A blog about dog behavior and training...and all other things dog!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Check the L.A. TIMES: there's more detail about the Canine Dental "Disarming" story.

So my friend Laura sent me the link to another story about the "canine disarming" of that dog. This time it's written by the owner of the dog. It's got more detail than the first story. You can read it by clicking on the title line of this post. You can also read what my friend Laura has to say about it in her Los Angeles Dog Blog: http://www.petdogtrainer.com/blog/
She outlines many of the inherent problems with the woman's methodology quite well.

Anyway, in it the woman gives details of the many different things she tried to resolve this problem. She went to group classes at PetSmart (not the place for solving as severe a problem as she claims to have.) She also tells of the ONE trainer that she consulted (besides CM of course) and of the MANY books and videos that she read. One has to assume that she got most of her "training" ideas from the books and videos since she only actually mentions the one trainer. From this story, it sounds like that one trainer didn't work out too well, so she just went about working on this problem on her own.

To me, this would be a little like going to ONE doctor for a serious medical condition and then upon discovering that he hadn't helped you, grabbing a "surgical procedure for dummies" book and operating on yourself. It makes no sense. Actually, the 'kitchen sink" approach that she applied to this problem could be part of the reason she was so unsuccessful!

She also mentions that she has an invisible fence...that right there raises a HUGE red flag! It's hard to believe that any qualified professional would not immediately see how that could be exacerbating the problem. I'm actually too cranky from reading the story to go into any coherent explanation as to why invisible fences can contribute to aggression issues. Go to Laura's blog: she does a good job of explaining it in her post.

What most disturbs me about this story right now is how it could influence people who are looking for a "quick fix" to an aggression problem. It paints this procedure out to be such an easy and reasonable answer, without ever examining it's harmful repercussions to the dog. The question of whether or not it will make the dog's behavior worse is never even asked. Is it humane? Is it fair? Will it actually do more harm than good to the dog, doesn't seem to matter. That it's easy, and that it requires nothing further from the owner is all that seems to be important. I'm sorry for this little dog, to be sure. But I'm worried about more pets being put through to ridiculous and unnecessary procedure after this story is circulated.

this story makes me angry enough to BITE!

Feel free to "react," using the check boxes under comments...
and as always, your comments and opinions are welcomed.

And please cast your vote on our survey.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dental Procedure for Dog's Behavioral Problems? It's called "canine disarming."

Big day in dog news it seems. Imagine my surprise when I learned this new term “canine dental disarming” from the LA Times today. Whaaa…? Yes, you read that right, apparently the owner of an American Eskimo dog has decided that the only way to keep her dog from biting is to “reduce and blunt the incisors, lessening the bite effect.”

This just offends me in so many ways...

First of all, they were quick to point out that she was forced to do this despite trying many suggestions from experts to help her with her dog…she even worked with the great Cesar Millan (insert big impressed sigh of course…) ….uhhh...well...except…..the techniques that CM uses for aggression are actually more likely to INCREASE aggression, not decrease it. Yep, that’s right folks, it’s the truth…no, not just my humble opinion….read what the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has to say about him: http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/

you'll probably end up here: http://www.4pawsu.com/dogpsychology.htm

And the plain truth of it is that I could site many, many, MANY outstanding authorities in the animal behavior world with degrees and scientific data and studies and all that stuff, who would all tell you that what he does can significantly increase the likelihood of aggression (among other damaging effects.) So, it’s possible…now I just said possible mind you, that “Ceasar’s Way” has had something to do with why this problem is so out of hand.

But I don’t really want to make this all about that hack (oops! did I say...I mean write that out loud?) I really wanted to just point out that management might be a better, and dare I say more humane, and maybe even more sane way of dealing with this problem. I mean really, she’s putting her dog under the knife for a behavior issue. One that probably stems from the dog's insecurity and fear anyway and one that will most likely get worse now that she’s putting him through this trauma. Plus, now he can just practice, practice, practice that behavior because “Hey! He can’t hurt anybody right?!”

...Ummm…yeah but, have you ever heard the term, “practice makes perfect?”

I’m sure she loves her dog, and I’m sure she believes she's doing the right thing, but let me just say, “what the fu**?!!” (that’s, what the fuss, of course.) I mean if the problem was that bad, I wish she'd explored some managment options...and perhaps gotten the help of a qualified Veterinary Behaviorist?

Anything but...well, you know...

You can read more about this story in the L.A.Times.

Click on the title for this post, it will take you right to it.

Okay, hit me with your best shot...I know I've piss off some "Millanites" here. Let's hear what you have to say. Agree? Disagree? Doesn't matter really, cuz I'm open to anything (without profanity) that you have to say. After all, you know what they say about opinions...........................: everybody has one. Comments please. And please cast your vote on our survey.

Healthy Homemade Dog Treats for Training ...or just indulging your pet.

