"Pet People" - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 164 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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"Pet People"

Can we stop using this term to describe people who don't work or show their dogs?

I find it offensive when people who work their dogs or people that show their dogs call people who don't do either "pet people" and they say it as if we are beneath them. I am sure at some point in their lives they have owned or currently do own a "pet." Some people that work their dogs or show their dogs don't even consider those dogs as pets, they are strictly working dogs or show dogs and they don't live as cherished members of a family like most "pets" do. Not all of them are like this but some are.

Maybe some of us "pet people" have dogs that aren't cut out for working or showing, maybe we have anxiety and can't handle being around large groups of people, maybe we can't physically do that type of training or showing, maybe we don't have that kind of money, maybe we have busy lives and can't do that stuff at the moment.

Also not everyone that only wants a "pet" goes through bybs. Although I do only own "pets" I still will buy puppies from breeders that either show or work their dogs. Health and temperment are important to me.

I train my dogs, I take them everywhere I can, when I am not at work I spend all of my time with them, I make sure they get Vet care, they are fed a high quality diet, they get exercise, they have tons of toys, they get spoiled and they are my life so please don't treat me as if I am beneath you because my dogs don't have titles.

I am sure other "pet people" feel the same way. I just had to get that out.


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post #2 of 164 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 09:04 AM
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Honestly I prefer the term "active companion" myself

It's not the term itself, I've seen many times owners with actual working dogs refer to their dogs as pets, so it's not the wording so much as the attitude implied by many people that use it. It's become a derogatory term

Also, just because the dog isn't titled doesn't mean that they aren't being trained and working in one or more venues. It may be that they are working towards titles or it's just for fun - I don't see those people as strictly "pet people" either. Unless the person outright comes out and says "I have absolutely no interest in exercising or training my dog" and the dog is literally just an fur rug expected to sit in a corner and keep quiet, than I’m not saying boo or implying they’re better or worse than me.

On the other hand when does a dog magically graduate out of being just a "pet" dog, when it gets a BH, RN, HIC, CGC, etc?

Sometimes the “pets” get more exercise and attention than dogs that are titled in multiple venues, most active owners are out at least once a day walking their dogs, spending time lounging on the couch, or playing fetch with their “pets” while there are dogs out there that live in kennels except for the few hours that are spent training. I don’t agree with people looking down on those people either, if the dog is happy it’s happy – who cares if it gets 30 minutes or 3 hours exercise a day.

The “holier than thou” attitude is getting tiring and of course PC is even worse. I can’t even say “we’re all dog owners so get along” without offending multiple people because they don’t like the term “owners” and prefer “guardian” or something else.


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post #3 of 164 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 09:14 AM
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I am a pet person, I don't mind the term. Most use it as a way to differentiate ways of looking at certain aspects of dog ownership, training etc.. no big deal. Those that use it to be condescending, are usually trying to make up for something lacking within themselves and have to have an ego boost by inflating their own self worth.
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post #4 of 164 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 09:31 AM
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The way I look at it, it is all in how you define the words. My dog gets training, has a couple minor titles, and we are still working toward the next one. She is very much my pet though, as are my cats. I love her and she lives in my house in my room, stays with me in my office while I work, and sleeps right next to my bed in her crate. She is a work in progress pet dog I guess. How do you define that?


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post #5 of 164 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 09:35 AM
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I think it depends on the way it's presented. Some people sneer it out in a condescending tone as if they've never owned a "pet" in their lives. I use the term "general public". In my mind, there are people that train their dogs, whether as "pet people" or sport, and there is the general public who are oblivious to their surrounding and the fact that their dog is not only off leash but in fact aggressive.

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post #6 of 164 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 09:40 AM
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It's jerky and condescending. I tend to think of pet people as the people who have infuriating little dogs with bad manners and little training. Even the cat has a job in my house...


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post #7 of 164 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 09:46 AM
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One of my friends posted on fb a nasty comment about the 'pet people' vs the ones that work dogs.... he dabbles in IPO when it is convenient, he is hardly committed to training on a weekly basis.

"It's wonderful you have a pet German Shepherd. He's probably a nice PET but do not confuse your PET with my WORKING DOG. We have HUNDREDS of hours of training in my dogs 2.5 years of life. Your dog and my dog are not the same.

This is why I don't like telling people I have a German Shepherd. Everyone that has a PET GSD wants to think they have a protection dog. It's a pet,
no more, no less."

I don't know why he felt the need to post that, it ticked me off because it was so condenscending.

Here are the comments~
My comment: My GSD's are companions, I don't consider the one I train extensively to be a WORKING dog. He doesn't have a job, other than to be happy and healthy.
17 December 2013 at 08:00 · Like

OP response to me: But Jane, he (Karlo) is from a very strong pedigree. He isn't just a pet, he's a sport dog. He has been trained and has a purpose. To say that you have a GSD and compare them to my dog isn't a fair comparison. My dog is social, hangs out with the family, and goes places with me. That's doesn't mean he is the same as a Pet GSD. More to the fact that this person was trying to say their dog can do what mine can. People have no idea how much work we put into these guys!

comment: They will never understand - that is why the working and pet world is so divided....This is also why I am slowly getting out of pet training..
17 December 2013 at 09:44 · Like

My comment: I guess it doesn't matter to me....If someone asks what I do with my dogs, I just say competitive sport. If they want to know more, I explain. Even though Karlo is from *strong* lines, he's much easier to manage than my poorly bred GSD's/more stable too.

comment from someone who does have actual working SAR dogs: They all mean the same to the owners no matter what they do. The pet owners heart breaks just as hard as mine does when the time comes to put them down.

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Last edited by onyx'girl; 03-27-2014 at 09:51 AM.
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post #8 of 164 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 09:49 AM
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I'm not opposed to the term either. It's 'pet parent' that I don't like, lol. But most dogs that are worked are also pets in their down time. It does mean a different lifestyle, but it doesn't mean it's a lesser life. A pet's life could even be better, and more challenging, depending on the circumstances. I think when people get upset and use the term as an insult, it's because they don't want to have the breed watered down to the point that particular traits are bred out so that they can be something they were never meant to be. Or when people can't appreciate them as they are.
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post #9 of 164 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 09:52 AM
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too old to let stuff like this bother me.
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post #10 of 164 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 09:53 AM
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That's terrible Jane. It's sheer snobbery.

My dogs are pets. First and foremost, my dogs are pets. I don't care what kind of training and time I put into them. Seger has a great pedigree and is a blast to train. So looking forward to the training journey with him. BUT...At the end of the day, my dogs lay in at my feet and watch TV with me. They are pets that do sport.

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