Saturday, November 24, 2012

Healing Wounds To The Heart: You And Your Dog

Dogs and people can go through rough, traumatic times, never to be forgotten, and oftentimes difficult to overcome. This can result in dogs that are continually stressed and doing behaviors that are undesirable, destructive, or even dangerous. People can also go through tough times, which can seriously affect their dogs. Not only are the people involved having challenges as a result of tragedies, but then those events then affect how their dogs behave and react to the stresses in the home

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Shelter Dogs That Go From Friendly To Aggressive

I get calls relatively frequently from people who decided to bring home a very friendly rescue dog, only to see that dog turn into a snarling, fearful dog in a couple of months. Then, I’m hired to turn the situation around.

How do you prevent this from happening?

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Support The No Kill Movement

Too many adoptable shelter dogs are put to death every year. This has to change. We have legalized animal abuse by exempting shelters and their personnel from accountability, and that has to stop. Shelter abuse is a common practice across the US.
I am therefore available for consultations, and to assist your community, to convert your local government run shelters into privately held No Kill Shelters. I have numerous ideas of funding, operations, training of staff, behavioral modification and management of the dogs, shelter design, and so forth

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Should I Protection Train My Dog?

How do you protection train your dog? What should you be considering? What breed, size, temperament and so forth? What about local laws?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dog Fights

What do you do if your dogs are fighting? Dog fights are a terrible thing to experience. In some cases, a dog can be killed. And the people can be severely injured, as well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reasonable Safety Precautions For Owning A Potentially Dangerous or Vicious Dog

Let’s say your dog has been determined by a judge to be “potentially dangerous” or “vicious”. If the dog is allowed to live, then the court will sometimes impose safety restrictions on the dog and owner, oftentimes with the penalty of violation of those restrictions being the death of the dog. So, what do I believe to be reasonable precautions that should satisfy the public good, the needs of the court and law, the rights of the dog owner, the rights of any victims, and the needs of the dog? Here are my suggestions

My Dog Is Extremely Afraid At The Veterinarian’s Office

Many dogs are afraid when going to the veterinarian’s office. What can be done about that? Not all dogs are happy when going to the vet clinic. That isn’t abnormal, it is normal... but undesirable, too. There are a number of reasons this is happening, and there are solutions for most dogs.

Friday, September 28, 2012

What Are The Best Breeds Off Leash?

I'm sometimes asked, "what are the best breeds off leash?" That's a good question when deciding what is the right breed for you. But, it isn't the only consideration. Just because a dog is more obedient as some other breed doesn't mean that is the right dog for your home...

My Dog Has Food Aggression

What do you do about a dog that has food aggression? Some dogs will attack you if you come near them when they are eating or chewing on a toy. There are stories in the news every year about children that are mauled, and even killed, by dogs that guard food.

This kind of thing can be created by stupid dog owners. This can also usually, but not always, be fixed by a good dog behaviorist.

My Dog Doesn’t Like His New Home

What do you do with a dog that doesn't like his new home? What do you do when your dog gets so ill, so sick, that you have to rush to the doctor to save their life?

Not all dogs make the transition to a new home. And if you don't see it as an emergency, then your dog can be forever changed, or even die.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Wife Has Problems Handling And Training Our Dog

Do dogs obey men differently than women? What should you do if your wife has problems handling and training your dog?

My Dog Gets Aggressive With My Other Dog When He Sees A Strange Dog

What should you do if your dog attacks your other dog when it sees a strange dog? Should you punish your dog? Should you yell at or scold your dog? Should you do a dog whisperer thing and pin your dog on the side, or "shh" your dog, or maybe poke your dog with your fingers?

No. You shouldn't do any of these things. You or your dog could be seriously injured if a dog fight breaks out, with you in the middle. You need to hire a professional.

My Dog Can’t Express Normal Body Language Due To A Medical Condition

Dogs with medical conditions oftentimes behave abnormally, not expressing normal body language. As a dog owner, you need additional professional support to make this kind of situation work out. There will be changes in how you, and other humans, interact with this dog. That can work out well, or result in a dangerous situation. There will be changes in how your dog behaves around other dogs, and how other dogs react to your dog. That can be a setup for a dog fight. And lastly, medical conditions can change over time, but if they worsen, then you may need to consider euthanasia.

My Dog’s Head Jerks When My Hand Gets Near

What should you do if your dog flinches or jerks when you try to pet or touch your dog? I have encountered a number of dogs this way, especially rescue dogs that have been abused.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When I Yell At My Dog She Growls

What should you do about a dog that growls at you when you yell at them? What are the right words? Should you pin them on their side with an alpha roll over? What is the right thing to do?

How Can You Tell If A Dog Is Protective Or Vicious?

What is the difference between a protective dog and a vicious dog? How can you tell the difference?

My Dog Is Afraid Of The Backseat Of My Car

What do you do with a dog that is afraid of getting in the backseat of a car? Should you force them in? Or correct them? What are the right words to say?

How Do I Make My Dog Mean?

What do you have to do to make a dog mean and vicious? How do you train a dog to attack anyone or any animal?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Monday, June 04, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What Should We Do With The Overpopulation Of Dogs?

Dog shelters have historically overflowed with too many dogs. As a result, millions of dogs are put to death each year. What is the cause for pet overpopulation and what might be done about it? Here are some ideas on what should be done with excess dogs in shelters.

