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

Dogs Should NOT Ride Like This In The Back Of Pickup Trucks

Need I say more?

Man Saves Dog From Cougar Attack

There was a time when people said there was no risk of being attacked by a mountain lion / cougar. I remember those days, living in the Pacific Northwest. So, in Washington State, a bunch of animal rights do-gooder's got them to ban cougar hunting with dogs. There were professional dog handlers with packs of hounds. You could hire them to find and kill a menacing cougar near your property. After the law was passed, the shelters got a bunch of these dogs, since it put these guys out of business.

Then, over time, more and more stories cropped up, of them not only attacking animals, but attacking people. Cougar sightings started happening around elementary schools, and then the parents got concerned. Isn't it interesting that the sightings weren't around places where adults congregated? That's because they were stalking children, and everyone knew it. So, the law was repealed.

Most of the human attacks I've read about have happened to joggers or cyclists on isolated trails. They get jumped from behind, and the cougar has a hold of their head or neck. These predators know how to kill. Silent. From behind. Pounce. Suffocate the victim, just like they would any other animal. I remember one story where a woman's husband had been attacked, and she had to keep beating on the big cat to get it to release his bite. It didn't just run off at her presence.

So, it comes as no surprise to me that we read of an Alberta, Canada, cougar attack. A man was walking his dog in Canmore, Alberta, and his dog was ambushed by a cougar. Same set up. Rural area. Silent attack. Cougar has the dog by the head. According to the news story...

So, for me, there are several lessons. First, you need to be alert when walking in cougar country. Just because you can't hear the animal doesn't mean it isn't stalking you. Second, you need a weapon that you could use to scare it off. I'd suggest an air horn, pepper spray and a gun. The problem with the gun is all those silly laws that make it illegal to carry a gun in government owned parks. All because of foolish assumptions about gun safety. Third, you need to allow cougars to be hunted with dogs. Dogs are the only effective way of locating and treeing a menacing cougar. You don't have to kill it, if that is your wish, but you do need to find it, and we have no good substitute for dogs. Fourth, we need to fight back against stupid regulations by do-gooders. That means gun control laws and restrictions on the use of hunting dogs. You can't legislate the laws of the jungle. And fifth, you need to be prepared to fight off the cougar if it attacks.

This guy is just lucky he had dogs with him on his walk. If he had been alone, he might have been the victim and this would not have had a happy ending.

Eddie Van Halen's Dog

Even rock stars need a dog. Eddie Van Halen has a small pet dog, a Pomeranian named Kody. Not exactly what you'd expect a rocker to have... but I'm guessing some of that has to do with the fact that a tiny dog would be much easier to bring with you on tour. I'm not hard on him as I have been with celebrities such as Paris Hilton or Miley Cyrus... because I don't think he has the dog as a fashion statement... he has it as a pet.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Dog Training Command List

What commands should you use? Is there a dog training command list you can work off of? Here is how to proceed.

Dog Poop Fight Turns Deadly

I have to confess that in the old days, I used to allow my dogs to poop on other people's property. My rationale was immature and foolish: I didn't really think that much about it. Other people did it. There wasn't a law...

But, I changed my mind on this years ago. Not only are you making a mess for someone else on their property, some people are extremely adverse to seeing dog poop anywhere, it angers them, and some people will go absolutely nuts about it...

I remember an email I once received from a dog hater about dog poop in his community. He was angry about it, and was using that issue to explain why he hated dogs and dog owners, and why that motivated him to move to a place where there were no dogs... but to no avail... he still saw dog poop in his neighborhood.

This isn't an isolated thing, either. Some things endanger your freedom to own a dog, and endanger you and your dog... It doesn't matter if you think it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if other people do it. It does matter that it offends some people to the point of getting violent. 

So, it is best to understand that this is one of those things you had better attend to: be selective in where you poop your dog, and pick up after your dog. I teach students to be as inconspicuous as possible with their dogs. Otherwise, expect more laws and more violent confrontations.

Dogs Abandoned In Vacant Homes

How many stories have we now heard about people leaving their dogs behind when they move? I really don't understand it at all. But, I do understand it when they are charged with animal neglect and go to jail...

Now, you tell me: how was this dog to survive? What kind of person does this kind of thing? I think these cases, if proven, deserve a felony sentence, and a good long time in prison.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder In Dogs?

Someone recently told me, "My dog protests when I do obedience."

What do you do with dogs that defy commands or other things you’ve taught them; start “talking back”, physically resisting what you are doing; jumping away with a mischievous look on their faces; rolling or flipping onto their backs; going “rag doll” limp; mouthing and grabbing at the leash; nip or bite; grow; bark, whine, yelp or cry; start goofing off; do some kind of weird behavior like digging in the carpet or ground right in front of you; and/or going into a running spree all over the place?

Are Show Dogs Healthier Than Backyard Bred Dogs?

I have been saying for a long time that we are killing off our dog breeds because of bad breeding practices. Now, data is coming out to prove just that. Pure breeding should be used to IMPROVE a dog breed, but that isn't what is happening. We are preserving a shell, much like stuffing an animal... It looks alive and healthy, but it is just an illusion, a dummy, a mummy, a memory of what used to be.

You Shouldn't Buy A Dog That Won't Live Past 10 Years Of Age

Here is a very interesting study on the longevity of a variety of breeds. When selecting a dog, you should consider the probability of that dog costing you a fortune in medical bills (which is why I recommend everyone get pet insurance... the bills start racking up at 7 years of age); and the disappointment that your dog doesn't live as long as you would expect...

Monday, March 05, 2012

Q: Is it OK to step on a dog's feet to discipline them?

A: Seriously? No, it isn't OK. First off, there are better more humane ways of teaching dogs not to jump (which is the typical reason for doing it). Second, you can easily break a dog's feet. I've known people that did break their dog's feet.

Please, stop doing this amateur stuff. Go hire a good professional trainer. I'll bet this isn't your only issue with this dog, and you're being a cheapskate by postponing actually training your dog.

Do Dogs Have A Migration Instinct?

Some species of bird migrate from one part of the globe to another. We all know that. Migration is a type of behavioral pattern, a group movement from one place to another in order to find safe places to mate and find food, stimulated by seasonal changes.

I have read that Cesar Millan has said in "Cesar's Way" (2006) that wolves have a "migration instinct", walking to find food. Thus, when a dog goes for a walk, it is satisfying that instinct. Sorry, wolves don't migrate. They don't. They might follow groups of prey, but that isn't the same thing as an instinct to migrate. In fact, it is dangerous for wolves to leave their territory, because nearby packs will attack them. 

Do the Yellowstone wolves, for example, take a winter vacation in Mexico? Do the wolves in Alaska go to Disneyland during the winter? On the other hand, migrating bird species migrate seasonally, triggered by changes that occur because of the seasons. They do it regardless of the other animals around them.

He seems like a nice guy, but again and again, I find stuff he says to be flat out ridiculous. If I'm accurate in what he is saying... then I can only conclude he is either an idiot or a fraud or lazy, and not wise being a public figure by saying ridiculous things like this.

And it is even worse that his followers (owners, dog walkers, dog trainers, etc.) are doing what he says to dogs. When you believe something that isn't true, and then act upon it, don't be surprised when you don't get the results you expected.