Stella

Stella sure is something! I could talk about her all day long. I just love this little puppy! She is such a happy, happy, dog. Whenever she sees a new person, her reaction is to happily run up to them. We were having solar panels installed on our new house, and every time Stella saw one of the workers she would run up to them to be pet. I honestly cannot believe she has not been adopted yet, she is such a fantastic little girl! She LOVES other dogs, one of the first thing she did when she met Tucker was race around the yard with him. She gets along great with the cats in my parents house(I now live on my own), she’s interested in them but keeps her distance and mostly just wants to play. Just yesterday she was trying to convince our grump cat Buddy to play with her. She was jumping all around, barking, and play bowing at him. The cat just growled at her, he didn’t think it was as funny as I did.

Stella, exhausted after playing with Tucker.

Stella, exhausted after playing with Tucker.

Stella even gets along with my chickens. There were two days where she thought they would be fun to chase, but that stopped. My chickens have their own yard at my new house, and one day I accidentally left the gate unlocked while Stella was alone in the yard. I came out to find her in the chicken run, sniffing around and looking for any leftover scraps that the chickens hadn’t eaten. The hens were ignoring her and she was ignoring them, it was pretty cute. I learned my lesson that day, though – always double check to make sure that the gate to the chicken yard is locked! If that had been Tucker, I very well could have come outside to injured or dead chickens. I got lucky with Stella.

It is a mystery to me why she has not been adopted yet. You’re going to be very hard pressed to find a more loving, adorable, and friendly puppy than Stella! She’s a great little girl and even does good off-leash around my property. I would not let her off leash in public because she would run up to everyone she saw, but when there’s no distractions she just follows me around. I hope she finds her forever home soon, she really deserves it.

Tucker

Tucker could be a supermodel. Really, he is gorgeous and he loves to pose for the camera…unless there’s something more exciting going on! If you meow, he’ll look at you and give a little head tilt, like in the picture to the left. It’s just a little one, but boy does it melt my heart!
Tucker is only a year or two old. The shelter estimated him to be two years old, however we are thinking he may only be a year old because he’s tall and lanky and has perfect white teeth. He is a darling dog, and very friendly! As I mentioned in my previous post, he and Stella became best friends after less than one day together. They love to wrestle and chase each other around.

It is going to be really good for Stella to have Tucker around – she really needed a buddy to play with. My Nelly tends to be a bit of a brat and refuses to play with Stella. My last foster dog, Dallas, would not play with her either.
When it comes to Border Collies, they don’t really hit maturity until about 4 years old. Until then, they’re usually pretty crazy and need a lot of attention. Tucker is no different. He is a busy boy, always wanting something to do. I’ve already found that he loves Kongs and bones, so those are going to be used daily at our house to keep him occupied! The nice thing about Tucker is that unlike some Border Collies, he does know how to settle down. After he’s gotten his crazies out, he’ll lie down and nap. I leave him and Stella out in the yard for a few hours each morning, so they can run and play and get out all their energy.

Tucker does need a home without chickens. He seemed to do okay around my hens, so I let him off leash in their yard. That’s when he decided to tackle one of the girls and pull out a mouthful of feathers. Poor chicken! She’s okay, she was just a bit shook up after that happened. He also likes to jump up on people – lightly – and put his paws up on things, such as the kitchen counter. He’s simply curious about what’s up there. These are the only bad habits that I have noticed in him so far, overall he seems to be a very kind, gentle, well-mannered dog. I am hoping he finds a home soon…although to be honest, I’d rather little Stella get adopted first. She’s been looking for a home much longer than he has.

Bringing Home Your New Companion – Setting Yourself Up For Success

It’s important to set yourself up for success when bringing home a new dog. They will be a part of your family for many years to come, so you’ll want to make sure that you start things out on the right foot! The following post is information put together by myself and the president of Shine On Animal Rescue. You can find us on Facebook, and IG.

Introductions

Chances are, your current dog(s) met your new family member at the adoption appointment, so they should be getting along well. It is fine to just bring them home and let them be together, since they’ve already met. Introducing your new dog to cats and poultry(if you have them) can be a bit more tricky. With cats, the dogs are put on leash and walked up the cat. If they show too much interest, walk them into another room and try again later. Often times a cat will swat at a new dog, and the dog will leave them alone after that. With poultry, leash the dog and walk them up to the birds. If the dog tries to chase, turn around and walk away. This may need to be repeated several times. We will not adopt a dog out to a family with small animals such as cats or poultry if they are known to be bad with them, so if you are bringing a dog into a home with a cat, the dog passed the “cat test” at it’s foster home. If you’re bringing it into a home with chickens, that means it passed the “chicken test” at it’s foster home.

