Friday, June 3, 2011

Cropping & Docking

The Dilemma

One of the most controversial issues between owners of large breed dogs is the issue of whether or not to dock tails and crop ears.  Some people say it is unethical and harmful to a dog’s wellbeing.  While others, including the American Kennel Club, actually specifies that certain dog breeds must have their tails docked to compete in shows.   Breeds such as Pitbulls, Dobermans, Great Danes, Cane Corsos, and Boxers are given a completely different look without their ears cropped.  A couple I know recently got a Cane Corso because they wanted a large, “mean” looking dog.  At first they demanded that the pup’s tail docked and then eventually ears cropped because this was the only way they could achieve the look they wanted; however, a week after they got their new puppy, they were convinced out of cropping the puppy’s ears by the many animal activists in their apartment building.  Without the ears cropped, many people mistake their $1,500 Cane Corso, which is an exotic, Italian mastiff, for a common Black Laborador. 

Cane Corso with cropped ears
Cane Corso with natural ears

The Pros

There have been proven benefits to cropping ears and docking tails.  Other than cosmetic reasons, it can actually help your puppy in the long run if you chose to do so.  The main thing to remember is that tail docking is something you must talk to about with the breeder.  Tail docking is possible when the puppy matures, however it is usually done before the puppy is a week old because it can be a painful procedure later in life.  Ear cropping is completely up to the owner, however many breeders will do this before you receive your puppy.  It is best for the puppy if it is done between the ages of 7-12 weeks. 

Tail docking has been shown to be better for working dogs because as they get older, they are more prone to injuring their tail.  With many of these dogs, veterinarians will have to dock the tail as the dog gets older and it’s tail gets frailer, which is more of a traumatic experience.  This can be avoided by simply have the tail docked at birth, when the puppy will not have any recollection of the surgery.  Ear cropping is also something that can benefit your dog’s wellbeing.  Many dogs with large ears, such as Great Danes and Cane Corsos, are prone to ear infection because their natural ears reduce the amount of light and air and increase the amount of moisture and bacteria.  This makes the dog more prone to ear infections which can lead to deafness.  Cropping on hunting dogs and guard dogs also helps the dog hear better, and in turn work better. 

Ffor all you new puppy owners who are considering cropping your dogs ears or getting it’s tail docked, just remember that the choice is completely up to you and that if you have a good vet, you will have good results as well.   

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Does Your Dog Match You?

Make Sure Your Pup Fits Your Lifestyle

When the decision has finally been made to bring a new dog into your home a lot of people choose what kind of dog they want based on the wrong factors. Most of us will choose a dog or puppy based on how cute they are, breeds that are familiar, breeds that we had as children etc and most of us will also not choose the right dog for our unique lifestyle. Selecting the right dog breed can mean the difference between having a new canine best friend that you will never regret, and being the next person begging Cesar Millan for help on the newest episode of The Dog Whisperer. So how do you pick a dog that you know will match your lifestyle perfectly? Well, the best way is to research all of the different breeds of dogs and use that as a base for determining which pup to choose.

Dont Pick The Wrong Dog For The Job

First off, the potential owner needs to really make an objective assessment of themselves, their lifestyle, and their wants/needs from their dog. For example if all you want is a lazy couch potato to look cute and not be too energetic you would buy a different dog than a person who is a marathon runner and wants a running companion to always have plenty of energy and keep up with them. In general the bigger and heavier a dog is the less energy they have, so small toy dogs normally equal a big frenzy of energy and larger heavier dogs equal a lump of fur that doesn’t move from the couch very often. Other than size another factor that contributes to how active a dog will be is the shape of their muzzle, which varies depending on breed. The reason that this matters is that depending on whether a dog’s muzzle is upturned and short or long and straight they will be able to either breath better or breath worse, and as we all know air is the source of energy so therefore a dog who has a harder time getting more air, such as a English Bulldog, will mean a dog who is not as active and energetic as a dog with a straight long muzzle, such as a Collie, who can breath much easier and take in more air. Obviously there are more factors that can be taken into account when selecting the right dog for your home such as breeds that are known for aggression or friendliness, however I believe that by selecting a dog whose energy levels match that of your own you will have a better chance of finding an equal canine counterpart who will not drive you crazy and who you will not regret bring into your home.