Wednesday, May 24, 2017

OK Rep. Palmer (R-AL), You Want to Talk Dogs? Let’s Talk Dogs

Let's shift fire from the UK's child sacrifice for a bit.

I’m going to show a little IRL passion ankle here, but I don’t care, there is an overlap of passions here and I cannot help myself.

There was this little bit about the dogs we use as a critical part of our national security infrastructure in the House Homeland Security Committee that I simply have to blog about.
Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., provided the only contentious moments of the hearing when he questioned Harvey on TSA's dog procurement practices. Palmer noted that he himself had recently been at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and saw very few canine teams.

Palmer, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, pressed Harvey on the procurement issue, citing Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" executive order. Harvey assured Palmer that the TSA has “an interagency agreement with DoD. We use the same vendors that they use . . . We also have a couple of agreements with domestic vendors from which we also get dogs.”

Still, Palmer complained that TSA dogs were being “foreign sourced.”

“The administration has an emphasis on 'Buy American' and it seems to me it would make sense that you would prefer American dogs and American-trained dogs over foreign-sourced dogs,” Palmer said. “Particularly, the vendors that train them from puppies. Why do you have a preference in any context for foreign-sourced dogs?”

Harvey explained that TSA doesn’t prefer foreign dogs over domestic ones, but that vendors aren't always able to supply the dogs TSA needs. “We have a large requirement for our large number of dogs,” Harvey said. She added that TSA is working closely to ramp up procurement of dogs from domestic vendors.
Here is the executive summary Congressman; we foreign source our dogs because on balance American breeders in general, and the AKC specifically, are the worst thing to happen to dogs since the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

Our problem is twofold, vanity and greed.

Let me give you an example. The worse national election of the last year was not Clinton-v-Trump, it was the German Shepard Dog winning the Westminster Kennel Club following the equally horrid disgrace at Crufts last year where the Mother Country picked up our bad ideas. The American GSD is the poster child for systemic animal abuse in the guise of “love” of a breed.

As they have with so many breeds, the “Bench” conformation crowd created a crippled, unhealthy, and generally useless line of GSD that come from the USA. See that sloping back? You do not see that deformity in German, Dutch, and Belgian lines of those dogs. Untold hundreds of puppies are born each year in conformation kennels who spend their lives in pain and misery just to get that look from a few.

As all they are concerned with is superficial conformity to an artificial standard created by people with no care for what the dogs actually are designed to do, nothing else matters. Hips, EIC, cancer, allergies, intelligence, drive, instinct – non of these things matter to the Bench people in the USA - and increasingly elsewhere as our bad habits spread.

The poor puppers have had their purpose bred out of them. Herding dogs can’t herd, retrievers cannot retrieve, pointers can’t point, guards can’t guard, terriers can’t terrorize, and hounds are scared of their own shadows.

Let’s look at what we Americans have done to some breeds. I could go through dozens, but I’ll just grab the few top-of-mind outside the GSD;

English Setter: Bench breed setters are huge, lumbering beasts who would not last 10 minutes in the field actually hunting, even if they had the nose, were trainable, and residual instincts to know what to do. Look at field bred lines or even the Llewellyn variant to see what it takes.

Labrador Retrievers: In the name of all that is holy, this breed is now actually devolved in to three major breeds and a few minor ones. The Bench Labs are fat, tumored, wheezing creatures who by age of 6 can barely bark at the mailman without becoming breathless and wincing in pain from arthritis. Because the American Field and Hunt tests have become something only an East German swimming coach would want to be involved in, top Field bred American labs are taunt, hyper animals that if not exercised two hours a day cannot live in a house without destroying it and putting half the kids and elderly in the hospital from knocking them over. In the USA it has gotten so bad that those wanting a Lab to be a reliable hunting dog look to get Labs from British lines. No American Field bred Lab could even start a British hunt test as they simply could not sit still long enough. A British champion hunting Lab wouldn’t get a callback at a US Field Trial due to lack of drive. Maddening.

Golden Retrievers: Just like the Lab, they were ruined by the puppy mills and conformation people. There are now distinct field lines that almost don’t look like Goldens if your standard is what you see in dog shows. Even with veterinary care better now days than most human health care, longevity is decreasing. Don’t even get me started on the average temperament of bench Goldens. Just a crime – especially if you’ve known a great Field Golden.

There, I could go on for days, so let’s get back to the topic at hand.

German Shepherd Dogs, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds – there are very few American breeders who can produce the quality of dogs needed for proper work in any quantity.

Personality, ability, and drive have a high genetic component in dogs. You have to have generation after generation of dedicated breeding to keep a dog genetically predisposed to do its proper job. 

The post-WWII era in the USA driven by the Bench Mafia (and to a lesser extent the Lab Field Trial Mafia) have ruined many lines of dogs to do anything but look pretty running in circles, running like a drug addled speed-demon, or ranges so far that it requires a person on a horse to keep up with them.

European dog breed clubs for guarding, herding, and gun dogs, especially the German ones, require dogs to prove their ability to do their job – and increasingly to pass hip and DNA screenings – before you can even breed them. Ability first, looks second.

(in the USA look at the English Cocker you'll find on quail plantations on the FL-GA border to see another example of the split)

You get what you prioritize, breed, and pay for – and in America we screwed up our priorities when it comes to dogs, especially working dogs.

As long as there is an AKC led as it is now, and the American public continues to subsidize American vanity breeders, we will need to go overseas to get dogs that still have the physical and mental ability to do their job.

Even in the hunting world, people go to Europe to bring home what we call German Shorthairs, Wirehairs, Clumber Spaniels, Weimaraners, Dachshunds (yes, Dachshunds. A German bred hunting-line Dachshund in the field would blow your mind on rabbit, tracking deer, or even pheasants) and many lessor known breeds. Why? Because the real world people you saw in the great cinematic masterpiece, Best in Show, have destroyed breed after breed for their own vanity and profit from an equally vain American public.

I am in full alignment with the Congressman here; we need more dogs in homeland & military service, not less. We always learn this lesson over and over.
“I think we can train [canine teams] to do even more,” Correa said. “I think we gotta go in that direction to defend our country to protect our citizenry and to make sure that you do the best job you can to protect our country.”
They’re good dogs, America. They love what they do … and some even volunteer to do it.

Rant over.

I don’t know about you, but I feel better.

As a side note, if you are thinking about getting a dog, I do breed consultation on the side pro bono. Send me an email with what you want a dog for and your lifestyle and I’d be happy to give you a few ideas. From lap to field, I’ll yap your ear off.

IRL, I would rather talk about dogs than anything else.

We owe our civilization to two animals, horses and dogs - we should show them the respect they deserve.

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