Chapter 4
How To Know What Type Dog Is Best For You



Dog Misinformation and How It Spreads

This is a topic that I wish did not need to be discussed but unfortunately, it does. If I don't help you understand this issue, in my eyes, I'd become part of the biggest problem in the dog world other than perhaps the current crisis with the genetic health of purebred dogs. In many cases, you'll find misinformation about dogs, both on and off the Internet. You need to be always aware of this fact. This can happen for a number of reasons.

Lack of Knowledge. The first way the spread of less than perfect information occurs is because some people who create dog-related information don't know much about dogs. They copy the information from other websites, and the misinformation spreads. For reasons discussed later, this can be especially true if the information is copied from breed clubs or other breed-biased sources.

In other cases, the people spreading dog information on the Internet are relating that information based on their own experience. These people make generalizations based on their own experiences with perhaps one, or just a few dogs. While this information might be true for some dogs, or in their particular case, it may not be an accurate overall.

Mis-matched Knowledge Level. Occasionally, you'll find information that is technically accurate, but not written from the perspective of a novice owner. You may find that someone who is quite knowledgeable has written about dogs, but has written about dogs from the perspective of a knowledgeable owner; not considering that many owners looking for information are novices. In these cases, the information is technically accurate, but may only apply to experienced dog owners who have the knowledge to get the results they want.

For example, you might find a description of a breed written by a knowledgeable breed owner commenting on the breed's trainability or ability to learn obedience commands. What a knowledgeable owner considers 'trainable' and what a novice owner considers 'trainable' may be two entirely different things.

Novice owners, for example, might not know that a Tibetan Mastiff is not particularly food motivated, and requires other training motivations. This can result in a great of frustration for anyone who doesn't know the idiosyncrasies of that specific dog breed.

Politics and Vested Interests. The last reason for misinformation we will discuss is one of the dirty little secrets that many in the dog world would like to ignore. That secret is the dog world is highly politicized and there are many competing interests that color people's viewpoint.

Unfortunately, many people with a vested interest in one or another part of the dog world are only too willing to provide a self-serving opinion and call it the truth. You may be familiar with saying we create our own reality. I believe this is what sometimes happens in the dog world. And this happens not only with individuals but with some of the largest, most powerful organizations of the North American dog world. Never be afraid to question the information you are given and to thoroughly research what you are told to confirm its accuracy.