Judgement

Hi All, I’ve been away a couple of months and it’s been a hectic, amazing, rewarding humbling and educational time. My litter of puppies came and I immediately took Dr. Ian Dunbar’s advice to breeders and started them on an intensive conditioning/imprinting/learning program. The results have been beyond my expectations but we’ll talk about that in upcoming posts.

Today I just want to say something about judging people; in particular, people who give up pets for one reason or another. There is a huge outcry of anger and disgust when someone hears that a friend/neighbor/stranger is giving up their pet. The person is subjected to ridicule, berating, name-calling, even threats; of course, most of this is by way of Facebook or various Yahoo groups. Not directly to the person…. Angry people shout that this person should never be able to have a pet again; that they should be “blacklisted”, that they are a horrible person.

I know people who have given up dogs. Some were hoarders, some were naive and all were overwhelmed. None felt that they had an option that was better for them or the dog. In all of these situations, they’re getting it out of a home where it is NOT WANTED. And that’s a very good thing. Why would we pressure people to keep an animal they don’t want, can’t handle, are frustrated with and they make the dog’s quality of life miserable?

Usually, no attention is paid to what is best for the dog. One of my early posts was about trying to fit a round peg into a square hole; why would you want to make a dog live in a place where no one is happy? Lots of rescue puppies have a completely unknown history and grow into something completely unexpected by the adopter and are a horrible match.

A recent experience comes to mind, with a very nice middle aged couple, living in a townhouse with no yard, who were adopted a hound that they were assured was a mix with Lab and wouldn’t get bigger than a Beagle. Well, at 16 weeks he was over 35 lbs!! And a HOUND. Completely unconcerned about making them happy or learning to “obey”. Think about it, Hounds are bred to run off, on their own, find something that they can chase up a tree or into a corner and then stand and bark at it ’til someone comes to help. They are NOT bred to walk nicely on a leash (not saying they can’t be trained to do it, just that it’s usually a little more work than for many dogs) and live in a city with no place to run like that.

So far they’ve kept the youngster. It’s taking a huge emotional and physical toll on them. And the dog gets to play at the dog park but barks a lot which is disturbing to people with other dogs and chases desperately. He has no real outlet for his energy as a hound because we just don’t have many environments like that in this area.

Now! I know some people are thinking Hounds are just like any other dog. Don’t get me started on all dogs are the same, they just need love.  BS. Why do retrievers retrieve? Why do herding dogs herd? Why do terriers hunt? Why are companion dogs not driven to do those things??  We’ve bred dogs to be what we want. Putting this hound into this home with this couple was wrong. Putting any hound into this situation was wrong. Hounds are hounds and they are different from Springer Spaniels or Collies. PERIOD. No amount of training after-the-fact will change that. Dr. Dunbar’s plan, had it been instituted at 3 days or even 3 weeks, could have made a difference but wouldn’t change the fact that there is hound instinct in there.

So my point is (you were hoping there was one, I know!) that there are times when it’s entirely appropriate to find a better home for a dog. There are even times that putting a dog to sleep is the best thing for it and it’s family AND COMMUNITY. Farm dogs, hunting dogs, guardian or protection dogs require a very experienced owner and specific outlets for their energy. Dogs that grow up and become biters, despite early training and socializing may need to be in a different home or euthanized. Some people can manage a dog that bites and good for them, but some biting dogs are adopted by families with children or without the means to keep people safe and the dog safe from itself. WHY, oh WHY would we condemn someone like this?

A good person tries to do a good thing by adopting a “rescued” dog and then the dog is something dramatically different than what that person feels like they can handle or the dog was represented as. Whose fault is that?? The right thing to do is to find a home where it can be successful.

In our world of every dog has to be saved, we forget that every dog will have to spend the rest of its life with someone; maybe someone who is overwhelmed by it. In that case, it will likely be relegated to a backyard or a dog run or a crate for most of its life. Why is that better than changing homes?

I’ve seen people write that they would live under a bridge and starve before they would give up their dog if they had to move. Great. And who asked the dog for his preference? What a lot of selfish martyrs we are when we think we are the ONLY ones that can take care of a dog. That no one else can give a dog a good home. That our dog WANTS to live under a bridge. And, even if he does, is that really what’s best for him? I mean, my dogs WANT to eat a chocolate bar but I don’t let them….

