The Week in Tweets – 22nd November

This is our (almost) weekly segment where we review the content posted on our Twitter over the course of the week. It’s a long post! So make sure you grab a coffee and prepare yourself for some serious reading.

'Maximus' the beagle was in foster care with us, but found himself a new home pretty quick, as you can imagine!

‘Maximus’ the beagle was in foster care with us, but found himself a new home pretty quick, as you can imagine!

Tweet of the Week

The phrase about using punishment based methods in order to use ‘all the tools in the toolbox’ has really frustrated me, but I can’t really put my finger on why. Eileen makes some roads in talking about: “But I want to use all the tools in the tool box!“.


Training and Behaivour

From Sue Ailsby: two training for conformation articles that I love. One on gaiting, the other on stacking.

From Eileen and Dogs: Superstition Ain’t the Way.

From Crystal at Reactive Champion: ‘Kathy Sdao Seminar: Letting Reactive Dogs Choose‘, ‘Shedd Animal Training Seminar: Problem Solving‘, and ‘The Stress Bathtub‘.

When choosing a dog trainer, buyer beware!


Really interesting research asking: ‘Do dogs need a secure base?‘.

Dog aggressive for toenail trim – a video by Dr Sophia Yin.

From Denise Fenzi: ‘What is a motivator?‘.

The Cumulative Effect.

Watch the world: Changing fear or reactivity.

Ouch! Lead work – video on working on a dog mouthing when putting on a lead.


Rescue and Sheltering

New NSW pound survey; pounds still failing to serve the community, save pets.

Hayward animal shelter rules take couple by surprise.

Woman reunited stolen dog after 5 years.

Have you tried Facebook ads for pet adoption?

Lexington-Fayette AC & C Illegally Oops-Kills beloved pets.

Raiden: The microchip that saved a dog’s life, part II.


Other Dog Stuff

This one was close to a tweet of the week: ‘Why supervising dogs and kids doesn’t work‘.

Make your own frozen dog treats – grain-free and healthy.

Companion Animals with the Animal Justice Party.

Dogs that changed the world.


Other Stuff

Why do babies twitch in their sleep?




Wicket, 8 weeks tomorrow.

Wicket (was Franklin).


Dog Aggression in a Breeding Program

Should you breed from a dog that is dog-aggressive?

"Deez" was surrendered into rescue having almost-exclusively lived in a backyard for 2 years. Despite this, he was friendly with other dogs. While his breeder wasn't what would be regarded as highly ethical, they obviously were producing dogs with good temperaments.

“Deez” was surrendered into rescue having almost-exclusively lived in a backyard for 2 years, with minimal interaction with other dogs. Despite this lack of socialisation, he was friendly with other dogs. While his breeder wasn’t what would be regarded as highly ethical, they obviously were producing dogs with good temperaments. His sociability with other dogs was the reason we were able to so easily place him into a new home – he now has another dog for company.

There’s four questions concerning that particular dog’s aggression that I would consider when elevating a dog’s suitability for a breeding program.

Firstly, if the dog is biting/attacking other dogs, is it illustrating bite inhibition by not actually doing damage to other dogs? If a dog is ‘attacking’ at a lot of dogs, but never doing damage, then this is a good sign that the dog is not intending to physically harm other dogs.

Then, how common is this type of aggression in this breed? Very common, uncommon, rare? In some breeds, all you can do is pick ‘the best of a bad bunch’. Complimentary temperaments in proposed matings are important, too (you wouldn’t put a ‘bad dog’ to another ‘bad dog’, for conformation or temperament).

Is the dog so aggressive to other dogs that you can’t achieve a natural mating? If the dog is not psychologically sound enough to have sex then it shouldn’t be bred from. Consider that many solitary species, like tigers, bears, rhinos, are generally territorial and aggressive to one another – yet, they still able to reproduce naturally. That is, the instincts associated with reproduction are strong enough to override a natural dislike to their own kind. Dogs, who are naturally social animals, should at the very least have a temperament conductive to natural matings.