I'd also like your feedback

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Perils Of Clicker Training

I have written several articles here and elsewhere regarding the Theory of Operant Conditioning. I have said it is an obsolete theory, especially when applied as Clicker Training. The reason I say it is obsolete is because it is incomplete regarding the spectrum of learning and modification of animal behavior. The theory ignores the emergent properties of behavior, especially regarding higher life forms such as mammals. A few years back, we saw a killer whale kill one of the trainers. No one, except maybe me, questioned the training methods being used on these big sea mammals. Maybe there's something wrong with the theory... but instead I got attacked. I have said the same numerous times regarding the negative effects of clicker training on some dogs. And I've been attacked on that, as well. 

Here is another example... 

A female zookeeper was recently killed by one of their elephants. Previous reports had said, "Jumbo is responding well to her operant conditioning and protected care management. The program allows keepers to manage her through a protected wall, and is based solely on positive feedback. She is responding well by presenting feet for care, all parts of her body for washing, rub downs and other health care procedures." Hmm... Someone dies, yet no one is asking about the methods being used. Yes, the article mentions this elephant had a rough prior history. But, even so, this woman is now dead and no one is questioning the methods used to manage this elephant.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Who Kills 23 Puppies?

Two men apparently killed 23 puppies in a commando style raid. Why they did this, I have no idea. But it is sick, and I hope they get locked away for a very long time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Free Roaming Dog Stabbed 5 Times And Dies

My belief is that one out of every thousand people you meet are absolutely nuts. Because of that belief, I don't think it is ever wise to let your dog roam free in your neighborhood. All it takes is the chance encounter between your dog and that nutcase, and your dog will be found dead. That is what I believe happened in this case. Please... KEEP YOUR DOGS ON YOUR PROPERTY!!!!

Condo Association In Big Trouble

The condo association where a depressed man lives has apparently denied him the ability to keep a service dog in his unit. This is not a small matter. Things like this can cost the association a LOT of money. Regardless of what you think about this kind of thing, I think you are stupid to fight these regulations in this way. You will lose. Either change the law, or abide by the law. If you think you are abiding by the law by denying the dog, then prepare for a major battle. This kind of thing could bankrupt the entire association. If I had been asked, I would have told them to allow the dog. In fact, I'd allow dogs, period. Now, there's going to be hell to pay.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Update On Husky That Killed Baby

The headline to the article says: Fatal baby mauling: Dog might have seen 'squeak toy,' expert says

I highly doubt this was the cause of the attack. I am more persuaded that the dog wasn't well.

A dog that isn't well will do things to defend itself, and it will have lowered thresholds for all other types of aggression. This, to me, appears to be a case of animal neglect that went terribly wrong. Dogs don't see kids as squeaky toys... they are more aware than that. If the dog is now well, and well fed, and is acting normally, then I wouldn't put the dog down. I wouldn't put the dog unsupervised with babies again, but I wouldn't do that with ANY dog.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Dozens Of Fighting Pit Bulls To Be Killed

They don't have the volunteers or resources to deal with turning these dogs around, so they kill them. They also kill them so that the dogs aren't adopted and put into fights again. 

This is what criminals cause. The deaths of a lot of dogs. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Flock Guards And Herding Dogs In Wyoming

Sheep herders in Wyoming are using Great Pyrenees / Akbash crosses to guard against predators (cougar, wolves, coyotes). I have heard of these crosses, but it is awesome to see a real picture of one.

They are also using Border Collies to herd the sheep

Monday, March 26, 2012

Elephant Butte Is Full Of Elephant Bull....

Don't you love biased reporting like that?

A vicious dog is one that is wildly dangerous. A rabid dog would be vicious. It would be indiscriminate in who or what it would attack, and is mentally unstable. There is NO valid justification for calling any dog breed "vicious". It isn't factually correct.

But, there will always be places like Elephant Butt, I mean Elephant Butte, NM, that will pass unconstitutional laws. I can't wait for them to be sued in court, because this little town will go bankrupt, and we'll then be able to make those politicians there get a real job.

Man Saves Dog From Robbers

I've heard about increasing numbers of dog thefts in the past 5 years. It has gotten to the point where criminals will openly confront a person walking their dog, and then rob them of their dog.

There really isn't any good answer for this kind of thing other than to move to a different town. We all know that some places have lower crime rates than others. It should always be important that you live somewhere safe, for yourself, your family, your kids, and your dog.

I linked to this story which demonstrates just such a holdup. Suspects have been arrested and the dog is safe. But, it could have turned out much worse, for both the dog and the owner.

Friday, March 23, 2012

UPDATE: Dog Attack In London Injures 5 Police Officers

Now, we have the rest of the story...

More thoughts:

1.) I still think the reporting of the original story was faulty and sloppy. Dog lovers have become skeptical of dog attack stories because so many of them have been faulty.

2.) This is a tragedy for the police and their families. They do tough jobs that no one else is willing to do.

3.) It appears they did the raid without being armed. So, they had to call in for backup to come in and kill the dog. In the US, there's no way the police would have gone in to get a violent kidnapper without being armed. If they had been armed, then this wouldn't have gotten nearly as far as it did.

4.) This dog is also a victim. It died doing what it was taught to do.

5.) If this guy is found guilty, he should go to prison for a very long time. But, it is the UK, so he might just be let off with a warning and given a new place to live with subsidized rent and free food.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Working With Rescue Dogs

I have worked with many rescue dogs. I have always volunteered my time and services for rescue. I couldn't just train dogs and also not give back.

Here is the story of "B", a rescued Australian Shepherd mix I worked with. The dog was found running loose on an Arizona Indian reservation. He started out untrained, fearful and aggressive. Today, he is a great pet, and is safe with strangers and guests. Here is how I did it... 

