Feeling guilty of the my-cool-dog ripple effect

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Fran101, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    Do you ever feel like, when you have a dog (especially of a breed that isn't THAT popular) and other people (presumably inspired by your dog) get one themselves... and are then a bit overwhelmed or disappointed or whatever
    Do you feel guilty? weird? annoyed?

    These two people that just got aussies (because they just LOVE merlin) did ask me what having Merlin was like and what raising him was like... but they NEVER EVER told me they were considering getting aussies, what the bad stuff was like, where I got Merlin, what the breed is like generally etc..
    so I wasn't as detailed as I should have been and just told them the basics you know.. raising Merlin was easy (he was already crate trained, took to house training in a snap, didn't nip, doesn't bark that often). He is a sweet boy who learns well and for the most part is just an EASY DOG. But I wasn't specific and didn't really detail that this wasn't just a GIVEN for the breed

    the thing is, people come in at work and meet Merlin all day where he plays 6 hours a day and is both on his best behavior and kind of tired from all that.
    so people come in and they meet cuddly, affectionate, ready to party Merlin... who is amazing with all dogs and all people (LARGELY due to his breeder as well as his socialization through the store itself)

    So people walk in and he is EXCEPTIONALLY cuddly with people, and such a great gentle player with dogs.. but I feel bad because I don't tell people that it's partly lots of exercise, partly training, and partly just his personality.. it isn't a general aussie thing.
    and this is going to sound so wrong but AMAZING as merlin is.. he isn't exactly the "breed standard".. he is NOT aloof towards strangers (he loves everyone), he loves all animals, he doesn't bark often, he likes to nap..

    Well these two people got aussie puppies and I feel so bad because they came in so freaked out asking if these pups were "normal" or like Merlin was when he was their age because they are SO OVERWHELMED

    One puppy is 7 weeks, the other is about 8. but I don't know what to tell them because Merlin was NEVER like these pups :( one is confident but VERY VERY NIPPY and barky, and the other is very very shy and nervous and seems to be fear biting.

    The 7 week old is from an unknown source online (keep in mind, I work there..I can't be THAT critical about where people get their dogs) but the 10 week old (who is very very nippy and barky) is from a working breeder and has SO MUCH ENERGY, more than Merlin even has now.

    I just feel so conflicted.
    I feel like I shouldn't have to make Merlin sound less fun.. but also, as my boss said, there's a responsibility. People come in, new and wanting dogs, and see this pretty dog and he behaves the way that he does and ugh I dunno

    I just don't THINK that way, like I'm representing a breed. People come in and are like "WHAT A PRETTY DOG! WHAT IS HE? WHATS HE LIKE" and I don't think that I'm making some kind of statement I'm usually like "He's an aussie! He is such an easy dog, he is a very sweet boy, Loves everybody!"

    I just feel so bad. These pups are both in homes that are wrong for them with people that wanted cuddly, sweet, go anywhere, playful dogs.. and I just didn't mention that all aussies aren't like him and that there is a lot of exercise and training that goes on behind the scenes and about finding the right breeder and just ugh.

    Womp :/
     
  2. yv0nne

    yv0nne Vizsla mom

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    I learned very quickly that everyone I meet who wants a Penny because she's 'so pretty!' needs a little bit of a warning to scare them into considering there's more to her than her face. She's basically a psychopath but people see her tricks& her adoration of EVERYONE and think 'OH JOY. I NEED 12'. I explain what I do with her, how much time I spend with her, that you NEED to be active or be willing to become active to have one, etc..

    You are, whether you realize or not, definitely representing the breed by having a dog so in the public eye! It is a weird feeling for sure and I love, love my dog so much that it's hard to be like 'She's fantastic BUT ..' I just know Vizzy's especially are prone to being ditched for their energy, anxiety& work ethic! So just stress the negatives as well aha oh, and yes ..definitely don't feel bad. People end up making poor breed decisions all the time :)
     
  3. frostfell

    frostfell Kung Pow Fish

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    dont feel bad, like AT ALL

    if they wanted your real input on what aussies are like they should have made that clear, and asked you the pros AND cons AND explained WHY they were asking "well we are thinking of getting one". the answer you get when you ask somebody to wax eloquent on their own dog are of course going to be different when you ask them to get down to nitty gritty on the entire BREED. if you ask a couple vague questions and then make a huge bloody life decision based on THAT, you deserve exactly what you get
     
  4. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    I'm a little of the opinion too that even if you slapped a warning label on the breed, those people could brush it off and think, well YOUR Aussie is cool and acts like XYZ, so why can't theirs be the same? Basically people hear what they want to... if they think Merlin is awesome and want a dog like him, well, they might not really hear what you have to say about the breed.

