Monday, October 29, 2007

Shopping Mall To Allow Dogs!

Gilbert's new open-air mall, the SanTan Village regional shopping center, allow shoppers to take their dogs shopping.

This is good stuff. Many dogs are suitable for such environments. My recommendations: making sure you require parent's permission before you let a kid pet your dog, that you don't use a retractable leash, that your dog is obedience trained and well mannered, that you pick up your dog's poop and mop up any pee accidents, don't let weirdos pet your dog, don't leave your dog unattended, don't let your dog be a nuisance for others, and don't take a dog that isn't good with everybody and every animal.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Dog Meat Stories...

WINDHOEK, Namibia — Sixty-eight villagers in northern Namibia were hospitalized last week after eating a dog that had been killed by disease, the local daily The Namibian reported Wednesday. The paper said the dog's owner had killed it after it contracted an unknown skin disease and ordered it to be burned. Instead, the inhabitants of Oikokola village insisted on eating the meat, which was also shared with people from the nearby Onepandaulo village.

OK, I know I'm going to make some people angry about this... but some cultures are inferior to other cultures. I think Stone Age cultures are inferior to modern day cultures. The Aztecs engaged in ritual human sacrifice. The ancient Greeks endorsed sexual relationships between boys and adult men, which we would today consider the crime of pedophilia. We put Catholic priests in prison for that kind of thing today because we have come to know that young people below the age of consent should be protected from adults. The Romans arranged public spectacles of animals fighting animals, people fighting animals, and people fighting people to the death. We are putting Michael Vick in prison for this kind of thing because we know the horrors of engaging in blood sports. Well, as far as I'm concerned, we should no longer be eating dogs. Sorry, but we don't live in the Stone Age any more. I also feel that some modern cultures are barbaric: such as Nazi Germany and today's Iran and North Korea. Time to move on folks.
Mandatory Spay / Neuter?

Palm Beach County commissioners appear ready to adopt a mandatory countywide pet sterilization policy, tapping into an emotional issue that affects thousands of pet owners and has already drawn howls from some animal lovers.

This is just ridiculous. I hate people meddling in my life, whether it be friends, family, neighbors, employers or government. Doesn't the Constitution prohibit the "taking" of property? This is taking my property, the breeding rights I own when I purchase a dog. This is one reason I oppose the changing of dog "ownership" to dog "guardianship" in the law. If the dog is your property, then you can fight this on Constitutional grounds, and probably win.

IF you have this kind of thing happening in your area, contact some of the pro-dog activist groups listed on the sidebar of this blog. Some have legal funds and attorneys ready to fight against this kind of thing.
My Take On The Ellen DeGeneres Adoption Story

Should Ellen DeGeneres have been put through the meat grinder over her placement of her adopted dog with someone else? I really don't think so.

Most rescue people I've worked with aren't so rigid in how they place the dogs. They are typically volunteers whose main purpose is to find a good home for the dogs they rescue.

I think this thing with Ellen DeGeneres is more the exception than the rule. See: How common is Ellen's 'Iggygate' scenario?

And the fact is you have a lot of options when it comes to adoption. You can get the same type of dog, same breed, from a variety of organizations. So, if you don't like working with one group, switch to another. Some are super rigid, some aren't, in their philosophy on dog adoption.

Many are afraid of being sued if the dog injures someone... that is a lot of why the rules are so tight. No one talks about that, but it is a fact. Rescue is full of armchair lawyers who see risk and lawsuits behind everything. They are so afraid of complaints that they do stupid things with the dogs, and over-regulate the adoption process. Further, many become little political kingdoms where personalities use rules and procedures to make themselves feel important, to the detriment of the dogs and the other people involved. That is why rescue groups form and fall apart every year. Money is wasted, goodwill of donors and rescue volunteers is wasted, dogs are needlessly put down because of stupid policies, and good homes are eliminated from consideration for irrational reasons.

Postscript: So, Ellen... don't get a dog without reading and abiding by the rules of the rescue organizations you go to. You blew it, and you brought some of this on yourself. A contract is a contract is a contract. To Rescue Groups: maybe it is time to organize an advisory group and adopt a model adoption contract, dog evaluation procedures, group liability insurance protections, and organizational bylaws. You could get professional lawyers to help you draft up the agreement and look at your bylaws and policies, vets and dog trainers to help with evaluation procedures, and so on. AKC... it is time to get involved in this.