I occasionally board dogs and I’ve had foster dogs and “temporary” dogs over the past 35+ years. Initially the dog may be out of sorts because it does miss its home and its routine and its people; but I’ve never seen one pine for more than 12 hours.

Lots of us have great dogs that came from someone WHO GAVE UP THEIR DOG. Who knows why? Lots of those dogs were obviously well cared for in their past. Lots of them are used to being in the house; they may not be GOOD in the house (!) but someone in their previous life had them in the house. Lots of them are “The BEST dog I’ve ever had”. Well, they don’t just come that way, and if yours did you have someone to thank; the person who put the dog’s best interest above their own.

I’m just saying stop, JEEZ, stop with the knee jerk “you suck” when you hear about someone who’s decided they can’t keep their dog for whatever reason. Give it a minute and think about it.

One last thought: yes, millions of dogs are euthanized and it’s horrible to put another one in the system. But if rescues were more careful about making good placements and breeders were more careful about making better puppies, lots of this would never happen. If people stopped “pulling” aggressive dogs and antisocial dogs and dogs from other countries and, instead, focus on a dog that may have been in a poorly matched home, things would be better. Millions of dogs are going to be euthanized, why would we choose the dogs that are least likely to succeed in the world, to “save”?

Dogs & Vaccines

From a colleague: “This weekend Dr. Ron Schultz, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was a guest on my radio show, The Woof
Meow Show. Dr. Schultz is one of the foremost authorities on animal
immunology and vaccinations. In this show first of four shows we discuss
why vaccines are so important, core vaccinations for dogs and the
recommended frequency of vaccination.”

This is a really important show and I recommend you listen, if you have time! Vaccine Podcast

If you don’t have time, the Reader’s Digest version:

”Core vaccines” are important because they cover “vaccine preventable diseases” which have a high mortality rate and are….  PREVENTABLE, with proper vaccination. Following are the diseases prevented by core vaccines and when and why the vaccines should be given.

Canine Parvovirus came from a cat disease, Panleukopenia, which used to be known as Cat Distemper. Turns out it is actually a Parvovirus that mutated and then infected dogs! WOW! I actually knew this but it’s been so long since I’d heard it that I had started wondering if they had disproved it, so it was good to hear.

Parvo causes a horrible death preceded by vomiting, bloody diarrhea and sloughing of the lining of the intestines. Sometimes aggressive treatment can save a pup but it can cost thousands of dollars to try and there are no guarantees.

Canine Distemper (which appears to have “been around as long as dogs have been around”, is highly contagious and preventable and is very similar to Measles in people.

Adenovirus causes Infectious Canine Hepatitis which causes liver problems and has a very high mortality rate.

These are 3 of the 4 “core” vaccines and should be given 2-3 times, no earlier than 6 weeks and preferably between the ages of 8-10 weeks and 14-16 weeks, 3-4 weeks apart.

Puppies get a natural immunity from their mom’s earliest milk and that interferes with the vaccines taking effect. Sometime between 8 and 14 weeks mom’s immunity wears off, leaving the pup unprotected; multiple vaccines are critical to catch that period and protect the pup. The vaccine at 14 –16 weeks, followed by the booster at a year provides “many years, if not a lifetime of immunity”.

The 4th core vaccine is the Rabies vaccine and should be given once, no earlier than 14 weeks and then again at around a year later.

After the puppy series and the initial Rabies vaccine you can do a Titer (a blood test to check for immunity levels) or give a booster around a year later (12-16 months old). After that, the core vaccines should be given NO MORE FREQUENTLY than every 3 years and he recommends checking antibody levels before any future vaccines because most dogs should have a lifetime of immunity.

Overvaccinating is dangerous and not necessary. ANNUAL VACCINES ARE DANGEROUS.

Rabies vaccine is required by law in every state, to be given at a minimum of every three years but should never be given more frequently than that. Rabies vaccine is to protect people, too, as Rabies is always fatal in humans, once they show symptoms.

You may have seen that I wrote about my friend’s dog almost dying because of an “annual vaccine”, given by an irresponsible vet. You have to be your dog’s advocate. Since you know it will be at least three years before you need to revaccinate, it’s a good idea to save up for some Titer tests in case your dog doesn’t need to be vaccinated again…. Ever.

