Columns: No Margins, No Limits, No Kidding!
PUREBRED DOG EDUCATION IN AMERICA
Dog Care is very different from farm animals; they are housed and handled differently and more intimately involved in our lives than cattle, pigs or horses.
January 2018 | TheDogPress.com
Joseph Byer, Jr., Rights Research Editor
Why, after twelve years of parochial education, was I not taught about PROPER caring for pets? My brothers went to public school and also were left out of the educational loop concerning pets. Two years of community college was also devoid of a pet education program anywhere. While you may say that 4-H programs as well as the Boy and Girl Scouts offer some education on pets, it is at best totally insufficient to meet the needs of our pets.
America’s farming communities have adequately managed the keeping of their livestock. In many families the wife may have acquired a smaller breed dog to bring in the house but the husband’s dogs were usually outside with the other animals. The kids learned animal husbandry as it applied only to livestock but not much pertaining to the dogs.
During the 50’s, kids grew up and left the farm for work in the city without any real knowledge of dog care. As suburban America mushroomed with white picket fences, two cars in the driveway, and a chicken in every pot, the family dog was left chained to a “dog house” in the backyard. They thought they knew all about “taking care of dogs” them since they had lived around dogs all their lives. My response is that most of them have lived around electricity all their lives too, but that didn’t make them electricians.
Our formal education system has still not adjusted to the shift from an agrarian society to a suburban and urban one. In fact, to this day, our school systems still operate on a farm schedule with summers off.
To give perspective to the problem of adequate pet care, sixty-five percent (65%) of American households, or about 79.7 million families, own a pet. This, according to the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association.
The sport of purebred dogs has been left out of our education system that includes these sports:
Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Dance Team, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Hockey, Indoor Track & Field, Lacrosse, Skiing, Snowboarding, Soccer, Softball, Surf Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Water Polo, Weightlifting, and Wrestling. And while Motorsports have not been formally taught, driver’s education in many high schools in a required course.
It should be mentioned that the American Kennel Club as the largest organization in the U.S. involved in purebred dogs should be taking programs to the schools to correct this oversight.
AKC currently offers lesson plans for elementary and middle school kids but could and should do more. When the Professional Golfers Association was floundering they sent their top players into school systems and thereby got golf programs started in schools all over America. Why couldn’t the AKC do something similar?
The results of this glaring oversight by the A.K.C. and our educational system? Most dogs are given up at shelters for behavioral reasons and most dog bites are to children.
Don’t you think it’s time to institute primary and secondary education classes on the proper raising of the pets we love?