Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My Response To Eric Zorn Of The Chicago Tribune

My response to Eric Zorn’s column on banning pit bulls in Chicago:

"Why not simply let the market decide."

Again, this is why I say your "solutions" are socialist. The market ISN'T going to be able to decide, if your plans are enacted. Geez. You ban the breed. Is that market forces in action? You mandate insurance at rates so high that no insurance company will offer them? Is that market forces in action? You put penalties so high that insurers won't touch the risk involved. Is that market forces in action?

" I'd like you to tell the parents of those kids who were mauled in McHenry Country that the attack and the severity of the damage done to their children had nothing to do with the breed of dog -- they could just as easily have been beagles"

I work with dangerous dogs all the time. I have no difficulty in recommending euthanasia for a vicious dog. But I'm not going to pretend that your solution will make kids safe.

The pit bull problem is a drug dealer / gang / criminal dog fighting problem, first and foremost.

Chicago is a haven for crime. The liberal solution is to blame an animal or a gun or some object for the problems of society. Did outlawing pit fighting stop pit fighting? Or do you have to break up criminal gangs to stop the pit fighting. OH, but those poor kids are victims! Can't blame them! Did you know that when Germany passed its pit bull ban, that it was in response to gang activity, primarily from their Muslim immigrant communities? France is burning. Do you think that if they ban dog ownership altogether in Germany, that the pit fighting would stop, or the crime in the ghettos? Same with Chicago. Your town is corrupt, from the mayor on down. How about writing about that? What is your plan for that?

Who backs the breed banning pit bull legislation? What groups work against dog ownership? Animal rights wackos and the emotional, but uninformed.

Dog trainers, breeders, and most veterinarians... experts... say the bans won't work.

Are you aware how easy it is to create another breed? Have you seen the new Puggle craze? So, how do you stop me from breeding a new "pit bull" dog? I could even make it look like a German Shepherd, or a Lab, or anything else with selective breeding.

Sam Basso


Have you ever considered how you store medications in your home? Many of them are lethal if your dog swallows them. My dog almost died after swallowing an Aleve. He was in the hospital for 3 days, coughing up, and defecating blood. It severely ulcerated his stomach, and he could have bled to death internally. I now am very careful to quarantine all my medications in locked containers in my bathroom. They aren’t left on counters or tables, anywhere in my home, period. I almost lost my dog, and I won’t let it happen again.

UPDATE: Fatal Dog Attack Will Not Result In Criminal Charges Against Owner

The Milam County sheriff says charges are not likely against the owner of six dogs that killed a Thorndale woman… The dogs involved in the attack were more than 2-feet-tall each. They were inside a three-foot gate, with the door open.

OK, here is the update on this dog attack. A 3 foot fence is NOT adequate for containing a dog. No wonder the dogs got out. Even though it appears the owner will not be charged with a crime, this attack, in my opinion, assuming the facts of the case are as they appear in the news, should have resulted in charges against the owner.

But, also, the city involved might also be at fault. In some cities and communities, it is illegal to put up a 6 foot fence in your yard. Those types of laws need to be repealed.

Only PROBATION? For Beating A Dog With A Baseball Bat? I AM OUTRAGED!

Man gets probation for beating dog
Posted: Tuesday, Nov 29, 2005 - 11:25:36 am CST
By Jen Scherer
Daily News staff writer

A Beloit man who severely beat a dog with a baseball bat will serve probation, and cannot own pets for three years, as a result of the crime.

Join The Dog Holocaust Forum!

Do you want to be notified of the latest news concerning breed bans, and work with others to coordinate their defeat? Then you need to join the Dog Holocaust forum.

On 9 July 2000, in response to a quickly approaching deadline (at which time Germany was to begin euthanizing innocent pets) dee dee Andersson of the United States, Anne Griffin of the United Kingdom and Catherine Walker of Austria joined together to found the DogHolocaust International Mailing List. They had a clear goal - stop breed specific laws (BSL) from being written or enforced. DogHolocaust evolved and became a strong statement for anti-breed-specific legislation. DogHolocaust is totally independent of any other organization and welcomes responsible input from dog registry services around the globe or responsible media articles pertinent to the battle against BSL. From its inception the DogHolocaust effort has never wavered from its mission. Rational letter writing, petition signing and friendly demonstrations of protest are encouraged. DogHolocaust is earning and will continue to earn respect and cooperation in the worldwide dog community and from those persons in positions to effect quality changes in legislation that would, indeed, punish the deed and NOT the breed.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

List Of Anti-Dog Legislators

Analysis of Fatal Texas Dog Attack

“Texas Woman Mauled to Death by Six Dogs
Nov 27 2:52 PM US/Eastern
A pack of six dogs mauled a 76-year-old woman to death as she worked in her yard, authorities said. Lillian Loraine Stiles was riding on a lawn mower in her front yard Saturday when she was confronted by the dogs, described as pit bull- Rottweiler mixed breeds, said Milam County Sheriff Charlie West. Investigators think Stiles was attacked when she got off the mower and headed into her house. Stiles had severe bites over her entire body, and a man who tried to help her was bitten on one leg, authorities said.”


Ok, let’s assume that this story is complete and accurately tells what happened in this dog bite case. How should this kind of incident be evaluated? I have a questionnaire for evaluating such cases:

1.) Was this legitimate self defense? No. The dogs were not being threatened by this woman, though the dogs might have felt threatened by the sounds and motion of her lawn mower. I do not feel that socialized and well adjusted dogs feel threatened by the sounds of a lawn mower. A police dog, which is a dog that has been bred and trained to attack, has to work around all sorts of machinery. A police dog that became aggressive at the sound of machinery would be removed from the K9 patrol. Such behavior would be considered the result of faulty temperament, regardless of the breed or mix of breeds.

2.) Was this defense of territory? Yes. The dogs were owned by a neighbor. What we consider our property, and what dogs consider their territory, don’t always match up. Dogs typically guard a much larger territory than just our property boundaries. It is normal dog behavior to confront, and sometimes attack, territorial intruders.

3.) Was this defense of pack (including family and family pets)? No. There is no indication that any dog of this pack or the owner were being threatened by the victim.

4.) Was this a result of the establishment of a reasonable pack order within the home? No. This woman was not part of the household.

5.) Was this puppy mouthing (which is not the same as being aggressive)? No. This was an attack.

6.) Did the victim assume the risk of being bitten while training these dogs? No. She was not training, grooming, or professionally handling/ managing the dogs.

7.) Was this an attack for legitimate police, sport protection (like Schutzhund, French Ring Sport, IPO, KNPV, etc.), and personal security work? No.

8.) Was this biting incident part of a legitimate hunting purpose? No.

9.) Was this an accidental bite? No. The dogs didn’t accidentally maul this woman. The attacking dogs bit with aggression.

10.) Were these dogs in pain and injured, or ill? No. We have no evidence of these dogs being sick or injured.

11.) Is this a false claim (not an attack by the dogs at all)? No. The dogs are implicated in this woman’s death.

12.) Had the victim previously abused these dogs? No. We have no evidence of this.

13.) Was the victim provoking the dog to bite? No. We have no evidence of this.

14.) Was the victim interacting with the dogs without the permission of the owner? No. No evidence of this.

15.) Was the owner present when the attack occurred? No.

16.) Was the victim committing a violent crime when she was attacked? No.

17.) Did someone let these dogs loose to run the neighborhood without the owner’s permission? No. We have no evidence of this. But this needs to be investigated further.

18.) Did the owner take reasonable precautions to contain his dogs when he couldn’t supervise them? We don’t know. We have no evidence of this.