Hat Tip to for staying on this story.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dog Meat Recipes

You'd be surprised how many mentally deranged people go to this blog looking for dog meat recipes.

Look folks: YOU ARE CRAZY IF YOU THINK IT IS OK TO EAT A DOG! You are mentally disordered. You are psychologically deranged. You are neurotic. You don't need dog meat, you need medication. You need to be put in a secure facility with padded rooms and guards. Go get help. Check yourself into a mental ward. You need a check up from the neck up. You have a distorted sense of reality and society, and you are a danger to yourself and others.

Ever studied serial killers? About a third of them start out by killing pets. I don't care if you are from another country, or that eating dog meat is a part of your culture. Some cultures eat humans, too. Is that OK, too, just because it is part of their culture? If you can eat a dog, then you have serious problems.
Clinton Photo Op Pets

AS THE “first pet” of the Clinton era, Socks, the White House cat, allowed “chilly” Hillary Clinton to show a caring, maternal side as well as bringing joy to her daughter Chelsea. So where is Socks today? Once the presidency was over, there was no room for Socks any more. After years of loyal service at the White House, the black and white cat was dumped on Betty Currie, Bill Clinton’s personal secretary, who also had an embarrassing clean-up role in the saga of his relationship with the intern Monica Lewinsky.

This does not surprise me. It was reported back in the Clinton presidency that they got Buddy the Labrador Retriever to soften Bill Clinton's image. After he was out of office, they didn't need Buddy any more. So, Buddy, exiled to living at one of their homes, forgotten and unsupervised, ran into the street and was killed by a car. These people have no shame. It was well known that the Clinton presidency was run by polling numbers not principle. Whatever the numbers showed made the decisions, not principle, not affection, not even what was legal or moral. And here again, we see the same phenomenon. They are more concerned about how this cat story will affect Hillary's run for office than asking how the cat is doing. They want to "soften" Hillary's image, not ask what is good for the cat. They want her to win, they don't care about the cat. In other words, we are being fed an image, not the real person running for office. And that sickens me.

Their incompetency and corruption led to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade towers, allowed the Chinese to obtain secret missile and nuclear weapon technology (
"The financial sleaze that dominated the final Clinton years is also making a comeback. After Norman Hsu, one of Clinton’s biggest campaign “bundlers”, was exposed as a fraud, it emerged last week that waiters, dishwashers and street pedlars in New York’s Chinatown have been handing over $1,000 and $2,000 sums to her campaign – some with genuine pride, others because they were ordered to do so by neighbourhood bosses."), stalled the country for years because Bill couldn't keep it in his pants, and opened the door for the Clinton's to amass more power by selling Presidential pardons at the end of their second term in office. The People's Republic of China is funneling money into the Clinton campaign again. Think on that one.

Pet owners know what this is all about: "Flanagan’s article, headed No Girlfriend of Mine, points out that Clinton wrote a crowd-pleasing book Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets, in which she claimed that only with the arrival of Socks and his “toy mouse” did the White House “become a home”."

We are being used again. It is hypocrisy.

This is typical Clinton politics. Why anyone would put such people in office is beyond me.

Friday, October 19, 2007

When Dog Fleas Attack!

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Four officers investigating a burglary were attacked, not by a fleeing burglar, but a swarm of fleas in a filth-ridden vacant house. The tiny, biting attackers were so overwhelming that the South Bend patrolmen had to be decontaminated and ended up being sent home early from their shifts. Stokes said the house's tenants had recently been evicted, but returned periodically to feed a dog tied up in the backyard and allowed it to run around inside the garbage-filled house.

Fleas are bad enough. But, when they infest a place, they can be horrible. The first time I encountered fleas was in 1986. I had gotten my first dog, Kate, and had taken her to Marymoor Park's off leash area in Redmond, WA. My pup had gotten a greeting from a particularly scruffy black dog, I didn't feel good about it, so I left the area. Sure enough, when I got home, I found fleas on her. I bathed her and figured that was the end of it. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Fleas had buried themselves in my car on the way home. It took a long time to get rid of those fleas.