Go for a walk!

Your dog is in a new environment. It is highly recommended that you take your new dog out on a walk around the neighborhood, so that if it ever gets out of the yard or gets away from you, it will have some sense of where it is and how to get back home.

Crate Training

When trained properly, a dog will view a crate as his or her “den”, a safe place that they can retreat to when they are nervous or just want to take a nap. We highly recommended crating your new dog when he or she has to be left alone, and at night. This doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, and is not required, but we do recommend doing it for at least 2 weeks after your new dog has come home. In our experience, this helps to keep the dog, and your belongings, safe when you can’t supervise them. All dogs adopted from our rescue are crate trained or in the process of being crate trained. A “large” dog crate(appropriately sized for a Border Collie-sized dog) can be bought at most Walmarts for only $60. It’s always good to have a crate on hand, in case you ever need one. Remember to never use the crate punishment. You want your dog to like the crate!

Meet the neighbors

If your neighbors that you share a fence with have a dog, ask if your dogs can meet to prevent possible fence fighting or barking at each other. It’s best that everyone gets along!

Leashes are your friend!

We highly recommend keeping your new family member leashed in the house for the first few days, then watching them closely after this. Dogs adopted from any rescue, ours included, may try to chew, potty in the house, etc. We believe in full disclosure so if a dog has done any of these things in their foster home, we will be sure to let you know – this way you can know what to expect while the dog is adjusting to your daily routine. Keeping them leashed and/or supervising them at all times for at least the first week helps to prevent problems such as accidents in the house.

Potty Breaks

We recommend taking your new dog out to go potty 10-15 minutes after every meal & drink of water, and every few hours. If you see the dog start to sniff around in the house, immediately take them outside as this is an indicator that they need to potty. Take them to the same potty spot every time as this makes housebreaking easier if the dog isn’t already housebroken.

S/A Prevention

Separation Anxiety(s/a) is a common problem in dogs going to new homes, especially when they come to their foster homes. The dog has gone from a terrifying shelter to a completely new environment, so they’re bound to be a bit nervous. Dogs will also often be nervous when going to a new home. Nervous dogs will cling to their people, and consequently freak out when the people leave their sight or the house. To prevent separation anxiety, we recommend giving the dogs no time to explore on the first few days. I keep my foster dogs crated their first couple days, then slowly increase the amount of time they’re allowed out with me, starting with one hour then increasing by half hour increments. Since doing this, the number of dogs I’ve had that developed s/a has drastically reduced. Separation anxiety is a serious problem – it is like a non-stop panic attack for the dog while his or her people are away, so preventing it is very important. If the dog you have adopted shows signs of separation anxiety, we will have let you know. If we didn’t mention separation anxiety to you, that means the dog has is not exhibiting any symptoms of separation anxiety when we leave.

Have fun!!

Last but not least, enjoy your new family member! Go for a walk, relax on the couch, and just have fun together. “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

 

New foster dogs!

I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted – you know how it goes. Life happens, and some things take a back seat. For me, blogging was one of those things. I hardly even touched my camera in over a month. But, I’m back at it now and just did a photoshoot yesterday!
I am no longer fostering for Border Collie Rescue of Northern California, as the rescue split in two and I was too far north to be able to continue working with the original rescue. So, I decided to start fostering for a good friend of mine who runs her own small rescue. The rescue is called Shine on Animal Rescue, based in Redding, CA. You can see our website HERE.
Since it’s summer time and school is out, I’m now fostering two dogs at a time. I currently have Stella – a 5 month old Border Collie/Pit Bull mix puppy…

Stella

Stella

And Tucker – a 1 or 2 year old gorgeous Border Collie.

Tucker

Tucker

 

Dallas

Dallas

I am still fostering almost all Border Collies, though I did foster an Australian Cattle Dog that I fell in love with at the shelter. He was just adopted about a week ago by a very nice family. His name is Dallas, and he is an amazing dog! He had one blue eye and one brown/blue eye. Dallas was 60 pounds when he came in to the shelter that I rescued him from, so he was about 15 pounds overweight! With diet and daily exercise, he was almost at his ideal weight(45 pounds) when he was adopted. He will now spend his days riding around in a truck, cruising pastures with his new dad. Dallas was a very easy dog to have around – at about 6 years old he did not have that puppy energy that younger dogs have. He was happy just to hang out all day long. He got along great with all other dogs, cats, and even chickens. His new family is just going to love having him around!!