19.) Was this the result of a neighbor dispute gone bad? No. We have no evidence of this.

20.) Have there been previous incidents with these dogs and this owner? No. We have no evidence of this.


1.) Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. The purpose of this article isn’t to point fingers and judge other people without the facts. Instead, this is a philosophical discussion, using a case study to make a point. We are assuming that the story tells all the known facts of the case. We can be sure that more facts will come out over time which could exonerate both the owner and the dogs. That being said, if the story is 100% accurate as to the circumstances, these are my opinions (in fact, everything written in this blog is my opinion, and stated from these same assumptions). If the story changes, then my opinions might change. However, my philosophy on dog behavior and what constitutes responsible dog ownership remain constant.

2.) The dogs are probably normal dogs, when alone. However, when you let a pack of dogs run loose, they will do things that they would never do individually. This is why we require owner supervision of dogs when off leash, and kennels / fences / crates / closed doors when dogs are unsupervised. Good dogs, in the hands of irresponsible dog owners shouldn’t be put down. Good dogs should be removed from the home and placed with responsible dog owners… even if they attacked someone. If a dog is put in a bad situation, then it is just going to be a dog.

3.) Each dog should be evaluated for viciousness. A vicious dog is an unstable dog that has dangerous and aggressive temperament flaws. Such dogs are often fear biters, not good with children and puppies, and will bite in circumstances that would indicate the dog is unpredictable and dangerous. All vicious dogs should be put down (put to death).

4.) It should be determined how the dogs got loose. If a malicious person let the dogs loose without the owner’s knowledge or consent, then the owner should not be held liable. That malicious person should be punished for the harm caused. If the owner was negligent in managing and containing his dogs, then he should be the one punished. If the person who let the dogs loose was a minor, then the parents of that minor should be held liable.

5.) We might just have one dog that was responsible for this attack, and the other dogs just happened to be there at the wrong time. It is important to identify any vicious dogs and put them down, and not blame the good dogs that just happened to be present at the time of the attack. What if one of the dogs turns out to be a friendly Chihuahua? Should that dog be put down? Of course not.

6.) If the owner is found to have had negligent supervision and containment of these dogs, and no one else is implicated, then this attack should be deemed a crime and the appropriate punishment should be given to the owner.

7.) It is irrelevant what breeds were involved. This could just as easily been a pack of mixed Golden Retrievers, Australian Cattle Dogs, and four Greyhounds. Dogs act differently in a pack than they will alone.

Just because we are pro-dog advocates doesn’t mean we should excuse all dogs and dog owners when an attack happens.

Understand The Philosophy Behind Animal Rights

Have you ever taken the time to evaluate why Animal Rights activists are socialists and communists, and why they tend to vote Democratic in the United States, and socialist/ communist in other countries of the world?

Think about what the Animal Rights activists need to accomplish in order to eliminate all domesticated animals (dogs, cats, cows, birds, sheep… you name it…)

Their literature indicates the following strategies:

1.) Stop the “objectifying” of other animals. To do this, they must control the language we use and the media. Thus, you find the making of certain types of TV shows and movies depicting animals with human characteristics and emotions.

2.) Stop “commodifying” animals. They must stop the sale of all animals. Thus, they are going to be for any kind of regulations that can be dreamt up which make the sale of any animal, or animal by product, more expensive or illegal. This is why they have to take an anti-capitalist, pro-socialist/ communist stance, and why they tend to be on the Far Left.

3.) Stop consumption of animals. They must make us think it is repulsive to eat animals, by propagating lies such as the food is contaminated, or that we are eating the equivalent of our own children. Again, this is an anti-capitalist agenda.

4.) Stop private ownership of animals as property. Thus, they will fight for laws that eliminate the breeding, housing, transport, ownership, etc. of animals. In very liberal parts of the US, it is practically impossible to legally open and operate a boarding kennel, have a barn, breed an animal, or own multiple pets. This is all part of the agenda of the Animal Rights activists. Thus, when you find your land prices going up, your zoning changing, your homeowner’s regulations tightening, your ability to have a barn on your property taken away, your farm or kennel or home restricted from having any animals on or in them, etc… making it impossible to own a pet or to raise farm animals… look to the animal rights sympathizers on your local city / county / state legislatures and councils. Again, this requires them to take an anti-growth, anti-capitalist, pro-socialist/ communist stance. They will tend to come from the Democratic Party in the US, or the socialist / communist political parties of other countries.

5.) Define animals as equal individuals to humans in the law. Thus, we see the re-defining of pet “ownership” to pet “guardianship”, to elevate the status of animals to that of humans, and to open the door for human welfare laws to apply equally to animals.

It is important to understand the theoretical, philosophical basis for Animal Rights in order to preserve our rights to reasonably own a dog, of any breed.

So, when you see me go off on the collectivists, socialists, and communists in this world… you have to understand that these movements go directly counter to your right to own a dog. This stuff is being taught in your kid’s schools, in universities, and in law schools. It is being implemented every day, in countless ways, in all our laws. Most of the time, it is a hidden agenda and you won't see it. Unless you can spot the trends and what they mean, you won’t know to fight back.

Don't Buy A Puggle For Christmas!

My predictions about the Puggle are coming true. I have been receiving some feedback on owning a Puggle, and owners are confirming that they are hard to housetrain, they are very nose oriented, they don’t obey very well, and act much like a Beagle.

If you wouldn’t want to own a Beagle, you won’t want to own a Puggle. Study Beagles and see if they would work for your home and lifestyle.

Beagles can make great pets, but many families, especially with small kids, have trouble owning Beagles. They are a specialty breed and they aren’t for first time, inexperienced dog owners.

We still don’t know if the adult dogs are going to be healthy or have a ton of expensive medical problems.

Ignore my advice at your own peril... because if this dog doesn't work out for you, you are going to be one of many who drops this poor dog off at a shelter somewhere. It happened when Dalmatians were the fad after the "101 Dalmatians" movie, and then 2 years later the shelters were full of them. It is wrong to get a dog, if you aren't SURE this dog will be with you for the rest of its natural life.

My advice continues to be: DON’T BUY A PUGGLE!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What Should I Feed My Dog?

I am not a canine nutritionist, nor am I an expert in nutrition or medicine. But, even so, after having dogs for about 25 years, and working with many dogs and a wide variety of dog owners, you learn a few things about what to feed a dog. So, the following are my beliefs, philosophy and recommendations concerning dog nutrition. If you are an expert in dog nutrition, I welcome your feedback and thoughts on this article.

First, I am of the firm opinion commercial dog foods are NOT nutritionally complete or balanced. This opinion has come over a long period of time, but now I know this is true. I used to be too rigid in only feeding commercial dog foods. I now know this was a mistake. In an ideal world, you could buy fresh dog food from the grocery store, just like you purchase your own food. The only problem with buying real food and making it up for your dog is you have to be a dog nutritionist to get the right mix of nutrients. If you malnourish your dog, you’ll cause long term illnesses in your dog. I think a lot of dog owners are kidding themselves, and harming their dogs, by making up their own diets for their dogs. On the other hand, as I mentioned, I believe commercial dog foods are not healthy either. So here is what I’m doing with all my dogs:

  • 85% to 90% (by weight of the food) of the diet will be made up of a high quality commercial dog food, alternating between canned AND dry. Working dogs, meaning dogs that are involved in regular, exhausting, long duration and high intensity physical exercise, will need more calories in the form of proteins and fats. A good way to supplement the diet of adult working dogs (meaning dogs that are engaging in regular, strenuous work) would be to switch to either a puppy food or one of the diets made specifically for working dogs.

