dogs. They generally don't think much about the nitty gritty of breeding ethics, vaccines, dog sporting, nutrition, etc. As long as their dog appears to be healthy and happy, they're happy. Their own dogs may be indoor or outdoor dogs, and the typical dog owner generally does not put the family pet on the pedestal other "dog people" might. They generally feed cheap dog food because they don't know better and have never thought about it before. The typical dog owner doesn't really understand all that much about training and as a result their dogs usually have at least one really annoying habit. Rarely will you ever find a typical dog owner at any kind of dog show or participating on any kind of dog forum. They HAVE a dog, their dog is not their entire life, and that's OK.

The Well-Meaning, but Often Misguided
This person DOES think about things like nutrition, vaccines, and ethics, but tends to  take their vet's word as absolute scripture. They will usually do whatever the vet tells them to because they love their dogs to bits and have no idea that the $70 bag of food their vet recommended is actually junk. This person's pets will almost always be completely up to date with routine vaccines, heart worm prevention, flea and tick topical, and annual blood work and exams, and their dogs are generally spayed and neutered by that magic 6 months old mark- actions this well-intended owner feels are a true testament to their undying love for their pooches. This person can be found on dog forums telling those who stray from their vet's recommendations are irresponsible... after all their vet went to school to learn this stuff! Their dogs are often pampered, rarely outdoor dogs, and live pretty plush lives for the most part.

The I Just Really Love My Dogs
This person wants what's best for their dogs in all aspects of life. They generally put a lot of effort into training, learning about proper nutrition, and spend a great deal of time with their dogs. They generally view their dogs as family members and not "just pets." They're likely to talk about their dogs too much to people who really don't care. This person likely feeds a premium high quality commercial food, or a home prepared diet of some sort. They may or may not have interest in dog sporting, but can often be found at expos, shows, and any dog-related events. They care about breeding ethics and are usually well-educated on training techniques. Their dogs are very rarely "outdoor dogs" and their lifestyles are usually fairly dog-centered. This person generally still can be a functional member of society. While they put a great deal of thought and effort into the care of their own dogs, and often enjoy educating others, this person isn't generally obsessed with making sure every pet owner in the world "sees the light" and does things exactly as they do. They are often times passionate about dogs, but dogs are not their WHOLE life. They may be semi-active on internet forums, but generally get over them in time.

The Know It All
This person knows everything about everything. They know 1238014 show breeders, they have spoken with 3834723 of the top nutritionists, they know what all the sporting dogs eat because they know 23482347 people involved with all forms of dog sporting. If they feed commercial foods, they know the nutritional breakdown of 32472349 different brands. If they feed raw, they are absolute sticklers on those marrow and knuckle bones, and would never even consider feeding wild caught salmon from the PNW without freezing it first! They tend to be argumentative and can often times be found on forums rubbing everyone else the wrong way. This person generally does put thought into things like nutrition and ethics, but they love scientific studies and proof. Their dogs may be indoor or outdoor dogs, they are generally well-cared for and well-loved.

The Elitist 
No one will ever be good enough pet owners for the elitist, whose dogs are their WHOLE entire lives. Everything they do and every decision they make revolves around their dogs. To please this person, you must not just feed raw, you must feed only local, organic grass fed meat to your dogs, even if it means feeding yourselves and your children ramen. The family dog is not just on the same level as the human members, but often times are above that. They expect pet owners to make whatever lifestyle changes necessary to provide only the absolute best for their pets, or they don't even deserve to have them in the first place. To them, examples of terrible pet owners are: anyone who crates more than 3-4 hours at a time, anyone who does not feed the diet they've deemed ideal, anyone who has acquired a pet from a place they deem unacceptable, anyone who has ever left a dog in the backyard without direct supervision, anyone who feeds commercial food or -heaven forbid- grocery store meats, and whatever other requirements they've conjured. This person generally spends a LOT of time on internet forums worrying about what everyone else is doing. Their dogs are pampered, well-cared for, and live good lives- even if it means at the expense of the people in the home. They feel most people are unfit animal owners. This person generally feels it is their duty to make everyone "see the light" and will accept no reason to not do what they think is best. They rarely can accept that other people may not be able to make raw work, and view these people as lazy or undedicated dog owners. They are VERY concerned about what everyone else is doing, and much of their conversation is gossip. This person is great at making themselves feel good and others inadequate. They jump to the defense when called out on their passive aggressive bullying and generally play the victim. This is not a normal functioning member of society, this is a dog-obsessed whack job in most cases.

