Don’t Discriminate – EDUCATE!

Took me awhile to film this video – two days to be exact – because I had so much to say and vent – that I soon realized that no one will watch a 30 minute VLOG.  You can watch my first day of Bloopers here!  For those that cannot stand to watch poor editing and poor VLOG skills – buttt would love to read a long winded blog with bad grammar – please continue reading!

This vlog is in respect to the recent Police shootings of a Rottie and in Calgary, a Pitbull.  Many fans have asked for my opinion, my thoughts and recommendations in these scenarios.  This topic hits home to me, so I felt the need to make sure the video was made – in hopes that it will help ONE person understand – in hopes of ridding discrimination as a whole.  Be forewarned, the blog is long winded as is the video.

I have many friends in the Police force as well as clients – and until you know one, you have no right to judge and say you would handle the situation better. Could the Police officers have approached things differently with education on the difference between an AGGRESSIVE dog and FEARFUL dog – yes! Will they?

Only a very small percentage of dogs in the world are Aggressive in a killing manner that might be due to abuse, training or neurological issues.  Many dogs bite because of Fear.  There is a difference in both and many people seem to easily misunderstand the two.  Many fearful dogs have been ill socialized, or have been abused and traumatized.  With fearful dogs, proper training and patience can lead them into wonderful lives.

I am thankful to have adopted 3 rotties from Heaven Can Wait in High River in the last 2 years.  I was grateful to know that the Bylaw Officer who rescued all three, knew the difference between an Aggressive Dog, and a Fearful one.  He saved many dogs lives south of Calgary with this brilliant mindset – and many dogs have him to thank for their lives.  Sadly, this Bylaw Officer was murdered last year, doing what he did best, saving dogs – a hoarding situation in Priddis.  I bring this up because it is because of him, that I have been loved by 3 amazing Rotties and many families have their furry family member because of him.  Bourbon in particular, really proved what education and understanding of dogs – breed aside – can help reduce any dog casualties.  As told to me by the amazing people at HCW, Bourbon was rescued by Officer Rod almost 3 years ago at a measly 35lbs, badly abused and in rough shape.  With extreme fear, he also bit him hard, but Officer Rod was able to see, that Bourbon was not Aggressive, but Fearful.  After a year at HCW – Jimmy and I decided to adopt Bourbon, and because of the ability for Officer Rod to decipher the difference between Fear and Aggression – Bourbon is now a furever family member in our household.

Is it possible to teach all Police Officers this before they pull out their guns to shoot a dog?  I believe it is a possibility – but the fact is, will it be a priority?

At Sleep Rover – our Slogan that we recently marked on our hoodie uniforms is “DON’T Discriminate, EDUCATE”.

Many people quickly judge before they know the facts, and especially when it comes to dog breeds – whether you hate and assume all small dogs are yappy, or that bully breeds were bred to kill – stop basing your opinions on the cover, the race, the breed – but focus on the actual situation, those involved and the story.

BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) is something that truly upsets me, and it is sad that in this day and age, Provinces, States and some whole countries will ban breeds. In all respect, that is racism.. which sadly in our day and age, still exists.

Interesting FYI:  The breed that we have had to turn away the most at our facility, has been Labs and Goldens.  Is it because of the breed?  NO!  It is how they were improperly raised… not ALL, but the ones that have been turned away.  We are blessed to be one of many few open concept facilities that allow all breeds of dogs – regardless of size!

What do I mean by not properly raised??  Labs and Goldens are the most popular breeds – and therefore a higher percentage of them get purchased or adopted on a daily basis around the world.  As puppies they are cute and many families lack the knowledge to train their dog when it comes to personal space, manners and discipline.  They bite, they gnaw, they give you the puppy eyes.. and all of a sudden, the ‘oh they are just a puppy’ excuse pushes into their 3rd month birthday, 6 months and all of a sudden a year.  With lack of socialization and poor manners, these  dogs that come in, do not know how to be in a social environment without having high anxiety or the need to start fights due to lack of socialization.  Some of them never attended offleash parks because they were so out of control – the parents gave up on socializing them in public.  Who is at fault here?  THE HUMAN parent.  Who is suffering?  The dog.

