"The Peeing Post"
Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature
Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen
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Dear Dog Friend,
I'd better get another Peeing Post done while my computer is still working... ;-)
What pet food manufacturers want you to believe...
I just got a reference from Anita to a new "informative article" posted by Purina, one of the biggest pet food manufacturers. The title is "Dangers of Raw Meat". Click on it - it opens a separate window and I have some specific comments to it you might find amusing...
First, the sensational headline, "Dangers of raw meat". Scary, right?
Already by reading the first paragraph, you know someone is preparing a defense, trying to make hard evidence look like "myth" and "unjustified mistrust". Well, I am probably one of those they are trying to hit with this...
Then, in the second paragraph, things get turned away from the truth into something that is easy to defeat: The "real enemy" for Purina is a natural diet. But note how they call it a "raw meat diet". The reasons are obvious: They cannot nail the concept of a natural diet - but they can easily compete against a pure "raw meat diet"! Conveniently so, they then choose to shoot at a target they can hit - and quietly leave everybody with the implicit understanding that "natural diet" and "raw meat diet" are the same... Not!
Third paragraph is nothing but BS - (sorry about the language), but the fact of them running research laboratories for the purpose of optimizing the nutritional value of the food is plain simply not true. A chemist myself, I know that what these researchers do is this: they try to find the most profitable way of manufacturing something that can be sold to dog owners as "high quality pet food". I accept that they might have done this for 70 years - but it lends zero credibility to me... (If the research had been done by a public university college, it might be different - but research done by a business in a highly competitive market place? Come on...!)
Fourth paragraph is a sneaky preparation for you accepting to use the human parallel - it makes it more palatable to accept the huge contents of carbohydrates and grain products in the dog food - because those components are good for people. Not for dogs, though - but that is elegantly ignored...
The next three paragraphs are the core of the attack. As you notice, the attack is totally centered around the fact of meat alone not being a balanced diet. Heck, I know of absolutely nobody in the dog world who seriously would promote a "meat alone" diet for dogs... Great decoy to shoot at! Did you hear the noise?
Then comes the bacteria flip. Salmonella is present in all meat, particularly in chicken (I know from the Canadian government that 80% of all chicken sold in Canada is infected with Salmonella - hence the general health care warnings against eating raw chicken meat...). Salmonella does not kill any dogs. All dogs get infected, sooner or later, like all humans get a flue, sooner or later. In contrast to the human flue, however, dogs quickly and easily develop a full immunity against salmonella - for the rest of their lives. Most dog owners don't even notice when their dogs contract Salmonella - because it really does not affect them very much (which is not quite the case for people, though - humans get a very disturbing and very annoying diarrhea when contracting Salmonella).
And the famous tapeworm! Now, there are many species of tapeworm, and all the common ones get killed when they enter the acid in a dog stomach. That's why the only tape worm that bothers a dog is the one that gets ingested through the fleas. When the dog bites the flea, the tapeworm larva goes to the lungs where is makes a cocoon that can protect it against the acid in the dog's stomach. When all ready and well protected, this cocoon will irritate the dog's lungs. The dog will cough - and swallow the cocoon. As the cocoon passes through the stomach, its shell gets heavily eroded by the acid, but enough of those cocoons can survive just long enough to hatch when they arrive in the intestine - without ever getting in direct contact with the killing acid...
There is one known exception to this, truth being told. A very specific tapeworm that has not been seen in more than 2 dogs worldwide for the last 25 years, but it still survives in all the books veterinarians learn from. Talk about risk...
The final paragraph is outright laughable. My way of saying it would be "When a commercial involving pet nutrition is presented by a pet food manufacturer as 'scientific', we should ask ourselves: "What scientific research supports this statement?" ...
I leave the rest for you to conclude. It amazes me that they will even do this - but the evidence is there, as you can see.
If you need help with balancing your dog's diet, you can get it from Canine Choice - by Nature" - I promise, it is totally free of commercial motives behind the messages...
Selecting the Puppy that is right for you (part 3: your breed candidates)
We are now coming to the serious step that involves making some choices. You may not like them at first - but please do consider them... (I know - I am running a serious risk here of you not liking my opinions - but so be it!)