  • 10 to 15% (by weight of the food) of the diet will be made up of table scraps; primarily consisting of (measured by weight analysis) of organ meats;

  • The organ meats (liver, heart, green tripe, etc.) should come from a variety of animal sources; I would also add some cooked grain (oatmeal, rice, bread) or cooked vegetable (potato, carrot), and a dog multivitamin to the diet a couple times per week; this figures as a component part of the 10 to 15% of the table scraps. Examine the types of grains and vegetables the commercial dog food manufacturers use to help identify which ones are digestible by dogs;

  • NO added, off-the-shelf high potency supplements; however, if certain breed related diseases can be addressed, prevented or delayed nutritionally, I will add supplements that have solid scientific research recommendations from major universities (see example below).

I do believe the commercial dog food manufacturers are on the right track in blending dog foods. They have been studying canine nutrition for many years. However, I think they are so concerned with having a scientifically studied diet, and in making money, they lose perspective concerning what a real animal in the real world needs to survive and be healthy. I think it is time they started looking at how wild animals eat in the wild, and we shouldn't try to just feed our dogs the equivalent of a commercial "fast food" diet. Commercial diets aren’t ideally suited to dogs, and we should trend away from them. I guess the best diet would be whole, fresh animals, but I think that would be difficult to implement for the average person

Wild canines are carnivorous, meaning they seek to primarily eat animals. Wild canines eat a variety of living creatures, from fish to insects to rodents to ungulates to birds. They also eat bird eggs. They also eat the animals whole. When a wolf kills a deer and eats it, the wolf consumes almost all of the deer, except consuming the largest bones. They eat hair, muscles, skin, organ meats, intestines, stomach and intestinal contents (predigested plant food), and the bone marrow. The most dominant wolves eat first, so they tend to eat the best of the animal, going for the prime midsection/ soft parts. The lower ranked wolves get the rest, which might leave them with the less desirable and nutritious parts. Wolves also graze and eat plant materials, but it isn't a significant part of their diets, which is why they are categorized as being carnivores. The amounts and types of plants a wild dog eats depends upom the canine species, where they live, and the scarcity of animal types of food available at different times of the year. Wild canines are adapted to the diets they find where they live. Where the diets are insufficient, you could expect them to move on or die out. Where the diets are sufficient and healthy, you should expect to find thriving, healthy packs and individuals. The main thing to notice is that they don't just eat the muscle meat of the animal. They eat the whole animal, focusing on the softer and better body parts. If they only ate the muscle meats, such as that found on the legs, back and neck, they wouldn't get sufficient nutrients to survive. The internal organs make up the best part of their diet. In addition, the predigested food in the stomach of the prey is also highly nutritious, and is necessary for the survival of the predator. I remember when my dog, Dillon, was having digestive problems as a puppy. He would get diarrhea, regardless of what I fed him. My friend, and master trainer, Armin Winkler, recommended that I feed him some green tripe. Green tripe is the stomach of a deer or cow, but still contains the foods that the animal was eating at the time it was slaughtered. At the time, Armin Winkler lived in a rural area of British Columbia (he is now located in Virginia). He sometimes hunted deer. So, he gave me some frozen green deer tripe to feed Dillon. It was his recommendation that the intestinal flora and enzymes in the green tripe would help Dillon's digestive system, in the same way eating yogurt helps the human digestive system. Try studying green tripe. It would be a good idea to include it in your dogs diet. I have found that it can improve a dog's digestion, as evidenced by better stools.

Commercial dog food is typically a blend of one kind of meat and one or two types of grain, supplemented with some vitamins and minerals. The foods we feed our dogs require the dog food manufacturer to add vitamins because the blends they are creating are starting out unbalanced. Wolves, jackals and African wild dogs don’t need vitamin supplements. They get all they need from the food they eat. Since dogs are carnivores, commercial diets present a variety of feeding difficulties. By nature, dogs are body consumers, yet we feed them types of foods that their bodies were never programmed to eat. Thus, the foods we are feeding our dogs cannot be good for them. Their digestive systems are programmed for a carnivorous diet, yet we are feeding them an omnivorous diet. What we are doing to our dogs is like feeding a human the same diet as a cow. Our bodies are simply not designed to process the kinds of foods a cow can eat, and it will make us sickly if we try to eat what cows eat. And likewise, you can't feed a dog (a carnivore) the same diet as a cow (herbivore).

I think it is unreasonable to expect the food manufacturers are including every nutrient a dog needs. They are trying to SIMULATE a natural diet. But what they produce is an artificial diet. And I firmly believe these diets are lacking nutritionally. Even when we eat food, we don’t eat a diet as restricted as what we are feeding our dogs. We can also tell when a food isn’t settling with us, or not making us feel our best, so we change what we eat from meal to meal, and from day to day. We know if we eat all "fast food", or prepared foods, we don’t feel as well as if we eat fresh meats, vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits. Why would we expect our dogs would feel well, and stay healthy, eating highly restricted, prepared diets? (As a side note, I will no longer feed lamb and rice commercial dog food. Studies indicate that these diets are not well digested and can result in serious malnutrition.)

Thus, I figure you will meet most of your dogs nutritional needs if you feed them no more than 85 or 90% commercial dog food. I think it is a good idea to piggyback off of the research the food scientists have conducted, and apply that knowledge, in the form of prepared commercial dog food.

Yet, on the other hand, you can’t assume everything about nutrition (dog or human) has been tested and proven in a laboratory. Every day, we learn something new about nutrition, right?. One of the latest discoveries is the value of Omega 3 Fatty acids (found in fish and flax seed oils) and antioxidants (such as green tea and red wine). Who knows what new thing we will learn next year?

The problem is dog food is always prepared by manufacturers using yesterday’s proven knowledge, and designed in such a way to earn them a profit. You can’t wait for some scientist to discover they made a mistake, and instead, you should have been feeding something extra to your dog for the past 5 years. By the time they learn their dog food was nutritionally lacking, your dog could have developed a serious medical problem. Similarly, you have to figure that most people wouldn't pay more to feed their dogs, so even if the manufacturers provided a better food, the people would opt for the one with the cheapest price.

Here’s a real life example. A couple years ago, it was discovered cats fed commercially prepared cat foods were dying in abnormally large numbers from Cardiomyopathy (a fatal condition resulting from an enlarged heart). Researchers discovered cat food was missing an important ingredient: taurine. The lack of taurine was causing Cardiomyopathy and killing pet cats all over the world. Today, taurine is found in all cat foods. Thus, the commercial pet food manufacturers were directly responsible for killing a huge number of cats, just a few years ago, by selling nutritionally deficient cat foods. Now the research is turning to dogs. Researchers are asking: Are dog foods deficient in taurine, too, causing dogs to die of Cardiomyopathy? Try doing a simple search on the internet concerning the relationship between canine Cardiomyopathy and deficiencies in taurine, Acetyl L-carnitine, Coenzyme Q-10, and Omega 3 Fatty acids. It is likely imbalanced canine diets are causing Cardiomyopathy in many dogs. Cardiomyopathy is a fatal condition which kills most afflicted dogs by 5 years of age. It is also worth studying Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and aging. Studies indicate that you can restore cognitive functioning in older dogs by supplementing their diets with ALA. In fact, if you look into the ingredients used in the prescription diets for senile dogs, they include ALA as an ingredient. Two studies, one with rats and the other with dogs, indicated senile dogs acting young again after being given ALA! (I take all these supplements myself twice daily: taurine, ALA, acetyl l-carnitine, coenzyme Q10, and Omega 3 fatty acids from fish and flax seed oils... and I give them to my dog, too. It is interesting to note that the anti-oxidants I've been taking have eliminated the inflammation I have in my wrist from an injury I sustained last year in my martial arts class... the anti-oxidants have worked better than Aleve, aspirin, etc. and have no known side effects or dangers. I am now recommending to a friend that she try them on her old dog, who has some serious back pain from an injury as a young dog. We'll see if, in 90 days or so, she can get her dog off the opiates she is now giving him.) You should research the typical health problems of your breed of dog. Then study to see if there are scientific studies linking nutritional problems to that disease. You might be able to prevent or delay the onset of these diseases by changing your dogs diet. A good resource for current research papers is The National Academy of Sciences: You can verify all I'm saying here about nutritional deficiencies. Go look at the science for yourself.