I am not a dog trainer, but I hope my experience gives you insight.  As simple as dog food, many people think that dog food on commercials must be good for their dog.. i mean it is on TV!  I DID TOO when I was young.  Till I realized that dogs food companies that have commercials spend so much money on commercials, that the quality of food obviously suffers with chemicals and fillers.  Many people also think that feeding a good dog food costs you more money. Another myth.  The more you learn about this topic – the more you will realize that it is easy, economical and better for your pets health in the long run!

I base my comparisons of owning a dog, to keeping fit and being healthy as a person.

People think that getting a puppy is easy (and sadly it is easy to purchase a puppy ANYWHERE in the world without a license, background check or ‘qualification test’)!  They get a puppy, they go to puppy social class, or puppy school and then the first year of obedience where they learn the basics of sit and come.  Inexperienced dog owners at this point will think that they are done!  NO!  To maintain a healthy body, it is important to be active and eat healthy on a day to day basis.  So is the sanity and obedience of your dog!  Mental, physical and emotional stimulation is important for your dog too!

Don’t wait till you have a heart attack or stroke to be healthy – and do not wait till your dog bites someone or gets hit by a car before you think about training them!

I am not going to pretend that I can do all the above.  I am overweight, and not the most nutritious when it comes to food choices.  I make excuses and it is not on my priority list.  That is why people fail.. and I do, with my weight.

One thing I do put high on my priority list, is my dogs.  I vowed to my first ever dog JJ, that I would never make the mistake of putting my future dogs on the back burner.  She stuck with me when lived on my own at 16, following behind me as I latched on to my bag, my pillow and her on the City Bus.  She stuck by me when I worked 3 jobs to pay for rent, food and my way into University.  Many days and weeks she would go without a walk.  Long story short, she was my angel then, and is my angel now – and my commitment to giving my dogs the best I have to offer, began.

At the time when JJ passed at the age of 15, we had been watching The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan.  His training methods are controversial – but everything he said, made sense to me.  It was like a light bulb flickered and lit up quickly, after each episode I watched.  I believe as dog parents, grabbing training methods from a variety of dog trainers is important, to be vastly flexible with different dogs.  Dogs are like humans, each one of them learn differently.   What might work for one dog, might not work for another.  What I do refrain from all methods – are physically abusive methods – which I negate completely.  Dogs need a leader, dogs need a calm environment and dogs need direction and discipline and regular stimulation such as exercise for their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.  That is what I learned in a nutshell.

Jimmy and I also fell in love with Daddy, the pitbull.  They paved our road – to our very first bully breed, Shogun.  An American Staffordshire Terrier.  From puppyhood, we followed everything we learnt over the years.  We socialized him early, we walked him on leash always, making sure he always walked beside us.  We attended multiple training classes and involved him in sports.  We took him to loud events full of people and surrounded him around children, small dogs, big dogs etc.  We wanted him to be a role model for his breed – and to allow people to understand that with proper human direction, bully breeds are like any other dog.

When it comes to discrimination – I was lucky as a child.  Being Chinese, born and raised in Calgary, I never faced racism or discrimination through grade school up to University.  Although I was not a perfect child, my parents taught me the importance of respect, being polite and not involving myself in drama at school.  I think it is safe to assume that these methods can be applied to dogs as well.

1.  Teach your dogs to be polite to other dogs by approaching them in a calm manner;

2.  Avoid dogs that do not want anything to do with you!  Your dog does not have to be everyone’s friend, and not every dog needs to be yours;

3.  Teach your dog manners by following 2 important Training Commands.  First one being RECALL and the second, being STAY/LEAVE IT.  This allows yourself and your dog to be respectful of your environment, whether with other dogs, humans or different city settings;

RECALL is important for many reasons.  It should be the number 1 command you should teach your dog and master it.  It can save your dog from getting hit by a car, as it is running for a small animal.  It can save you from a dog fight at an offleash park, by recalling your dog back to you.  It can save you from a hiking accident by recalling your dog away from a dangerous area.   Your dog is sniffing a ‘food’ item that they think is delicious, but you know it is poisonous.. recalling your dog back to you, could save you a trip to the vet!  The list goes on.  If you master recall – everything else will come with ease.  The dog knows you are the leader, and that when their name is called, immediate attention is needed.  There is nothing more impressive, than seeing chaos at an offleash park, and having someone call their dog, and have them come right away.

