"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

What is Breed Prejudice? I Am Accused Of Being A Dog Breed Racist

– Posted in: Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff), Columns, Mastiff, Molosser, Newsletters, Presa Canario
Breed Prejudice

I’ve lost respect for you John. You truly think that you are the ultimate dog trainer. So many trainers have NOTHING good to say (I assume she means about her breed the Cane Corso but I could be wrong). You do breed discriminate. (I think she means I have breed prejudice) You say you don’t but you do.

Misty Lane Craig – London, Ontario

Dear Misty,

I believe you are using the word in its context where it can mean a negative prejudice and I think you’re basing that opinion on the considerable number of letters written to me about common problems people are having with their Cane Corso and other similar Molosser breeds. You do know that I don’t write those letters to myself? You are similarly aware the site is ‘Ask The Dog Guy’, which lends itself to people writing about problems as opposed to cheery anecdotes?

One thing is certain I do get more letters (I can’t even keep up) about Cane Corso problems of a similar nature than any other breed or problem. That is not breed prejudice. For you to conclude from that, that I suffer from breed prejudice is what is called a logical fallacy. You shouldn’t draw a conclusion based on how others are representing their Cane Corso dogs to me as opposed to how I represent the breed in my responses which I challenge you to provide any evidence that is anything other than respectful and is completely without breed prejudice. I suspect you’re further riskily influenced, by your own anecdotal experience (your own and a few others) with your own Cane Corso. That’s very poor logic and it is unfair to characterize me or anyone, if that is all you have to offer as an argument.

What is true, is that I discriminate between breeds. That is not the same as breed prejudice.

For example, a guarding breed like a Cane Corso and Retrieving breed like a Golden Retriever have enough differences that if a dog owner does not take into consideration (discriminate) between those differences, the potential for a negative outcome for both the dogs and owners is significant. There are significant differences between representatives of the guarding and retrieving breeds themselves that make them more useful and appropriate in one setting over another.

These difference exist due to selective breeding, the genetics is emphasized differently. More Cane Corso are inclined to guard than Golden Retrievers and more Golden Retrievers are inclined to retrieve than Cane Corsos.

The differences between a guarding and retrieving breed are not opinion or conjecture they are facts and again if you can find evidence that the characteristics in these two breeds I am using as examples, are not different and that distinctions do not need to be made by someone in my line of work advising companion dog owners, I would very much like to see the data you are drawing your conclusion.

Another excellent reason, in the interests of both a breed and the companion dog owner (again using a Cane Corso and a Golden Retriever as examples) to discriminate (individuate as opposed to disfavour) is that if we do a poor job in paying attention to aspects that contribute to stability, breeding, socialization, training and supervision for example it is not good at all for stability in either breed. However, an unstable Cane Corso is quite a different kettle of fish in an urban environment than is a Golden Retriever. It is also much more difficult due to its sheer size and wiring to control and implement strategies to mitigate the more dangerous aspects of its behaviour. This is one reason I encourage so many prospective Cane Corso and other Molosser breed owners to select their breeders carefully, to learn how to do proper wide spectrum critical socialization before 12 weeks of age and avoid the ‘All Positive/Force-Free’ trainers like the plague. I do this with all breeds but your opinion of me has been formed I think because of the number of letters I receive from people owning a Cane Corso that did not have this sort of beginning. In other words, you are unfairly judging me on the basis of the mail without taking the time to actually talk to me. (Which we did at one time when you were having difficulty with your Molosser breed. The only reason I remember the conversation is that after it concluded you failed to hang up the phone and I heard you speaking to someone in the room, saying, “He was a really nice guy.” I still am and the advice I gave you is not any different (or prejudiced) now, than I am giving to Molosser breed owners from around the world more often than not for free, as was the time and advice I gave to you.)

What you see as prejudice I see as love and respect for differences in each breed and the owners of these breeds that I demonstrate by taking into account genetic predispositions in how I advise. I do this to help keep breeds like the Cane Corso from making the news which when it happens and it is happening in ever increasing frequency these days, like it did with the German Shepherds and Rottweilers and Pit Bulls before them. In many if not the majority of cases where representatives of these breeds injured, maimed, or killed an animal or a human being they were owned by someone that didn’t breed discriminate. Some were reprobates but a common theme amongst them all was the nonsense that “a dog is dog and you shouldn’t discriminate. All you have to do is love any breed enough and that is all that is required to be a responsible companion dog owner of that breed.” Sheer nonsense and a non-breed friendly attitude to take.

I’m going to continue to protect dogs and people by being truthful about each breed’s pros and cons and treating every individual dog that I train without prejudice.

Here’s a column I wrote about whether breed matters http://www.askthedogguy.com/does-breed-matter/ and below this article in the related articles section a few I personally selected about the Cane Corso that illustrates my perspective and proves my point regarding Misty’s misrepresenting the reality. For a complete overview click on this link as it has every mention I’ve made of the Cane Corso. http://www.askthedogguy.com/breed/cane-corso-italian-mastiff/

John

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