Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Dog World: 5 Years In and I No Longer Give a Fuck

Hey, everyone!

Today's post is about something that's been on my mind a lot lately, especially when I log into Facebook and see the myriad posts, pages and shares about various aspects of the dog world. As I'm sure you're well aware, every single thing we do (or don't do) with our dogs is hotly debated, from  feeding to training to travel to exercise. No matter what you do, someone has something to say about it. And that's not even mentioning the rampant dog world cliques!

Nola is my first dog, and I've been heavily involved in the dog world since she was about eight months old (she'll be six in October). Forums, Facebook, and of course the blogging community has helped fueled my dog addiction...and also made me strongly dislike the vast majority of the canine community.

As a newbie, I used to be so, so fanatic in my views, and boo to anyone who disagreed with my methods. I "knew" my way was the right way, and it wasn't anyone's place to say otherwise. Training? Force free. Food? Homemade only. Altering? 6 months, and not a moment later. Rehoming? Only terrible people did that. Travel? Only short road trips, because anything else must be too stressful, and dogs needed routine. Vaccines? Every year, and exactly as the vet said.
So on and so forth, ect ect. If there was a topic, I had an opinion. My way, or the highway and all that. I hadn't had much experience, and boy, did it show. I'll occasionally look through old blog or Facebook posts and just cringe at the naiveté of it all. If only my then-self knew what was in store....

Fast forward a few years and several views-changing experiences, and I hated the vast majority of the dog world. The catty remarks, the snobbery, the black and white views, the sheer lack of change...everything I was so adamant about in the beginning had shifted, becoming something I couldn't stand to be a part of.
I'd had my eyes opened in a major way, especially in the past eighteen months or so. My views on food changed hugely, and I now feed everything from kibble to raw to canned. My views on spaying and neutering changed drastically, as did my vaccine protocol. I've been through rehomes, I've experienced both shelter and breeder dogs, nursed a dying dog back to health, and have traveled a good deal with Miss Nola (and you all know we're planning a European voyage this fall...guess that shows how much my travel views have changed!).
Really the only place my views haven't shifted is with training. I still train without adversities, using positive reinforcement and a compassionate attitude.

So...I quit. I quit caring about what anyone else was doing with his or her dogs. I quit the forums, the Facebook groups. I know what works for me and mine.  I know what works for my dog may not work for others, and that's okay. I know that people won't always agree with what I'm doing, and that's okay, too. I know longer give a fuck, and that makes me happier than all the other things put together. ;)

If people disagree...well, they can suck it and I move on. 

What about you? Have your views changed since you first became a dog owner? If so, how?

- Dachshund Mommy


  1. I think it's called evolution and maturity. When people are passionate they "know" everything. As they grow and mature, they realize their are multiple paths and most get their safely on those paths.

    I still think there is a point to talking about the issues. Your posts about your experiences rehoming your rescue made our decision easier to handle. We had only one requirement when we went back for our third rescue, it had to be compatible with the other two, we couldn't manage an aggressive dog. We got one and they knew it when they placed the dog. Your posts actually were helpful in making me realize this dog needed to live in an only dog environment. He was going to be miserable and make our lives miserable as well.

    I don't think it's easy to have these discussions, but I think it is important because someone has to swim against the tide and present the other side of the argument with logic and reason.

  2. Mom Kim here - Growing up we had family dogs and when I became an adult I continued with having a dog around. It was not until I got my Beagles that I got into dogs more - reading more, obedience classes, therapy dog training and even did a very limited and short lived show career with Shasta - that show career is what really opened my eyes to those "know-all, my way is THE way" groups plus being on Facebook and then being out with my Shasta and one of those I just mentioned try to "convince" me that Shasta was a different breed and not a Beagle. One day, when I was out with both Shiloh and Shasta - I was paid what I think is the best compliment ever - a professional dog trainer who knew us told me that I (yes, me) had done a great job with them (the dogs). That one compliment negated a lot of the other crap I had heard or read. I figured ok, maybe I do know about some of what I am doing with my dogs. And of course there were those smaller achievements along the way leading up to that moment.

    I agree with Bailey - evolution and maturity - finally realizing that hey, I must be doing something right after all and what others think - that works for them and that's fine but don't try to push it off on me. Realizing you know your dog best and what works best for you and your dog together. I really wish everyone would learn that each one of us is unique - just like our dogs. We each have our own training, feeding and even raising our dogs, needs - no two, people and their dogs, are alike.

