Monday, April 30, 2007

Taking The Law Into Your Own Hands

The owners of a mixed-breed doberman named "Brownie" are distressed that a man allegedly killed the animal on Thursday afternoon with his bare hands after saying that it had bitten his daughter. Singh said the incident occurred after a group of schoolchildren pelted the dog in the yard as they were returning home from school at 2:30 pm. The man said he is not sure if the dog indeed bit the girl.

How awful. The kids who harassed the dog should be charged with some kind of violation and the parents held to account. The kid who was bitten, if s/he did the harassment should be spanked. And the man who beat the dog to death should go to jail, and be made to enter some kind of anger management program. But, we all know none of that will happen... the kids will not be corrected, the owner not compensated, the man will get off with a small fine and a warning.

If this story is accurate, then this was a provoked dog biting incident. The dog wasn't at fault.
Rent A Dog?

A rent-a-dog service that offers "flexible pet ownership" is catering to canine lovers who can't commit to full-time puppy love.

I have a big problem with this. Would you let a stranger walk off with your dog? Unless I knew someone personally, I would never let them manage my dog. Even at the doggie daycare, Paws To Play, where I am Head Trainer, they carefully screen applicants to work there. We hear stories all the time where an owner let a friend babysit their dog, and the dog got out the door and was hit by a car, or the dog came back traumatized by something goofy the friend did to the dog.

I would never use a service like this, and I would never operate a service like this. If a person isn't at a stage in life where they can own a dog, then they should wait until they can. Dogs are just too vulnerable when you aren't there to watch.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Don't Forget To Tune In!

Tonight is another episode of America's Cutest Puppies.

Since I am the trainer of Bunker The Dog, and know him personally, I'm sort of biased towards him!

I am having a great deal of fun as I work with Bunker. Bull Terriers are quite an interesting breed, and they have a lot of capability if you give them the necessary time and effort. It is a shame so many people get dogs and then neglect them. Bunker is hardly being neglected, however. He goes everywhere with his family and has a good home and social life. He is actively being used to help raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He is learning a ton of things in his daily lessons (such as tracking, retrieving objects on command, on and off leash obedience, and a variety of tricks). Lastly, he is getting increasingly more media attention, and has been interviewed with his owners by Bark Magazine, personal interest TV appearances, and other publicity efforts.

When you interact with your dog this much, they become quite interesting and fun. They also start acting spooky smart, as they pick up more and more how to communicate, and learn how to learn. Bunker is crossing that threshold right now, and that is really bringing out his already interesting personality.

Bunker is a joy to be around, and I think you can see that when you watch him on TV.

Stay tuned!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Where Is This Religious Extremism Going?

A school in Amsterdam has halted lessons on rural life because the Islamic children refused to talk about pigs. Reporting this, Alderman Lodewijk Asscher said he wants to take "tough measures." Subsidies for all kinds of dubious groups must stop and parents of unruly children penalised financially. Asscher told newspaper De Volkskrant: "A primary school in Amsterdam-Noord has decided no longer to teach about living on a farm. Various pupils began to demolish the classroom when the pig came up for discussion. Apparently it has gone that far. These children, 9, 10 years old, have not been given even the most elementary rules at home about why they must go to school."

I wonder if we will soon see a day when dogs are publicly executed in Western countries, or their owners hassled and attacked, by Muslim extremists? And when that happens, and you have to figure it will, what will we all do about it? Will this start a new round of dog banning efforts? Will we be seeing lawsuits and laws being passed banning dogs to appease the religious extremists? If and when it happens, expect the first such laws to come from Europe. They wimp out on everything.

We have already seen Muslim cab drivers in the US refusing to take passengers with guide dogs.
Animal Rights Wackos Update

This afternoon, PETA dispatched a letter to Norm Goldstein, editor of The Associated Press Stylebook, suggesting that it is time to revise the book’s language guidelines—which currently characterize animals as inanimate objects—and bring the references in line with 21st century attitudes. Specifically, PETA points out that using "it" and "which" instead of the personal pronouns "he," "she," and "who" in reference to animals is inaccurate and outdated—particularly in a society that is recognizing that animals have inherent rights, legal standing, and individuality.