Finally, a question to ask yourself as a breeder: Would you be satisfied if your puppy buyers ended up with a dog of similar temperament?  That is, would you be proud to produce a dog with similar dog-aggression? Are you puppy buyers able to manage or train against dog-aggression? Dog owners want dogs to be ‘friendly’, and producing dogs with dog-aggression are likely to fall short of the owners’ expectations.


What do you think? Should a dog that has dog aggression be bred from? Under what circumstances?


Rescue vs Breeders

There are a lot of people who love dogs. They may express this love in many different ways: some people own many dogs, some people make donations to important dog causes, young children may adorn their lockers with images of dogs, others may find their joy in training dogs for specialised tasks. While this expression of love is wildly different, there is no denying the central thread: a love of dogs.  This love makes up the dog world.

But there’s division in the dog world.

There is a perpetuated myth that dog lovers who engage in dog rescue are some how more experienced, or compassionate, or just better than people who breed dogs.

There is a theme: the dog rescuer versus the dog breeder.

Sometimes the expression of this phenomena is not even subtle:


During Facebook discussions, I see people describe themselves as a ‘rescuer’ or as a ‘breeder’, and therefore differentiate themselves from others in a conversation. Like this:

Picture 4

As you can imagine, the term ‘breeder’ is sometimes used interchangeably with offensive terms like ‘greeder’, or ‘producer’, and then these are also used to delegitimise the experiences of the breeder in hand.

Like the rescue group below (another screen shot from Facebook, in regard to ‘Desex the bad ones!‘):

Picture 3

It’s frustrating when I criticise proposals like the Select Committee Recommendations in SA, or the Breeding and Rearing Code in Victoria, to be told that my biased because, as a breeder, the recommendations would influence my ability to make a profit.  Anyone reading my blog would find that I object to many government recommendations for a variety of reasons –  not one of them is “because it’ll be harder and more expensive for me to breed puppies”.

This divide in the dog world is not just seen online and on Facebook.  I have blogged before on The Sin of Breeding Dogs and the judgement I receive for being a breeder when out and about.

Let me share a secret: No one wants to see dogs euthanised in shelters.

When talking about ‘rescue vs breeders’ on Facebook, Allie, from Maggie’s Farm, said:

I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to talk about “breeders” and “rescuers” because it kind of presupposes two homogenous groups, which isn’t the case. Among some breeders, “rescuers” are “animal rights” people, which to them is like a dirty word. And to some people in rescue, breeders are terrible, selfish people who make more dogs, when they are already dogs needing homes. And implying that there’s some zero sum game here, where a breeder bred and bought dog means a shelter dog dies. It’s not that simple. I think people who fall into both groups can be guilty of alienating the other, because it’s easy to have someone to blame and dislike.

Allie is of course right. There’s not just two groups in the dog world – the dog world is an amazing assortment of people with differing interests and passions. It is this very stuff that unites us.


What unites the dog world?

Comments and images, like those used above, are made like there is no glue in the dog world – and no potential for cohesion. It builds up a divide and splits the dog world into different sides. Our compassion and passion for dogs and their welfare unites the dog world, and this similarity should be embraced, not diminished.

The fact is, there are many in the dog world that bridge both sides. For example, I worked at a shelter for 3 years, have fostered about 45 animals in the last 5 years, and yet I also breed dogs. These roles aren’t in contradiction. I actually really like dogs, in all forms, and so fill up my life with them.

But, in conversations like that above, the dog world is polarised – between rescue problems, morals, and ethics and those of breeders. Between ‘the rescuers’ and ‘the breeders’.  As Allie pointed out, it’s not as simple as that – the groups aren’t homogenous.

This terminology stops rescues and breeders being united and does nothing for animal welfare.


The divide impacts upon animal welfare

Rescuers and breeders have different skills and expertise. They have a lot to offer one another. I think it is important for us to recognise how animal welfare could be improved if we were to work more tightly together.

