Monday, August 31, 2009


Would it be ethical to euthanize an otherwise healthy dog for peeing or pooping in the home?


This is a training issue. When dogs soil the home, it is a PEOPLE problem, not a dog problem. A good dog trainer can help you with this kind of thing. In fact, it isn't even right to get angry with such a dog or to punish them. They are doing what YOU have either taught them to do or not do. It is your fault.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don't Leave Barking Dogs Unattended!

A company director battered his neighbour's dog to death with a garden hoe after repeatedly complaining about its 'yapping', a court heard today.

A barking dog doesn't deserve the death penalty. I've written numerous posts about this. Some people go absolutely nuts when hearing a barking dog. They will kill your dog. These people are mentally unbalanced. There's probably one of these in every neighborhood in the world. You are being foolish if you don't protect your dogs and keep them from barking.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Adding A New Dog To Your "Family"

There are ways for a man to evaluate a wife when deciding whether to marry. There is a lot to consider, not just physical attraction, or mutual interests, but the entire character and makeup of the person. If you make the wrong choice in picking a spouse, you'll pay for it for a very long time.

I thought of this topic today after considering the murder story of Jasmine Fiore by Ryan Jenkins. These two people were heading for a train wreck, if you look at what the accounts say of their personal lives. Maybe no one could have ever anticipated that murder / suicide would be the end result, but I see nothing in this story to indicate that either one was a person of good character.

I wrote an article, called "Buying A Dog / Choosing A Breeder", because I saw so many people adding the wrong dog to their families, and ending up with a lot of problems, and sometimes tragedy. You have to view adding a new dog to the family the same as if you were adding a new person to your family... and be just as picky. Getting a cute puppy from the window of the local pet store, or from some guy in a parking lot, is a formula for a lot of heartache. Now, of course, people aren't dogs and dogs aren't people... [though some men act like dogs, and some women act like bitches...] but when getting a dog, you ARE getting a new family member, and you should be very thoughtful about what you are about to do. Better to stay "single" (don't get a dog) than to get "married" (get a dog) to the wrong one.

A lot of people are too careless as to who they let be a part of their inner circle. Look, I can speak from personal experience. Been married and divorced before. And gotten the wrong dog for my home before. And I've learned some hard lessons along the way, and I'm passing this along to you so you don't experience the heartaches that I've experienced. When it comes to dogs, I find many people are too careless when getting a dog, not considering that a dog will pretty much be a part of their family and could cause them just as much trouble. If you don't get the right dog for your situation, then your dog could even hurt someone else. In fact, here's a story which says a dog got loose, attacked an elderly woman, the woman died, and now the owners could be charged with a crime that could land them in prison.

So, think carefully when choosing a new family member... human or dog. There's a lot more to it than just how you "feel" about them.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dog Aggression In The Red Zone

Cesar Milan has popularized a term he calls "the red zone", meaning when a dog is acting dangerously aggressive. I hate this term, because it is not quantifiable, doesn't conform to any known scientific definition of aggression that I have ever seen, and isn't really useful in terms of defining what is going on or what to do about it.

One of my problems with Cesar Milan is that you have to translate "Cesar" into English, taking terms he has invented or borrowed and then picking them apart to determine exactly what he's referring to. I see a lot of novices using Cesar's methods and terminology and getting themselves in trouble when trying to deal with biting in their own dogs.

If your dog is having biting, fear, or aggression issues, then you should hire a local expert to help you. In my opinion, Cesar's books and TV shows are going to be of little use to you. I've met people who were severely bitten by their own dogs when trying to implement solutions they've seen on his TV show.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Family Teamwork

"To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others." - Pope John Paul II

Many times, the reason a family is having problems with their dog is because the family is having problems with one another. Selfishness has no place in a family, and is detrimental to dog ownership.
Quote of the Day

"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant
Thinking About Michael Vick Today

“The consequences of our crimes long survive their commission, and, like the ghosts of the murdered, forever haunt the steps of the malefactor” - Sir Walter Scott

Something to ponder when doing anything in life. Do it with integrity. That goes for life. That even goes for raising, training, and owning a dog. That goes for anything you're dealing with.

