"The Peeing Post"

Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature

Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen

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Dear Dog Friend,

It has been a while since the last Peeing Post - I apologize. You should normally expect at least one issue per month, but the last 6 weeks have unfortunately not allowed me to be as selective with what I do as I like to be... The future looks better, though!

In this issue, I would like to address three main themes:

  1. Rabies vaccination and travel
  2. Mental activation
  3. Selecting the right puppy


Before we dig into details, I would like to announce that I have thought a lot about giving advice also on the phone. I have had some hesitation, but I came to the conclusion that there are indeed many problems that are solved much better over the phone than per e-mail, although some problems just simply take that I see what is going on in order to get the right picture of the dog's body language.

But this has lead me to sign up with KEEN, who facilitates all kinds of professional advice. So, if you know somebody who would like to have a phone consultation about a dog problem, which I could possibly help them with, you can have them call

1-800-ASK-KEEN extension 0230647.

There is no charge for the first 5 minutes, and it will take less to find out if the problem should be solved over the phone or not.

Alternatively, you can have them visit my home page at KEEN, which has the URL http://www.keen.com/mowence - they can call directly from that page; there is a direct link.

Peeing Post subscribers are welcome to call via KEEN too - but you have the privilege of being able to respond per e-mail directly to each issue, and I don't mind that you are taking advantage of that, as long as it is OK for me to use the problem in the newsletter, with mentioning of your first name only.

As I have told several subscribers, who felt a bit bad about not paying for my advice, you can always "pay me" by forwarding The Peeing Post to your dog friends and have them sign up also as subscribers. It is my sincere objective to get 100,000 subscribers or more to this newsletter. We still have a way to go, but if you help, it will go faster!


Rabies vaccination and travel

Mary asked me about rabies vaccination. She wants to travel for Christmas from Canada to the US, and in order for her to get the dog back to Canada, Canada Customs want to see a rabies vaccination certificate that is no more than 3 years old. Vaccination is traumatic - but so it separation.

Now, if your dog is healthy, a single rabies vaccination is not very likely to kill your dog. The risk is not zero, though, but it is lower than the risk of dying during anesthesia - as long as you don't mix that vaccine with any other vaccines at the same time.

If you get a "rabies shot" together with other vaccines in some sort of a "combo vaccine", you are gambling with your dogs health...

Let's first confirm that the rabies virus that attacks dogs and causes an 80% mortality among infected canines also attack people - but "only" with a 35% mortality. This is serious. Darn serious. If rabies is transmitted from your dog to you, you stand a chance of 1 in 3 of dying from the disease!!! So, there is no room for gambling here.

If the dog gets infected with rabies, it is toast. Even though it might have one chance in 5 for surviving, it will get crippled for life (permanent damage to the nervous system) - and it will never get a chance, because the veterinarian authorities in all western countries will demand that it gets put down immediately, simply to protect the people that are in contact with it.

But this is why we vaccinate, right? The vaccination will take care of this risk?

Sorry, wrong.

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that a dog that has been vaccinated against rabies will no longer be capable of transferring the virus to someone else... Although the virus may not severely attack the vaccinated dog itself, this dog can still act as a "transport medium" to another victim that has not been vaccinated. This is the reason for the demand of having the dog put down if it is known to have contracted rabies, whether or not it got vaccinated.

Although harsh, it does make some sense when you consider the mortalities...

But here comes the intelligent Peeing Post subscriber with the $10,000 question: "Why do we bother vaccinating then?"

?

Does anybody know the answer?

I don't. I have have asked veterinary authorities, government agencies, veterinarian associations etc. in both Canada and the USA. The answer is the same as in Europe: silence. Maybe, "We just don't want the risk". But no valid explanation that makes any sense.

If you know the answer, please share it.

Nevertheless, don't fight "the system" by putting yourself and your dog in trouble. Just make sure you have the appropriate papers to get the dog across the border when you need it - and then stay away from visiting areas where rabies is a problem you cannot ignore, such as many Latin American countries, Mexico included and certain parts of the southern US... Check with your veterinarian or ask the veterinarian authorities in your home country about the rules for bringing your dog back from the countries you want to travel to.