Now that you’ve read all of this, I hope you go and listen to his talk; he’s way more thorough and has lots more information than I could list here. He’ll also be on the show for the next three weeks and I assume he’ll be talking about non-core vaccines and other valuable information so set a reminder!

- Trainer Trish

Sniffing for Bombs: Meet America’s Most Elite Dogs

Watch this incredible video on the secretive world of bomb sniffing dogs. It will give you some insight into a very secretive world.

- Trainer Trish

He Growls, But He’d Never Bite

I received this fantastic email from a man who I swear lives in my computer and knows what I am thinking about. Please check out the following.

Hi trish,

Have you ever said this about your dog…?

“He growls, but he’d never bite…”

“He nips me, but he’s just playing…”

“He bites me, but it’s not that hard…”

… If any of this sounds familiar, and you find yourself making
excuses for your ‘great family pet,’ then PLEASE, I beg you, take
2 minutes to read our next blog post here:

http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/growls-hed-bite/

… Because what if you’re wrong?

Adults and children are mauled and even killed by dogs that
were perceived as being great family pets every week.

Don’t let this happen in YOUR home!

Chet Womach
TheDogTrainingSecret.com

Gun Dog Clicker

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I found this article to be so exciting that I had to share it with you. It’s about a very famous trainer of explosive detection dogs, Gun Dogs and Search and Rescue Dogs and what caused him to change his training methods. He went from compulsion and shock collars to clickers and positive reinforcement. He learned in the hardest way that compulsion methods take longer and simply don’t produce the results that positive methods do.

What he has to say is powerful and emphasizes our relationship with dogs and how we get what we want from them.

“The shock collar industry has convinced him {the hunter} it’s the quick and easy way to train a dog, and that’s total B.S.,” Mr. Milner observed. “Once again, studies have shown that in fact positive training yields 300-percent faster results at a fraction of the cost. Plus the sportsman ends up with a better dog and a much better relationship with the dog.”

Please give this article a read; in a world where Gun Dog trainers still pinch their dogs’ toes and ears hard enough to make them yelp just to teach a drop (if the dog cries in pain, they can’t hold whatever is in their mouth) this gives me hope for the future!

http://www.shotgunlife.com/wingshooting/wingshooting/expert-dog-trainer-robert-milner-says-heck-no-to-shock-collars.html

- Trainer Trish

Scary Dog and Baby Video

This is a link to a video with a dog reacting badly to a baby in the house. This dog is giving lots of signals that he’s really stressed and upset; he actually tells us at one point, that he will bite the baby if things don’t change, immediately.

Many of these signals are considered “subtle” but with the excellent subtitles you should be able to identify them. We don’t often get to see videos with these signals around a human baby; I do NOT recommend that you intentionally stress your dog for the purpose of identifying or demonstrating signals.  But since it’s available, I think it’s important to share.

What do you think? Have you seen your dog exhibit any of these? Have you ever seen a bite, “out of the blue”? Do you think you’d recognize these signs after seeing the video?

- Trainer Trish

Even The Best Change Their Ways

I found this article to be so exciting that I had to share it with you. It’s about a very famous trainer of explosive detection dogs, Gun Dogs and Search and Rescue Dogs and what caused him to change his training methods. He went from compulsion and shock collars to clickers and positive reinforcement. He learned in the hardest way that compulsion methods take longer and simply don’t produce the results that positive methods do.

What he has to say is powerful and emphasizes our relationship with dogs and how we get what we want from them.

“The shock collar industry has convinced him {the hunter} it’s the quick and easy way to train a dog, and that’s total B.S.,” Mr. Milner observed. “Once again, studies have shown that in fact positive training yields 300-percent faster results at a fraction of the cost. Plus the sportsman ends up with a better dog and a much better relationship with the dog.”

Please give this article a read; in a world where Gun Dog trainers still pinch their dogs’ toes and ears hard enough to make them yelp just to teach a drop (if the dog cries in pain, they can’t hold whatever is in their mouth) this gives me hope for the future! 

http://www.shotgunlife.com/wingshooting/wingshooting/expert-dog-trainer-robert-milner-says-heck-no-to-shock-collars.html

- Trainer Trish