Hat Tip Michelle Malkin

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Some Dog Bites Are Justified

A woman -- who was allegedly trespassing outside a Lancaster house on Monday night -- was injured after the homeowner's dog bit her.

Tough luck. You enter someone's property illegally, then the dog should have the right to chase you off and bite you. Not all dog bites are bad things. This is a perfect example of why it should be OK to own a protective dog, of any breed. In fact, this homeowner felt threatened enough that he fired his gun at the intruder. But, instead of bullets, teeth got her. What business did this person have being in this man's back yard at 11 pm?

By the way, the police weren't there at the time of the intrusion, were they? Sometimes you have to take your own safety into your own hands. This is what the right of self defense should be all about.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Slippery Slope...

Tell me why we pass laws that affect EVERYONE whenever you have a tragedy? It is like we have all been warped into some kind of big, soppy talk show where everyone grieves over the tragedies of others.

Here is a recent story of dog attack in New Zealand (a country that still can't figure out how to make reasonable dog laws). I like New Zealand and it's people... but I am appalled at their approach to dealing with dogs.

"Whenever you get an attack like that, it's worth going back and having a look at the legislation."

Why? The dogs "were roaming free on a property that was not fully fenced." And someone got attacked.

The proposed legislative solution?

"Why don't we simply ban dogs that look like killers – thick short legs, nasty snarls, heads like pigs and jaws like bolt cutters?" Miss Clark said personally nothing would please her more. "I think it's horrific that these dogs are running loose anywhere in New Zealand," she said. "But you often find there's a lot of passion excited among dog owners on the issue. It's not as simple to make progress as you might think." The incident is the fourth fatal dog mauling in New Zealand since 1997.

Yep, more useless legislation. Read the article. It says there is only one animal control officer in the area, dogs are allowed to roam free, these dogs were left unsupervised in a yard that wasn't fenced, and someone got hurt in the process. How about the following instead: enforce the laws already on the books; provide sufficient funds and personnel to enact the intent of the laws; enforce leash laws; and penalize owners who let their dogs roam free according to the intent of the owner, negligence of the owner, and the severity of the harm to others? This owner is apparently going to be charged with manslaughter, which is the killing of a person without malice or intent to kill, or in the commission of some unlawful act. Normally, it involves commission of an unlawful act that might reasonably produce the death of someone else. Such a conviction would result in prison. However, the article says that no one figured these dogs would attack, based upon knowing the dogs. And just because a fence is faulty or incomplete doesn't seem to me to be a reason to justify charging the owner with manslaughter... just my opinion.

Banning dogs based on looks won't fix this kind of thing. And convicting this woman just because her dogs were a certain breed doesn't make sense either. I have worked with many pit bulls and pit bull mixes that wouldn't harm a fly. In fact, almost all the ones I have worked with, with a few exceptions were this way. But, I could say that about every breed. Look, apparently in this community they let dogs run free, and she was doing what everyone else did, only in this case, her dogs did the deed. Why not charge all the other people in the town with being negligent and put them in prison while you are at it?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

America's Cutest Puppies

Remember to watch tonight's episode on WEtv!

Go Bunker!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Pit Bull Owner Charged With Felony

Kitsap County prosecutors have filed felony charges against a Poulsbo woman whose pit bull attacked and injured a woman neighbor last week. Because of the vicious attack, Poulsbo police are also looking into changes to the city's code concerning dogs, including the possibility of banning dangerous canines outright. Police said the woman was attacked in mid-morning on April 10 when Law's gate surrounding her home was left open.

Some lessons here. First, don't leave dogs unattended in your back yard. Build a proper kennel or have them indoors. Second, if you have a pit bull breed, you have a "kick me" sign pasted to your back. You have to go overboard to make sure you don't run afoul of the law, because if you do, then you will have the living daylights kicked out of you. Third, you should have a spring loaded gate door on the side of your house, which closes it automatically. Fourth, even if you didn't do something negligent, and someone else leaves your back gate open, you could be charged with a crime and go to jail. Who knows how this gate became undone. Fifth, notice that whenever something like this happens, the first thing politicians do is try to find a way to take away more of your rights. So, some person a million miles from you does something stupid, we all end up paying the price. Collective punishment. Will anyone fight back?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

More Philosophy...