    I wouldn't feel guilty, I don't feel that I have a responsibility to educate about a breed just because someone asks about my individual dog. I would feel bad for the dogs, but in the same way that I feel bad for any dog of any breed that is in a home that's not ideal.

    There is one person who has gotten a boxer because of ours and, thankfully, he ended up with a really great dog and he does a good job with him.
     
  5. Xandra

    Xandra Active Member

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    I can totally see why you feel guilty, but I agree... you should be able talk about him freely... I mean, how sad when you have to censor yourself when it comes to talking about your dog.

    Maybe when you're talking to people and telling them about how great he is, emphasize that you got lucky.

    Like "oh, he was a great puppy! not nippy, very confident."

    "OMG he's wonderful!!"

    "Yeah he's great! I got really lucky with him, someone I know just got one and she's cute as heck but holy cow she's noisy!!"

    I dunno, something like that? Just something really quick to give them pause.
     
  6. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

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    This.

    We live in an age where they could have learned the pros and cons of Aussies in less than 20 minutes by googling them. I'm not saying that's all the research required for deciding if a breed is right for you, of course, but my point is that they could have learned the drawbacks of the breed pretty easily without your help if they'd actually wanted to.

    Honestly around here I see more Aussies than I do labs, so I also don't see them as so uncommon that you need to be educating for the entire breed.

    The first mal I ever met was a dog brought by a participant at one of the horsemanship clinics at our barn. He was a super social, go anywhere do anything dog that seemed like a lab in a mal suit. I walked away being really interested in the breed, pretty much thinking that mals were a "smaller and friendlier" version if a GSD. This was way before I was into dogs at all, and I'd never even heard of the breed, so I started researching and soon learned that my impression of the breed based on that individual dog was very wrong. If I'd gone and bought one without any research that certainly wouldn't have been the fault of the owner of that first mal I met.

    If it make you feel any better Fran, it's very possible these new owners will step up, do what they need to do, and become suitable homes for these pups--stranger things have happened.
     
  7. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    Don't feel bad. Meeting Merlin and talking to you shouldn't have been their only breed information source anyway. I would hope that they also did more research and spoke to other people and met other dogs of the breed, too. It's not generally a good idea to get a dog based on knowing one specimen and not knowing much else about the breed.

    That said, I totally know what you mean and deal with the same thing constantly. All of my dogs seem to come across as very easy, well behaved dogs who don't need much work or time at all. Having Journey at the store I worked at didn't help either, because she came across like the easiest, most laid back dog in the world, even as a baby puppy. Everyone adored her and wanted to know if all Aussies were like that and a few told me that they wanted one because of her. So, while I did and do mention good things about my dogs and their breeds, I also throw in the things that could be considered 'bad' by other people so that they don't impulsively go out and buy a dog of the same breed as me.
     
  8. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

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    I've run into that sort of thing with Elsie--not so extreme; no stranger has bought a terv because of Elsie as far as I know, but people constantly tell me they want a dog 'just like her,' which sometimes makes me a little nervous.
     
  9. yv0nne

    yv0nne Vizsla mom

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    My girlfriend has two Tervs and NUMEROUS people tell her they want her dogs for the look ..she's like this is probably a bad decision for the owner and the poor dog it ends up with!
     
  10. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

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    I've had bunches of people in public react that way, but not anyone that's come to my house. :D

    I tell people not to throw the ball when she brings it to them, they do once, and then the rest of the time they're over shes like, "Please? The ball? I'll stare at you intently from across the room until you do. Please." Then they don't want one so much.
     
  11. Moth

    Moth Mild and Slightly Nutty

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    You should not feel bad... You have an exceptional dog because you put in the time to research before you got him and you put in the work to allow him to develop his potential.