With nearly all dog people fitting into one of these categories, it's bound to turn ugly at some point. I can honestly say that this year I swore off dog forums, and my life has been SO. MUCH. HAPPIER since. Jon and I are on the fence on if we will ever have another litter- not because we aren't passionate about it, but because it's been really nice to just be removed from all the drama and ridiculousness that is the dog community. Dogs are my passion, and ALWAYS have been- for as long as I can remember... we will always love and adore our pack. We've made some good friends in this online community, friendships that mean more to me than words can tell. Through forum participation and puppy placement, we've met some amazing folks. I don't miss the judgy, negative tension that will always exist on forums, though. Not even a little bit. The amount of negative feelings people harbor for long periods of time over people they've never met- people who will never in any way impact their lives in any way- it's sad, really. No. My life is too otherwise full to ever go back to being a forum-goer. I like it better this way. <3
So, if you've been wondering what we've been doing since we "disappeared" from the forums... we've been enjoying life. Real life. The one that exists off the computer screen.


  1. You are so totally right. I'm the first one easily, hands down. But I do pay attention to what our dog eats, especially since she's really picky and eats very little whether it's cheap or good quality dog food. I think it's important that she then gets nutrient dense food in her own small quantities, just like I would my own toddler (Fine, you're not going to eat a ton, but that means absolutely no junk for you). But with that being said, my main reasons for having a dog are for companionship (not that I need it in our household), an exercise motivator, a yard protector (even if it's just in the form of a bark), and to eat whatever falls on the floor so there's less sweeping/mopping to do. Plus, it just feels right to have a dog in the house, and she likes us so we'll keep her around.

  2. I love it! Please don't let the dog community be your reason to stop breeding;that would be SO depressing! I really think it's possible to be a good breeder without being a part of the "dog community." Here's my 2 cents (take it however you will). When you're good and ready (life-wise) to have another litter of puppies, try again on a "trial" basis. Use a Facebook page, word of mouth, and your website to help get the word out and let your fans follow you. Set things up though so you can weed out and/or Block unpleasant people. Accept that there will be unpleasant people - whenever these people pop up, simply block them and move on; don't respond to them or you will feed "the beast." And just see how it goes. If sucky people still succeed at making you miserable, maybe it's best to back out of breeding. But I really think you can do it! And you're such an awesome breeder, it's a shame to lose you! Obviously, if there are other reasons behind the decision to stop breeding, that's another issue entirely. So this is just my plea for "if you're thinking of stopping because of jerks, try again and prove them wrong!"

  3. Oh I don't know that we will really stop breeding, I just don't know that we still will. It's completely up in the air, I just have to be honest about where I'm at because I do have a wait list right now, and it would be a shame for those people to wait a year or two and then "Oh, surprise, I'm no longer breeding. Sorry, guys!"
    There's just a level of transparency that one has to maintain as a breeder. It's only fair. But honestly, I'm at a point that I'm fed up with having to take into the consideration what "the masses" might think/ do/ say when I'm making decisions for my family with my husband. I am so confident in my ethics, I feel so strongly about the color families being a BAD thing for the breed, and NEEDING to be done away with. I can completely deal with the backlash from that but sometimes, it just gets annoying to be dragged through the mud over it. Sometimes it really DOES feel like an unnecessary stress in my life, but then on the other hand, I'm so passionate about it I can't imagine not having that little corner of my life. Perhaps someday I will find that perfect balance between breeder and "normal person who just loves their dogs a whole lot" but until then, the breeder side of me looses, because the other one is a whole lot less annoyed with the world. :-)