Don't you find it odd that only a 72 year old Holocaust survivor stood up to the Virginia Tech gunman, and yet a whole school full of adults were slaughtered like Holocaust victims in a Nazi concentration camp? What are we teaching our kids these days?

Mark Steyn said this very thing in his column today: "They’re not “children.” The students at Virginia Tech were grown women and — if you’ll forgive the expression — men. They would be regarded as adults by any other society in the history of our planet. Granted, we live in a selectively infantilized culture where twentysomethings are “children” if they’re serving in the Third Infantry Division in Ramadi but grown-ups making rational choices if they drop to the broadloom in President Clinton’s Oval Office. Nonetheless, it’s deeply damaging to portray fit fully formed adults as children who need to be protected. We should be raising them to understand that there will be moments in life when you need to protect yourself — and, in a “horrible” world, there may come moments when you have to choose between protecting yourself or others. It is a poor reflection on us that, in those first critical seconds where one has to make a decision, only an elderly Holocaust survivor, Professor Librescu, understood instinctively the obligation to act."

Why didn't someone pick up a desk or chair and throw it at this maniac? Why did 2 planes slam into the World Trade center, whereas in Flight 93, the passengers stood up and fought back?

I just don't think you can allow yourself to be a victim. That is one of the enduring lessons of the Holocaust, which is why I think that Professor Librescu knew what to do. The Greatest Generation learned the hard lessons of WW I, the Great Depression, WW II and the beginnings of the Cold War. This man was a hero, and he sacrificed himself for others. He did the right thing. Why didn't anyone else?

I am not blaming the victims, however. The blame rests solely on the gunman who did the killing. What I am asking, is why no one else fought back. What lessons were these people taught? Have we so indoctrinated our kids that they have to be nice to everyone, and that you can always talk to a bad person and negotiate a happy ending, that we have forgotten there is evil in the world and that some people just need to be dealt with? What was the psychology here?

This is why I wonder if the 1920's and 30's are repeating. Too many parallels.

And now, you might ask, how does this relate to dog ownership?

As I have stated before, in many different ways, we should have the right to deploy a dog for self defense, and then use that dog, if necessary, in a life threatening situation. And your neighbors and the public should accept that as being ok and moral.

Would any parent say they wouldn't have stood in front of that gunman and protected their offspring with a gun? Then, would you prevent me from defending myself in an emergency, using a dog, if necessary? Why would it be ok, for you to defend your family, but not me?

And if I am going to own such an animal, then shouldn't I get some leeway in order to train it properly to do such a job, and be allowed to let my dog bark from time to time to let me know strangers are present, and for my dog to growl at times at strangers who are acting strangely?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Willing To Give Up Your Freedom? Because Of Some Nutcase?

He was a chubby-cheeked campus creep who stalked at least three pretty co-eds - terrifying one enough that her parents called the cops on him - before he wound up unleashing Virginia Tech's bloodbath. "I stopped telling friends to come to my room, especially girls," the shaken roommate of mass murderer Cho Seung-Hui, identified only as John, revealed in a chilling interview yesterday.

So, we have a serious nutcase who blew away about 30 kids. And the knee jerk reaction is now to politicize this and call for the banning of people's right to keep and bear arms.

There is a strong parallel between gun banning and dog banning. Same phenomenon. After Dianne Whipple was killed by a couple of Presa Canarios, insurance companies began refusing to issue homeowner's policies, and cities placed this breed on their banned dogs lists. Then, cities were emboldened to ban other breeds across the Western world, using this tragedy as a way of banning many dog breeds.

Look, when cooler head prevail, we don't do these kinds of things. We don't decide to go and tear up the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The right to self defense is fundamental to a free society. That is what the Second Amendment of the Constitution is all about. The Supreme Court has ruled that the police have NO obligation to protect you. Their job is to protect the community at large, and to bring law and order to the community. They have no obligation to come to your defense, no obligation to answer your 911 emergency phone call, no obligation to stop a stalker or robber or rapist, and no obligation to risk their lives to save yours. At some point, you have to have the right to step in and protect yourself, and that might mean using a gun.