Now We Get The Rest Of The Dog Bite Story

So, earlier, we got the story that some police officers were attacked by a "pit bull" type of dog. I criticized the story because it was incomplete. Now, we get a fuller picture:

1.) The dog had a history of attacking people before. But, apparently not much was done. If dogs are allowed to attack innocent people, there should be a process to determine if the dog should be removed from the owner. I'm not in favor of this most of the time, but if the dog is being allowed to be a menace to the neighborhood, if the owner has a criminal history, and if they won't restrain their dog after reasonable complaints and follow up have been done, then find the dog a new home.

2.) The dog had apparently mauled a bicycle rider in the past. The attack was severe. So, why wasn't anything done?

3.) The police went on a raid to find a suspected violent kidnapper and were mauled by the resident dog. They apparently were there to issue an arrest warrant, and broke down the door to a house in the process. It isn't clear from the article if the dog lived in that place or not. I'm not sure the dog or it's owner had anything to do with the kidnapping case. It looks to me like it was that the police officers were in the wrong place at the wrong time, in a neighborhood where the owner had previously allowed his dog to menace the neighbors. When the police broke down the door of one house, the dog escaped and attacked. That doesn't indicate a vicious dog, however. Any guard dog would be expected to attack a home invader. They aren't humans. They aren't going to distinguish between police officers and home invaders.

4.) The attack was very bad. "One officer had his arm broken between the animal’s jaws, while others had chunks of flesh torn from their legs and arms. Some will require plastic surgery, and one could lose several fingers."

5.) The dog is alternately described as a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and in another paragraph, a mix of some kind of bull terrier and Doberman. From the blurry pictures, it appears to be some kind of bull terrier or mix. I have written before regarding why dogs like this typically attack. It would be useful to know what kind of life this dog has lived. Who names their dog "Poison"? To me, that says a lot. And now the dog is dead, shot to death by the police, and the 25 year old is under arrest.

6.) The neighbors have complained about this dog, but no one did anything. Apparently this dog was reported 3 years ago. And then there was the previous bike attack. Yet nothing was done. Why is that?

7.) The police say criminals are deliberately breeding "vicious" dogs to be used as weapons. I am guessing that is what they believe happened here. There is no such thing as people breeding "vicious" dogs... they might be breeding a certain type of dog, but such a dog is made vicious by how it is raised and treated. This is media hype, because the article insinuates that maybe Staffordshire Bull Terriers should be also banned in the UK. Note that this apparently wasn't a purebred dog. It was a mix. So, you can ban one dog, and another will take its place.

8.) Since no one followed up on the previous dog complaints, the police were apparently unaware that there was a dog at that home, and were unprepared for such an attack.

Severed Dog Heads Found In LA Trash

OK, this is pretty sick... and I hope they find out who killed these dogs.

When you find severed dog heads in the trash... I immediately think we are dealing with a budding serial killer

Why Do Police Shoot Dogs During Raids?

My thoughts:

1.) A "pit bull" type of dog could mean anything. We've seen this before. It could have been any breed or any mix of breeds. I hate it when reporters do this kind of reporting. They had the ability to find out who did the raid (police), what they were doing (a raid), where they were doing it (London), what happened to the police (4 injured seriously, one somewhat injured), who was arrested (a 20 year old man)... yet the focus of the story, the main point of the story... about a dog that bit them... we know next to nothing and apparently no effort was made to figure out anything about the setup, what kind of dog, what was the setup for the dog bite, what happened to the dog, and so forth. It's just lazy, sloppy reporting. 

2.) If strangers break into your home with violent intent, and that is what the police officers did, then this dog didn't do anything wrong. The bites, though unfortunate, were justified. I hope this dog gets a good pat on the head, and if it has a stable temperament, is adopted by someone else.

3.) If you are a criminal, your dog isn't going to stop the police. Most times, the police come in and shoot all the dogs in their way. The dogs die because of your criminal activities.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

If A Dog Bites Another Dog, Will He Bite A Child?

If a dog has bitten another dog, does that indicate that the dog will be dangerous with a child? If a dog has tasted blood, does that make the dog vicious? Are pit fighting dogs more dangerous with kids? What are the things you should consider when deciding if a dog is going to be safe with your son or daughter?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Akbar The Great

Akbar the Great, a Moghul emperor of India during the 16th century, was known to have had 1,000 Cheetahs which he used to hunt antelope for sport. Cheetah have been used much like greyhounds for centuries, and were tamed to do that type of hunting. The sport of Cheetah hunting continued on until the middle part of the 1900's.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why Do Coyotes, Foxes And Wolves Attack Dogs?

We regularly read stories of wild canines attacking dogs. Coyotes, foxes, wolves and even the Dingo will attack dogs. So, what is all that about, and what can be done to prevent it? What about using guard dogs to fight back against wild canines? What about hunting them? What if you are a rancher?

Homeowner's Insurance And Dogs

Insurance companies have no idea how to limit their exposure regarding dog bite claims. So, their solution has been to ban coverage for certain breeds. However... how's that been working out for them? Not so good. Claims are rising, not falling.

It's time to change a lot of things, but those things don't include breed bans. They don't work, and as you can see, the costs keep on rising. You'd think insurers would be a smart bunch, but I can't see how that claim can be made here.

There are better approaches to deal with this kind of thing that could dramatically reduce the costs... But, hey, why ask a dog trainer?

Using Dogs To Detect Oil Spills

What a great idea!! There are many uses for dogs. This is something that we can't so easily duplicate with technology. And it is cheaper to use a dog than to develop a special sensor that can work in rugged, subzero environments.

