"The Peeing Post"
Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature
Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen
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I am overwhelmed.... Thank you to all of you who sent Anita and me your thoughts to help me with our loss of Bettemuir. I got a lot of e-mails in response to the last Peeing Post - and I feel I got even more nice thoughts that just could not find words. We truly appreciate it. Thank you to all of you for the support!
Bettemuir will soon get an heir. The plans are actually more than a year old. When we realized that we were coming closer to the end, Anita and I started looking around and making plans for the next puppy. In a way, all the articles about selecting your new puppy were written with that in mind too... The ones that will still follow will inevitably get a strong flavor of being my own plans - but I guess it just makes them more relevant.
Finding good breeders
I have found out that finding the right breeder is very far from easy. Many people ask me why I am so picky. The answer to that is very simple: I know what kind of dog I can get - if I get it from the right breeder. I have seen thousands of times in my classes what kind of non-satisfying compromises people accept when they do not know what to look for and why.
It is a common dog lover belief that all dogs are nice dogs, and with the right TLC in big enough doses, any dog can become the perfect companion and family dog. All the fine jazz with pedigree and show is really nothing but snobbish hype - a mutt from the nearby shelter will become just as good a dog - and then you have rescued a dog's life on top of it.
Although I do not like dog shows for their worshipping of fashion and beauty instead of sound mental properties and strong working capabilities, I do not agree with the conclusion about the "rescue dogs" either. I have seen many dogs in my classes, bred from the most famous show dogs, that were nothing more than an obnoxious energy bundle on four legs with no social connection whatsoever with their owners. I know this is to be blamed on the breeder's lack of Imprinting. And I know also that there is virtually nothing you can do to "repair" that later...
I have similarly seen even more dogs coming from the shelters - with all kinds of fear reactions ingrained in them. Fear reactions coming from abuse or neglect. Fear reactions that sometimes can be even dangerous when they are not known by the owner... And I have seen a lot of those dogs be very difficult to deal with in terms of training because they never got any proper Socialization - and, as with the Imprinting, you cannot later change that. The dog has a very specific (and amazingly short!) period of its life where it gets the brain programmed with its experiences for how to relate to a human as possible superior pack members - without having any way of later changing those.
Eberhart Trumler is probably the only scientist that has done any serious research on this topic. He devoted his entire life to it. I was fortunate enough to meet him and work with him before he died. Unfortunately, his books are all published in German... (One day, I am going to make an English translation and publish them...). Anyway - till then, you must take my word for this...(unless you read German yourself).
Trumler found that Imprinting takes place from when a puppy is about 3 weeks of age till it is about 7-8 weeks old. Socialization then starts at about the time Imprinting is finished, and it lasts till 12-16 weeks of age, for some highly domesticated breeds up till 5-6 months. Huskies and other Spitzes (Nordic dogs) are generally very fast in this development - just like wolves. Count 11-12 weeks as the "closing date" to be sure you don't miss the boat for a proper Socialization...
This stuff is the core of what my video "The Dog's Social Behavior" is all about, but let me explain some of the main principles here for you too. We will discuss Imprinting today and then Socialization later.
Although the original meaning of the word "imprinting" gives a fairly good description of what this process is all about, most people don't think of it in that way anymore. When people think of "making an imprint", many think of letters on post cards or something similar - and from there, the connection is to printing - which is no big deal. If we don't like it, we can erase it and make another one. I have met very few people that get the connection to "irrevesible", "impossible to ever change" when they hear the word "imprint" or "imprinting". The original German word for this (given by Konrad Lorenz, the founder of all science about animal behavior) is Prägung. The meaning of that is "the process of stamping metal plate into coins" - which is an irreversible, very powerful way of making a dime a dime and a quarter a quarter. No way of later changing the result...
So, what is it that stamps a puppy for life?
It is its perception of whom it can enjoy having social interaction with. In other words: whom it can accept as fully qualified pack members in its pack. Whom it can bond with...
And why is this so darn important?
Well, if your dog does not really see you (or any other human) as a very qualified pack member, then it will generally choose to not bond with you! Unless it is desperate of loneliness - but even then, the bonding will only last till it meets "a real pack member" - which, of course, typically will be another dog.
The thing is that Imprinting will make the dog identify future pack members from whom it had social interaction with in the Imprinting Period - from it was 3 weeks old till it was about 7-8 weeks old. And who would that be? The mother and its litter mates. Other dogs....
In the video "The Dog's Social Behavior" , you can see some clips where Bettemuir demonstrates this. She has no interest in connecting with the other dogs! But she is very keen on keeping connected with me all the time. This was not a result of my training alone. It was a result I inherited from her breeder! She was bred by a Dutch family who had all the puppies in their living room - and they constantly got played with by a human. Almost every time they were awake, there was a human hand to play with. Sure, they played a bit also with the litter mates too, once in a while - but the Imprinting on humans was so strong that these puppies, for the rest of their lives, all preferred to connect with a person when given the choice between a person and another dog!