I do find it troubling the prescription foods sold by veterinarians for dogs with heart disease are supplemented with taurine and L-carnitine. These manufacturers know these nutrients are necessary for dogs after they have been diagnosed with heart problems, but they aren’t supplementing their regular foods with these nutrients to prevent or delay Cardiomyopathy from developing in the first place. It would add several dollars to a bag of dry dog food if they added the taurine, l-carnitine, coenzyme q10, and omega 3’s. You have to wonder if the manufacturers make a profit decision to trade off nutrition for profits, and let some marginal dogs get sick. The studies on the heart conditions seem to indicate that the manufacturers know something is going on… especially when their prescription diets, which cost a fortune, have those nutrients in them. I do lay the blame for these diseases on two causes: breeding and diet. I wonder how these health related conditions crop up in these breeds. Have we been "pure breeding" for too many decades, and these maladies are the inevitable result? Should we start out crossing all these breeds to revive their immune systems? Do we tip some of these susceptible breeds over into these conditions by poor nutrition, bringing this on earlier? I do know that mixed bred dogs have a much lower incidence of Cardiomyopathy. Maybe what people have said over the years is really true: “I’ve had fewer health problems with the mutts I’ve owned than with the purebred dogs I’ve owned”. So, I wouldn't put all the blame on the food manufacturers. Probably 90% of these problems are the result of unscientific breeding practices. I'm sure it is time to open up the stud books, and allowing the breed clubs to use proper genetic practices to bring in fresh genes, and to selectively breed out these weaknesses.

Oh, and by the way, you will find many of the missing nutrients your dog needs will be found in the organ meats, such as liver, green tripe and heart. That is why I recommend feeding some cooked (baked) organ meats to your dog every day. I figure dogs should get liver about once per week, and other organ meats on the remaining days. Since liver is extremely high in some nutrients, you have to limit how much you give your dog. Thus, I wouldn’t feed more than a half teaspoon of liver to a small dog, a tablespoon or two to midsize dogs, and two or more tablespoons to large dogs, per week. With respect to the other organ meats, I’d probably double these amounts and feed them daily. I would also vary the types of organ meats I used. One week it would be chicken, the next beef, and so on. It is prudent, if you are going to feed organ meats, to research the species you are using to make sure there aren’t warnings about feeding that meat type to your dog. I would be fearful of feeding fish, shellfish, or bear organs to dogs without knowing if they were toxic. I am sure you’d be safe with beef and chicken, and probably deer would be ok. For one meal/ snack a day, I usually cook up organ meats for my dog. I chop it up, bake it, roll it in oatmeal (to add some phosphorus and potassium) or some kind of cooked vegetable, and crumble in a commercial dog vitamin tablet (if I had a miniature breed, I’d use about a quarter vitamin). Yes, I know, I'm feeding plant materials to my dog, just like I'm criticizing the commercial manufacturers of doing. The solution is to feed canned, green tripe, which you can find via the internet.

I also believe in giving dogs table scraps, assuming you feed a healthy diet. Table scraps are your leftovers. I just wouldn’t feed my dog anything very salty, no chocolate (it is poison to dogs), no onions, no grapes or raisins, nothing with hops in it, nothing I wouldn’t eat, nothing stale or spoiled, nothing with a sugary topping (sugar doesn’t settle with most dogs), nothing spicy hot, nothing I see upsets their stomach or causes diarrhea, and no big globs of fat (it is dangerous, for example, to give a dog a whole turkey skin, say at Thanksgiving… that much fat can kill a dog in one sitting). Meats, cheeses, breads, pancakes, flour tortillas, cereal, stew… you name it, can be fed to your dog. But, I'd focus on feeding cooked muscle meats, organ meats, things that resemble pre-digested plant materials, and fats, to simulate what the wolf would eat when it consumed the carcass of a deer. The more digestible the diet, the better your dog will look and feel, and the healthier your dog will be. For example, some dogs are lactose intolerant, so they can’t be given milk. On the other hand, many dogs are not lactose intolerant and can digest fresh milk. Do some research on each type of food ingredient you are going to give to your dog before you add it to your dog’s diet. Make sure it isn’t toxic to dogs. Dogs can eat many people foods safely, and it will be good for them. Test a small amount on your dog at first, and see if it settles with the dog. If so, you can gradually increase that type of food, so long as it is digestible. I don’t add salt to any food I feed my dog. They will get enough from the commercial food you are feeding them. If I am sharing my food with the dog, then I use very little salt or none at all, and add salt while eating my food. That way, I can give the table scraps to my dog and not give them excessive salt.

Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. The food a puppy eats results in the body it will have to live in until it dies. The idea is to feed a balanced, nutritionally complete diet. An imbalanced diet can cause a variety of diseases. If you are seriously interested in canine dietary needs, contact a veterinary college and purchase a couple of textbooks on canine dietary requirements.

Puppy food is different than adult dog food. Take a look at the packages of most puppy foods. They have different blends of nutrients than the adult dog foods. Generally puppies should remain on puppy food until their skeletal growth is complete. The way to determine when to take your pup off puppy food is to measure your dog’s height at the withers (the distance between the ground and the top of the shoulders while the dog is standing still). When your dog stops growing up vertically, keep your pup on puppy food for 2 additional months, and then switch to an adult dog diet.

Adult dogs should be fed adult dog food. I believe in buying foods that are as "natural" as you can find, meaning with the best ingredients. I generally believe the best foods can be determined by reading the ingredients listed on the package. You can usually find the best foods at specialty, small pet food stores. However, the major brands will sell premium quality dog foods I am sure are of good quality. Start reading the packages and ingredient lists. The ingredients should look healthy.

