Sunday, May 29, 2005

Purebreds and pound pups

This one has been irritating me for a few days now, like a sluggish flea that only wakes up once in a while: I go about my business, not even thinking about it, just eating, sleeping (in the sun when it's out), barking at anything that threatens the pack's territory, and OUCH! - there it is again. So I scratch-scratch-scratch, and it goes away for a while again.

The ankle-biter, Omega, is paper-trained (sort of. I think he has dementia, though. That or horrible aim), so Alpha and Beta leave the newspaper out for him, and sometimes I get to read some of it before he makes it all soggy.

Anyway, here's the editorial that became my sluggish flea:

(Sorry - I haven't figured out how to make those clicky-links, so you'll have to copy that and paste it in your browser.)

I don't have all the details of the study, because I haven't seen it - just that editorial, but the way it looks to me is this:

Some people apparently like to send their AKC-registered pups to private schools , a privilege they pay a big pile of bones for. They believe those private schools are better, somehow.

Other people just send their pups (mostly pound pups like me, but some are registered breeds) to the neighborhood school that everybody pays a few bones to support.

Now according to the study this editorial talks about, if those fancy-dog owners kept their big pile of bones and sent their AKC-registered dog to the neighborhood school, s/he would get just as good, and sometimes better, training than at those private schools that cost so much, because that's what happens to the AKC-registered pups who do exactly that: they match or out-perform the private-school pups at the trials and shows.

To which I say, "Well, duh!"

We have all kinds of dogs in the neighborhood. Some went to private schools, and some went to whatever school happened to be in the neighborhood. I can't honestly see much difference in how they turned out.

Some dogs just never get it all together: they don't learn how to sit or lie down, they don't learn that some things you do outside no matter how bad you hurt from waiting, they don't learn that you don't bark for no reason, and they don't learn that the best way to get a pat on the back and a treat is to find the bird and then hold still with your head aimed at the spot and your tail straight out and your left front paw lifted up.

Other dogs learn all those things and more, and it doesn't matter where they went to school - it matters how much time and energy their owners put into helping the schools train them, into reinforcing and encouraging their pup's education, into establishing expectations that the pup will indeed learn.

Now if that's true (and it is), then why would anyone pay extra for the fancy label? The tires on the Escalade aren't any different that the tires on the Tahoe, yet some people insist on trading more bones for the same thing - just so they can think that somehow makes them better? Unfortunately for them, this study shows them it just isn't so.

I guess it's as if the purebreds went to private schools only to learn to believe they're better dogs than I am: I work harder, I play harder, and I shed more hair on the couch than they'll ever dream of!

And I finally got rid of that nagging itch.

Oh, and here's the article that inspired the editorial:

Français/French Deutsch/German Italiano/Italian Português/Portuguese Español/Spanish 日本語/Japanese 한국어/Korean 中文(简体)/Chinese Simplified Tagalog/Filipino


Post a Comment

<< Home