  3. My views change over the years. Spending in the dog. Like Daisy was so easy and I thought I would never ha d to do certain things behavior wise but Cocoa is a handful!! I think people should do what works for them in all parts of life!! We all have our own thoughts on things for sure.

  4. It can be good to just walk away from all of it. The only dog training group I'm part of on Facebook is flyball related. I don't do forums. I feed what I can afford to feed that my dogs do well on, and everyone else can do the same.

    It can be hard to look back and realize that you were the kind of person back then that you despise now. I've totally been there. Look back and go seriously, why did I think that was a good idea? But it is helpful to admit it, even if only to yourself, so you can move forward knowing that you might change your views again in the future, and that that is okay.

  5. I think I'm to the point where I'm right there with you. I'm slowly removing myself from groups and hardly ever post on forums any more.

    I do advocate for humane training but I'm not comfortable calling myself force free (fanatics have ruined me on this. Yes, I use body blocking and make my dogs take baths and get their nails clipped.. Oh the horror!!). Occasionally, you might see me insert myself on a "he who must not be named" debate but not often.

    I'm for responsible breeders or adopting from responsible groups and feeding high quality foods. I'm flexible on vaccine schedules. I do have an opinion on spaying and neutering but it's because I've seen way too many dogs tear their acls to be okay with those surgeries before the dogs are fully grown.

    Mostly, I just keep my opinions to myself or on my blog, though. I'm trying to stay away from stressful and frustrating conversations.

  6. When I read the title I thought you were announcing that you had been neutered.

    We have made wonderful friends on the Internet and we have been terribly burned by people on the Internet. You just keep doing what you know works for Nola and don't worry about anyone else

  7. You're so right! There is no right or wrong with dogs. There are guidelines, but each owner has to make the right, educated choices. Do what's best for the dog and for you - let the masses keep out of it. But respectfully share what works for you because it may be just the information someone else needs!

  8. The only groups I belong to on Facebook are blogging groups, an AZ hiking with dog group and a local rescue group. I left all other dog groups because I couldn't take it anymore. All dog parents are different and we all having different methods and theories. I'm much better off doing what works best for my dogs and ignoring most of what people say.

  9. As the creator of a pet product, my marketing experts want me to join all of the pet groups and forums, etc., etc. Wow! I definitely feel your pain. It's very difficult to say anything anymore without getting verbally attacked on some front, so I have become pretty complacent - not an easy task for me. Thank you. I enjoy your posts and Nola is a beauty.

  10. My views have changed tremendously, and I think that's a good thing. Being open to others and their values and ideas is what has helped me to grow as an individual.

    There is a lot of drama that goes along with the social media and some are more dramatic than others.I try to stay out of that shit, although there are still some things I'm very opinionated on and will add my two cents, but I won't debate someone. Especially someone who isn't open to having a respectful conversation. They can suck dick. ;-)

  11. Going to Europe with Nola? How awesome. That's a dream of mine with Gretel (sadly, Chester will probably be gone or unable to travel when I finally get around to it). I've always had a hard time judging other dog owners (or at least saying it out loud. Ha, ha) because I am sure I made every mistake in the book with my first dog Chester. I've grown so much as a pet parent since adopting Gretel and starting my blog but I am sure there are people out there that think I am still making mistakes. Like you, I just don't care what other people think. I know myself, my pets, and what's best for us.

  12. Amen. I have done my fair share of growing as a pet parent over the last 4.5 years, and also as a dog blogger over the course of the last almost 2 years. I've been attacked by others for sharing my views and opinions, and it really bugged the hell out of me at first. Now I look back and, just like you, honestly don't give a fuck anymore. Everyone has their own opinions and experiences, and will find what works for them through trial and error. I realize that while I would love for people/bloggers to be more respectful of one another, it's probably utopia. As far as I'm concerned, I will speak my mind, but am very willing to agree to disagree.

  13. I love this post. I've reached this space this year and it's been hard to decide if I want to even keep blogging. I do, so I quit a lot of other things. I stopped following people, I left groups and communities, and I decided to just celebrate me, my dogs, my friends, and their dogs.

    I used to be one of those die hard people and I tried to get the blogging community to rally for a cause only to find that a third didn't care, a third disagreed, and a third didn't want to risk the money train.

    Today, I totally get it. It's not about me and my opinions in the grand scheme of things. So I rally behind myself and allow others to do their own thing.


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