Older dogs need special attention. I strongly believe in weighing your dog each year to see if they are maintaining a healthy weight. When dogs start getting elderly, they can start to waste away, as their hearts and internal organs start to weaken and fail (be sure to start reading your dog First Aid book to learn about how to treat sick dogs, long before your dog gets to this point). These dogs should especially be monitored regarding diet. First, have the condition verified by your veterinarian. Then get to work and start studying the medical condition affecting your dog and look for ways to minimize the impacts through changes in diet. I have found that older dogs, in their latter years, will benefit by a change in diet. At some point, you might even have to "spike" their food with tasty bits in order to get them to consume enough calories to survive. I have used pasta, pancakes, ground beef, ground organ meats, yogurt, frequent changes in blends (chicken this week, beef the next, etc.) to keep them interested in eating (don't use salt on any foods for elderly dogs... most likely you are dealing with a dog with an old heart). At some point, you are just feeding them whatever they will eat to keep them alive. There will be a day when you might have to put your dog down, and you will know when that time comes, but there is no reason to give up on your dog when you can use diet tricks to keep them eating and feeling relatively well. I still remember the day when my dog, Kate, a Bouvier, at almost 12 years of age, wouldn't eat anymore. She had an old heart, which just couldn't sustain her body and digestion at the same time. I had gotten to the point of having to force feed her by stuffing moist food down her throat. I took her outside to defecate... she just stood there and defecated orange diarrhea all down the backside of her legs... she just looked at me, and I knew she couldn't go on like this any longer. As a healthy adult, she was 90 lbs of solid muscle. When I carried her into the veterinarian's office that night, she weighed only 65 lbs. Yes, I cried as they put the needle in her forearm to put her down (I believe they deserve the dignity of having their masters, whom they have served and loved so faithfully all those years with them, regardless of how hard it is for you). I will never take a dog this far again. I should have put her down once it got to the point that I couldn't get her to eat normally again. (Knowing what I now know about supplements, I could have probably prolonged her life another year or so, with a better quality of life... but at some point, I still would have had to put her down) I do think the way to approach the old dog dilemma is to first force feed a dog, if necessary, to bring them back to normal health. I have used a syringe with liquid dog food (a prescription liquid diet you can get from your veterinarian) to nurse a sick dog back to health. I have also force fed moist prescription diet dog food down a sick dog's throat (open the mouth, shove a spoonful of moist food to the very back of the throat, and the dog's swallowing reflex will cause the food to go down. Start with the supplements, if necessary and indicated, at the very start, to help the dog recover. If the dog is getting better, the dog will start showing some interest in eating solid foods, such as small amounts of chopped up organ meats ( sure to include some liver... it is good for many sick and recovering dogs). Then, you can start trying to add the chopped up organ meats into puppy food (has more calories... figure the dog has lost weight, so the extra calories will help recovery). Finally, you can get them back to a normal diet (as I have recommended above). Just because your dog won't eat, doesn't mean your dog should be put down. Ask your veterinarian if there are any foods that your dog should NOT eat, so you don't do something to make their condition worse. With some extra care, and close observation, you can often nurse a dog back to full appetite and normal health. Make sure you have gone the extra mile before you conclude you should put your dog down.

Cheap dog foods produce larger stools than higher quality, more digestible dog foods. I believe House training and clean up will go easier if your dog doesn’t have to defecate as frequently. Cheap dog foods produce more stools, requiring the pup to eat more food to get the same amount of nutrients, and results in more frequent, and larger volume, stools. Cheap dog food also results in a shabby looking dog. The coat will be dry, thinner, brittle and dull. The energy level of your dog will be off. And your dog won’t be in good condition. Good foods are more dense, nutritionally. They produce fewer stools, and give your dog more nutrients with less food volume.

You can generally figure out how digestible a dog food is by the following rules of thumb. First, the volume of the stools should be less than the volume of the food you feed the dog. Ideally, I want a dog food that produces half or less the amount of stool volume than the amount of food I fed the dog. Second, when you examine the stools, you shouldn’t find a large volume of remnants of the dog food you fed. If the food going in the dog looks exactly like the stools coming out of the dog, then the food isn’t very digestible. You examine a stool by breaking it up with a stick and looking at the components of the stool. The food should be digested. You shouldn’t find undigested food parts in the stools. Third, your dog shouldn’t be flatulent (pass digestive gases), cause your dog to vomit or cause diarrhea. When your dog has gas, it is an indication the food your dog is being fed isn’t settling with your dog. Find out what ingredient is causing the gas, and don’t feed that again to your dog. You might have to switch blends. Just remember, when you switch dog foods, you have to do it over a 7 to 10 day time frame. Gradually reduce the amount of the old food each day, as you blend in the required calories with the new food. So, the first day, you might be feeding 90% of the old food with 10% of the new food. By the tenth day, you’ll be now feeding 10% of the old food with 90% of the new food. Then on the eleventh day, your dog is completely off the old food eating the new food. This reduces the probability of diarrhea.

You don’t want to confuse palatability with quality. Just because your dog finds a dog food tasty doesn’t mean the food is good for the dog. On the other hand, you don’t want to feed a diet your dog finds distasteful. I have generally found that dogs like good foods.

Food preferences are acquired early on. I believe if you feed a dog a variety of different types of food as a puppy, they are more likely to have an interest in a wide variety of foods as an adult. This can be quite important when trying to use food treats for training, and possibly when you have to make a sick dog eat.

Food should be as fresh as possible. When I buy a dry dog food, I examine the package to see it is still intact and not punctured. I also sniff the food to see if it smells fresh. I then pour the dry dog food up into a large plastic container and seal it shut. Dry dog food goes stale in an opened bag. With canned or packaged food, I look for un-dented cans and un-punctured packages. Some dog foods will have expiration dates on them. I will try to get the freshest bag or can or container I can find. Even though I am using manufactured commercial dog food, fresh food is better for your dog than either canned wet or dry packaged dog food.

Don’t add high potency supplements! I believe these products are probably harmful to your dog. You usually find them being sold next to the pet foods. They come in small pouches or cans. I am of the firm belief these types of supplements can cause some types of diseases in puppies, such as Osteochondrosis Dissecans, a form of bone joint defect that results in the crumbling of cartilage in the hocks, elbows and knees, which results in lameness because of painful arthritis. You can cause Osteochondrosis Dissecans in large breed dogs by over supplementation. That is why large breed puppy foods have been specifically blended to be low in calcium. However, if certain breed related diseases can be addressed, prevented or delayed nutritionally, I will add supplements that have solid scientific research recommendations from major universities. When I do research, I usually limit my internet searches to *.pdf files from .org web site domains. That way, I screen out most of the supplement peddlers, and mostly get research papers from reputable scientists.

I also only use treats for training, not affection. Obese dogs die young and will cost you in higher medical bills. You should feed the bare minimum number of calories your dog needs to be lean and energetic. There are several studies indicating restricted calorie diets in puppyhood will result in fewer health problems later in life. I put the bowl down for 30 minutes, and the dog either eats what is there, or not. If not, I pick up the food and put it away. Young, growing puppies need more food than sedentary adult dogs. Active working dogs need more protein and fat in their diets, which you might need to add to what you are already giving them. Be sure to monitor your dogs health, and don't be lax in observing your dogs condition.

I have found that alternating wet and dry dog food will keep your dog’s teeth clean. Dry dog food helps scrub the plaque off your dogs teeth, yet the crumbs stick to the teeth and that leads to more plaque. Wet food doesn't stick to the teeth, yet, if you feed it exclusively, your dog will lose its teeth over time because they don't have to chew and exercise their teeth. Canine saliva has no enzymes to digest food, yet the dog's mouth has some kind of mechanism to fight tooth decay, and I have observed that after a couple of weeks of feeding wet food, you can see some of the plaque dissolve off of your dog's teeth. The way to keep your dogs teeth clean is a.) to feed some dry dog food; b.) feed some wet dog food; c.) brush your dog's teeth with dog toothpaste and learn to scale their teeth yourself; d.) encourage your dog to use chew toys, such as very large knuckle bones, Nylabones and odd shaped Kong toys; and e.) about once every other year, take your dog into the vet, have them anesthetize your dog, and let them professionally clean your dog's teeth of all plaque . Dental health is directly related to the overall health of your dog. Recent human studies have linked gum disease and heart disease. It is worth your time to study oral health, for yourself and for your dog.

With respect to older dogs, you need to evaluate their health. At 5 years of age, and every year thereafter, bring a urine and stool sample to your veterinarian for examination. Older dogs can sometimes benefit from specialized medical diets. If your dog develops a special medical condition that requires a specialized diet, learn all you can about the disease. You might have to buy a prescription diet from your veterinarian for your dog. But again, you can’t assume the prescription diets are nutritionally complete. Do some research into the disease, going to reputable sources (such as veterinary medical school web pages), and seeing what the latest research is saying about diet. You might need to supplement your dog’s diet to keep your dog alive. I know this from personal experience. I am convinced even the prescription diets are nutritionally deficient.