My mom tells me that many years ago, she was home, alone with us kids (dad was at work) and someone tried to break into our apartment. She yelled at the guy, through the door, who was trying to break through the front door, to go away. But, he kept working at the door. She went and got my dad's handgun, pointed it at the door, told the guy she was armed and would shoot unless he went away. The guy stopped and left. There is no way the police would have arrived in time to save her and my family if she hadn't been armed, and prepared to use that weapon to save her and her kids. Even being warned someone was home, the guy kept trying to break into the home. It took the threat of being killed to stop this wacko.

Similarly, dogs are regularly deployed to save lives every day. Even the police use them to save lives. We all know dogs can be a part of a good home security plan. But, when some wacko misuses a dog and an innocent person gets injured or killed, we toss away our rights and decide that we should ban the very types of dogs that we need to save lives.

More people's lives are saved by dogs, than the number of people killed by dogs.

Listen to the bleating of the comics-turned-pundits, like Rosie on the View, calling for the banning of guns, and consider the source. This is the same person who says she has been clinically depressed since the 1999 Columbine student shooting, hanging upside down in some weird contraption to counter the depression. Are you clinically depressed about a tragic news story that happened a million miles away, nearly 8 years ago, to no one you knew personally? It is these same types of drama queens that champion the banning of dogs in our communities.

I do not support giving up my Constitutional rights, or my inalienable human rights, just because someone abuses them. Anything can be perverted. Anything can be used to excess... food, video games, alcohol, gambling, cars, guns, dogs, hobbies, sex, water... anything.

I am not an ascetic. I find that kind of thinking to be anti-nature. According to Wikipedia: Asceticism describes a life characterized by abstinence from worldly pleasures (austerity). Those who practice ascetic lifestyles often perceive their practices as virtuous and pursue them to achieve greater spirituality. Many ascetics believe the action of purifying the body helps to purify the soul, and thus obtain a greater connection with the Divine or find inner peace. This may take the form of self-mortification, rituals or renunciations of pleasure. However, ascetics maintain that self-imposed constraints bring them greater freedom in various areas of their lives, such as increased clarity of thought and the ability to resist potentially destructive temptations.

I am not about to become a non-person just to not offend others. I am not going to be the lamb for the slaughter, and I don't think you should let yourself be one, either. If my friends, family or some helpless person is threatened, I'm going to risk my life and help them out. If those other students had been armed, then maybe fewer people would have died in this tragedy. And if you have that German Shepherd Dog, pit bull, Rottweiler, or other dog, maybe that dog will someday save your life, or the life of a loved one.

To give up your rights is to allow yourself to be abused. It is giving into authoritarianism and totalitarianism. And that is not morally right.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Silly Dog Training Advice

Trying to teach your dog some manners?Try getting him to learn one magic command instead: Sit. After house training, "sit" may be the most important thing you can teach your dog. Once your dog learns that sitting earns him a treat, you hold the cure to many problems, dog trainers say.

I see a lot of dogs. And every one of them will Sit for a treat. And they still have behavioral problems. This kind of advice is just embarrassing. This kind of program won't fix biting, destructive chewing, running out the front door, incessant barking, dog fighting or any number of other unmannerly behaviors. It also doesn't put enough responsibility on the owners for their lack of effort.

I suspect this article was written to give some publicity to someone. In my opinion, it wasn't well researched and the ideas in the article weren't given the same going over that a regular reporter would do when compiling any other type of investigative or informative article. So, in the end, these types of stories cause more harm than good, because they just keep people doing all the same, silly, do-it-yourself, cheapskate things they have been doing. The dogs are still unmannerly and more dogs pile up in shelters as a result.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Legal Mumbo Jumbo

Did Marjorie Knoller know that walking her dogs without choke chains or muzzles could mean someone would die? Now the case may lead to a new standard in California for determining when an unintentional killing can be murder. At issue is the state of mind of someone whose dangerous act triggers a death: How much advance awareness must that person have of the risks?

This is what happens when lawyers have nothing to do. They pursue legal theories that can hurt everyone. We need legal reform in this country. If dog attacks can be ruled murder, when the handler / owner didn't send the dogs on someone to attack, then we are all in trouble. This could mean the end of dog ownership as we know it.

Further, think on this one... hey you clicker trainers. Does this law mean that clicker training alone, without correction collars, makes you liable if a dog you trained attacks and kills someone? If you recommend a head halter instead of a prong collar, or you teach you should only train with treats instead of choke chains, will that make you potentially liable if that dog one day attacks someone? Are you going to be forced to adopt a training style that you find morally objectionable?