And, by the way: don't even think of bringing your dog to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Norway, or Sweden. You will not be allowed to do it, no matter how much vaccine you pumped into your dog.

You probably noticed that the UK was not on this list of no-no countries... The reason is that the UK has recently decided, per December 11, to allow dogs from Canada and the USA to visit the British Isles without the usual 6 months quarantine, provided

So far, 75,000 dog owners have taken advantage of this over the past few weeks and have accepted the 2-3 days quarantine it takes to get the British formalities brought in place, the microchip being the most crucial one, since you cannot get it ahead of your arrival. The British authorities, however, are cited for seriously trying to make the rules reasonable and manageable, regardless the veterinarian associations warning that keeping Britain free of rabies is more important than pleasing American and Canadian pet owners... (I think there are some business perspectives involved also, though - I am personally not going on vacation in places where I cannot bring my dog. It's that plain simple: If my dog can't come, then I won't go either. And I am not the only one...)


Mental activation

Enough work for your brain! As we have discussed several times, dogs need to work their brains too - and we need to give them some relevant opportunities. In some of the past issues, I have explained how you can you a "Chinese box" and I showed you how I got my 18-year old Bettemuir started on this. You can see the pictures at http://k9joy.com/dogtraining/treatbox.html. I added a link to a second page with some new pictures, just to show you how Bettemuir has made progress so that we have had to figure out some new ways to make it more and more difficult for her.

There have been two directions of my use of intellect to match hers. The first direction was to make the box more sturdy. We made a rolling box out of an ice cream bucket. We actually made two: one with a hole in the lid, and one with a whole on the side. The first one will never give a treat when it gets rolled. The second one will only give a treat when it gets rolled... Now, shifting between the two really made her think, so you could almost hear the squeaking in her brain...



Here is a smaller variant of the ice cream bucket; a Tupperware container that was broken - so it got recycled as a treatbox:




You can see how Bettemuir has learned to push the box by nudging it with the nose - she could have been a talented soccer dog...



The other direction was to use the Chinese Box principle of having a box inside another box. Now, because we got the game started by making holes in the boxes for her, and she learned to flip and roll the boxes to have the treats come out, she never resorted to trying to destroy the box. Knowing this, I also did not expect her to have any easy time opening a totally closed box to get into it and get the box inside it.

The game found an unexpected solution that has caused some humor around here: Duct tape! We started with an outer box that just folded shut - fours flaps that go over/under each other. This would allow the scent to get out - and it also wouldn't be totally hopeless for Bettemuir to open. I was right on that: it was way too easy - she just pushed the nose firmly against the box, and that opened the flaps enough to provide a hole in the middle for her slender nose to reach the box inside...

Next step was then to make it tougher for her to open the box by simply pushing it, so it got reinforced with some duct tape. No problem for her. More duct tape. Still no problem. Then we ended up with a whole grid of duct tape to "protect" the vulnerable side of the box.

That worked! She now has to grab the duct tape strings and tear them in pieces so she can make a hole big enough for her nose to grab the inner box. With the big box, that was not easy, but she learned to swing the box around in the air, holding on to the duct tape with her teeth, shaking it like a rat. It took her more than 30 minutes fighting with the box like this. Well, the reward was a pork shank, so it was worth it!

She was happily pooped for a whole day after this...

Anyway, check the new pictures at http://k9joy.com/dogtraining/treatbox2.html, just for the fun of it.


How smart is your dog?

So, now I have told you how Bettemuir has been doing in the area of mental activation, it is your turn to tell me how your dog has been doing. I know from my classes that everybody burns for asking "My dog..." questions. Here is your chance for telling a "My dog...." story. Please share with the other subscribers how you have been working your dog's brain, how the game has developed, and what fun you had. Pictures are welcome too.

Yes, there will be a reward for the best story, if I may use it in my next e-book about Mental Activation! And the reward will be a free copy of the e-book when it is done. It will be before Christmas.


Selecting the right puppy (Part 1)

I got several questions from subscribers asking about puppies. How do you choose the right one? (puppy - not subscriber...)

I have a full evening seminar on this, but I think it is fair to give some answers here too. You will get it in small portions, though. Maybe I will later put it all together in an e-book.