I figure that the fleas you encounter at off leash parks are the military type. They've fought man wars with many other fleas, been in combat with any number of dog owners, survived all mankind's WMD's, and have a variety of medals on their chests for their doggie conquests. I dipped and sprayed Kate. I gave her white pills that were a kind of internal insecticide (an early version of insecticides like FrontLine that are absorbed into the dog's body, and supposedly kill the fleas that bite the dog). I sprayed my yard. I bombed the house with foggers I purchased from my veterinarian. I tried herbal remedies (which were pretty much worthless). And they still kept coming. It took months and repeated treatments to kill them off. Even then, they would get inside the walls, stay dormant for months, and come out if there was any humidity or wetness to re-activate their eggs. Kate became sensitized to their bites, and then, for the rest of her life, she'd get some large, ugly looking, blood red, wet sores on her tummy after she'd been bitten. Sometimes that was the first clue we had a flea somewhere. Since all this happened in the mid-1980's, I figure that maybe these were survivors of Saddam's WMD attacks against Iran. These blood suckers were nasty. They could survive anything.

And they bit me, too! Until then, I didn't realize that fleas would bite people. They gave me some pretty itchy welts that took days to go away. I later found out from real estate agents that they would sometimes encounter hungry fleas in vacant homes for sale. They'd get bitten pretty badly. Old timers know to recommend to sellers that own dogs to bomb / fog their homes if they are going to be left vacant during the sales process. Nothing like a flea infestation to kill a sale.

The nice thing about moving to Arizona is that there aren't fleas here. Wrong climate. Instead, we get ticks. Sigh. Ticks. Seems that monsoon season, from about July through August, is tick season, with the high humidity being the factor that causes them to grow and spread. Ticks aren't so bad as fleas, however they carry tick borne diseases that can kill a dog. I know someone who lost their Akita a couple of years ago to a tick borne disease. The good news is that it seems that the insecticides seem to be more effective in dealing with, and preventing, ticks. You just have to be diligent in spraying your yard and home, and treating your dog with a topical insecticide and/or dip.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dog Training Update

AN elderly man died after his dog panicked and dragged him into the path of an oncoming express train in Melbourne's east.

While dog training can't prevent a dog from panicking, it can teach you a lot about your dog. Over time, I get to know all my dogs through training. As I push them to learn more and more, and to obey in distracting environments, I learn their strengths and limitations.

Further, there are some safety tips you can use when managing a dog. The first is how to hold the leash. NEVER wrap the leash around your hand or wrist. The loop in the leash is for your thumb. The loop helps you grip the leash and prevent it from coming out of your hand. The loop is also a "quick release", because if you have to let go, you can just by opening your hand.

When hiking, for example, I never wrap the leash around my wrist and hand. You could be walking along some cliffs or a deep ravine, your dog could slip or could jump at a squirrel, and you'd fall a long way down to your death. Same thing here. If you are near a very busy traffic location, you don't want the leash wrapped around your wrist and hand. Your dog could panic and drag you into traffic.

Now, I don't know how this man was holding his dog, what kind of leash he had, anything about the dog, nor anything about the training the dog had. But, experience tells me to question the manner in which the leash was being held.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

You Mean The Clicker Training Didn't Work?

SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Canary Islands - A killer whale at a marine park hit its trainer and dragged her underwater repeatedly until it finally freed the woman with a badly bruised chest and a broken arm, park officials said yesterday.

We keep hearing over and over again, from the clicker training fanatics, that clicker trainers who train sea mammals are superior trainers and know more about behavior. Well, then we shouldn't keep hearing about how sea mammals attack their trainers, right? But, we do. Why is that? If this method is so magical, then we shouldn't be seeing aggression towards anyone or any animal. Do a bit of research and you'll see that these types of incidents have happened before, and in some cases, the animals were aggressive in their attacks. Also notice that the trainers were never able to command the animals to stop attacking, they instead had to wait until the attack was over. Same with the zoo animals being clicker trained.

And, notice in the story that the killer whale only let go when it wanted to let go. Why couldn't the trainer just command the animal to stop? Because there are limitations to clicker training, and it isn't the panacea we are all being sold. That's true in the dolphin / killer whale / sea urchin world, it is true in the zoo world, and it's true in the dog world, too.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Can We Assume... ?

Although the use of Tasers by law enforcement officials has been linked to some highly publicized deaths nationwide, the devices are safe and cause a low occurrence of serious injuries, according to a nationwide study. In the full review of nearly 1,000 cases, 99.7 percent of people subjected to a Taser had mild injuries, such as scrapes and bruises, or no injuries at all, the study found. Only three subjects (0.3 percent) suffered injuries severe enough to need hospitalization.