Of course, Greenpeace says it is impossible for dogs to do this kind of thing. What a bunch of loons. Dogs were used 50 years ago to detect leaking natural gas, before companies used that rotten egg smell, in deeply buried pipes. The dogs could detect the leaks, and then the pipes could be dug up and fixed. Greenpeace says this because of political motives, not because they have any science to back up their ridiculous claims. If arson dogs can be trained to find chemicals used to start fires, petroleum products I might add, then they can easily sniff out oil leaks. It is a no brainer, except for those with no brains. It is one thing to have a cause, a belief in something, it is another to make up lies just to get your way. When your lies are exposed, you look stupid and it hurts your cause.

In fact: "The dogs – border collies Jippi and Blues, and dachshund Tara – were able to pick up the scent of oil up to 5km downwind of a spill."

Pack Of Wolves Attack Dog In Jackson Hole

A pack of wolves attacked and injured a dog in the Jackson, Wyoming. Now, the US Fish and Wildlife services plans to capture and kill them. Seriously? Does that make any sense at all? If you live in a wilderness area, then deal with living in a wilderness area.

Wolves are territorial, and they will kill wolves (and other canines) that intrude. It is their instinct to protect their food source and their young. They will also attack and kill other animals to eat them. That's what predators do. I don't think it is right to kill wild animals that are doing what they naturally do. This isn't like going after a rabid wolf, we are talking a healthy pack doing what healthy packs do.

Why, oh why, do we need all these governmental bureaucracies and all their pinheads? Something needs to be done. And the public needs to man up and accept that life in the wilderness requires you to protect your pets, not the government.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cities Limiting The Number Of Dogs You Own

So, listen to this garbage...

Well, armpits also smell, people talk, and they have excrement, too. How about outlawing that, too? Sounds like a dog hater to me. And even if the guy loves dogs, I think anyone that would make this kind of statement is also the kind of busybody that I wouldn't want to live around. I think we all have had enough of the Nanny State in our lives, we don't need any more fussbudgets messing with our right to own a dog. And I've had about enough of lawyers, haven't you?

Here is a woman that moved into a town that only allows you to own 2 dogs. But, she has 4 dogs. So, she is moving. Good. That is what she should do.

There are always reasonable limits to everything in life. And we can all have our opinions about what is that amount. But, laws should also have a reasonable basis, sometimes with science to back it up. I would bet that a 2 dog limit could be challenged in court on Constitutional grounds and defeated. But, who has that kind of money? Pit bull advocates challenged laws on Constitutional grounds and won on that basis as well, challenging the definition that pit bulls were inherently vicious. That just didn't stand up in court.

Anyways, if you are a dog hater, then move to Wausau, Wisconsin. It would be interesting to see how full their animal shelter is, and how many dogs are put to death in that community because of the 2 dog limit. I think they are a bunch of losers, and they all deserve one another.

Eva Mendes Babysitting Ryan Gosling's Dog?

Well... maybe. I never really believe these types of stories. I know that celebrities have press agents, and they will put out stories to get their clients faces in the news.

I also never believe in doing things to prove your love to someone. It is a losing game. They either love you for the right reasons or they don't. The chemistry is there or it isn't. Pathetic gestures to prove your love lower your attractiveness to a potential mate, and also degrade your self image.

Dogs That Guard Property

Are all dogs territorial? What can you do about dogs that won't stop barking when guests arrive? What about dogs that guard your car? What makes a dog watch for strangers? And how do you make things better for yourself and your guest, and prevent attacks on innocent people or animals?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What Is Babesia In Dogs?

Here is a dog rescued from a pit fighting operation. The dog was in terrible condition, in life threatening condition. We all know that pit fighting is cruel and illegal. But, this caught my eye:

So, I looked it up. Babesia is a protozoan parasite transmitted typically by fleas. It has a lot of very bad, life threatening effects.

As you must be aware, those that fight dogs don't love dogs. The people that fight them are criminals. They hide like cockroaches, and do their brutalities in hidden places. Those that glorify pit fighting are the useful idiots that perpetuate this kind of barbarity.

Why would pit fighting dogs get a tick borne disease like this? Well, it should be obvious that dogs that are kept as pets don't normally get this kind of thing. So, you can guess the kinds of filthy conditions these dogs are subjected to, with no medical care, and no one treating them with any kind of dignity.

Should K9 Police Officers Get Paid Overtime To Care For Their Dogs?

K9 police dog handlers are saying they want to be paid, not only for their work during shift hours, but also for the time they spend caring for the police dogs after hours.

So, a lawsuit has been filed for back pay.

I really don't know if this suit has legal merit or not. What does the employment contract and the law say? I don't know. But, I will say this... I don't think there is a right or wrong answer here. You take the job, the care of the dog comes along with the job. You could have turned down the job. Many jobs don't have set hours, and you don't get paid for what you do during that time. Most business owners, and most commissioned salespeople, bring their work home with them. They work on holidays, they work on days off, they work early in the morning, late at night, and wake up in the middle of the night to take care of things, too. So, I really don't feel sorry for people that have a job.

I remember being unemployed (I've been self employed for most of my life). The feeling sucks. It is better to have a job. If you can't work something out with your employer, then get a different job. I'm not a big fan of taking people or businesses to court. It's a waste of life energy.

And in this economy, it is better to be one of the 80% with a job. And public servants need to recognize that private citizens are paying the bills, and if they are strapped for money, working long hours, and not being paid for the things they do for work after hours, they aren't going to be too sympathetic about your case.