My approach will be to make you aware of what you should do. I want to give you the tools and the understanding you need for making the best possible choice. I won't make it for you. You may not like all my suggestions, and you may have some preferences that are more important to you than going through the entire process in order to secure the greatest likelihood possible for picking the dog you will get the most enjoyment out of. That's your choice. Just warning you: You lose your rights to whining if you are careless ;-)

Even if you seriously try to do everything right, you still have a risk that things might not pan out exactly as you bargained for. We are dealing with a lot of uncertainties. Life is a big one, just on its own. You cannot eliminate all uncertainty - but you can reduce it to an acceptable level. Your level might be different than mine, and I am not the one that has to live with your mistakes...

The "puppy selection process" is far from simple. It starts with the question: "Why do you even want a dog?" If you don't have a good answer, please don't get one! If your response includes some good answers to the questions you should expect from a potential new family member inquiring about what you have to offer as packleader in this family, then you are on the right track...

In order for you to have any joy from your dog, you must first make sure that your dog enjoys you and the environment you give it to live in. For a dog, material things don't count. Big yard - nice house - new car - fine neighborhood - soft carpets - stable income - it all matters nothing! What matters the most is your time and you leadership qualifications. After this comes your pick of a good match with your own temperament and lifestyle.

For start, I suggest you make a list of the breeds you feel attracted to. Make it as long as you want. Don't try yet to make any committed choices. Just make your list and include also some breeds you might not, as of now, consider major candidates - it will help you later to start with an open mind. (No, you will not even consider a mix - simply because you have no way of predicting what kind of dog it will become, unless you mix two breeds that are very closely related... This does not make your mixed-breed a bad dog, but it does making choosing a mixed-breed puppy very risky. There are enough risks in this already - you don't need to add another uncertainty, no matter how lucky you were last time!)

The topics we will cover include:


Your initial list of possible breeds

This is nice and simple. Get yourself some dog books. Borrow from the library or browse on-line. Just look around and try to find out what breeds you would feel attracted to. Don't argue about which ones might be right or not. We will cover that later. Make a nice long list of possible breeds. 10 or 20 different ones is fine.

For each breed on your list, you must also have at least 2 or 3 different sources of more information. You don't need to check all details right now, but you need to make sure that you are indeed picking breeds you can find more information about. Searching on-line is great, because you will normally get new links from every site you visit. Using search engines is also great. My preference is Google, because Google gives you the results with the most links first, regardless of commercial interests!

Sometimes, it could be a good idea to make the breed list from an initial list of properties you want, such as coat, size, color, use, or similar - if you know up front that you have some issues here you want to address. If you don't like to comb hair for hours a day, then don't even think about getting an Afghan Hound! If you are an outdoor person regardless the weather, then don't get a Poodle! If you can't stand the sight of dog hair on your bright carpets, then don't get a Samoyed! If you like to bike, then don't get a Basset! If you like to do tracking, then don't get an English Bulldog!

Now all these kinds of criteria are pretty obvious, so go ahead an use them right away. I trust you can do that quite well. The areas that are more crucial are those most people don't even know about... And those will be the ones I will focus most of the attention to. But if you have a good list of your preferences for start, we will work on narrowing it down to the few choices you should consider your true options.

If you, at any time, run out of candidates on your list, you can always browse for new additions to your list. You simply start the process over - and I will help you delete a few more breeds from that list....


Your time...

When you get a dog, you will need to spend time with your new family member. Most dogs need a minimum of 4-6 hours meaningful activity per day. "Meaningful activity" does not include being on its own, left to play alone with it own toys while you are busy doing something else that does not involve the dog... Dogs are social creatures. They are not meant to be alone, ever. But they can fortunately learn to be alone for long periods at a time - if their fundamental social needs are satisfied.

If you are in doubt of what "fundamental social needs" are, you should get my video "The Dog's Social Behavior" - it is available from DogSmart Education at http://k9joy.com/education/dogsocial.html.

And, just for the record: if you think you are doing a great job by letting your dog have lots of access to play with other dogs, you are terribly wrong!