Michael Vick will always have an asterisk after his name about his involvement in dog fighting.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Moving On

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” - Alexander Graham Bell

A family member of mine had a best friend who died of polio. It was her best friend, and she was truly a wonderful person. But, the tragedy was that the parents of this girl could never get past the passing of their only daughter. Whenever I would meet them... and this was 20 years after her death... the conversation would inevitably steer towards talking about her. Even as a kid, I could tell this was unhealthy.

As I get older, I know more, feel more, understand more. And with age comes an ever increasing ability to plumb the depths of the meaning of life. You also know that you can't let yourself get stuck in the past, or you'll die there, too. A self-inflicted mental kill.

I have had some great dogs, been around some great dogs. Some died. Some were dogs I knew and belonged to others, but now are not a part of my life any more. And I miss them all. But, I also know that when one dog leaves your life, it opens the door for a new dog. It's that way with people in your life, too. Mourning the loss or death of another person, a great love, a significant relationship, or pet is a necessary, yet tragic, part of life. I have some terrible regrets, things I wished had gone differently in my life and in the lives of others, and I have felt unbelievable pain at times when going through these times. Yet, there is also the new day approaching. And a choice to see the glass as half full or half empty. And having the will to survive and love again.

Life is that way. Nothing is static. At some point, you have to accept and go through the grieving, then put away the past, pick yourself up, and move on to a new future. Try looking up the phrase, "Remember Lot's wife." Sometimes what is behind can destroy you if you look back and long for it. But, you never really forget the past, if it was meaningful, you just try to remember the good, and try to learn life's lessons, too. If you lost a pet, get a new one. The new one won't replace the old dog, but it will fill the hole and you'll find new joys. The same thing will be true with all of these types of life changes that are thrust upon us... you'll get another chance in life.

I know it is painful to lose something or someone valuable in your life. I've been there. I understand.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dog Flu Vaccine?

Veterinarians are recommending a new vaccine for dog flu (H3N8). The vaccine is a series of two shots, two weeks apart, followed by a yearly booster. Statistics reveal about 80 percent of dogs that come in contact with the H3N8 virus will get sick, but only 10 to 20 percent will get seriously ill.

Hmmm... not sure how I feel about this new vaccine. On the one hand, no one wants their dog to get sick and die from dog flu. On the other hand, new vaccines can have unintended consequences. I had a customer who gave their dog the rattlesnake vaccine and the dog had an adverse reaction. I'd be asking a lot of questions before I agreed to have my dog vaccinated. I'd then weigh the risks vs. the benefits and make a reasoned decision.

If you have experience with this new vaccine, I'd appreciate your feedback.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Socialism And Your Dog

Raising dogs was banned under the rule of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong as a bourgeois pastime, but with China's growing affluence and pursuit of Western trends, greater numbers of middle-class families have become avid pet owners in a booming social trend. On July 1, city authorities implemented the "one-dog policy" seen as a crackdown on the estimated 100,000 unregistered dogs in Guangzhou ahead of the Asian Games in the city next year. But so far, many outraged pet owners in the sprawling metropolis have chosen to ignore, or dodge, the new laws. "I'll definitely not give up on my dogs because they're a part of my life," said an office worker surnamed Chen with six dogs in a leafy neighborhood in downtown Guangzhou.

You think this is just a problem in China? Think again. Laws are passed regularly in the US regulating how many dogs a person can own. Yes, anything can be abused. No one person can keep 600 dogs in a single family residence and ensure the health and welfare of the dogs. Then again, why should we be regulated as to how many dogs we can own? In some cities, you can only own 3 dogs. In some public housing, they ban dogs altogether. Breeders are told how many dogs they can own and breed at any one time. There has to be a balance. It's a shame that people are so willing to use the law to meddle with the lives of other people. And a shame that the few who do abuse dogs trigger politicians to implement draconian laws that impede on the freedoms of the rest of us. The scary thing is when an ideology is also attached to these laws, such as Mao's no dog policy. What reason do you use to justify all the regulations we have regarding dog ownership? Sometimes, it's good to step back and see if things are becoming ridiculous.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What Did This Accomplish?