Stella and Tucker
Oh my goodness, what a pair these two are. I just picked up Tucker from the shelter yesterday morning, and already they are best friends. The two of them love to play together. They wrestled and chased each other around for probably half an hour, nearly nonstop, before bed time yesterday.

Tucker(left) and Stella(right)

Tucker(left) and Stella(right)

This morning when I woke up, I put them outside then went back to sleep for another hour and a half. When I woke up, I looked out my bedroom window into the back yard to see the two of them running around together, holding onto the same stick. I will post more about both of these dogs this week. If you’re in Northern California and know of anyone looking to adopt a dog, please share Stella and Tucker with them! Tucker has only been looking for a home since this morning(and has already had one application), however, sweet Stella has been looking for a home for about 6 weeks now. I can’t believe she has not been adopted yet. She is such a loving, HAPPY dog! Every time she sees someone(stranger or friend) she runs up to them, wiggling her entire body. It is the cutest thing to see a puppy so overjoyed at the simple sight of a person.

Tweed, Dakota

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will probably remember Tweed and Dakota, pictured below.

Dakota(Husky mix) and Tweed(Border Collie)

Dakota(Husky mix) and Tweed(Border Collie)

I just thought I’d give you guys a little update on them. Dakota I was fostering through a shelter. He survived the treatment for a severe case of heartworm, and was shortly after rescued by a great organization. No doubt he was adopted shortly after as most of their dogs are adopted in about a week. Tweed was adopted, and then returned a month later due to no fault of his own. He was with me for several more months before finally finding his forever home! He’s now been with his new people for 8 weeks, and they love him! Although he is STILL not getting along with their cats, they refuse to give up on him. They say that they will keep him even if he never learns to get along with the kitties. I absolutely love their commitment to him, and I am so happy that my sweet Tweedledee has found his forever home. It took 8 months, but it was worth the wait.

Do Some Dogs Need a Heavier Hand?

Wilde About Dogs

It never fails—someone always says it. In an recent online discussion about a trainer known for using less-than-gentle methods, someone made a comment that sounded a lot like this: “Positive training is fine for smaller dogs and puppies, and maybe even some adults, but there are some dogs that need a heavier hand.” Really? Because that sounds an awful lot like justification for jerking, yanking, shocking, and other things done to dogs in the name of training.

I’ve heard the excuse for heavy-handedness put like this: “They’re red zone dogs” (somehow that term always makes me visualize dogs with red, flashing sirens over their heads) or something similar. The term is meant to indicate dogs who are severely aggressive, and often the trainer has been brought in as last-ditch effort before the dog is euthanized. In my years of working in canine training and behavior, I’ve worked with many of…

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Dakota

Tweed

As you all know, I have a foster dog named Tweed. Due to his stranger fear and separation anxiety, he is very hard to adopt out. It will take a long time to find him a home, it’s already been 3 months that he’s been with me. At this point, Tweed has become an easy member of our household, even though he is a foster dog he acts more like a personal dog. Just an all around easy, great pup to have around. I don’t mind fostering him for as long as it takes to find him his forever home.

I am part of several Facebook pages that network shelter dogs in my area, trying to find them homes, foster parents, or get them into rescue before their time runs out. There was a beautiful white Husky named Dakota who was desperately needing a foster home so that he could start treatment for a bad case of heartworm. For at least a month they had been trying to find him a foster home, and not a single person would step up. I have no idea why, as he is a stunningly beautiful dog.

I couldn’t stand the thought of him dying in that shelter because nobody would take him in and get him treated for heartworm. Heartworm treatment involves the dog doing nothing but staying in a crate for 3 months, and the treatment is all covered by donations. So, a little over 2 weeks ago, I said I would foster him. He came here and started 2 weeks of antibiotics, then went in for his first treatment a few days back. So far he’s doing good!