Seriously, if you think you are done if you take the dog for a 20-minute walk morning and evening, feed it once a day and make sure it always has fresh water, you are in for some very unpleasant surprises in the form of destroyed furniture and all kinds of behavioral problems. Also, if you think you can get your kids to follow through on their promises to take care of the dog, you are probably just kidding yourself...

Think about it: 4-6 hours per day is a lot of time... It is like a part-time job! You can most likely just as well consider selling your TV, because you will not have time to watch it anymore. Getting a dog does not mean "adding a dog to your lifestyle". It means "completely changing your current lifestyle"! Hopefully to something you desire more than what you currently have.

You can divide the time into two categories:

  1. Devoted time;
  2. Casual time.

Devoted time means time you devote completely to the dog, having nothing else to do than interacting with your dog. Training and intensive play are such examples. Make sure that at least 1/3 of the time the dog is awake and active is falling into this category! 1.5-2 hours per day...

Casual time is time you spend together with your dog, but without necessarily having your attention 100% on the dog all the time. During casual time, you can undertake other activities, as long as they allow the dog to participate by moving its body or working its brain. Taking the dog for a walk is an example. Letting the dog play with the kids is another. The main point with casual time is that the dog is active and interacts, at least occasionally, with you or another person, yet not necessarily with a lot of dedication.

Then the really bad news: Some dogs need way more than 4-6 hours per day! Practically all working breeds or mixes of working breeds need 8-10 hours meaningful activity per day. Remember, they were bred to work. Working means being active for a full day. Sheepdogs of all kinds are in this category, most definitely Border Collies and Blue Heelers. Huskies and other sled dogs are there too. Many high-performance hunting dogs too, such as Setters, Pointers, and related breeds.

And here some good news: Wolves need 16-18 hours, so be happy you don't consider that option...

How do you find out? You study the history of the breeds you consider. In modern times, with Internet, it is simple. Use a search engine like Google and get the information. If the breed is still used for its original purpose, chances are that it also has the qualifications to do the job it was bred for. If the working history is truly "history" and the current use more tuned in on a role as companion and pet, then your chances of less hyperactivity are much greater...

There is really only one way of testing this: connect with owners of the breed and ask. Ask real questions, in real life - that is: get together with them and their dogs and see for yourself!

But what if they don't have any puppies? Doesn't matter. You are buying an adult dog, although you might be purchasing a puppy. You plan your life with your dog based on what you can expect from an adult dog. All puppies are cute, and you never want to buy a puppy after seeing it and touching it! I mean: you must commit to the purchase, based on your knowledge of the parents and the breed, subject only to testing the puppy for good mental and physical health. If you are undecided about purchasing this puppy when you see it, you don't buy it! If you do, you are acquiring your dog for some very wrong reasons...

So, did this reduce your candidate list?


Next time, we will start discussing what you need to look for in your lifestyle and your own personality...

 

Cheers and woof,

Mogens Eliasen

 

If you have any comments or questions pertaining to this issue or in general pertaining to dogs, please respond - if I can find an answer for you, I will!

If you have any suggestions to contributions or contents of The Peeing Post, I will be happy to know about them. (Please no anonymous contacts, though...)

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PS. I recently had some major problems with my computer system - all caused by the technician I had working for me, combined with my own lack of technical expertise to evaluate what he was doing and how it could impact my system.

Over the last few weeks, I have been undertaking a major clean-up and restoration project with JUVIO, my computer service company in San Diego. Yes, I live pretty far away from San Diego, but they do all the tech support on their toll-free phone and per e-mail, so it did not cost me anything. My membership pays for it. In addition, I now have a record of what has been done, so I know what to do to keep my system from falling into the same holes again. The day after we got everything done, they called me to check that everything was running OK!

If you are the slightest concerned about your computer being in good shape at all times, then I seriously suggest you take a look at JUVIO's services. Their service quality has totally blown my mind, and I really like the fact that I can call toll-free any time - and get a qualified tech to discuss my problems with, so I can get them fixed right away, even at 3 AM Sunday morning....

I recommend you check JUVIO's site at http://cansup.juvio.com and take advantage of their offer if it has just a fraction of the value to you as it has to me.