I am working on a Tally story (for reals) it's almost done.
I have notes jotted down about riding my horses even though I don't ride like I used to.
I have some potentially horrible thoughts on horse training, what works and what doesn't.
But here's what keeps rattling around in my head.
Maybe if I give in, share my thoughts and have a little discussion, these thoughts will leave me alone and let me get back to writing.
I'm thinking about breed -specific legislation. Yep, I live next door to Denver, where Pit Bulls and Pit crosses are banned and have been since 1989. Since then, many other Colorado cities have jumped on the band wagon and banned not only Pit Bulls, but "American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog (Old Country Bulldog),Dogo Argentino, Canary Dog (Canary Island Dog, Presa Canario, Perro de Presa Canario), Presa Mallorquin (Pero de Presa Mallorquin, Ca de Bou), Tosa Inu (Tosa Fighting Dog, Japanese Fighting Dog, Japanese Mastiff), Cane Corso (Cane di Macellaio, Sicilian Branchero), Fila Brasilairo, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one (1) or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds."
Any of you who read my dog breed posts know how strongly I feel about understanding the breed of dog you choose and learning how to train it.
A representative from our local animal shelter has shared with me that although pit bulls and chihuahuas are the two primary breeds they see, the MAJORITY of dogs being turned in are large breed, teen-age, male dogs. Which simply reinforces what I've been saying, people keep adopting dogs they have no business owning and dogs are paying the price. When those cute little puppies turn into hormone charged maniacs, their owners can't cope.
Brockle, my very tall, crazy motivated, non-stop action, bungee cord of a dog, was a twice returned, teen-age, male dog. He ate couches and never met a person he didn't want to hump, two habits that didn't get him voted into the "I love my _____" club (fill in the blank) of any breed.
I fell for his intensity, his intelligence and his looks. He is very much a herding dog mix of some kind, which are breeds I'm familiar and comfortable with. He needs a lot of exercise and so do I.
What really captured me was the way he looked at me. Within five minutes of meeting he was looking straight into my eyes. Deep, direct and a little unsettling.
"C'mon, let's get out of here," he seemed to say. "We've got stuff to do."
So we did and we do.
I wasn't stupid about it though. I didn't write Brockle off, become angry or go to extremes when he lunged at other dogs, and sometimes people, when we went out. I didn't decide he was vicious when he would go so crazy on the end of his leash I would have to sit down to stop him from yanking me off my feet. There's more, but you get my drift. There were reasons he was at the pound for the second time. I didn't angrily protest that it wasn't his fault, there are no bad dogs, only bad people, or demand my rights to let my maniac dog loose at the dog park.
This is how I saw it. Brockle was an asshole.
But he was my asshole.
So I went out and got us some training, from a professional. I picked a trainer who used methods I respected. Then I listened. I listened hard, because those damn lessons were really expensive. I needed them to be an investment. And guess what? They were.
Thanks to Cool K9's Jim and Bianca Beinlich, http://www.coolk9s.com/, Brockle is now a respectable member of society. He made it through a 1/4 mile of off leash dogs this week. He was at heel, eyes on me, and off leash himself. He even handled a shoulder bang from a well-intentioned Golden Retriever. He didn't break, not once, and the only reward was a bounce of his tennis ball.
We did this in eight private lessons and with lots of practice. There were no shock collars, muzzles or beatings. Yeah, I'm bragging some, and yeah, I'm shamelessly plugging Jim and Bianca. You know why? Because my dog, who BTW is still a maniac, will never end up labeled as a bad dog. He won't be a three-time return to the pound either. He's awesome.
So, to sum up and quit bragging on Brockle and the Cool K9 team -- although my dog isn't a pit bull, he fit the criteria for a potentially dangerous dog. Should he be banned? Not now, not anymore. If I had been too stupid to get help, trust me, Brockle's life wouldn't have ended well and it would have been my fault. Not his previous owners, not breed legislation, just me. Because I took him on.
Which brings me to my point. Breeds are being banned all over the world. The country of Denmark has banned 20 of them. They tend to be molosser breeds, the guardians and protectors. Why?
Because WE CAN'T BAN STUPID PEOPLE.
Being stupid is not a crime. Stupid people are attracted to dogs they shouldn't own because they are "so cute!" Because they want people to admire them or be afraid of them. Because they get caught up in a movement or cause based on nothing more than good ad campaigns. Because their penis is small. Because they need to feel they have control. Because they are too stupid to own a dog for reasons that actually benefit the dog.
Stupid people are attracted to dogs that get them in trouble.
If there was a way to legally declare, "You can't have a _____dog (fill in the blank), because you are too stupid to own one," then breed bans wouldn't be an issue.
But we can't. Stupid is legal.