So, if you are a police dog handler, and you want to be paid for off duty work, then I guess it's your right to sue for it. That doesn't mean you'll get it. And if you win the money, it might cause the K9 program to be eliminated because the city is strapped for funds. So, you'll get your raise, but lose your job, and you'll be labelled as a troublemaker for future employment. That's just the reality. It might not be fair, but that's the way the world works.

Yes, People Do Steal Dogs

Dogs are stolen all the time. They are sometimes stolen to be resold for drug money. Sometimes they are stolen to be used as bait dogs for illegal pit fighting criminal operations. Sometimes, they are stolen because someone covets what you want and they want it themselves. Sometimes they are stolen for weird psychological reasons, such as by stalkers or those that want revenge on you or your dog. And sometimes they are stolen for ransom.

In this story, there was a police sting to try and capture criminals that stole a dog for ransom. According to the news report the owners put up a Lost Dog flier. They received a call saying that the dog had been found, but the person demanded $500. So, the police were called by the owners, a meeting was set up to exchange the dog for the money, but when it all came down, the police were there instead of the owners. The guy tried to run, but was caught and arrested, and apparently others were involved in the crime but these dognappers haven't yet been arrested or identified. The dog was found at this guy's place about a mile away.

Now, I have to give the normal boilerplate disclaimer: everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty. These guys could be innocent, right? OK, now that was said... if this guy and his buddies are convicted, then this deserves some serious prison time, don't you think?

Also, it is STUPID to leave dogs unattended in your yard. Especially if you have a cute or valuable dog. I've seen a lot more dognapping cases over the past 5 years. There are people scoping out your home and things every day. You need to realize that. If these people think they can get something of yours, they will try. Many times, stolen dogs never make it back home. They die along the way. Keep your dogs inside when you are away, OK?

Seriously, It's The Dog

Does your dog turn your place into a disaster zone? What do you do about the destructive, messy dog?

Designer Dog Types vs. Purebred Dogs

I am against the way we are currently breeding dogs. We are using obsolete ways of perpetuating dog breeds, breeding relatives to relatives, and it is destroying the domestic dog. Domestic dogs are getting sicker by the generation.

We need to go back to breeding dogs the way they were before we had dog shows. What we see today isn't the way these breeds were created. We have taken perfectly good dog types, made them into breeds, and then through inbreeding slowly wrecked them. That is inhumane and unsustainable. It is impossible to keep doing what we are doing. Even if we wanted to, we can't. Inbreeding wrecks a species. We can't change that. So, we have to change. Nature is overriding our ability to keep purebreeding dogs.

In the old days, dogs were bred for a purpose. The breeds we know developed over time for those purposes. Pure breeding, as we know it today, where you have to select a relative of that dog and breed them together, is wrecking all our dogs. Inbreeding is inherently dangerous. So, I propose a new way of dog breeding, the way it used to be done.

Let's start with a modern example. The Belgian Malinois. There are really two types. The first is the recognized pure bred Belgian Malinois, bred the way we normally breed purebreds. Then, there is another type. These dogs are mixes of the best working dogs bred to the best working dogs. They have Boxer, pit bull, Schnauzer, Great Dane, Malinois, German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd, and so forth mixed in. The dog looks similar to a purebred Malinois, because there is a predominance of herding breeds involved, but are different in one major respect... they are better working dogs. If I was to get a Belgian Malinois, I would get one of the latter type. They are bigger, stronger, tougher, and more capable.

I think similarly, we need to create an entirely new, parallel breeding system. New breed types need to be created based upon function, not based upon whether the dogs are inbred to their relatives. Thus...

We would still breed certain classes of dogs (using the FCI categories):

Group 1: Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)

Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid Breeds - Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs

Group 3: Terriers

Group 4: Dachshunds

Group 5: Spitz and Primitive types

Group 6: Scenthounds and Related Breeds

Group 7: Pointing Dogs

Group 8: Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs

Group 9: Companion and Toy Dogs

Group 10: Sighthounds

So, we would still have Terriers, for example. But, we'd create classes, such as Small, Medium, and Large. They'd still be wire haired or smooth coated. They would still be game, independent, people friendly, spirited, working dogs. We'd have Pointers. A smooth coated and a wire coated. We'd have Dachshunds, but we'd eliminate the mutation that makes them have abnormally short legs, the dog would be more compact, and come in a smooth, wirehaired, and rough coated version. There would still be Herding dogs, some for sheep, some for cattle. Some for police work. With a variety of coats. And so forth. So, we'd breed for a type, with a definition of what that ideal type would be in terms of height, weight, health, working ability, and temperament. And any dog could be bred to any dog to create that ideal type. By doing so, we would get rid of the deformities that have been introduced and calcified into our pure breds, and eliminate most or all of the problems.

I could still get a friendly Retriever as a family pet. Or, I could still get a Toy companion dog. It would just have a different name, look different than what we have today, and it would be a better, healthier dog.

Then, we'd slowly merge all those purebreds we have into these new designer dog types. They wouldn't be considered "breeds" any more. They would be what dogs used to be, and look the way true dogs used to look like 150 years ago. And they wouldn't go extinct.

We are going to have to let go of what we have been doing. It has resulted in a train wreck for our dogs, and for their owners. There is no other way. We have to go back to the past, and breed dogs the way they used to be bred. We need to design new dog "breeds", but they will now be types, not pure breeds. We need to get rid of that concept if we love dogs.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

The Iditarod is a 1000 mile, 9 day dog sled race across Alaska. It is a tough competition, and has come under criticism over the years because of dogs dying along the way.

Some thoughts come to mind.