  • Rescues are often key in finding purebred dogs in rescues and returning them to their recognised breeder. Sometimes, without ethical rescues, ethical breeders would never have the chance to get their dog back. This is a win for rescue, too: one less dog in the rescue system as ethical breeders will take back dogs in need.
  • Breeders are an excellent knowledge base for rescues, especially when it comes to matters concerning newborn puppies, or when it comes to breed specific knowledge.  As a personal example, when my bitch Clover whelped a singleton litter, she then fostered 9 day old rescue puppies as well. My knowledge as a breeder was important to these puppies as they arrived emaciated, dehydrated, and practically dead. On the flip side, because rescue entrusted me with these puppies, I learnt a lot that I didn’t already know.
  • Breeders often have a list of people interested in dogs, and receive puppy and adult dog enquiries on an ongoing basis.  Letting breeders know about dogs locally who are somewhat ‘like’ their breed (in looks or temperament) may mean that breeders can refer enquiries to rescues.

Currently, breeders criticise rescue and rescuers criticise breeders. This is not good for anyone. Having a reciprocal relationship is, obviously, much more desirable.  Quite simply, by not tapping into shared passions and shared resources there is a risk of opportunities being lost.

Be Responsible - Save a Pet!
Celebrate those uniting factors

Guess what?

Both rescuers and breeders love dogs.

Both rescuers and breeders want to see animal welfare improved.

Neither breeders or rescues want to see shelter euthanasia at its current level.

Both want to keep dogs out of pounds and rescues to start off with.

There is a lot in common that we can use to our advantage, moving forward.


How can breeders work with rescue?

If you’re a breeder, you can:

  • Contact your local rescue group and see what areas they need help.
  • Provide breed-specific advice to rescue groups or adoptive families.
  • Foster or kennel dogs in need.
  • Donate information that you’ve designed for your puppy packs.
  • Make a monetary donation.
  • Offer to groom rescue dogs.
  • Offer to transport rescue dogs (especially if you’re travelling interstate to dog show events or for servicing a bitch).
  • Share your local rescue group’s dog for adoption, including with those that enquire wanting a purebred – their perfect dog may just be in the local shelter.
  • Make efforts to stay in touch with your puppy buyers to ensure that your puppies stay out of the rescue system.
  • Educate yourself on the rescue and sheltering system.
  • Congratulate and support those who choose to adopt a dog.
  • Do not take a ‘breeder’s side’ by default – recognise the diversity among breeders and feel free to criticse unethical breeders, as well as celebrating ethical rescues.


How can rescues work with breeders?

Responsible BreederIf you’re a rescue, you can:

  • Contact breeders to see if they can help with boarding or fostering rescue dogs.
  • Ask breeders to share rescue dog’s availability with puppy enquirers.
  • Avoid posting breeder-slamming content (like that on the right) on social media (or anywhere else).
  • If you can identify the breeder of a dog in care, please contact the breeder – it’s their baby, too.
  • Utilise breeders as a resource – especially when it comes to rearing baby puppies or breed-specific advice.
  • Becomes informed on what ethical breeding practices look like, and support ethical breeders.
  • Support those who choose to purchase a dog from an ethical breeder.
  • Don’t take the side of ‘rescue’ by default – criticise unethical rescues as well as celebrating ethical breeders and other ethical rescues.


Moving Forward

When I asked about this topic on Facebook, one of my friends said,

There are ethical and unethical people on both sides, reasonable and unreasonable. I believe the ethical and reasonable can effectively work together in the best interest of dogs, the other side there isn’t much you can do about it.

Only those who are ‘reasonable’ and ethical will understand what this post is getting at.

Overall, we need both rescue and breeders to promote ethical places to acquire dogs from:

  • From a registered breeder
  • From a private rehoming
  • From an ethical rescue

We are all passionate about dogs and their welfare. So; Let’s focus on the dogs, and not each other.


Further reading:

Our dogs are our beloved companions 98% of the time (written by a breeder)

I love dog breeders.

Patricia McConnell on Breeders Versus Rescues (Responsible breeding – an oxymoron?).

It’s become fashionable to hate dog breeders.

I hate dog breeders.


The Week in Tweets – 29th October

This is our (almost) weekly segment where we review the content posted on our Twitter over the course of the week. It’s a long post! So make sure you grab a coffee and prepare yourself for some serious reading.