A dogowner was fined for being too slow to pick up his pet's mess. Christopher Lindsay, 49, was stopped by 'over-zealous' dog wardens as he walked just five yards to his car to fetch a plastic bag to clean up after his dog, Bono. Although Mr Lindsay explained what he was doing, the officials ruled he spent too long and so handed him a £75 fine.

Seriously. When law enforcement does this kind of thing, it makes a mockery of the laws and causes people to disrespect and challenge authority. I'm all for law and order, but not this kind of thing. The power of the state must be used wisely. When they become busybodies, then it enslaves us all.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vick on Dog Fighting

Here's the first interview of Michael Vick regarding his conviction regarding his involvement in pit fighting and the deaths and torture of dogs:

Sorry, but I don't believe him. All the visual and verbal cues say the opposite of the words.

Do you believe he's turned his life around? Let's ask first, what is Repentance? "Almost all agree that repentance requires five elements: recognition of one's sins as sins, remorse, desisting from sin, restitution where possible, and confession." I'm not sure all elements are there in this case.

I've given this guy a lot of chance for repentance. I believe in that for everyone, because none of us is perfect. All of us are told to "go and sin no more" because good people, wise people, know their own secret sins. But, whatever my sins, it doesn't justify his.

Truly, now. I'm wary. I wanted to hear it from him. Forgiveness is my job. Repentance is his job. Forgiveness without repentance is worthless for everyone involved.

Why do people keep repeating evil / bad things? "As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly." No true repentance... they really just don't care. Deep down, they either don't feel they did wrong, or they find a way to blame others so they don't have to take the blame, or they want the bad thing so much that they find ways to justify doing wrong. No real change. Yes, we can forgive, but that doesn't mean we have to trust or to continue to do business with them as usual. The prisons are full of people like that. We can and should love them, but sometimes we just have to separate ourselves from them. Truly a sad state of affairs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"You Develop Only By Doing Your Best" - John Wooden

I work with a lot of people. I coach a lot of people to be successful with their dogs. Obviously, those who put in their best effort get the best behaved dogs.

Best Effort is a direct result of good character. Many people lack good character. No coach, parent, teacher, preacher, leader, or politician can make you into someone with the traits that will make you successful in life. You have to choose that path in order to benefit from good teaching and leadership.

When choosing members of a sports team, coaches will scour the land seeking not only talented players, but those with the character necessary to be good team players. If you read books on famous coaches... Lombardi, Wooden, etc., you'll note that they spent considerable time seeking the right kind of people before they invested time in teaching them how to be great players. Leaders in time of war have also had the same issues... Lincoln, Churchill, Roosevelt. Generals had to be replaced until those of the top caliber were found to do the job properly. If you have ever noticed, our top performing military generals are pretty amazing guys. A lot of people have talent. We see that in Hollywood all the time. Great talent, no character... and their lives become train wrecks. Too many people focus on developing their skills, and focusing on their talents, than on first becoming good and decent people.

Weak character choices in life result in self pity, lack of self control, excuses instead of excusable reasons, sloppiness, emotionalism, laziness, a tendency to quit in tough times, an eagerness to leave and betray others when a better offer comes along, disloyalty, cheating, lying, whining, complaining, and a Machiavellian outlook on life. Weak character is a lack of self respect, and a lack of respect for others.

I can't get very far when I'm coaching people that don't have good character. They don't do the lessons. Day after day, I show up and they haven't done their homework, gotten the necessary equipment, or put in any meaningful effort. They don't have compassion for others. Many people will say they love their dogs, but we all know that character is what you do, not just what you say. I've seen them blame others for not doing the work that they should be doing, including other family members, the dog, their boss, even me. I've seen them fight with their spouses, kids, parents, neighbors, and so forth. Look, I'm a pretty darned good teacher. I explain, demonstrate, give the student plenty of practice and time, and do good follow up to ensure that each detail is understood and working properly. I love teaching, and I love working with people and dogs. Yet, over and over again, when I'm working with people of good character, I see amazing results. And when I'm not, the results are always less than the dog's potential.