It is simple to train!  Have two people at different ends of a room, calling the dogs name with treats in hand.  Repeat and make the distances further with more distractions.  Join local training classes for more advance Recall!

STAY/LEAVE IT – in the video I talk about how Shogun, being neutered and all – has been the topic of male dogs at the dog park.  He always gets humped.  Does not matter if it is a Jack Russell Terrier, a lab, a husky… something about Shogun makes him irresistible.   This brings up two topics:

1.  BUBBLES – like humans, dogs have bubbles too.  Invasion of the bubble includes:  Humping, Running across the park and body checking another dog, grabbing a dog by the neck, licking another dogs face non stop and barking in their face.  DO NOT USE THE “Oh they are just playing” excuse.  A good rule of thumb to follow:

If you do not see yourself doing those actions to your human friends – it is safe to say that it should not be allowed for your dog!

2.  No matter how much at fault another dog is – it is YOUR DUTY as your dogs parent/guardian – to remove them from an inappropriate situation.  In this example of Shogun getting humped by say, a beagle!  I would tell Shogun ‘LEAVE IT and STAY’ – so it gives me a chance to walk over, grab the dog and return the dog back to their owner.  Most dogs still come back for more!  I then remove my whole pack from the area.  One important sentence that Cesar Millan says is ‘if you do not take control of a bad situation, your dog will’.  As dogs cannot speak human, they only have their mouths and paws to get a point across, which usually ends up in a dog fight.

As you can tell by the above – the commands are not directed to just bully breeds.  It addresses Dogs as a whole.  No matter how much at fault it is on another dog, it is just much of a responsibility for you to control a situation or withdraw yourself from a situation.

Lastly, in the video I gave a perspective for people to think about.  This relates to the fact that I hate hearing uneducated people say ‘BAN THIS BREED because they do more damage than a smaller breed’.  To most of us, this sounds ridiculous already.  It is not the size of any animal that depicts their danger.  The only person that should have a say, is a person that has properly raised a BULLY BREED (from pitbulls, to shepherds to rottweilers and dobermans..).  Similar to a cop – if you are not a cop, how can you make a fair judgement or statement?  If you never drove a Ferarri, how can you make a statement without first experiencing it?

My example was picturing myself, a 5’3 asian girl, causing a Ruckus at a nightclub.  Breaking things, jumping on tables.. slurring rude words, yelling at strangers to their face and punching everyone in the shoulder every time I felt like it.  I am out of control and noone is stopping me!  I bump into a beautiful tall fit lady!  She is 6’4, built like a warrior.  She has come in my path.  So I push her, I call her names.

I break in the video to say at this point – picture a small dog and a big dog.  What would you do in this situation?  At the bar with humans, your friends would remove you from the situation!  In the dogs case, you would move your dog out of this situation.  It is obviously the small dogs fault – but if you do not remove your big dog from this situation, it is also your fault.

Back to the nightclub, no one stops me… and the tall fit lady belts me in the face with a suckerpunch.  Knocking out my teeth and blinding my eye.  I do not back down and shove her back, calling her many #$(*(#$ different symbols!  She throws me across the room and I smack my face on the floor, breaking my arm in the process.

Would it make sense in this case, in front of a judge, to say “There should not be anyone over 5’0 at a nightclub, that weighs over 100lbs ever!  They can pose a danger to society”.  Or “You should not be allowed to workout, and be fit, because if I had to defend myself, you could possibly hurt me or kill me.. and that is  not fair!”.  How ridiculous does that sound?  Do we then think that banning women over the weight of 100#’s, and the height of 5′ will solve the problem, just because of out of control little me?  Who obviously was never disciplined or brought up in a healthy environment?

When will people stop BLAMING others and making EXCUSES instead of looking at themselves in the mirror and realize – oh… it is me!  When you find yourself pointing fingers… point them at yourself.

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