Do something that scares you.

The fun of the show

All the fun of the Show ©2015. A beginner handler and dog (Rocky & myself) depicted in a competitive obedience ring with learner plates and a multitude of distractions around us. 

Take a competitive obedience newbie add a two year old Rottweiler dog from the pound, mix well and you get quite a year!

We’ve had many ups and a few downs but finding the right trainer was key. Her socratic approach to teaching with my philosophical attitude means in the past 9 months I’ve learned to control my reaction to challenging situations both inside and outside the competition ring.

There’s a famous quote, sometimes attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, concerning doing something everyday that scares you. I guess what she meant by that is to challenge yourself and you might learn something new.

I’m not saying that everybody should adopt a Rottweiler from a pound  and compete with him (but feel free if you have the time and space, there are loads of beautiful dogs waiting for their forever home at your local shelter) but I wholeheartedly recommend doing something new and sticking with it, even when you feel like giving up; the experience could be life changing.

Which dog breeds are more likely to bite? An Irish perspective.

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 14.43.44

Illustration © Lili Chin

‘Rottweilers…..don’t they bite?’ she asked.

As the lady posing the question already owns a dog she should know all dogs have the potential to bite. She went on, quite smug;

I have a Golden Retriever‘.

As she didn’t expand the conversation any further, I’m guessing her implication was that dog bites are something Golden Retriever owners don’t often think about. But they should.

I have written before about the problems regarding breed specific legislation (bsl) following the publishing of O’Súilleabhán’s research on the substantial increase in hospitalisations due to dog bites since it’s introduction. He argues that..

“Regulating breeds places restrictions on dogs that pose little risk and ignores the possibility that any breed is capable of inflicting serious injuries” 

(O’Súilleabhán, P. 2015).

  Ill-judged legislation, coupled with an absence of a proper educational campaign with supports to encourage responsible dog ownership leaves government policy with regard to ‘controlling’ dogs recklessly unbalanced.

Since the government vilified in stone, 11 breeds of dog in this country, hospitalisations in this country as a result of dog bites increased by nearly 50%.

The lady who asked a very specific question about Rottweilers might do well to consider the study published in 2012 by O’Sullivan and Hanlon  which reviewed dog control data from Cork for the year 2007.

“the experience of a growl or snarl from a restricted breed is more likely to result in a complaint to the authorities than would similar behaviour from a non-restricted breed. It is the authors’ view that this reflects the media derived perception amongst the public that the restricted breeds pose a more significant public danger.” 

The research found that although people were more likely to report incidence of aggression (a snarl or growl) from a dog on the restricted breeds list, the actual threat to public safety, in the form of dog bites, came from a variety of breeds;

The top offenders when it came to dog bites were Terriers, German Shepherds, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Springer Spaniels and Collies

(you’ll notice only one of those breeds is on the restricted breeds list. See the table here ).

So in answer to the lady with the Golden Retriever; my dogs are just as likely not to bite as yours (possibly, as studies have shown, even less likely) which is why dog control legislation in this country needs a serious overhaul in conjunction with a canine awareness education programme rolled out through all the schools.


The Aim of Art…… – Aristotle

Rocky Text with rose

image copyright

Since contacting the house of Givenchy with regard to one of their designers’ depiction of a snarling Rottweiler (click for full post here) I have been working on some alternative images with one of my rescue Rottie’s, who, it turns out, not only loves obedience competitions, but also posing in front of the camera.

I’ll pass it onto Givenchy on the off chance they’re looking for some original, un-clichéd images of Rottweilers.

Rocky Rabbit 2

image copyright

Update – Reply from Givenchy this morning. 

Givenchy designer, Riccardo Tisci reveals lifelong love of Rottweilers.

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Riccardo Tisci

Panic over, all has been explained (see my previous post, My Letter to Givenchy Re: Rottweiler Sweatshirt). Riccardo Tisci (designer for Givenchy) actually loves Rottweilers, and would have always wanted one as a kid, I have been reliably informed.

Rottweiler Sweatshirt

The big snarling depiction featured in his Fall/Winter 2011 collection was simply reflecting the his mood at the time. In honour of this new information on the designer and his artistic inspiration, I updated his wikipedia page (see above).