ANY dog can bite, given the right circumstances. Dogs are animals, not people. They can't make moral choices and they will do what animals do... take up territory, protect themselves and their owners, hunt and kill. Sometimes, unfortunately, that means people will get hurt. We can't legislate nature, we have to accept nature as it is.

Will this mean that when the dog sneaks into the baby's room, breaking down a gate or jumping into a crib, and kills the baby, that we put the mother and father in prison for murder? There are a few famous cases of small dogs, not big ones, killing infants. So what breed is then deemed safe? Could you be at legal jeopardy if you have a baby and a dog?

Does this mean that when a burglar sneaks onto your property and is killed by your dog, that you will be deemed to have used excessive force and you go to prison for murder? Then, could anyone own a dog as a crime deterrent?

We are living in an Orwellian world, my friends. It is like the time between WW I and WW II, when the world lived in a fog and pretended that we could wish utopia on ourselves and then it would happen. Look around you. Wrong is right and right is wrong. Look at the parallels of the 1920's and 1930's. These kinds of legal theories are a form of tyranny. Last time, we saw the rise of the dictators. Where is this heading? What are the reasons for this kind of thinking, and what are the risks?

I don't know what can be done about it, except to complain that it isn't fair or moral. We all used to understand what "murder" meant. It is highly dangerous to be redefining the definitions of morality like this.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Training Your Dog

Sometimes I am asked if I can train a dog, but do it in fewer lessons, to save the customer money. I understand where these types of calls originate, because we all have bills to pay, and you want to know that you are getting value for your money.

Unfortunately, to do the training properly, there can't be any short cuts. There are skills that need to be taught in order for the dog to not only understand what is required, but for the dog handler to know what they are doing.

Let's say you only have the money, or the time, to do half of the lessons. Then, what things do you want cut out of the training program? Now, we are assuming that the training won't involve brute force, not making the dog do things that it is ill prepared to do. That causes dogs to panic or fight back in the training process.

To me, I liken good training to a martial arts class. I trained in Gracie-style Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for about 3 years. It was terrifically fun, and maybe in the next year, I'd like to start up again. My instructor, Marcello Alonso, is an amazing martial artist and teacher. I learned a great deal from him. I can't thank him enough, and I still am learning from the things he taught me. One thing I learned is that you weren't going to get a higher belt until you had mastered the belt you had. They only hand out belts on merit in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

At the beginning, I didn't know anything. That was a real eye-opener; any one of the more experienced students, blue belt or higher, male or female, could have beaten me in a real fight. In fact, I didn't even spar until I had attended classes for about a month or so. We did basic drills, calisthenics, and watched the more experienced students spar. One reason for not allowing us to spar was that we could be injured. The other was that we didn't know what we were doing. Lastly, because we were so out of shape; Brazillian jiu-jitsu is the most physically taxing thing I think you can do.

Once you were past this stage, then you started sparring, and the more experienced guys went easy on you. They not only let you put holds on them, they also showed you how they could slip out of the moves you tried. It took me nearly 2 years before I went from a white belt to a blue belt. At first, I was training the recommended 2 times a week. That was all I could handle. By the end of the second year, I was training 3 to 4 times a week, 9 to 12 hours a week.

I remember once coming in the dojo feeling great. I was rested, my head was clear, and I felt strong. However, once we started training, I just didn't have it. After class, I asked Marcello about it. He had a couple of good pieces of advice that I have never forgotten. First, he told me that sometimes you are the bug and sometimes you are the windshield. In other words, that is a normal thing in martial arts. You won't always be the winner. In fact, if you look at the fighting records of the mixed martial artists, you will rarely see someone that has an unbeaten record, if they have been fighting for a long time. You will have days when you are great, and days when you are not so great. Second, he said you have to look at your progress in 4 month intervals, minimum. I was often training 4 times a week, 12 hours a week, and still my progress was slow. Martial arts is a physical skill, and it takes time to master any physical skill. I remember when I used to play music, I would practice 4 hours a day, and even then, you had to look at your progress over a year's period, not over a period of weeks or months.