Do you have what it takes to make the best of your human - dog relationship? If you want the best, then you are going to have to develop your character. It's not just about operant conditioning, classical conditioning, leashes, collars, treats, timing, and practice. It's deeper than that. It's going to require you making changes in how you deal with other people, how you manage yourself, and how you deal with your dog. Top performance, leading to success (meaning here, to get your dog to behave and be enjoyable as possible), is going to involve making changes in who you are, meaning what things you value in life.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Pig Dog

What is a "pig dog?" A pig dog is a boar hunting dog, doing much the same work that bulldogs were originally created for. Here is a description:

1. Mixed Bred Dog: These dogs are usually a mix of greyhounds, wolfhounds, mastiffs, bulldogs (there are many bulldog breeds), Boxer, Great Dane, pointer, and/or Catahoula. They are used, and have behavioral traits and genetics, much like earlier versions of other breeds of dog we now know: Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, etc. In fact, the Dogo Argentino is pretty much what a "pig dog" is today, we now just give it a breed name.

2. Working Hunting Dog: In the old days, these types of dogs have always been mixed bred dogs that have been created to capture wild boars. Different mixes are created for more specialized roles in the hunt. They hunt by scent (ground and air) and/or sight and/or on command. These dogs do very dangerous work, and you'll often seen them covered in scars. They typically are going to grab the boar about the head and pin it in a specific place for the hunter. They are taught to leave other game alone, such as deer or cattle or kangaroo.

3. They are hunting dogs. They are typically bred to be people-friendly and can be pets in the home. These are hunting dogs with a very strong desire to chase game. There are many wild boar around the world. These boars were let into the wild for the specific purpose of creating game for hunting. Hunters often don't even have limits on how many they can capture, and in many areas the boars are considered an environmental nuisance, and a danger to farmer's crops, and the governments want them either controlled or eradicated. The meat of the boar is then used for food, and the heads displayed as trophies.

4. What They Are Not: These are not guard dogs or personal protection dogs. These are also not pit fighting dogs. They are supposed to run in packs for hunting wild boar. In some parts of the world, dogs like this have also been used to hunt for bear and big cats. You don't want a dog like this to not be good with people, because they have to work around other hunters. You also don't want a dog like this to be a dog fighter, because that would defeat the purpose of them running in packs to find game. The dogs don't kill the game, just capture it for the hunter (who usually shoots the captured boar).

I've never had the chance to work with a "pig dog". The closest I've gotten is to obedience train a few Dogo Argentinos. Interesting breed, but not a breed for everyone. The dog really needs a job to do, like hunting for game. It is NOT a protection dog, or a pit fighting dog. Loud and annoying bark. Super strong prey drive, visual especially, for other animals, which makes the obedience training a challenge. There are restrictions on owning pig dogs in some countries, so you'd better do your homework before getting one. I really don't think these dogs would be any fun as urban pets... they are specialized hunters for a specific type of lifestyle, terrain and game.

As I have mentioned before, I am not against hunting, but I am against "trophy hunting". I believe that you should eat what you kill, not kill for no other purpose than looking at a stuffed animal on your wall. I believe hunting is a natural behavior, even for humans. Many animals eat other animals. People eat animals... go to McDonald's sometime. Wild boar were planted in many parts around the world over the centuries as a food source. They are there for the hunting, the captured boar are killed quickly and humanely, and people eat them as food. I'm also not opposed to using dogs for hunting. That's what they've been used for from the beginning of their domestication, and many of these wild boar are in remote areas where this kind of thing is a normal part of life. The work is dangerous, but that doesn't disqualify it from being an activity that should be done with dogs. A lot of work is dangerous for dogs: guide dogs, hunting, police work, home protection, etc.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

LUA Dalmatians

They make wonderful pets and firm friends but sadly, for many dalmatians, their medical records are somewhat spotty. Around a quarter of the beloved animals - or 25.25 in every 101 - will suffer serious health problems during their lives, leaving them in agonising pain and facing an early death. Now, with a little bit of cross-breeding, a healthy 'new' dalmatian, free from the defective gene that causes high levels of uric acid in their blood, has been created.