I am not against entering dogs in competitive events. Competitive events are fun for the dog and the owner. Competitive events can weed out the best dogs from the also-rans, and help select which dogs should be bred to which dogs in the future. And competitive events can demonstrate what dogs are capable for, and increase the value of those dogs to society.

I'm not so happy using animals in events if they are not being treated humanely. There used to be a horse event where horses died every year, especially as they raced downhill, breaking legs and having to be put down. To me, that seemed a bit much. It seemed that too many horses were dying each year in that event. Yet, as with any athletic competition, people and animals are going to get sports injuries, and yes, sometimes they are going to die. I just figure that it truly needs to be an "accident" why the animal died, not that the event was really too difficult and nothing that any normal person would think was fair. So, dogs have died on the Iditarod event. I noticed in the pictures of this years event that the dogs have jackets, and foot pads. It is also mentioned that a competitor dropped out over concern for his dogs. So, at this point, where I was not sure if I supported the event, I am hopeful that the event is being conducted humanely, and for now, I support it.

I am also struck by the general appearance of the dogs used. I compare them to the Huskies and Malamutes we see as pets. The competition dogs are mixes of a number of breeds, and whereas the pets we see on the streets are purebreds. There is no way our purebreds could do sled pulling events these days. They are pets, bred to look a certain way, with a certain amount of folklore about their past boosting their images. I think that the way we pure breed dogs today has become obsolete, and we need new ways of defining our breeds, and how we breed them. More on that later...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Whoops! She Did It Again

You know, I really like Whoopi Goldberg... as an actress. I think she's done some great work. So long as she is saying things that other people put in her mouth, she's darned good and looks brilliant. Heck, isn't Guinan supposed to be super smart? But, she isn't Guinan... she's just someone that can repeat words someone else wrote.

But, when she is speaking on her own, she puts her own foot in her mouth, and she looks like just one more Hollywood talking donkey.

She is an embarrassment... yet, we just need to let her keep saying this kind of stuff so that we know who the criminal enablers are in the media. We need useful idiots like this to kick around or we'd be out of a job.

Does A Territorial Dog Bite Justify Euthanasia?

I don't think dogs should pay with their lives for the mistakes of their owners. The owner is apparently putting up a fence.

Dogs defend territory. That is normal and they can't help it. That doesn't make the dog vicious, it makes the dog NORMAL. A vicious dog is one that is mentally defective. She is not an animal expert, she is not qualified to make this determination. The bite also wasn't that bad, so the dog was more reacting to the intrusion rather than intending to kill her. And just because the dog was off its owner's property doesn't mean, to the dog, that it isn't protecting its territory from intruders.

I understand the victim being upset. I'd be pretty angry, too. But, I'd be upset with the owner, not the dog.

I Don't Get Animal Abuse

I don't get this kind of thing. I never do. I don't know what would motivate someone to do this kind of thing, and why any person wouldn't instead just find the dog another home while the owner was away, tell the owner that the dog is bugging you and that it isn't working out... and to find someone else to do the supervising, get the dog proper training if it is annoying, or just ignore the dog.

I also think people need to be just as careful with their dogs as they would with their kids. How many times do we hear of the boyfriend shaking and killing the crying baby while the mom is out of the house?

I do think that 40 days isn't nearly enough time in jail for this kind of crime.

Why Did This Pit Bull Attack Happen?

Why did the pit bull attack? We can't say for sure, but at a bare minimum here's what it looks like to me:

a.) The Yorkie was too small, relative to the larger dog, to withstand such an attack. I have spoken to many dog owners that have had small dogs killed by larger dogs, even in their own home. I never think it is a good idea to mix dogs that are too far apart in size. I've even seen accidents, where a friendly sleeping Bullmastiff rolled over onto a Chihuahua and nearly suffocated it.

b.) The Yorkie was probably in the pit bull's territory. What we consider our property, and what a dog considers its territory, aren't usually the same. Dogs typically regard a much larger area than our property lines as theirs. In addition, even though we all tell people to socialize their dogs, and that is a good thing, all the socialization in the world won't take away the motivation for a dog to defend it's territory, especially against another dog. That kind of behavior goes all the way back to what the wild ancestors of dogs did and still do - wolves mark out a territory, and then defend it against wolves that aren't members of their pack. So, this is not abnormal behavior. It is normal, and we should be aware of it, whether we own the Yorkie or the pit bull. When you are walking on your street past homes with dogs, you are entering into their territory, and your dog is at risk of being attacked if any of those dogs get loose, regardless of the breed. And if you own a dog, your dog might be the friendliest dog in the world, but they will defend their territory and they might even attack an intruding dog.

c.) It appears to me that someone wasn't managing the pit bull properly. You need to have adequate security measures at all escape points of any home, to prevent dogs from exiting your home. You also need adequate security measures to prevent other dogs from entering your property. If the front door of this home had been better secured, maybe the pit bull couldn't have gotten to the Yorkie. If the property also had a fence, the Yorkie would be shielded from being noticed that it was so close to the pit bull's territory, and there would have been a second line of defense to keep the pit bull on the property.

d.) Dog on dog aggression isn't abnormal. Even though we try to breed sociable dogs, it is still not normal for dogs to instantly like other dogs they meet. Apparently the person walking the Yorkie wasn't the dog's owner. People that don't know a particular dog, and how it triggers the behaviors of other dogs, always take a risk by babysitting or walking those dogs.

This was a preventable tragedy. Small dog owners need to know their dogs are vulnerable to being injured, and to let those that care for their dogs know what kinds of safety precautions they should be taking. Dogs that are smaller than the average dog will have above average amounts of damage if attacked. So, with small dogs, you always need to have an escape plan, and know that your dog is more vulnerable than the average dog. Big dog owners need to take extra precautions with their dogs. All the training in the world, all the socialization in the world, aren't substitutes for escape proof (if there are such a things) doors and fences. Dogs on their turf will defend that turf.

