"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

Breed Prejudice

I received this comment from a local woman that has owned a Cane Corso (which she had problems with) after she read some of the content on this site in which I responded to questions from Cane Corso owners. She says, “breed discriminate” but based on earlier correspondence I believe meant breed prejudice. In an earlier similar accusation, I finally gave up on reasoning with her as her mind was made up and it was a mind that didn’t appear to be the most malleable or receptive. Like so many cowardly keyboard warriors she made her most recent defamation publicly, in this case on Facebook in hopes of damaging my reputation and then blocked me rather than engage in intelligent discourse. As a result, her name has not been changed.

Her misguided agenda does provide an opportunity for clarification to others that might similarly misinterpret by the outlook on Molosser breeds so the following is my attempt to make lemonade out of lemons.

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. You do breed discriminate. You say you don’t but you do.

Misty Lane Craig – London, Ontario

Dear Misty,

You are once again publicly (Facebook) accusing me of a negative prejudice and illogically are basing that opinion on the considerable number of letters written to me about problems people are having with their Cane Corso and other similar Molosser breeds. Pardon my sarcasm but you do know that I don’t write those letters to myself? You are similarly aware the site is ‘Ask The Dog Guy’. That makes it the sort of dog training site which lends itself to people writing about problems as opposed to cheery anecdotes about their Disney-esque “fur babies? I could fill my site with thank you letters from Cane Corso and other dog owners thanking me for helping them but that wouldn’t be a very useful site for visitors. However, if you hunger for such things, read the first comment in this column where someone asks if a Presa Canario makes a good family pet.)

Cane Corso Puppy Need To Know

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One thing is certain I do get more similarly themed letters from Cane Corso problems than any other breed or problem. If the number of these inquiries you have found on this site is the basis of your negative opinion and unfair public characterization of me then you are committing a gross logical fallacy. I suspect you also suffer from a fair amount of cognitive bias as well. I challenge you to provide any evidence in my writing that demonstrates anything other than respect for the Cane Corso breed. As the American politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

Let me share some facts with you.

What is true, is that I discriminate between breeds. That is not necessarily the same as having a 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 then 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 behavior. 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 a 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