Monday, November 15, 2010

Are we saturated? Or what?

Saturday I met with a new pet sitter (Hi Danielle!!!) who has experience with medical issues. That's so awesome! I need help at times with my medical cases. The other girls I work with are awesome and willing to give it a try, but they are not very comfortable with medical issues. So, this is a great thing for me to have another pet sitter with experience.

But, my question about saturation regards the GREAT numbers of new pet sitters/dog walkers/dog day cares/training centers/trainers popping up on the scene in the Greater Portland area. Off the top of my head I can think of at least six new certified (in various ways of certification) trainers in this area in just this year alone. Pet sitters and dog walkers number even more. You name it, it's offered. Off leash adventures, group walks, day care training, day care of any kind, training of any kind, in home training, remote training, training centers, group training. It's amazing how many dog related businesses are starting up right now!! You can train your dog to pull weights, to tract scents, to dance, to rally, to do agility, to do tricks, to retrieve and do water sports!! It's all there and available these days!!!

Can the area handle them all? I don't know. I worry a little. I am hearing complaints from my dog friends about some of the area dog walkers taking packs of dogs to off leash areas and not being all that good about monitoring the situation. I hear of people hiring dog trainers and their dogs are not getting the training they need. Aggression is a huge issue right now with dogs for whatever reason and the number of dog trainers versed in aggression are few. I am seeing dogs behind invisible fencing becoming aggressive and the situation snow balls from there until many dogs end up in shelters. Dogs are being given up to shelters for behavior issues in staggering numbers. Our MinPin rescue is full with a long waiting list of MinPins with behavior issues waiting to come in. It's frustrating and disappointing and new to us in MinPin rescue. We used to be able to take in just about any dog that needed us.

What's the answer? I don't know. I LOVE how the dog world is changing. I love the options we have available now for our dogs. I love that our thoughts on dogs are different than ten years ago. Dogs are being given more consideration and attention than ever before. But, is it all a good thing? I don't know. I am seeing behavior issues in dogs like I never saw before. Why? I don't know. What's different? Why the staggering number of dogs in rescue and shelters? Why are the area shelters stating on their websites their shelters are full more then ever before? Especially, when there are so many trainers available? It is an interesting question. We should be seeing fewer and fewer dogs needing rescue, right? Why is it that the number of behavior issues seems to be increasing, yet the number of training and care options are greater then ever? It doesn't make sense to me.

I can only say what I am seeing. And I watch carefully. I am involved in animal rescue and in the dog professional community deeply and thoroughly. I have a "finger on the pulse" and I still can't explain what's going on. The changes in the dog world are huge and seemingly great for the dogs, but something is wrong. There is something wrong with the pulse and I just can't figure it out. What's going on here?


  1. I think part of the rescues filling up has to do with the economy. The dogs coming into dachshund rescue seem to be there due to people losing their jobs, having to move into cheaper places that don't allow them, or simply can't afford the dog food and pet care.

    The behavioral issues are a bit stranger to me. I'm not sure. Perhaps it has to do with the "small extinction burst" we're seeing in dominance based training. Hopefully positive reinforcement training will slowly begin to reach a wider audience and things will get better? I'm not sure though. Perhaps something else is wrong.

    Perhaps it's that temperament is becoming less of a concern to many breeders in comparison to conformation? I don't know.

  2. I agree the economy has a lot to do with it, however, economic reasons are not the biggest reason we are getting MinPins. Yes, it is a reason at times and more now then before for sure, but the biggest reason is behavior. It always has been, really, MinPins are not easy, but it seems to be much worse the last few years. And what's also interesting is MinPins have dropped much farther down the list of most popular breeds. In 1999 they were number 17 and in 2009 they were number 33. That's a big drop. Yet we are seeing more and more numbers in rescue.
    Your extinction burst theory is interesting!!! :D
    It is a curious situation, I think. The huge popularity in designer dogs being bred, without temperment consideration, is probably part of it.
    And isn't it interesting the economy is a big part, yet so many people are entering the profession? I am very lucky my business has grown this year. The last two years things were down slightly. I did make a big effort to do some promotion last winter, so I know that's a big reason my increase this year.

  3. Animals arrive at the shelter for various reasons...some are behavior, some are economy, death in the family, divorce,medical issues, allergies, new baby...the list goes on. In the dogs, there seems to be a lot of dog aggression which makes me sad. I wish the shelter had the means to help more behavior issues. Even with all the folks entering classes, there will still be those who dont seek out help. And lets face it...people want quick fixes. Most dont want to do the work that some behavior issues take to fix. Human behavior will always be a mystery to me!