Dog training, if done properly, is just like this.

Dogs and handlers need to time to master the concepts, to really get it right. I have people in my group classes that have been at it diligently for the past year, and they still have much more to learn. Yes, their dogs look great, but still, the work isn't yet finished.

Now, you might hear some folks say that they went and trained with some guy, and he did miracles in a handful of lessons. Great. Good. But, that kind of quick fix stuff doesn't maximize your dog's potential, and it won't get you the kind of handling skills that you want in the long term. I am looking for precision, speed, willingness, teamwork, and off leash skills, for the dog and the handler. This is why many dog obedience sports don't allow dogs to compete under 2 years of age. Yes, you can force a young dog to go through the routines, but experienced trainers and handlers know that a proper performance takes time to accomplish. That is why you don't see guide dogs, police dogs, field trial dogs, or other professionals pushing their dogs until they are over 2 years old. Guide dogs, for example, are raised with a volunteer family for the first 18 months. The dogs and handlers practice a set of manners and obedience commands during that time. Then, the dogs are handed over to professional trainers who then spend 6 months finishing up the dog's skills. Six months, not a handful of lessons. Similarly, police dogs are typically worked as puppies in terms of obedience, tracking, scent detection and bite work for the first 2 years. For most breeds, between 2 and 3 years of age, the final attack work is completed. None of that is done overnight. And the same kind of thing happens with field trial dogs, that is, professionally trained hunting dogs.

It just takes time to teach all of those skills, and to do it right. It also takes handlers a long time to master the skills. Even after a year of diligent training, you will still be making handling errors with your dog. And besides, if it was so easy, then everyone would have a dog that performed at world class level... which we all know they don't.

Now, I'm pretty darned proud of my students. They all work hard, and we have a great time training together. The dogs also look great, and do some amazing things over time. For many, it has become a fun hobby. They enjoy it and so do the dogs.

So, when you've seen things from my level, my perspective, when you get an inquiry about doing the training, using short cuts, you know you are dealing with a novice. You know that they are usually concerned about their budget, but also love their dogs. You also know that you can't in good conscience sell them a slipshod program, just to take their money. You know what it is going to take to get them a well mannered, obedient, fun dog. For the budget conscious, I recommend the group classes. It spreads the cost out over time, and in the end, the dogs get well trained. On the other hand, if I am able to persuade the customer, they decide that they will not only do the group classes, but they will also do private lessons at the same time. They come to realize that nothing good is going to come easy and cheap, and that they love their dogs enough to make an investment in their future.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday's Dog News

An 8-year-old boy was hospitalized in satisfactory condition Friday night after he was attacked and bitten repeatedly by a large dog while he walked to school with his two brothers. Police said DeVonta was attacked just before 8 a.m. after the Akita, which weighed about 140 pounds, got off its chain in a nearby yard.

Dogs should NOT be left unattended in the yard on a chain. It makes them hyper-territorial, being trapped in a specific location on home turf. It also allows them to learn to keep lunging at passerbys, which intensifies the motivation over time. Further, it makes the dog vulnerable to teasing by passersby, which would also increase the dog's motivation over time. Here is the result.

Horrified residents looked on helplessly as a snarling dog mauled a cat to death in a city street. Some people were so fearful that the dog might turn on them, or children who had been playing nearby, that they armed themselves with pieces of wood.

OK, a few thoughts.

Dogs kill cats. Watch Tom & Jerry and Sylvester cartoons sometime, and tell me what a lot of those episodes were about. We all know this... except today, when cartoons have become real life, and animals act like little politically correct beings in the stories. This dog shouldn't have been out roaming the town unsupervised.

I feel sorry for the cat. But, not the cat owner. Why would you allow your cat to roam the streets, to be killed by a car or dog? The cat owner should be found and fined.

And dogs that kill cats aren't necessarily going to be dangerous to people. Dogs are predators, and have been living with people for thousands of years, being used to kill rodents and other small animals, even bringing down big game for hunters. Then, the dogs were brought home and kept as pets. If a dog isn't raised with cats, then the dog is going to be more likely to kill cats. Sorry, that's just the way it is.