But first, a video with Clover’s effort on the 12th of October 2013 at a Dancing With Dog trial. She is in the freestyle starter competition, and the routine is expected to be about a minute long. Not only did Clover gain a qualifying score (a pass towards her title), she also achieved the highest score of the freestyle competition. We have to wait until new years eve to partake in another competition. The song she performs to is ‘Suddenly I See’ by K T Dunstall.


Tweet of the Week

YesBiscuit! highlight a common problem in animal rescue circles: ‘“Abused and left for dead” – or hey, little dog needs help‘. It is unethical for rescue to make up or exaggerate the reasons that animals have ended up in rescue – and it does no favours for rescue. Many people already see rescued animals as ‘damaged’, and many people already think it is ‘too sad’ to enter a shelter to look for a new pet. Rescue groups need to realise we’re in marketing, and happy stories sell.


Animal News Stories

New mammal species discovered after one lived in zoos for 10 years in case of mistaken identity.

Dolphins have longest memories in Animal Kingdom.

Patrol officer hailed as hero after rescuing dog from accident.

Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas calls Brevard woman to help pit bull.

German shepherd ‘lifeguard’ saves child from drowning.

Position on Russian Anti-Gay Legislation and 2016 World Dog Show.


Dog Science

Do dogs look like their owners?

Dogs yawn more often in response to owners’ yawns than strangers.

How to teach language to dogs.

What do you hear in these dog sounds?

Emotional loads of call test.


Dog Training

Always remember to release your dog!

The Radical Notion of Consequences.

From Crystal at Reactive Champion: “Kathy Sdao Seminar: See and Mark the Behaviour You Like!“, “CPDT Study Session #1 -Instruction Skills“,  and “CPDT Study Session #3 – Important or not?“.

Loretta and Jackson.


Rescue and Sheltering

Maximus – available for adoption in South Australia.

This one was close to the tweet of the week: Are high profile abused dogs a ‘brand’?

From SavingPets: “Mandatory desexing – saving lives or costing lives?“.

Humane or Insane?

How to find a dog at the shelter.

“All they need is love”.

Do you believe in dog?: Black Dog Syndrome: A Bad Rap?.

Poverty, shelter surrender, and what makes a difference.

The Real Story Behind South LA Shelter Intake.

Raiden: The microchip that save a dog’s life, Part I.

From Lindsay at ThatMutt: “Why do people give up their pets when they move?“.

Brett from the KC Dog Blog wrote: “It’s why we’re here” and  “KC Pet Project logs 12 months of No Kill Success“.

Study shows feral cat control could benefit from different approach.

Black dog syndrome – or a bad rap?


Dog Behaivour

Poster Drawings for the APBC.

Calm Submissive.

Was it just a little bite or more? Evaluating bite levels in dogs.

Another one that was close to the tweet of the week: Dogs don’t touch you by accident.

“It’s all in how they’re raised”.

Dog Body Language.


Dog Health/Bodies

Dew Claws Do Have a Purpose!

Dogs CAN see in colour: Scientists dispel the myth that canines can only see in black and white.

What if your labrador puppy is a carrier?

Dog birth control vaccine could limit feral populations.

Common types of canine benign tumours: lipoma, papilloma, and adenoma.

How to provide enrichment training for your dog.

Sedation before euthanasia? Yes or no?


Other Dog Stuff

From The Doggerel: “Rare dog breed quiz, no 3.” and “Should you get a dog?“.

Five things you think you know about breeding (but you’re wrong).

Training the Natural Ear.

The last 40,000 years with dogs.

The poetry of Jimmy Stewart: Beau.


Other Stuff

21 Pictures that will Restore Your Faith in Humanity.



Nice dog, good save – Maximus.

Maximus and toy.

Franklin, 4 weeks.

Today, we got some friends for Franklin and Fonzie. Black dogs become black blobs so easily.

Puppy logic: all squeeze into smallest crate available.

Franklin, 4 weeks.

Done one side of the Hay Plains, now another hour or so of this scenery.

Not only did Clover qualify today, she came first in her class and was also the highest scoring freestyle dog!

So that’s where the chickens have been laying.

Sidewalk kitty in Strathalbyn draws a crowd.