    So you should freely sing his praises :D

    It is not your fault that there are people that after meeting one wonderful dog do not think to do more complete homework and educate themselves about the breed they are looking at or at what it might take to help a dog grow up to be amazing...
     
  12. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Well, first of all it's possible that these people did more research than just asking you about Merlin.

    OR, if they didn't... well then it's hardly your fault that two adults chose a breed of dog based on their experiences with a single individual of the breed.
     
  13. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    Ummm... YES! Having a Border Collie, kinda on the same level as an Aussie, I totally feel your pain.

    Two of my close friends knew and loved Gonzo. Soooo they went out and got BC puppies. One got her puppy at *4 weeks old* so you can guess how godawful the breeder was. Her puppy grew up to be highly fear aggressive toward all other dogs and some people, neurotic, destructive, submissive urinates constantly... and her boredom resulted in her eating pounds of bark in the backyard, which led to her getting pancreatitis for life! She's now morbidly obese and needs medication daily. D: My friend is a nice person but just didn't have the personality for a BC. She never trained, exercised or socialized her, and was ignorant enough to bring her to a busy dog park filled with huge dogs when she was 8 weeks old.

    The other I insisted on picking the breeder for! Her puppy was from a great working breeder, but she picked the most hyper puppy in the litter (against my suggestions). Her dog is human and dog friendly and has been well socialized. As for training... they went through puppy classes because I urged them to, but never practiced anything at home or went to any other classes. Shockingly, their dog grew up to be a hyper, wild adolescent with the WORST recall on the planet! Like, imagine spending HOURS trying to catch your dog at the dog park to bring her home. :rolleyes: I worked with her, and she was super smart and eager to please. But instead of following through with the training, her Mom (who took over her care) paid a shock collar trainer $100's to simply shock the poor dog, for doing ANYTHING. Now I know there is a time and a place for shock collars, but IMO it is not necessary to shock a perfectly smart, friendly, soft dog who just needs basic obedience training! This resulted in her becoming very fearful and flighty, made her recall even worse, and now she runs away if you try to touch her. :( She's much better exercised and cared for but this family is definitely not ideal for a Border Collie.

    Now, when people ask about Gonzo, I honestly point out all of the negatives. I tell them he's crazy, demanding, weird, and very difficult... but worth all of the work if you're willing to put it in. I tell them he needs hours of exercise EVERY day and he's 14! He doesn't but I'd rather exaggerate than not get that point across. So many people think that if a dog is "smart", they'll just train themselves. If a dog is "high energy", they'll just run around by themselves. Hahaha they're in for a rude awakening... I do boast that Fozzie is the best dog ever. But, it's pretty unlikely that anyone will find a Husky x Corgi mix. ;)

    It sounds like any dog breed of any energy level would be social and calm if they lived Merlin's life. 99.99999% of people don't give their dog anywhere near that much attention, though! It's not your fault that people don't use common sense, but if you hate seeing Aussies in the wrong home like I hate seeing BCs in the wrong home, just downplay how awesome he is and emphasize how much WORK you put into him.
     
  14. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    We constantly find ourselves frustrated with "She's so calm!" or "He's so smart!" about the mals. Most people misunderstand that what these dogs are has taken a ton of work.

    I know what you feel and this is why we start with all of the bad, if people are still interested we'll share the good, but in meeting the dogs sometimes it's hard to convince them these dogs usually are assholes but we don't allow it in public.
     
  15. maxfox426

    maxfox426 My dog tickles my soul

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    As others have said, you have nothing to feel bad about. Your experience is your experience, you can't change that. It's up to them to put in the serious research before bringing home a dog, regardless of breed. It's just a shame that most people don't. I understand WHY you feel guilty, but ultimately, it's not something you really have any control over.


    Believe it or not, I had this happen with a friend of mine regarding Morgan.

    THEM: "He's such a good dog! What is he? Where did you get him?"
    ME: He's a lab x ??? mix that we adopted from the shelter. We've put a lot of training into him so that he would have good manners, and it's really paid off.
    THEM: "Shelter dogs are the smartest! They are so grateful to have homes that they are always good dogs!"
    ME: ...

    A week later, they had a something x something mix puppy. It's insane, large, uncontrollable, and LOUD. That was four years ago, and they are still waiting for it to "calm down" so they can "begin training it." *headdesk*
     

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