A driver on Kapa'a Quarry Road in Kailua was killed yesterday when he became distracted by a dog in his sport utility vehicle and collided with an oncoming tanker truck, officials said. Officials said a 64-year-old Kailua man was taking a dog to a veterinary appointment when he bent over to pick up the pet.

This is a good reason to a. TRAIN YOUR DOG; b. have the dog in a crate or seat belt when driving; c. pull over and deal with the dog instead of trying to manage the dog's behavior while going at traffic speeds. Why did this dog need to be picked up while the car was moving?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bunker's Being Interviewed This Morning

Bunker The Dog is being interviewed this morning on the local FOX affiliate TV station in Phoenix, AZ.

Tomorrow night, on WETV, he will be featured on America's Cutest Puppies.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Britain's Insane Rabies Law Being Reviewed

The UK government's chief vet and chief scientific adviser have told BBC News that current rabies controls in Britain are overly restrictive. It is not that long ago that fears of rabies arriving in the UK meant that dogs travelling back from Europe had to be kept in quarantine. Now the Pet Travel Scheme allows owners to vaccinate their dogs and confirm it with a blood test six months before travel. Most animal welfare groups agree the current system is too severe. But Chris Lawrence of the Dogs Trust believes that it would be wrong to bring the waiting time down to 21 days after vaccination. "Rabies is prevalent in Poland, Eastern Europe and many accession countries and by harmonising our regulations, [we] would increase the risk of rabies arriving in the UK," he said. "A three-month waiting period is supported by the science - and separate blood tests should continue to be required because one can't be completely sure of all vaccine stocks."

This mess is really just a way for a group of business people to make profits by keeping ridiculous regulations on the books. If the regulations are repealed, then they go out of business.

If you have to wait weeks or months before a dog can enter the country, then that dog is going to have to be kept in quarantine in another country until that time has elapsed. Science should prevail here, not this kind of thing. I am all for public safety, but some things are not risky enough to be bothered with. For example, yes, the earth could some day be hit by a huge meteor... but, is it worth creating a manned space station orbiting the moon just in case we have to evacuate the planet? No. Similarly, if the risk of an epidemic is ridiculously low, then why put in such stringent regulations?

Follow the money...

Another example of why I support limited government. Regulations are oftentimes just ways of creating protected monopolies, and undeserved profits, for certain types of businesses. This is NOT free enterprise in action. These laws are inhumane, irrational, and cruel to both dogs and dog owners. They are also ridiculously expensive.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Again, Do We Have A Pit Bull Problem Or Drug Problem?

A Long Island man is under arrest for siccing his pit bull on two police officers who were trying to give him a ticket for the unlicensed dog... Vanterpoool was arrested and found to be carrying 25 bags of what was believed to be crack-cocaine.

I have article after article at this blog showing the link between drug dealing / abuse and pit bull ownership. So, are the dogs the problem or the people who own them?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pet Food Recall

Pet food contaminated with an industrial chemical may have sickened or killed 39,000 cats and dogs nationwide, based on an extrapolation from data released Monday by one of the nation's largest chains of veterinary hospitals.

That is a lot of pets, and a lot of heartache. Most pet owners I know have been scanning these articles regularly to see if their pet foods have been affected. I know I did it, too.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Summer's Here And The Time Is Right...

No, not for dancing in the streets. It is time to start training your dog! A lot of you have untrained pups and dogs, and as the summer months approach, you will be taking those dogs into public and seeing what a pain it is for everyone that your dog is out of control. You should begin obedience training with a dog no later than 4 months of age. On the other hand, healthy adult dogs of any age can learn and benefit from formal lessons.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Tonight is the big opening night. Bunker The Dog is a finalist in America's Cutest Puppies contest, being aired on WETV. I have worked with Bunker and his family to prepare him for this event, and tonight we will gather around the TV and see the first show (there will be 12 weekly episodes, showing on Saturday night around the US. Go to the WETV web page to find your local channel listing and air time).

Friday, April 06, 2007

Thursday, April 05, 2007

500 Breeding Dogs In One Facility?

Morrison County commissioners approved a permit Thursday for a dog-breeding operation Belle Prairie Township that could involve as many as 500 animals.