I really don't think this is a "pit bull" thing. This is a dog behavior thing. We hear a lot about pit bull attacks, because they make the news. But, this can and does happen with a wide variety of dogs that we'd normally consider to be friendly. Territoriality is hardwired into dogs, and it isn't going away.

Maria Menounos's Dog

It is always difficult to balance work with dog ownership. A balance has to be struck, and it is up to the owners to make it all work out. Dogs can't take themselves for a walk, go to socialize with friends, or drive the car to a trailhead and go for a hike. All of that requires time and effort from the dog's owner.

I think it is important to have a backup plan for all dogs in case you ever end up in a work / dog time conflict. A good option is to have a daycare where you regularly take the dog, so it can be socializing and supervised while you are working extra hours. Then, when your schedule goes back to normal, you can continue on with giving your dog normal attention.

I'm not going to condemn Maria Menounos for working. Everyone has to work. And I think she's at least being honest and concerned for her dog's welfare.

Dog Indicates Owner In Trouble

We all used to watch Lassie go and tell people that something was wrong, or that someone was in trouble. It made for a fine TV episode... and then we wondered if our dog would do the same for us.

Some dogs, not all, but some, will do this very thing. They will go get help when someone is in trouble. Here we have a German Shepherd Dog alerting firefighters that its Master was in trouble. The firefighters were smart enough to trust the dog, which helped them locate the owner in a wrecked vehicle about a quarter mile away. Now think about that. How does that jive with all we oftentimes hear about dogs? We hear from the Operant Conditioning and Classical Conditioning folks that dogs are pretty much stimulus - response robots. How did this dog learn to do what it did? Did it have previous lessons? Did someone do clicker training with this dog? Was Pavlov's whistle blown? Nope. There is more to behavior that those sterile theories.

Unfortunately, when the owner was found, the dog was injured and the owner was dead. But, the dog's loyalty and it's pack behaviors made this story what it is. Dogs are a lot more complex than many people realize. This was a perfect example of that.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Purebred Dogs Are In Genetic Trouble

Genetic and health problems are abounding in our purebred dog breeds. The entire breeding world needs to change, or a lot of breeds will go extinct. It shouldn't be possible for a dog to be labelled a "champion" that sends the breed towards destruction. Champions should pass a conformation, health, and temperament test.

Here is some disturbing video to show what I'm referring to:

Friday, March 09, 2012

Adolescent Dogs

What's the difference between an adolescent dog and an adult dog? Why are they so goofy? Why are they such a pain? Why don't they obey as well? Why do they get in aggressive fights? And what is the solution besides getting rid of the dog?

Why Was This Dog Attacked?

"Dijon and his owner Kim Ferguson were out for one of the poodle's daily walks in the leash-only dog park when a roughly 60-pound dog ran at them, "grabbed Dijon in its mouth and began shaking him like a rag doll"'

The poodle was killed by this other dog.There are two main reasons why a dog will attack like this.

Social Aggression: Social aggression is a pack oriented type of behavior. In some circumstances, social aggression is activated in the context of the creation, maintenance and safety of the pack. Social aggression also involves the management of the concentration of individuals within a given territory, thus competitors are driven out. All of this maintains the pack, the family unit which is necessary for the survival of a group living predator such as a wolf.

Predatory Behavior: We all know that mammalian predators hunt, kill and eat prey. Prey behaves in ways that cause a predator to stalk, chase, pounce, grab, shake and kill prey. We can use a dummy to activate these same behavioral patterns, such as when you toss a tennis ball, play tug of war, toss a fluffy toy, or twitch an arm in a padded bite sleeve. The chasing-to-killing behavioral pattern is separate from the eating behavior. The first set of behaviors doesn't always lead to the second set of behaviors. Thus, when a predator kills a prey animal, there is often a pause before they consume the animal. And many times, when a dog is loose and kills an animal, such as a sheep, it won't then eat what they killed. So, predatory behavior is really two sets of behavioral patterns. This is also why you can play fetch with a dog, but the dog doesn't then feel compelled to eat and swallow the tennis ball.

In this case, we had a larger dog and a smaller, fluffy dog. It is very possible that the bigger dog killed the dog out of social aggression motives. But, more likely, this was predatory behavior. The clue is the way the poodle was attacked and killed. We see no confrontation between the dogs. No growling. No posturing. The bigger dog runs in, grabs the smaller dog, shakes and kills it, and then the owner of the bigger dog takes off. Typically, a dog fight is conducted differently than a prey kill. A small fluffy dog could easily appear to behave much like a rabbit to another dog. The way it looks and behaves could act like a dummy, simulating the same movements that would trigger a dog to chase a prey animal. The behaviors described in the article describe a predatory attack, not social aggression. Thus, the bigger dog could very well be friendly when meeting other dogs, but might chase and kill a small dog that moves and looks like a rabbit.

Dogs that will chase and kill small dogs like this need to be leashed in public, and wear a muzzle if let loose to exercise in public. These dogs also need advanced obedience training so you can call the dog off of a chase. And if you have a small fluffy dog that looks like prey, you need to avoid areas where bigger dogs like this might be off leash, because your dog is looking like a rabbit, not another dog. It doesn't matter much if you were obeying the law with your fluffy little dog, it is still going to be dead in this kind of encounter. That's why animal control took the following stance on this incident:

"Even in fatal cases like this it is rare for a dog to be put down for killing another pup, but Animal Care and Control would still recommend muzzling the dog at all times and require the owner to keep it leashed at all times and attend training classes."

