When Normal Shouldn't Be
I have found a new catch phrase in the past few weeks, “normalisation does not mean normal”.
Just because many dogs in a breed do a certain thing, does not mean that it is normal for the breed. This includes things like:
- Staffie Slouch
- Pug Slump
- Jack Russell Skip
- Chubby Labradors
Given how well known these conditions are, it can be hard to sit back and recognise that these might actually be signs that something has gone wrong. Saying that these conditions are normal for the breed is short sighted and prevents these dogs from maximising their potential for a long, comfortable and fully functional life.
If you think that Labradors require a layer of fat to cover them, please read my discussion on Why Keep Pets Lean. I have seen plenty of fit, skinny labradors working in water without issues. Pet labradors involved in ordinary pet activities really don’t need an extra layer of fat when we know that it is detrimental to their health.
By using the excuse that ‘Labradors are just chubby’ and not taking responsibility for the animal’s weight, by managing its diet and exercise, you sell that dog short.
To me, settling for the common knowledge and leaving your dog in a situation where they are uncomfortable, at a higher risk of injury, or just aren’t able to reach their potential, fails the common sense test. If your dog is having an issue, the common sense thing to do is to try and find a solution, so that their lives are happier and better.
I will review why skipping and slouching/slumping are also not ‘normal’ functional movements for any dog regardless of how normal if may appear within certain breeds. Each of them are big topics however and deserve their own posts.