So, you use a shock device strong enough to bring a man to his knees, and the device is "safe". The injuries sustained are not a direct use of the Taser, but injuries that are concurrent and incidental to the use of the device. In other words, the Taser might bring the man to his knees, but the bruises he got were from falling on his knees, not from the stimulation of the device. If that is the case, and that is what this study seems to indicate, then can't we assume that a properly used electric collar on a dog, or an electric hidden fencing system, is also safe for use? In other words, can't we assume proper use of an electric collar or other such electrical device won't cause a medical problem for a dog?

I have three levels for determining whether a training method or technique is humane. I think the first level of determining whether something is abusive is determining whether there is a reasonable likelihood the method would cause injury or health problem or disease, needing medical care to the dog or family. If injury is known to be the result, then the method shouldn't be used.

Second, and more subjective, is whether it is psychologically harmful. I feel that the methods we use should tend to make the dog and handler work according to the ideals of what an obedience trained dog should look like in competition. I would say that any method that would not tend to cause a dog, in the long run, to perform according to the obedience rules of AKC or Schutzhund should be ruled out. Those rules generally state that the dog should perform precisely and willingly, and the handler should not have to be harsh with the dog. Our focus on the ideal performance of a dog should dictate the methods we use. You can’t get this kind of ideal performance by abusing a dog in training. According to the AKC obedience regulations: “This “perfect picture” must comply with these Regulations and shall combine the utmost in willingness, enjoyment and precision on the part of the dog with naturalness, gentleness and smoothness on the part of the handler. Speed alone does not necessarily indicate willingness and enjoyment. Lack of willingness and enjoyment on the part of the dog must be penalized, as must lack of precision in the dog’s performance. Roughness in handling, military precision or harsh commands by the handler must also be penalized.”

Should a dog be locked in a cage 24 hours of every day as a method of preventing dog bites? Would this tend to make the dog behave according to this ideal picture? No, it wouldn't. Should a dog be so confined by electronic devices in the home and yard that the dog lives in a maze? No. Should a dog be subjected to 24 hours of non-stop training? (I know I’m putting out crazy examples, but you get the idea). No. We should eliminate methods that are psychologically harmful. Methods that wouldn't tend to cause the dog to obey according to the picture given by the AKC should be avoided or eliminated from your training toolbox.

Third, is a quality of life evaluation, which is even more subjective. Let's assume we are talking health instead of behavior. If a dog is miserable because of a debilitating disease, and there is no way of alleviating the dog's misery, I have no problem recommending euthanasia. It is in pain all the time. So, let's consider a behavioral situation that is so bad that the dog that just can’t be a dog without implementing a specified training method, and would have to live in a cage all the time to be safe in the home. Then, I’d try the method if that is the only solution left. On the other hand, if the training method is so harsh that it makes the dog scream, run and hide under a bed, never wanting to come out again, then I’d start asking other trainers for advice or not take the case, and refer them to someone else who I might feel could address the problem better. And if all that failed, and the dog's continued existence is going to be flat out miserable, then I'd consider recommending euthanasia.

Electric training devices, such as electric collars and hidden fencing systems aren't inhumane, provided they are used by people who know how to properly use them. On the other hand, they aren't the only training tool you should try. Traditional training incorporates a myriad of methods, both positive and correctional, for addressing a variety of training and behavioral situations.

One last piece of advice. Hire a professional before you consider using an electric training device. Have someone show you the proper, humane way to use them.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What Do You Think Of This?

A Toronto mosque is telling Muslims not to say "Happy Thanksgiving" or invite friends into their homes for turkey dinner on the holiday weekend... Also banned, it says, are: watching sports or soap operas, walking dogs, family photos, wedding bands, Western hats, mingling and shaking hands with the opposite sex.

Is having or walking a dog is banned by Islam? And if so, what does that mean for our society if we implement laws to accommodate the Muslims in our communities? How do we reach a peaceful and respectful compromise in our Western secular societies?

In fact, the Saluki, a hunting breed, has a history tied to hunting and Islam.