I think that is the reasonable answer here. The bigger dog isn't vicious. There isn't something wrong with that dog. But the dog was put in an impossible situation, with the owner unable or unwilling or unaware of what was about to happen. It shouldn't be put to death. If the law was being broken, then obviously the law should be obeyed and followed, and any restitution made. That doesn't do much for the owner of the small dog, except teach them a very hard, very sad, very costly lesson about dog behavior.

Higher Standards Being Enforced For Show Dogs

This is REALLY good news. The British Crufts Kennel Club has created a new rule that a dog can't be a show champion unless it passes a health test by a veterinarian. Thus, dogs that have been bred with pretty, but disfiguring, breed traits are being disqualified from the shows. I only hope this trend comes here to the the American Kennel Club. It's time we stopped pretending that weird looking dogs, dogs with other hidden genetic dysfunctions, and so forth are healthy... they aren't.

Landlords Banning Pit Bulls And Other Dogs

I am all for private property rights. I don't believe in social engineering. If you want to discriminate against someone, then go ahead. And if that puts you out of business, then tough luck. You might have the right to discriminate against someone owning a certain breed of dog... so fine, others will get the business. Yet, some landlords are banning pit bulls and other dogs.

You know, it is easy to get easy business. Anyone can work with a tenant with perfect credit, a perfect job, a perfect everything life. All the landlords in town can do that with no skills at all. But, the profit margin is in dealing with those that aren't perfect. That is true in any business. I don't just take the easy dogs and the perfect students. I take the problem dogs and and difficult students. Any novice dog trainer can work with an easy dog in an easy situation. It takes a real pro to work out difficult problems. That's what sets me apart.

Landlords are a dime a dozen. No one needs them unless you are in some backwater town, and even then, there is a big world out there... so MOVE. But, even there, you'll still find stupid ones...

"Landlords increasingly are barring specific breeds of dogs at rental properties, and pit bulls are at the top of the list. Insurers are refusing to cover homeowners who have pit bulls, Rottweilers and other so-called "bully breeds," or are charging their owners higher premiums. The New York City Housing Authority, the city's largest landlord, has banned pit bulls from its dwellings, and a handful of municipalities have outlawed the dogs."

Look dude, your building isn't the only game in town. Dog owners vote and dog owners have lots of money. I've paid extra for rent, security deposits, and pet deposits. Even when I travel, I look for dog friendly hotels, and will pay extra to have my dog with me. Dog people have money.

So, this kind of garbage will always go on. That's fine. Let these stupid landlords be. Someone else wants your business, and dog owners will vote with their pocketbooks. Over time, these dog haters lose business. Just look at the stats on how many people own dogs. I'd hate to not get that business. It is so easy to find good dog owning tenants, and insurance that will cover any risks. But... if that's what you are facing, go somewhere that wants your money and your dog. It's a big world out there.

Dog Torture Videos

A man and boy have been charged with a crime for torturing dogs and posting the videos on YouTube. You really have to wonder about this world sometimes. Who could do that kind of thing? Further, what adult would do that with a 13 year old boy? Wouldn't that also qualify somehow as abuse of the kid? This stuff is really sick. When you think you've heard it all, you haven't. There are people with all kinds of fetishes out there, and I'm wondering if that is also playing a part in this mess. And apparently, they thought it was entertaining and thought all of us would like seeing it. Well, guess what, buddy...

Moore is charged with four felony counts of animal torture and eight misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, police said. The boy is charged as a juvenile with six counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and three counts of animal torture, according to police

If you are into this kind of thing, then know this... the public and police are looking for you. You will be charged, you will go to prison, your life will be ruined. Go get help before it is too late

Analysis Of Pit Bull Attacks

Why are there so many pit bull attacks? Is the breed inherently dangerous and vicious? What are the causes and what can be done about it?

Dog Aggression

Can dogs be trained to not attack other dogs? Why do dogs get in fights with other dogs? How do pit fighters train their dogs to attack? And if you socialize a dog, will that prevent a dog from getting in fights?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

What Is A Dog Shelter's Mission?

I am currently working with a rescue dog, a pit bull, that was hit by a car. The dog was pretty banged up, and is now displaying defensive aggressive tendencies. So, this rescue group has come to me for assistance. We are working this through.

I then ran across this excellent article about dogs like this. And it speaks to the same principles I believe in, as well. Dogs like this need extra care. They don't get better on their own. Way too many traumatized dogs are needlessly put to death in animal control shelters every week because no one works out that dog's problems. The dog is just supposed to figure it out for themselves. It is clumsy work and inhumane. Especially when there are rescue volunteers willing to help these dogs. Dog rescue volunteers are on a mission to save these dogs, and we should allow them to do so.

Please read this article.

My Dog Pulls Hard When On A Leash

What do you do when your dog drags you down the street? What do you do with dogs that cough and wheeze because they pull so hard? Are there special devices that work best, such as a head collar, choke chain, prong collar, harness, or electric collar? Or are you your dog's leader? Is that the problem?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Dogs Breaking Out Of Crates

What do you do when a dog breaks out of its crate? What kind of training is appropriate? Why does a dog want to break out of a crate?

Sam, What Is Your Opinion Of Dog Boot Camps: Good Or Bad?

So, you have an unruly, defiant, aggressive, fearful, anxious, hectic, high strung dog... should you enroll your dog in a boot camp? Is that the best way to discipline and correct a dog's behavior?

Here is my opinion on dog boot camps