I hate breed stereotypes. You know, “Shelties are shy,” “Rottweilers are mean,” “Hounds are stupid,” “Toy dogs are yappy,” etc.
My two un-favorites are “Tervs have no work ethic” and “Malinois have rotten temperaments.” Guess they forgot to tell Jamie that when he got his OTCh. or Phoenix when he was giving the wheelchair-bound, special needs person kisses to their mutual delight over the weekend.
Most stereotypes are perpetrated by people who have never lived with or trained the breeds they’re passing judgment on. Yeah, there is probably a grain of truth (a single, tiny grain) in each statement because heaven knows not every single dog born on this planet has exceptional temperament and intelligence but automatically condemning a dog because of his physical appearance is the product of ignorance.
You and I know better than to believe blanket stereotypes and we spend a lot of time trying to show John Q. Public that how a dog is treated and trained usually has more influence on the final product than the dog’s genetics.
Sometimes I wonder if we need to transfer a similar approach to training methods. How many obedience “stereotypes” have you followed blindly, never questioning them, even though you’ve never tried any other method to see if it might work for your dog because you were afraid that would be against the "rules"?
Here are a few "rules" I followed without question for years before Phoenix started changing things:
• You can’t let your dog “get away” with anything. (By the time you realize he’s gotten away with something, well, um, he’s already gotten away with it and it’s too late to do anything about it.)
• You have to show your dog who’s the boss or he won’t respect you. (Respect and fear are not the same.)
• You have to make him do it. (Yeah. Right. And what if you can’t? Then what?)
• You have to teach a forced retrieve or your dog will never be a reliable retriever. (No. You don’t.)
There are probably more that I can’t think of at the moment. If you're running up against a brick wall in your training, maybe it's time to re-think some of those "carved in stone" rules.