This means that, with such a puppy, you can bond so deeply that nothing else can rupture the bonding, not even temporarily.
Can you see what a different world this will open up for you in terms of the joy you can have with your dog? When you take it for a walk, its main focus will be you. It will constantly check back with you. It will not ignore other dogs, but it will have no serious interest in running/pulling up to them if you are not showing any interest in that meeting... Such a dog does not need to be trained to come when you call - it just needs permission to come on a word you choose for that.
How you test the breeder's Imprinting
In order for the breeder to have any chance in Hell of getting those puppies to have more social contact with people than with their mother and litter mates, it is easy to understand that there can be no talking about having the puppies raised in a kennel, or a barn, or any other specially build facility outside the breeder's private home. It must be in the living room or kitchen where people constantly come by, wake up the puppies, and play with them till they sleep again. If the puppies are reared anywhere else, they will automatically get to spend more time playing with their litter mates than with people - and the optimal Imprinting is flushed right down the drain - forever. There is no way of ever making another "Bettemuir" out of such puppies.
What a mess! Puppies and pee and shit over over the place! Yes - so be it. If neat order is more important that quality breeding, then don't even think about offering me a puppy from that breeder - I am not the slightest bit interested. I want my puppy from a private "kitchen breeder" who puts up a message on the bulletin board at the nearby school, saying, "We have puppies - come and play with them!"
The breeder might have to book appointments so the visits get spread over the day - but the point is clear, I hope: more human contact than interaction with the litter mates. Fortunately, small puppies sleep a lot, but when they are awake, there has to be a human there to play with them! If not, you get a sloppy Imprinting.
All of the above can be tested without your visiting the breeder. Some well-chosen questions over the phone will quickly tell you if the breeder understands how serious Imprinting is or not. My suggestion is that you do not mention the word "Imprinting" - just ask questions, so you get an idea of what the breeder knows. You don't want the breeder to just listen to your lessons and tell you what you want to hear!
I will still test the puppies, though. And it is simple to do. Any kind of test situation that will reveal the puppy's preferences for whom it wants to spend time with will suffice. Make sure it has good options for that choice - include other dogs and other people, and simply watch that puppy! And don't help it by letting the humans be inviting! The other dogs will ignore the puppy, and the humans should do that too - until the puppy makes contact. Cheating on this is nothing but cheating yourself... Also understand that playing with your shoe laces is not "making contact with you"! (Yes, puppies are adorable, but, for this, you have to control your emotions...)
Other things to check about the breeder
Imprinting is by far the most important thing you want to ensure is OK when you buy a puppy. Everything else - even all of it combined - is less important.
Having made that clear, there are a few more things you want to check also. The most important part here is that your puppy is healthy - and that it got such a good start in life at the breeder's that it has the greatest possible chances of staying healthy - for a long life.
There are two factors that really matter here: Food and vaccination.
Why correct feeding is important
Let's discuss the food first. Puppies are supposed to live on their mother's milk until they are at least 6-7 weeks of age - and preferably till they are 8 weeks. If the breeder has weaned the puppies or the mother did not have enough milk to feed them, you are dealing with the wrong breeder...
Next, you want to make sure that this mother milk was of a super quality. It can only be so if the mother has been fed a raw, natural diet for at least 6 months. If not, you are dealing with the wrong breeder...
You want to make sure that this raw feeding has been serious and varied. You will not accept just "chicken wings and carrots" as a balanced diet. You want to "interrogate" this breeder about what she/he feeds, and you want to check in "Canine Choice - by Nature" that the answers are all coming along right... (You might even use the quiz at http://k9joy.com/education/quiz.html to ask some test questions over the phone first...)
Then there is the question about vaccination...
There is really only this to say about vaccination: the breeder does not let anybody vaccinate your puppy with anything whatsoever! And neither do you until the puppy is at least 12 weeks old.
If the breeder insists on "giving the puppies their shots"? Simple: find another breeder!
I am dead serious about this. Dog owners and breeders are being conned and bluffed into believing that vaccination is "great". It isn't. It is outright dangerous for a young puppy. If your veterinarian tells you that those puppies should be vaccinated in order to be "protected", he/she is telling you a stinking lie, and the vaccine manufacturers have proof of this!