Copyright 2005 by Sam Basso, All Rights Reserved

Travelling With Your Dog

Man Burned Trying To Save Dog

July 27, 2001

By KOMO Staff & News Services
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK - He gave it his all to try to save his faithful family friend. A Shoreline man was treated for burns after he tried to rescue the family dog from a thermal pool in Yellowstone National Park. Thirty-nine-year-old Donald Hansen was taken to the University of Utah's Intermountain Burn Center in Salt Lake City after the incident Thursday afternoon. Hansen was treated for first- and second-degree burns from his elbows down and for first-degree burns to his knees. He was released Friday.
The Labrador, named Mocha, didn't survive. Mocha had jumped into the nearly 200-degree pool in the Lower Geyser Basin after bolting from the family's motor home. Park officials say Hansen was able to grab the dog, but couldn't hang on because of the heat.

Once a year my extended family goes on vacation. This year, we went to California. Of course, we brought the dogs, too!

Taking your dog on a summer vacation with you requires some advance preparation.

I am NOT a believer in flying dogs unless you are very careful about it. It is risky. If your dog gets lost along the way, say the airline puts the dog on the wrong flight, or gets stuck on some 100 degree runway, your dog would die. They will even shoot a dog that escapes onto a runway if they can’t get it back. I would consider flying if I had one of the miniature breeds that can fly with you in one of those tiny carry on fabric crates, or if I took a midnight non-stop flight to my destination.

It is worth considering the weather. Some dog breeds, like Pugs, don’t do well in hot temperatures, and others don’t do well in the cold. When choosing a dog, I always pick a breed that can handle hot weather, since I normally take vacations in the summer. I also take extra pains to get my dog in excellent shape before I leave town. A dog in good shape can handle hot weather better than one that is flabby and out of shape. They also handle the stresses of a trip better when they are in shape.

Hotels are also a major consideration. I make a special effort to find hotels that take pets. I want a first floor room, since it is quieter for the other guests if my dog plays in the room. I want a door near an exit, so I have an easier time of loading and unloading. I also want a room AWAY FROM THE LOBBY to make pottying easier and to be as inconspicuous as possible. I always assume that the hotel manager might not like dogs, so I try to be as invisible as possible.

Of course, I also brush up on my dog’s training and manners before I leave town. There is a serious risk that something bad can happen while on the road, since you and your dog are in unfamiliar situations! I tell this to people all the time. Unfortunately, some don’t believe me, and don’t take their training as seriously as I recommend.

I remember one customer, while we were halfway into the obedience training classes, saying “Well, I really didn’t want my dog to obey; I just wanted to give him an activity to do, so I signed up for lessons.” I remember thinking to myself, “HUH?! You paid all that money just to go through the motions? Don’t you realize that every dog eventually gets away from the owner? Don’t you love your dog enough to protect him through training?” I tried to explain the dangers to them, but they didn’t believe me. (Hmm, no wonder they only put in a halfhearted effort on the daily homework...) For me, I want INSTANT responses in dangerous situations, and I don’t want to have any hassles on trails, in the city, in the car, in the hotel room, elevators, hallways, or anywhere else!

My dog’s training was really useful a couple of weeks ago at the beach in Carmel, CA. It is an off leash beach (ever wonder why we can’t do that here?!) Dillon was having a grand old time with me, and at the same time visiting with other dogs. However, from time to time, I needed to call him back to me since he occasionally intimidates shy dogs because he is so confident and friendly. I called and he’d come back to me and walk with me until I released him to go and play with another dog.

When traveling, I am always concerned that Dillon gets enough exercise. When you are on a road trip, there are often days when you are just blowing by a lot of miles just to get to your next destination. So, for hours on end, your dog is laying there in the car doing nothing. If you have an active dog, s/he is going to be bouncing off the walls for lack of exercise when you get settled into your hotel room at night. That’s why it pays to teach your dog to play fetch. Then, you can find a small patch of grass somewhere nearby and burn off all that “steam” before bedtime.

Every trip, I always bring along chew toys and play toys. Dogs get bored, and if you have them in the habit of chewing a toy when they are bored, then that goes a long way towards keeping them out of trouble in the car and in the hotel room. I prefer Nylabones (plastic and edible ones), rubber bones, Kongs and rope toys. I bring a small variety so that I can rotate toys from day to day.

It is my philosophy that I want to make every day a good day for my dog, whether on vacation or not. Every trip is planned in such a way that my dog gets to do things along the way that will be enjoyable for him. Hikes, city walks, exercise/ play sessions, and personal time are all included.

I am especially careful in where I park the vehicle. I look for shady spots, places where the dog can walk on grass instead of hot pavement, covered parking garages, shady sides of buildings, and other sheltered areas. You have to know how well your dog can handle both cold and hot weather, and how fast your car heats up and cools down in order to do this properly. You will read that you shouldn’t ever leave your dog in a parked car… but that’s not accurate. Really it is no different than what a police, military, search and rescue, etc. dog goes through. You just have to be smart about it. In my daily life with my dog, he goes everywhere with me, and is in the vehicle during every appointment, throughout the year, regardless of the weather. Just remember, you should never leave a dog unattended in a car unless you have made plans to make sure the dog is going to be 100% safe. Here are some ideas:

Use a crate so that s/he can’t tear up the car or escape;

Stay out of the direct sunlight when parking the vehicle. If the vehicle is in direct sunlight, say at a restaurant, put all the windows down, park in a space where you can see the car from inside the restaurant, and check on your dog after 15 minutes, right after you order your meal, and again during the meal, or if you are concerned, just to see how things are going.

Put a thermometer in the car. You can buy them at pet stores in the reptile section. The programmable ones will record high and low temperatures, plus humidity. This is invaluable for determining your dog’s comfort and safety.

Put 1/2 water/ ice in a bowl in the crate. And bring lots of extra water. You can douse a hot dog’s head with water if you fear s/he is getting overheated.

KNOW YOUR DOG AND VEHICLE. Not all dogs do well in heat, so it might be that you can’t travel with them. Not all vehicles do well in direct sunlight, and can heat up excessively. I’ve never had a problem, but I am ESPECIALLY diligent in supervising my dog’s welfare, and I sacrifice some of my comfort and convenience for my dog’s safety.

I bring a first aid book (yes, I have already read it!) and kit on every trip. I also make sure my dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date, have my dog microchipped and bring photos (.jpg format) on a CD or DVD in case my dog ever escaped or was stolen so I could make up lost dog posters.

Bring lots of old bath towels. They absorb a lot of dirt that would otherwise end up in your car, they provide padding in the crate, and are necessary in case of a major mess (like vomit).

I have used a professional kennel on a trip. Last year, I went to Sea World in San Diego. I knew that the parking lot wasn’t shady, and it was predicted to be hot and sunny. Before I left town, I asked around for referrals. I located an air-conditioned kennel in San Diego. I made reservations there before I left, and everything worked out great that day. I knew Dillon was safe, and therefore I could relax and have fun at the park.

Be sure to bring your own food, unless you are SURE that you can buy the same brand and type along the way. An abrupt change in diet will often lead to diarrhea. I have my dog on a premium dog food that is hard to find. So, I fill up lots of Ziploc baggies with fresh kibble and stuff them under the seats to keep them cool. I bring more food than I know that I will need, just in case some of it is lost or destroyed, or in case the trip is unexpectedly lengthened.

