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A dog's life


Dogs are pushed on a carrier at a dog show in Chiba. In Japan a canine that ends up in the municipal pound is far more likely to be put down than to find a new home. While in some other industrialized countries, the idea of "saving" a pet from a shelter is well-established, in Japan animal welfare activists say strays often fall foul of an attitude that prizes puppies and pedigrees as status symbols.

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Rats with curlers. Give me a mixed shelter dog over these yappy buggers anyday!

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strays often fall foul of an attitude that prizes puppies and pedigrees as status symbols.

and also considers animals in the pound "second hand" goods...


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Animals look best in their natural state, not with ribbons, bells and such attached to them.

Really sad about the shelter animals. Perhaps "talentos," actors or singers could be used to promote animal adoption in Japan.

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It does seem that the Japanese love to doll up their dogs, even outside of dog shows. Not sure if this is 愛犬 thing is just a fad, though.

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They look just like those three dogs in "A Fish Called Wanda"

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Which ones are Gaspard and Lisa, and who's the other one?

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You can sure spoil and still not care dude. Kids here are glorified pets rarely watched.... dogs walk in front of owners and adored here. Jkids often go in all directions without being watched. Its a strange comment for a strange place agreed. Have a beer at a park and observe my theory of dogs vs kids in Japan. Dogs dont seem to get killed here...

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Where do I start? Firstly, I have been to a number of dog shows in Japan, dragging along our guide dog (for guide dog PR and donations) and dragging along our monster dog for the purpose of intimidation and sometimes demonstrations of what a huge mastiff offers in the way of home protection (lol). Anyway, here are a number of wild generalizations:

Unfortunately, like parenthood owning a dog does not require that potential owners pass any form of test. The result of this is that there are lots of people out there that have no idea of what they are doing. My own pet pev (pun intended) are those people whose relationship with their dog is far too egalitarian. To put it simply, dogs are animals that thrive in a pack. As such, they expect and accept a degree of structure in their lives (with their owner actually exhibiting leadership). These people that put their dogs on a pedestal and pamper them to excess are doing no favor to themselves or their mutts.

Now with regard to saving dogs from the pound (and the threat of death), this is something that I am all in favor of. At the same time, a couple of words of caution. Firstly, before you pick up a dog from the pound, you should consider how it got there. Was it neglect (which in most countries is covered under animal abuse laws)? Was it for some medical or behavioral reason? Anyway, while understanding the desire to help these animals in distress, you have to realize that you are buying yourself into a life time commitment. For better or worse. This can mean both a lot of enjoyment and potentially a lot of aggro/expenditure if you find that your new friend has some previously unrecognized mental/health issues. Either way, as soon as you put your name on the dotted line, you are responsible for the animal in question.

Now, with regard to Japan and pedigree dogs, I think that the country has gone crazy. Pedigrees themselves are just a declaration of how the puppy came to be, listing parents, grandparents and so forth. They are no indication as to the quality of the dog. At the current time, terms such as "Champion" etc. after a dog's name simply mean that the dog has been judged as being a very good physical example of the Breed Standard (guidelines that describe the physical appearance and temperament of different breeds). It is no indication as to the physical health of the dog. Case in point, I can think of many "champion" dogs who have later been found to be carrying genetic diseases, diseases that have been passed onto puppies through breeding. The whole charade is deplorable. If you really want to get hold of a good pedigree dog, here are some quick pointers:

Do not buy from pet shops, many of whom buy in their puppies from puppy mills (places that indiscriminately breed dogs).

Contact a breed association (people who actually like the specific breed). They can introduce reputable breeders.

Always meet the canine parents. This is especially important if you want to buy a muscle dog (a rottweiler, German Shepherd, etc). In such cases it is important to know that your little bundle of joy is not going to grow into an overly-aggressive monster.

Consider a rescue dog. To get around the health issues problem, mixed breed dogs are good option because the mixing of breeds can often override genetic problems.

Contact the guide dog association (sorry I am biased). The training of guide dogs (and other social service dogs) is not a perfect science. As such, you always get some puppies who are unsuitable for the stressful life of a guide dog. The guide dog association makes these puppies available for adoption. They also desex the animal before giving it to you. The great advantage of social service dogs is that very rarely have any genetic issues.

Finally, make sure that you are capable of controlling any dog you get. I know that in the movies, every tough-guy has a rottweiler or a pit-bull on the end of his leash, however, please do not get in over your head.


PS. Having been bitten on a couple of occasions, I especially hate Yorkshire Terriers!!!

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poor dogs...the one in the middle looks like an emperor with a long mustache

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Timorborder--great info you've given us!

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a couple generations ago, there would have been three kids in the stroller not dogs.

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I prefer mutts. They tend to be smarter and healthier.

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Good infos, Timeborder.

I once heard that those puppies that are not sold in pet shops are put down too, because there's no place for them. So sad.

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I have heard that unwanted puppies in this country (and dogs for that matter) used to end up on the dissection slab at veterinary schools, etc. Obviously, when such information became widely known, there was a bit of a backlash. Talking to my local vet (and some of his colleagues), these days many veterinary students actually have problems getting enough hands-on experience with cadavers. As such, on graduation from university some (like young doctors) face a rather deep learning curve.

Considering this, here is another nugget of advice for any potential dog owners. When you get your dog make sure that you find a good vet (who in my case was somebody who was not apt to run from the room in stark terror on first seeing my larger dog). Anyway, in the course of your dealings with this person, find out about donating your dog (when they die) to a veterinary school. This might sound a bit callous, however, it is a lot better than being at the mercy of the vultures in this country that run pet funeral services (such a stupid idea). Moreover, if your dog is interesting enough, the vet might even give you a discount if you rent it out to him in order to impress his colleagues (lol).

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Dogs dont want ribbons and be pushed around in carts. These stupid people use dogs as convenient baby substitutes...

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i have friend that volunteers at a pet shelter. she said people abandon their dogs at the first incovenience and the industry will not donate any money to the shelter as the dogs that are put to sleep only create more business.

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These stupid people use dogs as convenient baby substitutes...

some people can't or shouldn't have babies. I don't see this as a bad thing.

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If you want a pet, please check out this site:


Adopt a pet! Save a life!

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well....no, not worth the breath to get started on this charade.

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Did they just come out of the box and still have packing foam attached to them?

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these are substitute for kids, cheaper to raise and easier to handle

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