Dakota had spent his life on a chain. He was seized during a raid of a (probably large-scale) marijuana growing operation, he and a German Shepherd were being kept to guard the place. Living outside on a chain meant he was exposed to many mosquitoes(mosquitoes carry and transmit heartworm disease) and as a result, he had a bad case of heartworm by the time he was seized and turned into the animal shelter. His treatment is going to cost at least $600 dollars, and is completely covered by donations from some awesome people! Heartworm treatment requires him spending all of his time in a crate for about 3 months straight. If he gets too excited while undergoing heartworm treatment, he will die. He’s taking 3 pills twice a day right now.

Dakota towers over little Tweed

Dakota towers over little Tweed

He was very matted when he came to me, in fact I had to shave off ALL the long fur on his tail after our first photoshoot. He also had many mats clipped out from the fur on his legs and behind his ears. He gets along extremely well with my personal dog Nelly and my other foster dog, Tweed. The very first thing he did when he met Tweed was give him an invitation to play. Unfortunately I have to keep him separated from my dogs, as he is so set on playing with them. He cannot get excited(and this includes playing) until he is cured of the heartworm.

So, at the moment I have two foster dogs in the house. All Dakota does is stay in his crate, so it’s pretty easy having him around. For the first time in his life he’s learning what it’s like to live in a house and be loved by people. After 2 weeks he is just now starting to really warm up to me.

Oh, did I mention he is GORGEOUS? He is all white, and both of his eyes are brown and blue!

Getting rid of dogs.

Victor

Victor

I had a cat named Victor who did not like the fact that we moved houses a lot after my parents divorce. We lived in two rental homes after that, and in both houses he peed everywhere. Because both houses were all carpet, we could not do much to stop it. So in both houses, we paid several thousand dollars to have the carpets replaced when we moved out, because he peed on them so much. It was usually in closets or corners. After my mom got remarried, we moved into my step-dad’s house, which was all tile except for the bedroom. So we spent a few a hundred dollars buying metal gates to put up in the house to keep him out of the carpeted areas.

When we rushed him to the vet one morning because he was so sick that he could not even walk(at only 7 years old), we did everything we possibly could to save him. Unfortunately, he had a seizure and passed away. He’s buried under one of our oak trees. We spent many thousands of dollars on this cat, despite all the trouble he caused. Why? Because we loved him. He was our pet, and when we got him we made a commitment to take care of him.

Nelly

Nelly

My personal dog Nelly cannot be around people, and she cannot be around any dogs besides foster dogs. Until she really outgrew the puppy state – which, with Border Collies, is around 4 years old – she drove me nuts. I have dealt with some serious behavior issues, and still do(she is my problem child!), that even I(someone who has fostered more than 20 dogs and worked with multiple dog trainers) could not fix…but never once did getting rid of her cross my mind. Because the day that I got her, I made a commitment to take care of her for the rest of her life.

You learn to love them despite their flaws.

But some people run into a few problems with their pets, often times problems that are very fixable, and they quickly jump to the conclusion that they should just dump their pets on someone else. Get rid of them like they’re some kind of disposable object. And that is where dogs like my current foster, Tweed, come from.

My foster dog, Tweed.

My foster dog, Tweed.

The people only had him for FOUR months before getting rid of him! And here he is after almost 3 months in rescue(and even longer in a shelter before I pulled him from there) still searching for a home. Because he’s scared of people and scared of being left alone, nobody wants him. His owners, the only people in the world that were supposed to love this dog, could not see past his problems.

It makes me so angry when people treat pets like they are disposable. They encounter some difficulties and figure the best thing to do is just get rid of the animal that they made a life-long commitment to. Having animals is not easy, they are not perfect. And anyone who expects them to be, or is not willing to put in the work to fix problems that arise, should not be owning pets.

Let’s See That Personality!

Janey doing a goofy head tilt. She's blind in her right eye, so it just kind of wandered off to the side in this picture. I wasn't so sure I liked this picture at first, but it grew on me.

Janey doing a goofy head tilt. She’s blind in her right eye, so it just kind of wandered off to the side in this picture. That, plus her tongue hanging out, makes her look really funny! I wasn’t so sure I liked this picture at first, but it grew on me.

I’d like to start this post by apologizing for not having posted in a little while, I’ve been overwhelmed with stuff going on at home. I’ll try to find time to write more often. (:

love the picture-perfect photographs as much as the next guy(gal)…but c’mon, don’t you ever get bored of your subjects looking perfect all the time?

When I’m photographing dogs, I usually shoot for two different types of pictures in the same photoshoot. Since most of my subjects are rescue dogs, of course I want to get the pictures where they look drop dead gorgeous, perfect, and amazing. I’m trying to get people’s attention, I want these photos to say “adopt me!” so I show them in the best possible light.