D. Your family and social life
Yes, you may still have a social life - also after you got your puppy. But you will have less than before - unless you are willing to cut your TV time...
You should make a very serious analysis of what you and your family consider important activities. If watching baseball games or water-skiing are high on the list, you got a conflict. Fly-fishing and dog ownership are not really compatible either. But hiking could be a great asset for your dog also! So could cross-country skiing.
What I want you to do is to make a list of the activities you enjoy the most. Include your fitness program and your social activities. If having parties (or participating in them) are important to you, you have to make sure that you end up having enough time on the calendar to also devote the time your dog needs you to devote to it. Often you can find ways of combining things by simply taking the dog along with you. If you cannot do that, you must be totally clear in your mind what kind of conflicts you will have to deal with to overcome this.
Take traveling. If "traveling" to you means "visiting Disneyland" or similar kinds of "city amusement" - then your dog will be in your way. If you travel a lot by air, that is a problem too for your dog. If your ideal vacation is a cruise, then forget the dog. If you, however, can enjoy a houseboat vacation, your dog can have a great time too!
You get the idea? Please be serious about this - it is the number one reason for dogs ending up in the shelters...
When you make your list of activities that are important to you and your family, you should, for each and every one of them, also consider what kind of solution you will have for enjoying those when you get your puppy... And, out of those, you will also find some relevant limitations for what kind of dog you should be looking for.
E. Your research
When you are done with all the homework above, you can proceed to the fun stuff... the stuff most people wrongly think is "the stuff" to consider. Well, if you do it without first having gone through a careful assessment of yourself, your family and the terms you can offer this dog for life, then you will be in for some very unpleasant surprises - that might cost your dog its life...
At this time, you go over your initial list of breeds that attracted you. Please note the term "attracted". You want to adjust that now to "attract". You simply revise the list by deleting breeds you can now see would cause too much conflict - and you might add a few breeds you were not previously aware of as being good candidates.
When you are done, you should have less than 10 breeds, and more than 3. If you have only 3, no more than 1 should be an exotic breed you have difficulty finding representatives for so you can get an idea of what kind of personality you can expect.
You now do your research on those breeds. For each breed, you should check at least the following:
If you happen to dig out some discouraging stuff, don't get discouraged. There are no "perfect breeds" - so you should instead be suspicious, if you find nothing... But do make sure you thoroughly understand what the problems are you need to take into account. Some breeds are deliberately developed into directions that are outright unhealthy - for no other reason than stupid fashion. Personally, I despise that this is happening - and by buying a dog from such a breed, you are contributing to the continuation of the madness. One example: French Bulldogs can no longer give birth to their own puppies - their heads are too big because this was an attractive champion feature at shows. And it still is.
There are many of such "trends" in fashion that favor an unhealthy breeding. Please watch it!
Also consider if you really want to support the cruelty of cropping ears and ducking tails. By buying a puppy of a breed for which this is "standard", you support it, unless you demand that it will not be done to your puppy. (In most European countries, this kind of cruel fashion amputation is now outright illegal - as it should be, worldwide. It serves no purpose whatsoever for the puppies to be pulled through that kind of pain and trauma, and both ears and tails are important communication means for the adult dog. Actually, a German study clearly showed that dogs with cropped/ducked ears/tails had five times greater chance of getting involved in fights with other dogs - simply because of their poorer communication abilities...)
There are certain breeds I want to warn you very seriously against: the breeds that have been bred for dog fights. You should first understand that no wolf would ever seriously hurt another pack member, not even in the most "vicious" rank fights. Dogs are the same. The are generally carrying those same genes that give them strong bite inhibitors. They may pretend to bite another dog, but their inhibiting instincts will always stop them before they do any serious damage...
This, of course, was completely unacceptable for breeders of dogs for the fighting arena. People paid for seeing blood, so those bite inhibiting instincts were certainly not welcome! This was particularly true in North America where this breeding went on more than a hundred years after dog fights were illegal in Europe and the breeds forbidden...