Kids, relatives and other dogs… don’t let your dog become the punching bag. Also, don’t endanger others with your dog. I had a call from someone the other day that wanted me to work with their dog, to make him not growl at children even when the children were abusing the dog! She went on to describe how her 2 1/2 year old nephew had poked her dog in the eye, pulled on its tail, yanked its ears, and did other things that caused the dog pain, which then caused the dog to growl. I’m sure she was offended by what I had to say, since I told her that children needed to be supervised and corrected when they were hurting a dog. You can’t expect a dog to be in constant pain through abuse, regardless of the age of the abuser, and to not eventually defend themselves! This isn’t the same as having a dog that is tolerant of the normal roughhousing that all dogs get when around small children. It is important to choose a dog that is tolerant of children. But even the most tolerant dogs can’t take abuse and will eventually defend themselves.

I’ve also had customers that put their dogs in with relatives dogs, without a proper greeting, with dogs that weren’t normally good with other dogs and a major dog fight broke out. In one instance, the daughter’s mixed bred Bulldog got in a fight with the mother’s two Chow Chows. The mother reached in to stop the fight and was dragged down into the turmoil by her own dogs and was severely bitten about her inside thighs and groin. What makes this all the more troubling was that both people KNEW that their dogs were dog fighters, but they still put them all in together and assumed that everything would be just fine.

I have also had calls from people with dogs that didn’t like children or strangers… but they brought their dogs along on vacation, and without warning or protecting their relatives, put the dogs down in the midst of everyone, only to have someone get bitten. It would have been better to just board the dog at home, or to keep it in a crate while visiting, instead of endangering others.

It is important to consider potty stops, constipation, and water requirements when on a road trip. Younger dogs, under 1 1/2 years old, might not be truly trustworthy when in the hotel room, so you have to exercise greater supervision and bring along your clean up materials. Older dogs might have to urinate more frequently, so you have to plan on making extra potty stops along the way for your dog. With the relative lack of normal exercise on a road trip, plus the fact that your dog will probably be slightly dehydrated (from dry air, plus dogs will eat and drink less on vacation) on a long road trip, your dog will become somewhat constipated. I encourage my dog to drink water at every potty stop. Exercise will help the dog to eliminate normally during the trip, as well. Sometimes a restless dog in a hotel room, is just one that has to potty.

When you are in your hotel rooms, and while visiting friends and relatives, be sure to supervise your dog. I take extra precautions to keep my dog out of my suitcase since I have medicines and things in there that could be harmful if swallowed. I also don’t want my dog destroying anything in the room. And, when you are visiting people, you can’t expect that harmful things aren’t lying around for your dog to get into or eat. I don’t let my guard down, just as if I was babysitting a 3 year old. I also teach my dog not to go into hotel bathrooms as an added safety precaution.

One of the main benefits of taking your dog on a trip is that you will improve your relationship with your dog. I can’t describe it very well, but I have noticed that every time I have taken one of my dogs on vacation with me, they came back a better dog. I noticed more attentiveness, more affection, better obedience, a happier attitude, more trust… just an all around better relationship. And it is good for me, too. I get to unwind and just be my dog’s friend and pal for a few uninterrupted days.

NOW is the time to start planning for your next vacation. Train your dog. Make detailed plans. Do a few short road trips for practice… and then you’re going to have a great time together when the big event happens! Happy Travelling!

Written in the Spring of 2001

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Long Beach Legalizes Dog Breeding... Do We Really Want Laws Micromanaging Dog Ownership?

Here’s how wacky the Far Left is when it comes to pets.

The city of Long Beach, CA has now decided to make dog breeding LEGAL in the city.


You need a law to make breeding a dog legal?

How overregulated do we want our society?

Here’s the story…

LONG BEACH -- Dog breeding will soon be legal in the city, although an ordinance that the City Council adopted on a first reading Tuesday will put restrictions on the practice.

Here are the objections from some kind of local animal organization which opposed making breeding legal:

a.) “dog breeding could increase the chances that impounded dogs will be euthanized”

b.) “increasing the dog population through breeding will add to the number of unwanted pets picked up by the Long Beach Animal Control Bureau. Too many unwanted pets, the group argued, could lead to more euthanasia”

The assumption here is if this regulation legalizes breeding in Long Beach (and you are only allowed to breed one litter per year), there is going to be such a huge explosion of new dogs that the shelters will have to put down tons of otherwise healthy, but unwanted dogs. Isn’t that insane?

Aren’t these the lamest excuses you’ve ever heard?

No wonder the City Council rejected these claims. They just weren’t credible.

This is what the wacko animal rights movement has done to our right to reasonably own a dog. As I’ve said before, the agenda of animal rights wackos is the extinction of the domestic dog. Make no mistake about that. They will say anything, do anything, to stop you from owning a dog. If they can ban breeding, then they can eliminate dogs and dog ownership. Are you not willing to stand up and fight back?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Abusive Dog Training

Dear Sir,

Last week I took my Aussie mix to a dog obedience class. This pup is 6 months old, a very loving dog, he loves everyone and all other dogs.. His biggest problem is being restrained and threw a fit at the vet's when he was about to be x-rayed So, anyway the first thing the trainer asked everyone to do was to lay their dog down and hold him down. I was having a problem getting Luke down and suddenly the trainer was there, roughly trying to hold down Luke. Luke nipped him, he did draw some blood, but in a second the trainer had him in the air on a choke collar, till he went limp, almost passed out, pooped himself and his lips were blue. I was SICK!!! And in shock, because I couldn't move, I just kept looking at Luke who was drooling like crazy. And was scared to death of the trainer and tryed to get up on the seat with me. Oh, and for the next 2 days, all Luke did was lay around.

I did take him to the vet, she said, his neck was tight and probably very stiff. Some people have told me hanging a dog is an accepted way of training, I DO NOT feel this is correct, am I wrong? And if the trainer is wrong, is there anything I can do about it? I am not taking him back to that class, many of the people there were also shocked at what happened, and one of them even said she won't bring her dog back. Well, anyway, thank you for your time, XXXXX


I think it is animal abuse. The dog was cornered by a stranger and reacted by defending itself. Then the dog strung up. Don't go back to that class.

This kind of garbage still happens in classes, as your letter demonstrates. The problem with going to the police is if a.) your dog isn't materially injured; b.) the trainer fights you back in court with a defamation / libel / slander lawsuit, YOU could be the one that ends up losing here. If you decide to proceed with making a complaint to law enforcement, you need to talk to your attorney first. "Hanging" would only be justified if the dog was actively trying to attack a human and there was no way of defending oneself except to hold onto the leash for dear life. Hanging is not a training method. It is solely a last resort way of defending yourself from being mauled. This clearly doesn't qualify. Your dog was afraid. The solution would have been to slow things down and build the trust between you and your dog. That has to come before you consider dominating a dog, especially one that was already showing signs of fighting restraint at the vet's office. Even the vets were wrong to pin the dog down for x-rays, unless it was a life or death type of procedure. I always attend to x-rays with my dog, if at all possible, and if I suspect my dog wouldn't take to being pinned down by a stranger... not an unlikely scenario when you get the types of dogs that I prefer such as a Bouvier, Doberman, etc. In your case, a typical Aussie would normally allow x-rays by strangers, but if the dog is worried about the procedure, then it would have been better to stop the x-rays, go home and work on getting your dog comfortable being placed on its back, and then going to the vet at a later date and helping them do the x-rays. A good vet would work with you and your dog to make sure the experience was a positive one. Now, this dog has twice been pinned down by strangers, which is going to make it harder and harder in the future to get this dog to trust certain procedures. I have no idea if the hanging your dog experienced will cause brain damage or lasting behavioral problems, but it is a concern.