There are three things I want to tell you about this right now:
Puppies rely on the mother milk for protection against diseases. Whatever immunity the mother has is passed on to the puppies through the milk. They cannot generate their own immunity until they are about 12 weeks old (the natural time for weaning...), so they cannot respond to vaccination before that age. (Vaccination is not a shot of instant "protection" - it is a serious challenge to the immune system which will cause a healthy immune system to respond by generating the necessary protection over the next month or so... Vaccination of young puppies accomplishes nothing but using up the limited protection they already had from the mother milk, leaving them unprotected!!!)
Vaccinations with multiple vaccines at the same time is known to be completely ineffective - the immune system can, generally, not create effective protection against more than one disease at a time, so you run a serious risk of making your puppy sick of exactly those diseases you are trying to protect it against. (This is the most common reason for puppies dying of Parvo - they contract the disease through vaccination at a time when they cannot build immunity against it...)
A vaccine consists of more than the killed or starved micro-organisms that causes the targeted disease. It also contains the dead monkey brain tissue the vaccine was cultivated on - together with a whole bunch of nasty preservation chemicals - a poisonous cocktail that is a very severe threat to a puppy's fragile immune system. (It can, in reality, get crippled for life if you let the breeder get away with this.)
I know - your vet will probably disagree. But I tell you this: The US government has, over the last couple of weeks, been trying to get the US Veterinary Medical Association to stop recommending yearly re-vaccinations, simply because there is so much evidence to the fact of them not only being redundant, but outright damaging for the dogs' health that even the government found it embarrassing. Now, this is the first time I ever heard of the US government taking such an initiative to protect innocent dogs and their owners from commercial exploitation. It might be the last. The Veterinary Association outright refused to do it. The only reason they came forward with during the negotiations was that it would cause their average member (your vet) a loss of 50% or more of their income!!!!
It gets even worse when you consider that vaccinations do not constitute about half of all client consultations for an average veterinarian. The average number of visits that are recorded and billed as "vaccinations" is far less than 50%.... But the amount of total business that is generated by vaccination is about that high - and the veterinarian associations know it! I believe you are intelligent enough to draw your own conclusions from this, without me bending the embarrassing and shocking answer answer in neon....
How we can protect ourselves from this madness
There are, fortunately, many veterinarians who do not accept this crap - and they will support you when you explain where you are coming from. They are generally calling themselves "holistic" - which means that they take the whole individual into consideration when they deal with disease and health. They are generally open to using alternative medical treatments, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, herbal medication, reflexology, etc., not as a substitute to western drug medicine, but as a supplement or alternative to it when the situation makes it reasonable to do so.
And here is the catch: I want you to help me and all other subscribers of The Peeing Post to make a list of these holistic veterinarians we can trust! I started it. The URL is http://k9joy.com/education/vets.html. Please go there and check out the list - and fill in the form you can access through the link on that page if you know of a vet that should be on this list too! I would like this list to grow. I actually want it to explode... We seriously need to support those vets that support us, not those who exploit us.
Next time somebody asks you for a reference to a trustworthy vet, you simply pass on that URL. There is a direct link to it from the front page of http://k9joy.com/education also, so all you need to remember is "Canine Superior Education"...
That was Part 1.
Part 2 follows the same principles. You probably guessed it. We also need such a list of breeders who actually rear their puppies naturally - with raw food, no vaccinations, and serious imprinting. This list is more difficult to make - but I believe it is more than worth it.
Yes - it is already started. Not big. But please let it grow also with your contributions! The URL is http://k9joy.com/education/breeders.html. If you know of any breeder you can recommend to this list, then please click on the link that leads to the form, fill in the form with the necessary information (or as much of it as you have), and submit it, so we can grow that list.
Thank you in advance for your help!
I will take a little break now - but you got your work cut out till next time... ;-)
Cheers and woof,
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...)
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!
Even if your question is a "My dog..." question of a personal nature, I will be happy to give you as much advice as I can per e-mail, provided you will give me feedback on how you used my advice and what results you got - and allow me to publish the story. (If I don't get feedback, you get an invoice for my time...)
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I am making good progress with the new book about mental stimulation - or brainwork for smart dogs. I want to thank all of you who have contributed with ideas and critique and selections of the title.
The winning candidate is not clear yet. I actually got comments telling me that all the good titles are too long...
Can you help me? Any suggestions to a shorter and more attractive title? A title that would make you pick that book from the shelf in a book store and buy it?
You can see the current options at http://k9joy.com/forms/BookTitleFeedbackForm.html, where your also can submit your suggestions.
My previous offer is still valid - there will be a discount offer to everybody who submitted a suggestion, whether or not that particular suggestion ends up being the winner. And on top of that, there will be drawn a winner among all the submissions - and that winner will get the e-book free.
I will add to this one more offer: the first one that suggests a shorter and better title that eventually will be chosen will get a free download of the book also.