According to Wikipedia: "Dogs are considered unclean according to some who study Islamic law. However, a Saluki is in some cases cherished by Muslims. Dogs are mentioned in the holy book of Islam the Quran several times e.g. in the main story of sura 18 where a dog is a companion of the dwellers of the Cave. The Quran also tells that it is permissible to eat what trained dogs catch (5:4). Nevertheless, many Islamic teachers state dogs should be considered unclean and that Muslims licked by them must perform purification. According to Hadith, anything a dog touches must be washed seven times, the final time in dust[12]. Some religious traditions hold that if a dog passes in front of someone preparing to pray, that it pollutes their purity and negates the prayer. This view is contested by many modern scholars of the Qu'ran. Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, professor of Islamic Law at UCLA, says this zealous adherence to doctrine led one religious authority to advise a Muslim that his pet dog was evil and should be driven away by cutting off its food and water.[13] Another exception appears to be made by the Bedouin in the case of the Saluki. They are allowed in the tents and considered special companions. It has been said that the Bedouin will never sell a Saluki, but will give one as a special and precious gift.[14]"

I come from a Christian background, so I have a different perspective on this. Here is what Paul taught regarding eating food (and the principle could be extended to anything that one might consider unclean, or unholy, to possess or deal with):

Romans: 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 14:15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. 14:20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Thus, in Western nations, which have a Christian heritage, we don't see things we put in our bodies to be unclean. This goes back to Jesus' teaching:

Matthew: 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

So, can the touching of an animal cause a man to be unclean before God? And if someone else thinks what you do is unclean, should you then not do it so as to not offend them?

Here are my thoughts on all of this. In our Western culture, we have opted to separate church from state. Thus, we shouldn't have laws that ban particular practices based purely on the religious beliefs of the people involved. But, what you do on your own time, in your own home and life is your business. Regarding Jesus' and Paul's teachings, they were addressing people who were of the same faith accommodating each other, not people of different faiths. There is no way for one faith to completely agree with another, which is why the establishment of a non-religious state keeps the peace between citizens of differing faiths. To get the life you want, you have to allow others to have the life they want, and the differences should be settled at the ballot box, not in the churches or mosques. Thus, I see nothing wrong with owning, touching, or living with a dog. I don't think God cares whether I touch a dog. I think He cares if I am a good person, doing unto others as I would want them to do unto me. I think that when religion becomes a set of rules imposed upon others by force, then the resulting behaviors aren't out of faith towards God, but out of fear of men, and I think we are to fear God instead of fear men. How can God respect your good works when they are purely for the purpose of looking good in front of others instead of faith towards God? I am going to fight to pass laws that agree with my viewpoint, and work within the system we have to get that result. And if others see it differently, then they can do the same, so long as they are abiding by the law.

What do you think? What is the right thing to do in these cases? I'm open to logical persuasion.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dog Attacks

I have been observing dog attack trends for quite a while, and have come up with a theory.

I believe a number of dog attacks within the home, on children, is the result of spoiling the home dogs. When you "spoil" a dog, you are raising the status of the dog relative to the humans in the home, and that can result in aggression.

Spoiling means to overindulge, give excessive and unwarranted praise, and to coddle. Often one or the other, or both, parents put no rules or limits on the dog's behavior. The initial result is a more insecure dog. The dog isn't made to deal with life as a normal dog, so they never adapt to the normal stresses of life. Later, those normal stresses, when not monitored by the owners, cause the dog to be more likely to bite out of fear or defensive aggression. Further, you see the dog starting to become overattached to one spouse, and then interpose itself between family members, oftentimes growling when the spouse or child comes to hug or approach the other spouse, and you see the dog starting to growl when you pet the dog when the dog doesn't want petting. The dog is also allowed to become overly territorial, because the dog isn't made to leave guests and strangers alone. Further, rough housing with the dog is permitted, allowing the dog to play bite the people in the home, giving the dog permission to put its teeth on family members, reducing the dog's inhibition to bite later on. Lastly, there is resistance in the family, among one or more of the adults to training, supervising, containing, and managing the dog. Oftentimes, one family member coddles the dog and won't correct the dog for misbehavior.

Further, there is the training issue. I have seen more and more bite cases as a result of people trying to implement "purely positive" training methods on their dogs. Dogs need positives in the training. Absolutely! I use treats, toys, games, petting, praise and all kinds of affection with all the dogs I work with. On the other hand, there are also rules, enforcement of rules, expectations regarding manners, consistency regarding the training and rules, and corrections when necessary. I don't let the dogs get spoiled because they must be mannerly, and thus, the dogs are less likely to bite. I have a very hard time explaining to some dog owners that their pampering approach is the cause of the dog being so fearful and being so dangerous.
What About Prong And Chain Collars?

There are a number of popular myths, from people who don’t know the first thing concerning training a dog, about metal collars, such as prong and chain collars. Let’s just get into a bit of that right now.