Tweed giving me his best smile.

Tweed giving me his best smile.

But what’s the fun in only having pictures like that? It gets old after a while. I also love to take pictures where the dog’s personality shines through. Some of my favorite pictures are the ones where the dog looks like it’s having a great time. A big smile, a head tilt, or maybe just a funny face. Anything besides the cut-and-paste, generic looking pictures.

My current foster boy, Tweed, is a great model for the camera. He gets this big goofy grin when the camera comes out; it never fails to make me laugh.

My personal dog, Nelly, is a bit more serious. She has always been an extremely driven working dog, and I swear when the camera comes out she just thinks that it’s another job for her to do. “Okay, there’s the camera. I know momma likes to take pictures of me, so I need to make sure I do my best modeling. Time to get serious about this.”

Katniss making a funny face while chewing on some grass.

Katniss making a funny face while chewing on some grass.

That oh-so-serious look often comes across as very beautiful, though, so it works well. If I want those pictures where she looks like a goof ball, it’s a bit of a challenge…but I guess that when it comes to photography, being challenged is a good thing!

Because I started off photographing dogs and because I work with them so often, they are generally the only thing I take pictures of. I am starting to branch out, though, and experiment with other types of photography. Landscape photos are something I’m interested in, but haven’t gotten around to learning about yet. Besides dogs, I’m also now doing a little work with people. It’s been all friends and family while I was learning.

My sister being funny, going along with the "old, abandoned barn" theme.

My sister spontaneously going along with the “old, abandoned barn” theme.

I have found that dogs are a lot easier to photograph than people, in some ways. On one hand, dogs don’t always want to listen or have their picture taken. Some dogs are afraid of the camera; I don’t know why, but I would assume it’s because the lens looks a bit like a giant eye staring them down. In my experience, a dog will either not want to look at or near the camera, or it simply won’t care either way. With dogs, you don’t have to worry about them doing some kind of horrible, cheesy-looking fake smile, you don’t need to worry about them being self-conscious in front of a camera, and best of all, you don’t need to worry about them not liking the pictures you take! All things that I, as a beginner people-photographer, worry about.

As you can tell, I worry. A lot. Probably too much.

A candid shot of my two best friends.

A candid shot of my two best friends.


Now, the bad part about photographing dogs. They don’t always like to listen very well. You can tell a person, “Okay, now let’s have you sit right over here…” and the person will go sit over there. You try to make a dog sit somewhere that it doesn’t want to and you’ll have about 5 seconds, at the very most, to snap that picture. If you’re working with a dog that doesn’t care about treats or toys then good luck trying to get it to cooperate at all! Last but not least, dogs can be really easily distracted. Sometimes the best places to do photoshoots are also the most interesting for the dog. So many trees! And grasses! And rocks! And smells! AND WAS THAT A SQUIRREL? Let’s look at everything except the camera!

Now, maybe it’s just because I’m not very good with people, but I definitely prefer working with dogs. It just feels right for me.

I think this post got a bit off topic, but oh well! My point is that while I do like the pictures where the subject looks perfect, like a model, I don’t think anything can top a picture where the subjects personality is showing through. It just seems to give the photos something special.

Posted.

After 7 weeks in rescue, Tweed has finally been posted as available for adoption. It took so long because I was dealing with assessing his separation anxiety and extreme stranger fear, and communicating with a trainer on how to deal with it. I also had to go out of town for 2 weeks, so we decided to wait to post him until after I got back from vacation.

Here is what his posting says:

Tweed is a beautiful, happy boy who is on the small side for a Border Collie.

Tweed’s previous owner said he was housetrained, and this seems to be true as he has not had any accidents in his foster home. Besides the occasional jumping up on someone, he has great manners. He loves to give kisses and he especially loves to cuddle.

Tweed has the energy to go out on hikes and long walks, but at the same time he is equally happy to have lazy days where he does nothing but cuddle with his people. He is definitely a “velcro” dog that follows his person everywhere.

He loves any toy I give him, including tennis balls and Frisbees. He is a big fan of sticks and can frequently be seen dragging sticks longer than his body out of the oak forest area of my yard. He also loves to play with the water coming out of the hose.