As a dog trainer, I’m always looking for new and “irresistible” dog treats for motivating my four-legged clients. As a “Dog Mom,” I’m always looking for healthy snacks to pass out to my little furry kids. And as someone who likes cooking and baking, I’m frequently experimenting in the kitchen, trying to find new ways to fulfill my needs as a trainer and dog mom. To that end, I’ve developed a recipe for “Doggie Liver Brownies” that my dogs and my client dogs really love. There are all kinds of liver brownie recipes out there, but I played around with ingredients until I developed one that passed the discriminating taste test of the dogs (and cat) in my world, and that I knew would be healthy for them as well.

Although I know we’re in the nasty heat of the summer and very few people want to turn on their ovens right now, I decided to share this recipe with you. You don’t need to have the oven on for too long, and your pets are guaranteed to love, Love, LOVE!!! these treats.
“Bone” appetit!

1 ½ lb Organic Chicken Livers (I use Rosie organic Chicken liver)
1 c. whole wheat flower
½ c. oat bran
1 ½ c rice flour
1 ½ tsp Garlic Powder (omit if you are feeding cats)
2 organic eggs w/eggshells (make sure they are clean & organic)
2 Tbsp canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp organic Kelp and/or Dulse powder (optional, but very healthful)

Note: when possible use all organic ingredients, but the really important ones are the ones I specify in the recipe. You can also substitute other types of flour or grain products if your dog has a specific grain allergy.

Chop up liver and put into blender. Add eggs w/shells, pumpkin and olive oil. (Blend well to insure the eggshells are well processed -- they're a great natural source of calcium.)

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in blended ingredients from the blender and mix well. Pour into greased 9 inch square pan. Bake in 325 degree oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. Brownies are ready to come out of the oven when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. You could also use a jelly roll pan (high sided cookie sheet) but check earlier and more frequently to ensure brownies don’t burn.
Cool slightly, then cut into brownie squares. Refrigerate portions that will be used with 2 days and wrap the rest tightly for freezing.

Now go out and train your dog!
...or just share some treats with him for being so sweet and lovable.

Comments? Suggestions? Share your healthy snack ideas...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Is your new baby safe with your dog?

The latest headline to catch my eye was the story about the family dog in Kentucky who snatched a newborn, premie baby from it’s crib and dragged it outside onto the owners ¾ acre property. The parents realized what had happened and managed to get the child back before he was killed, but he did suffer some pretty serious and potentially life-threatening injuries on this, his forth day of life. I will provide links for anyone who hasn’t read the story, because I don’t wish to rehash the details here.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32027117/ns/us_news-life/ or

When I first read this story, I was inclined to sit down and write about introducing a new baby to your home. I will still do this, but not right now. There are so many things already written about introducing new baby to Fido…on the internet, in books, and certainly most dog trainers are knowledgeable about the types of things that should be done to keep dog and baby safe. I know that I as well as several of my dog training friends have dispensed this information, both in paid sessions and also freely to relatives, friends and acquaintances. Sometimes people listen and follow through with what they are told; these people rarely experience problems with their dogs. The perplexing thing is the amount of people who don’t listen, or don’t seek out any kind of advice, believing that the situation will simply work itself out. This possibly stems from the myth that dogs and children are a natural combination. Or maybe it’s that they just can’t bring themselves to believe that their sweet dog could do anything inappropriate. Whatever the reason, it's a mistake to skip the steps necessary to help your dog ready for the addition of a new baby in the house.

The truth is, you never know how your dog is going to react to a new infant being brought into your home. Babies are loud, they smell strange, they tend to be the total focus of everybody and they cause lots of change and a huge uproar in the status quo. This isn’t me baby-bashing; I’m looking at this from the perspective of a dog. Some dogs handle the addition of a baby seemingly without a care, but ALL are dramatically impacted by the addition of a newborn. They can become frightened, unpredictable, over-protective, depressed, and even seemingly jealous of the new addition. ANYONE with ANY DOG, should think about working with their dog prior to a new baby coming into the house; NOBODY, with ANY DOG should ever assume they know what their dog’s reaction to a new baby will be. It’s impossible for anyone to be 100% sure of how their dogs is going to respond to such a new and unfamiliar situation even if they have had the dog for years and have seen them around other children. Babies can be a little like bringing home an alien, to your dog.

If you or somebody you know is going to be bringing a new baby home in the near future, please take the time to educate yourself on the things you can do to help your dog deal with this change. The best thing to do is to have a qualified dog trainer come in and help you with tips on preparing your dog for the new arrival.
If you choose not to consult a trainer, then you can go to the ASPCA website for helpful tips on introducing a new baby to your dog: http://www.aspcabehavior.org/articles/152/Preparing-Your-Dog-for-a-New-Baby.aspx
You owe it to your dog...and your baby!

Don't make assumptions about your dog's ability to cope with this new and exciting event. Learn about the steps you can take to help your dog to accept the changes and then follow through with what you learn. And remember, no matter how much you've done to train him, and no matter how much you trust your pet, dogs and children should never be left together without supervision.

Visit my website to read an upcoming article about dogs and children.

I'd love to hear your opinions, ideas, stories or comments about the Kentucky story or related situations. Please feel free to "weigh in" on this "weighty" issue!