Unfortunately, many of those North American breeders have been able to breed fighting dogs that no longer have those bite inhibitors; when fighting with another dog, nothing but their own death will stop them. It will certainly not stop them that the other party surrenders and shows submission... Great for the commerce of the illegal arenas - but horribly sad for the breeds that were subject to this....
The unpleasant fact is that you cannot "re-introduce" an instinct that has been bred to extinction.... It is simply not there any more. Extinct means extinct. Exit of planet. Forever.
It does not count here that these dogs can be the sweetest things on Earth - as long as they have strong owners that constantly keep them at a low ranking position in the pack hierarchy. When this is the case, these dogs can be excellent companion dogs - I have even trained many of them to become Search & Rescue dogs! But in the very moment they get a chance to creep up to a higher rank on the totem pole, they become outright dangerous. This is particularly the case if they have any controversy with another dog. The fight will be fatal for the other dog...
This means that all owners of those old fighting breeds, particularly including Bulldogs and Bullterriers of all kinds, are not to be allowed any contact with other dogs without first making sure that it is safe to do so. It is simply not responsible, unless you have proof that they do indeed still have their bite inhibitors... (and you will not borrow my dog to prove it!)
In many countries, these breeds are illegal to breed and even to own. They are ranked as illegal weapons. It is that simple. In my opinion the only responsible way of dealing with the liability of that past irresponsible breeding. I personally don't want to see those missing genes pop up in any dog whatsoever where the owner is unprepared for dealing with this problem in a responsible manner.
Akitas and Boxers have been removed from the dog fighting arenas at a very early stage (more than 150 years ago), and the modern breeding stock is created through in-breeding of many "fresh" gene carriers (also from many other breeds), so, most often, individuals of these breeds do carry the bite inhibitors. The darn thing is, though, that you cannot be sure... I have met individuals of those breeds that are no fun to deal with in fights with other dogs, but I have also met very many that are very nice dogs, fully "armed" with all the bite inhibitors they are supposed to have.
The bottom line of this is that you should not give up your dog because it happens to be of a breed that in the past was bred to lose the bite inhibitors. If you got such a dog, you just need to take your ownership responsibilities serious - and to respect other people's fear for their dogs coming too close. I have had many such dogs with responsible owners in my classes and I have never had a problem with it. I have met many responsible owners amongst the people who own some of these fighting dogs, and I have met far more owners of "harmless" breeds that have created monsters out of their supposedly friendly dogs.
Just an example from the statistics: American Cocker Spaniels are five times more likely than a German Shepherd to be involved in accidents where a human got seriously bitten...
Problem dogs are all man made...
Cheers and woof,
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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P.S. I want you to understand that I am not angry or upset with anybody who got a dog for the wrong reasons. Wrong for them - because they did not know better at the time they made their decision.
You can never make the perfect decision. If you try, you will end up with making no decision at all - which is very often much worse than making a mediocre decision.
Even if you should realize that you did not get the dog you really should have had, then please accept your dog for what it is and give it the love it deserves! In almost all the cases I have been exposed to of people having the "wrong" dog, it has been possible to find solutions to the problems - good solutions that could work for both the owner and the dog. I have only three times in my entire life (counting some 10,000 dog owners...) been in a situation where I seriously recommended putting a dog down because of behavioral problems that were so completely out of control that I saw no cure possible. Even though two of them were fighting dogs, they both turned out to have a brain tumor that caused them a lot of pain - which could explain the behavior for any breed. The third case was a huge mixed-breed that had learned to bite people to dominate them them. That dog was plain simply dangerous because it had gained too much experience and tried to use it on all people around it. It was simply not responsible to keep such a dog close to any people.
But that's it! Everything else can be dealt with. Sometimes the best solution is to find another home to the dog - and that is not always a "bad" solution. After all, you have to live with this dog for some 14-17 years - so why would you make all those years a misery for both yourself and the dog, if another home could turn it into pleasure?
It really all comes down to honesty and commitment. Your dog deserves both. If you cannot give it, you should let it go to somebody who can.