Tweed will chase a cat that runs, but does just fine with cats that hold their ground. He has been living peacefully with the cats at his foster home for many weeks now, as they don’t run away when he, on occasion, sniffs or pays attention to them. He needs to go to a home where he won’t have access to chickens as he thinks they are fun to chase.

Tweed gets along great with other dogs, and listens extremely well when they tell him to stop something by giving a warning signal. He is very playful and loves to wrestle and chase with his foster sister. Unfortunately, he does try to hump any dog he sees. My personal dog does not allow this and after just two warning nips, he never tried it again with her. The foster parents who watched him while I was on vacation said he tried to hump their dogs, but stopped when they told him “no”.

Tweed came from a home where it seems he was never socialized, and because of this he is very afraid of new people. Because he is afraid, he clings to his person and does not like to be left alone. I am working with Tweed, with the advice of a professional trainer, to fix his issues but it is a slow process. Besides these problems, he is a GREAT dog! His foster family adores him and although they love him, they want him to find his forever home! At the moment we are only considering homes with a good amount of dog training experience, where he will not spend time alone during the day. Because he likes to chase things, we will not consider homes with young children.

Because this question gets asked a lot, I’ll answer it right now – No, he is not at risk for being euthanized. Dogs in our rescue do not have a set number of days until they’re euthenized, like they do in many shelters. Like any other dog in our rescue, he will be safe with us until he is adopted, and we DO NOT settle for the first applicant. For every foster dog I have, I wait as long as it takes for the perfect home to come along. Sometimes a dog gets lucky and that perfect home is available right away, and they’re adopted quickly. Other times, we reject a lot of applications – I had a dog that had herding/nipping problems, and we rejected something like 20 applications before he found a suitable home.

Because I have high expectations for Tweed’s potential adopters, it will probably take a while to find him his forever home.
But we can cross our fingers and hope that it happens soon.

“It’s All About How You Raise Them”

In 2007, Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his involvement in dog fighting. Somewhere around 50 dogs were taken from his property, the majority of them being Pit Bull Terriers.

About half of his fighting dogs spent their lives chained to buried car axels, just out of reach of one another, and most of them were in poor physical health. At his property there were rape racks(devices used to restrain a bitch so a dog can mate with her without being attacked), a fighting pit, and blood-stained carpets. Dogs that did not perform well were killed, either by hanging, drowning, or being repeatedly slammed against the ground until they died. While I don’t know the specifics about the upbringings of these dogs, I think we can all agree on one thing – it was probably not good. I highly doubt that Vick spent time socializing, petting, and playing with each and every one of these 50-something fighting dogs.

And yet, of all the dogs taken from his fighting ring, you know how many had to be euthanized due to aggression?

One. Just one.

Many of Vicks dogs have gone on to earn their CGC’s(Canine Good Citizenship), some are therapy dogs, some are beloved family pets.

And this is why I feel the overwhelming desire to slam my head against a wall when people say “It’s all about how you raise the dog,” or “Blame the owners, not the dogs.” Clearly Michael Vicks dogs were not raised in the happy, loving environment that true dog lovers will provide. So if it’s all about how you raise the dog, why were Vicks dogs not vicious man-killers? Why is it, then, that people who have done everything right sometimes end up with dogs that are aggressive?

Kai, a dog I fostered a while back. She had been chained for so long that the chain had grown into the back of her neck and had to be removed. She was one of the happiest and friendliest dogs I've ever known.

Kai, a dog I fostered a while back. She had been chained for so long that the chain had grown into the back of her neck and had to be removed. She was one of the happiest and friendliest dogs I’ve ever known.

It’s because of genetics, the driving force of who we are. Genetics is why reputable Border Collie breeders only breed together good working dogs – to produce more good working dogs. Genetics is why you can’t breed together a dog whose instincts say “kill sheep” with another dog whose instincts say “kill sheep” and expect to get a great trial dog from the litter. Genetics is why no breeder in their right mind is going to breed together two aggressive dogs. Genetics is why reputable breeders will only breed dogs of sound body and mind.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that environment/upbringing does not play a big role in a dogs behavior, because it certainly does! However, “nature vs. nurture” with dogs is something to be covered in another post.

The point of this post is to explain that it is absolutely absurd to claim that all aggressive dogs are simply products of bad upbringing. The saying “it’s all about how you raise them” leads so many people to think they can go buy puppies from backyard breeders and then expect them to all grow up to have stable temperaments as long as they are raised right, and that is just not always the case.

“It’s all about how you raise them” is nothing more than a dangerous myth.