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot "correct" aggression this way. The "correction" your dog received isn't a behaviorally sound way of dealing with biting. It won't prevent a repeat of the same situation in the future.

I wish you and your dog well. Find another trainer. Get references!

Sam Basso

Dogs & Thanksgiving Holiday

Aren’t you glad that it is Thanksgiving Holiday tomorrow? I am.

Here are some thoughts regarding Dogs and Thanksgiving:

Don’t trust dogs and guests unsupervised. Many people, including friends and family members, might try to “teach your dog a lesson” while you aren’t watching, play dangerous rough games, play “sic ‘em” games, give your dog dangerous toys, or try to feed your dog things that are lethal. NO WRESTLING GAMES WITH THE DOG!!!!

Exercise your dog before guests arrive, mid day, and early evening. A tired dog is a good dog. Be sure to let your dog rest an hour before you feed, and don’t exercise your dog unless you’ve waited at least 3 hours after a meal. Bloat and torsion are killers.

Have a plan to take the dog outside to potty on regular intervals. When you are entertaining guests, or you are visiting with your dog, it is too easy to forget who is supposed to be taking the dog outside to potty, and what time it is. Have a plan on who is going to watch the dog.

Don’t trust dogs and kids unsupervised. Kids need parents to supervise them. They can’t supervise themselves. The last thing you need is a dog bite/ attack on a kid who was pestering your dog.

Dogs don’t need lots of holiday food scraps. Some healthy tid bits are OK, but no big gobs of fat (don’t give your dog a whole turkey skin… it can kill some dogs), chocolate, raisins, grapes, onions, spicy food, turkey bones, etc. When in doubt, don’t give a holiday food to a dog.

Know the phone number and location of the nearest emergency animal clinic. Your vet will be closed for the holidays. If your dog is sickened by anything, or injured, don’t wait until Friday to get your dog to the vet… it will be too late, and your dog will be dead.

Some holiday foods are toxic to dogs.

Watch the doors! Many dogs run away during holiday times. It is a good idea to have your dog drag a 6 foot leash while the guests are at your home. Take off the leash if the dog is unsupervised, and put your dog in its crate or kennel. Don’t tie the dog to a fixed object with the leash. Let the dog drag the leash so it can be with everyone.

Warn Guests If Certain Things Cause Your Dog To Growl Or Bite!

Be mindful of the weather! Is your dog safe outside? Is the fence gate closed and locked? Are there dangerous objects or toys in the yard? Is it pouring down rain or snow? Does your dog have adequate shelter? In some situations, it is better to have a crate in your vehicle for the dog. Just make sure you monitor the temperatures, and leave ventilation for the dog. Sunlight can heat up a car to dangerous temperatures even in cold weather. And at night, the car can get too cold for your dog to withstand. The rule is: if you’d be comfortable sitting in that situation with your dog, with summer clothing on, then your dog is probably safe.

Wackos take vicious dogs to parks off leash on holidays… be careful your dog isn’t attacked. And tell your kids to stay away from strange dogs at the park. Many times these are people visiting from other areas.

Make sure you have digital photos of your dog in case your dog runs away

Don’t let your dog play with your relatives dogs unless you are SURE they will get along! Strange dogs will fight, especially if one of the dogs is on its own home turf.

You can’t assume your family member’s houses are safe for your dog unsupervised. You pick up your stuff, and you know what your dog will get into. They don’t.

If you are visiting with your dog, assume your dog will potty in your host’s house. Supervise your dog!

Assume your dog will get in a fight with your extended family’s cat, hamster, rat, guinea pig, bird, dog, horse or other pet(s). Be especially careful if you have a puppy.

If you leave your dog at home, unsupervised, get a neighbor (someone the dog knows and is friendly with) or a dog walker to come by and check up on your dog. If your dog is a barker, a nasty neighbor might try to poison your dog while you are away. If you wait too long, your dog will potty in the home. If the weather gets bad, your dog could die.

Don’t expect your dog to act like a trained dog if your dog isn’t trained, or you haven’t been doing your obedience training homework. Don’t get mad at your dog for your lack of preparation!

-- Sam

Doggie Pictures

Getting A Dog That Doesn't Bark Much

Subject: dogs that don't bark

Hi Sam

I'm living on my own and would really love to have a little dog as a pet. Since my place is not very big I'm looking for a small dog. The only problem is that I know small dogs can be real barkers!! And I know my neighbors will complain if the dog is yapping all the time. I was wondering if you know of any breeds of dogs that don't bark. I heard of a dog called a basenji that doesn't bark but it seems to be a very active dog requiring a lot of space, so I wonder if you know of any others? Thank you.

Sincerely, XXXXX


There are a variety of dog breeds that bark more and less than others.

The causes of most barking are territoriality, fear, loneliness, and excitement. Your dog will bark a lot if it can see or hear people moving around outside your unit when you are gone. Your dog will bark more if the dog is timid. Your dog will bark if the dog has a tendency to feel very lonely when you are away. And your dog will tend to bark if your dog is excitable.

So... I suggest, first, not getting a puppy. You can't know how the dog is going to turn out. I'd rescue a 2+ year old adult dog, of whatever breed you like. By 2 years of age, you can pretty much be assured that what you see is what you get. So, for you , get a dog that is very friendly with everyone and isn't very territorial. Get a dog that is confident and friendly and not bothered by noises, people, traffic, being alone, etc. And get a dog that is a couch potato. I'd also get a dog that was already house trained. Tell this to the rescue group. If you go my way, you can make sure you have a quiet dog. And these days, you can figure a small dog will live at least 15, or maybe even 20 years, so you get lots of great time with the dog over the years.

But first, find a dog you like. Don't make barking the only criteria. A basenji will yodel... very loudly... if it wants to make noise. This should be a dog you want to live with. Make a list of the things you like in a dog, and then compare a variety of breeds... coat, good with kids, good with dogs, trainable, etc. Whatever traits you like in a dog. Then go to rescue groups and find a dog of that breed with the other things I mentioned to get one that isn't much of a barker or whiner.

Sam Basso

Hi Sam!

Thank you so much for the great reply.

Wow, those are a lot of clever tips!

Much appreciated, XXXXX

Who Should Dog Owners Vote For?

Here’s the best definition of what we should be striving for, politically, when voting for politicians. Candidate Questionnaires should get at what their political philosophy and track record have been regarding law enforcement, zoning, private property rights, and especially their views on dog ownership and animal control.

We should find and support candidates who believe in: “A minimum amount of government and a maximum amount of freedom -- and keeping government out of people's lives and business -- and leaving people alone… [A recognition] you have to have national defense and have to finance the government. But government does not have to be the be-all and end-all.

We have too many, detailed, confusing laws on the books as it is. Now, politicians are focusing on writing dog laws, and they will make it so difficult, you’ll need an attorney to know whether you can tell your dog “No”.

Try going to anti-dog / dog hating web sites, and see the kinds of laws they are proposing regarding dogs: impossible dog barking statutes, breed specific dog bans, expensive insurance requirements, massive licensing schemes, animal rights provisions concerning guardianship, bans on dog parks, bans on dogs in public places, bans on dogs in parks and wilderness areas, bans on hunting dogs, dog size limitation restrictions, impossible zoning requirements for breeders and kennel operators, requirements for muzzling all dogs in public, dog ownership tests, and on and on.

Dog Ban Opposed By Dog Owners... See? We CAN Organize And Fight Unfair Legislation!