This is terrific. The breeders have created a "low uric acid" Dalmatian (LUA). This is what we SHOULD be doing about all the genetic problems that crop up over time when breeding dogs, instead of just medicating them with drugs and special diets and allowing generation after generation of dogs and dog owners to suffer. Many of the vet bills we pay for dogs could be eliminated if the breeders were allowed to do their jobs... meaning, having the ability to remove the genes that cause the genetic problems. There needs to be a change in mentality by the breed clubs. It is INHUMANE to continue to breed dogs, decade after decade, that you KNOW have genetic problems.

For example, blindness is a serious problem with Collies. Heart problems are rampant in the Dobermans. Why not selectively breed these dogs to eliminate these health problems?

AS a side note: In the 1950's, the Bull Terrier breeders decided they didn't want to have to crop the ears of their dogs. So, the breed club got together and decided to selectively breed for a triangular ear. We now are banning tail docking and ear cropping for a number of breeds, such as Dobermans and Rottweilers. Why not selectively breed for the trait you want?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Are you a TWIT?

WE'VE had WAGS, yuppies and metrosexuals; now meet our newest social phenomenon, TWITs. The TWITs are "Teenage Women In Their Thirties". Just like men with Peter Pan-syndrome who are not ready to grow up, TWITs are putting serious relationships and parenthood on hold, instead choosing to continue partying and enjoying the freedoms they discovered in their teens.

Isn't that pathetic? Another result of the "Me Generation". Let's call them what they are: selfish flakes. At one time we valued virtue, honor, maturity, hard work, being responsible, and so forth. Now, we see this phenomenon where it is OK to be a loser. Your behaviors AREN'T special and wonderful when you accept being a quitter, irresponsible, lazy, have an inflated self worth based on nothing, and thinking you are entitled to anything good in life. The real world is a meritocracy.

I've met women who were Twits, who were also raising their daughters to be Twits. And they are all a mess. And woe to the men who get involved with Twits, because they will be left holding the bag for this woman's problems. The excuse given by Twits is "If I found the right man I would settle down and have kids, but I am not going to sit around at home waiting." Yeah, right. If you weren't responsible before the guy met you, then you aren't going to be that after you are married and have kids. You'll still choose to be a flake because you don't have your values in the right place. What character trait do you feel it is OK to eliminate in a friend, spouse, wife, girlfriend, or daughter? What character traits do you feel are unnecessary to a successful life? Honesty, faithfulness, diligence, perseverance, courage, ability to be a team player, ability to be a leader, loving, responsibility, self respect, honor, resilience, etc.? Why would someone willingly sabotage their lives by reverting to acting like a child when they are an adult?

If you were a TWIT, and in a moment of reflection, asked me what I'd recommend, I'd say to you that I expect better of you, that you are better than this, and that this kind of selfish lifestyle leads to a very unhappy life.

A good life is made, not handed to you. It requires a solid work ethic, which takes years and years to hone and develop.

Flaky people abound in this modern world. In the old days, you couldn't be a flake because it was survival of the fittest. You either worked and made a life or you starved out.

How does this relate to dog ownership? It relates because flakes shouldn't get a dog or be made responsible over a dog. I wouldn't sell or give a dog to a flake. And I wouldn't let a flake take care of my dog. And I wouldn't marry someone who was a flake if I had a dog, because those selfish desires would not only ultimately tank the relationship, the dog might then end up with no home once the divorce was over and the money had been all consumed fulfilling the selfish desires of this Twit.

There are good and responsible women out there. Women of character. Let's hold these women in high esteem, because they've earned it. Character is the will in action. Good character takes continuous effort and is a choice to be responsible. Bad character takes no effort at all, and is a choice to be irresponsible.

Just my humble opinion.