Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fool's Gold

I grew up with Golden Retrievers. My first introduction to the breed were Ginger and Holly, who belonged to a wonderful lady by the name of Maxine. Every day we saw her walk her two golden dogs, both of whom heeled well, happily accepted pets from strangers and children, wagged their tails at other dogs, and would walk easily even with a little kid holding the leash. Of course, these dogs were both UD and TDX dogs, but that meant nothing to me then.

The first Golden our family owned was Ryan. Ryan did not heel well; he was the original poster child for the bouncing-off-the-wall style of Golden. But he was friendly with everyone, and the only dog he ever had a tiff with was the Chihuahua-Terrier mix that we owned. I suspect it had far more to do with the mix's temperament than Ryan's. Ryan did actually earn a CD, even had a high-in-trial, I believe, but he never really did calm down. Still, he was a big old love of a thing.

Then came Chance, who was both innately more obedient and better-trained, my mom having cut her teeth, so to speak, on Ryan. A little softer than Ryan, Chance was friendly with people and dogs. She earned a CDX and a TD, and had that lovely Golden temperament.

Our next Golden arrived from the Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue. Roxy was an adult when she came to live with us, and despite whatever her former circumstances were, she again was lovely with people and dogs. Competitive obedience proved not to so much be her thing, not because she wasn't smart, but because she clearly prefered to play with her toys and lie across my dad's lap in his recliner. She would even take her front paw and softly pet his face. She was just a lovely family dog.

The fourth and final Golden was Jinx, so named for the minor fender bender Mom and Maxine had in the process of picking her up from the airport. Jinx was softer than the other three, and a little timid. She was socialized enough that she could go to shows and not have an issue with people or dogs, and she earned her CDX. She was shy around children, especially those who wanted to rush up to her on the street, but she was not aggressive. Not quite the "Golden" temperament, but a decent dog.

Unfortunately, my experience with the breed of late is a far cry from the dogs I knew in the past. I wrote of my experience earlier in the year when Elli was rushed by a Golden while we were out for our walk. This dog came flying out of its yard and crossed the street to go after Elli, who was leashed and on a public sidewalk. The Golden was not leashed and clearly not under voice control, and had no reason to come after us, as we were not even on its property. My only explanation is that it was clearly dog aggressive.

And then there was last night. There were four dogs at agility class: Elli; Pip, a Border Collie; Rosie, a Parson Russell Terrier; and Daisy, a Golden Retriever whom I hadn't seen at Thom's before. Thom had set up two sets of weave poles, one on either side of the room, and had us split up to practice on them, the taller dogs on one side and the shorter dogs on the other. Elli and Rosie were alternating turns on our set of weaves, and as Elli took a pass through, the Golden rushed her from the other side of the room.

This was not a Golden who wanted to play. She chased Elli, tried to go after her, and didn't ease up even when Elli cowered down and yelped. Thom was able to grab Elli up and away from the Golden before I could, and before the woman who owned the Golden managed to come and grab her dog.

Fortunately, Elli was able to get back down and go back to the weaves, so hopefully this won't become an issue for her on that particular piece of equipment.

But, WTF?

So: Dear Golden Retrievers of the World: I am very, very sorry that the puppy millers and backyard breeders have given you bad hips, sent cancer running rampant through your breed, and destroyed the lovely temperaments that you used to be known for. However, my corgi is not responsible for any of that, so please stop attacking her. By all means, feel free to bite said puppy millers and backyard breeders. They deserve it.

And, Dear Owners of Dog-Aggressive Dogs of the World: When you are working your dog in a room where multiple dogs are working, please do not take your aggressive dog off leash. It's dangerous, it's irresponsible, and it's rude. The next time your dog comes after mine, I will kick it in the head. Hard. And then I will kick YOUR dim-witted ass.

That is all.


  1. That is very unpleasant. I hope it doesn't impact Elli at all.

  2. That is why I, as a responsible dog owner, have pulled Aria from obedience competitions and a future in agility. And her defensive aggression problem was caused by stupid people and their aggressive/unsocialized dogs. Hope Elli makes out okay. I had a similar situation training my GSD mix in agility years ago. A soft coated wheaten terrier crossed a ring barrier and hit Sierra from the side while we were practicing pinwheel jumps. She never liked anything Wheaten looking after that.

  3. Seriously what is up with Elli and goldens she must have some sign we can't see that casts aspersions on their parentage. Really they need to get over it.

  4. That sucks and it can ruin a good dog.

    As the owner of a dog - aggressive dog that competes in agility and Rally and obedience, it is NOT easy. I manage manage manage, I'm constantly looking around as to where the other dogs are. He was not born that way, but he was beat up by other dogs in daycare so often he is on the defensive and has space issues.

    Agility is by far the easiest because Iggy Pop is so focused on doing the equipment - he literally ignores everything else. His stays are rock solid.

    My issue has been cardigans not being "scary-looking" enough to ward off people with their off leash "friendly" dogs on our neighborhood walks. Or the flexi-lead people.