I do not believe it is good to breed dogs like livestock, or to buy dogs from such an operation. To me, this is appalling. Here is how I recommend finding a good breeder.
Saturday Night

Bunker The Dog, and other puppies, will be on America's Cutest Puppies contest. It will air on WETV. He is one of the 10 finalists, and the PR tsunami is just starting. Tune in. I'm looking forward to seeing how all our training efforts paid off. I wasn't there for the filming, so I don't know how the show will proceed. Should be, however, a ton of fun!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dog Problem Or Drug Problem?

A woman is going to be arrested for owning a pit bull because the dog killed her granddaughter.

The story doesn't explain the circumstances of the attack, and it is highly possible that the owner was negligent in managing the dog. But, was this really evidence of pit bulls being dangerous, or evidence that some people shouldn't own a dog.

Here's the clue: Her grandmother, Jacqueline Simpson, who suffered injuries to her arms as she tried to wrench the dog away, was also charged with possession of class A drug diamorphine.

Well, I don't have drugs like that in my medicine cabinet, do you? Diamorphine is another name for HEROIN. Drug dealers will get pit bulls, abuse them to make them vicious, and use them to protect their drug operations. Then, some of these dogs get loose and attack. Pit bulls are generally very friendly dogs. Funny how the drug dealers always have the nasty ones. Wonder how that comes to be, hmmm? I don't know how this woman got these drugs, or if she's a user or dealer, but all the warning bells are going off right now.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tough On Animal Control...

OK, I am tough on Animal Control operations because they are supposed to be professionals, knowing the law, animal behavior, and should be a model for humane animal treatment. However, they often miss the mark. Regardless of which entity does the animal control work, police officers or officers designated specifically for animal control, they need to know what the heck they are doing.

Here is a sample of what I am referring to. I think this looks incompetent to me, according to what the article says...

"Owner Maegan Verlanic says she could not believe what she saw - three police officers standing on a log with her dog on the other end of the catch pole. Maegan Verlanic, dog owner: "They had him hanging from it. You could see the top of his head from how high they had him from the ground." Captain Kurt Asmus, Blackfoot Police Department: "And before the owners could get back around and get into their own yard, the dog had passed away.""

I can tell if a dog is aggressive or not, because I am a professional. I expect humane care from others who are doing professional work with dogs... groomers, trainers, pet store operators, pet food manufacturers, veterinarians... and animal control officers.


"Unable to come to terms with the death of their pet dog, an elderly couple in southern India committed suicide by hanging themselves, police said on Monday."

I have heard a quote, and I'm not sure if I've got it accurately, that says a dog will do two things in your life: win your heart, then break your heart. It is awfully hard when a beloved pet dies. The grief is intense and can last quite a while.

On the other hand, life goes on, and you can't let it take you down such a dark path that you give up on life yourself. When things are this bad, that is what professional counseling is for.

That is also what a new dog or puppy is for...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Head Halter For Lunging Dog?

"Q: my dog barks and lunges at other dogs when we are on walks, and I have a hard time controlling him because he is a 90-pound lab. How can I stop him from doing this?

A: There is a type of collar for a dog that resembles the halter a horse wears. It has separate parts that go around the neck like a conventional collar and another loop that encircles the muzzle...

However, don't just "control" the dog's behavior with the head halter. Make use of the opportunity. With the undesired behavior interrupted, train your dog to replace the undesired behavior with a desirable one. A good substitute behavior for lunging and barking on walks is to train the dog to look at you instead.

Based on years of experience working with dogs like this... I DISAGREE with this approach!

This dog could still attack another dog. This type of dog still doesn't like other dogs, and you are not getting the dog over its reaction towards other dogs. This is a misapplication of Operant Conditioning, and shows why you need more than a bit of behavioral knowledge before you start dealing with dangerous dogs.

This is why I recommend that you go to a veterinarian for MEDICAL advice, and a Dog Trainer for BEHAVIORAL advice. There are better ways to control dogs that aren't good with other dogs. I have a Problem Dog Class for this type of situation, and we don't use head halters... we fix the problem instead. Just yesterday, in this class, we had dogs running together that a couple of months ago would have attacked and hurt another dog. I have fixed this kind of thing over and over again. No one can fix all dogs, but you can fix most dogs. (And no, you don't need to "
get the help of a veterinary behavior specialist for an accurate diagnosis and behavior modification plan". See my thoughts on choosing a trainer / behaviorist)