"The Peeing Post"

Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature

Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen

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Dear Dog Friend,

Summer is over! Finally some nice cool doggy weather. The back country is open for the public now, so we can do dog camps again... J

Vaccination protocols

I have some incredibly good news....

In April, I was soooo pissed off by the American Veterinarian Association refusing to negotiate with the US government about abstaining from promoting yearly revaccinations when all scientific proof showed that it was detrimental to the animals' health. Heck, when even the US government could see how ridiculous this is, then it's gotta be obvious for anybody.... What really made me mad was the fact that the association gave only one reason: it would cost its members too much lost revenue...

But now the veterinarian schools in the US are rattling with the same sword - and they do indeed have some power when they dare to publish their opinions. Apparently, they are beginning to see that the evidence against all this vaccination hysteria is simply too strong for any support to be ethical.

Here is a QUOTE from The Senior Dogs Project (reported through AKC Parent Club list September 28, 2003):

Vaccinations: All Veterinary Schools in North America Changing Vaccination Protocols Recent editions of the Senior Dogs Project's newsletter have reported on the ever-broadening trend of eliminating vaccinations for adult dogs, except for rabies, where required by state law.

We have now had a report that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats.

Here, in a nutshell, are the new guidelines under consideration:

"Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus (MLV) vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces immunity, which is good for the life of the pet (i.e., canine distemper, parvo, feline distemper). If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not 'boosted' nor are more memory cells induced.

"Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines. Puppies receive antibodies through their mothers milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. Puppies and kittens should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced.

"Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system. A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age.

Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 months) will provide lifetime immunity."

In essence, what these teachers of veterinarians are saying is this:

When you combine the logic in these statements, you will also see that they carry an inherit recommendation that you do not vaccinate a puppy before it is at least 6 months old - if you do, you will forever reduce the puppy's ability to create full immune protection against any disaese you might want to vaccinate against. In other words: Wait till 6 months and get full effect of the vaccine - or be impatient and accept that the puppy will never get full coverage because you just once vaccinated too early and thus crippled its immune system for life...

Now, is that great or terrific? J

Crate training - cruelty?

I got an e-mail from Bruce. He is a treasured student of mine from the past - and makes his living as RCMP officer in BC. He sent me this e-mail:

Mogens, I think you may have covered the issue of crate training in an issue. I have searched all the back issues and can’t find it. Recently myself, and two others from work attended a dog competition in Ontario. We flew out there with our dogs in crates in the luggage compartment of the plane. The dogs were very comfortable and happy and didn’t seem at all concerned about the flights (I’ll admit, the 3 of us were a bit nervous for them). On the way back there were 9 dogs and handlers on board the same plane. All the dogs were fine (in crates, in the luggage compartment).

While in Ontario I was speaking to several people about the work our dogs do and several facets of their training. One woman asked me how we had traveled from B.C. to Ontario. When I told her we had flown, she asked “oh, did the dogs fly in the passenger compartment with you”?

I advised her that, no, they had flown in crates in the luggage compartment (which, for those who don’t know, is heated and pressurized the same as the passenger compartment).

She looked at me as if I was from Mars. Sensing her disagreement with this, I attempted to explain that all out dogs are crate trained and that mine is very comfortable and he feels safe and secure in his crate. I explained that he enthusiastically enters his crate upon his ‘kennel up’ command and I have never had a problem getting him into his crate.

She looked at me, rolled her eyes and I could tell she disagreed with me. I usually take people such as this to task, but I was too tired to argue my point.

The other day I learned from one of the guys at work who is raising a puppy for us, that his neighbour has voiced her concerns about his ‘cruelty’ to his pup because he “sticks him in that box”. He crates his puppy for short periods of time in the crate, which is placed in his outdoor kennel. He settles down immediately after getting in and gets the rest and downtime that he needs. And we all know what it’s like trying to get a puppy to do something he doesn’t want to do.

Mogens, you explain things so well. If possible could you dedicate some space to, not necessarily the actual crate training, but to the mental component beneficial to crate-training. I satisfied myself with the knowledge that these people really don’t know what they are talking about, but it would be nice to educate them.


Well, thanks, Bruce - I don't mind bringing this up again. The back issues with the two large articles on this are at http://k9joy.com/peeingpost/PP2002JULY14.html and http://k9joy.com/peeingpost/PP2002JULY18.html. They are stored there under the title "Separation anxiety" - but the second one deals in detail with the training procedure for the crate training.

Let's first of all confirm this: Dogs do not have any fundamental needs for freedom. It is a purely human value. (Getting pretty eroded lately with the new "terrorist protection laws", but that's a different story that obvioulsy has to be proven one more time by history...)

A dog's needs include the bodily needs, such as food, water, exercise, rest, etc. (I think just about everybody understands those.)

Then we have the much more intangible mental needs... They include "belonging to a pack", "knowing one's rank in the pack hierarchy", "having strong and powerful leadership in the pack", "getting stimulation for brainwork", to name just the most important ones.

But "freedom", "democracy", "prestige and fame", or "being beautiful", or "having rights to make one's own choices" are NOT on that list!

Dogs simply don't give a damn about those! It is only when we deprive them of the other, more fundamental needs above that we will observe behavior that can be interpreted as some kind of quest for "freedom" - but it really is always nothing but an escape from a situation that does not allow for a reasonable satisfaction of those fundamental needs. Such behavior includes aggression, attempts to flee, "running away", "roaming", etc. - and, as soon as the fundamental needs that triggered it are satisfied, the dog is happy back into "slavery" again!!!!

Dogs are actually very comfortable in narrow dens that hardly are big enough for them. The smaller, the better! It is a generally known to veterinarians, that, if they put a small dog into a big crate, this dog will be restless, agitated and frustrated, and will not get much rest. But if the crate is just about big enough for it, it will relax, feel fine, and recover faster.

You can try yourself to repeat an experiment I did many years ago: I had my two night tables next to the bed converted into "dog dens", each one about the size of a crate. But the dogs never used them. They always crawled underneath the bed!

I got the message and built a "lowered ceiling" into those dens, literally making it impossible for the dogs to now stand up in them.

That did the trick! With only two dens and three dogs, one was left whining under the bed, severely regretting not having been faster getting to bed... (Well, that is a human interpretation - but it was a fact that the dog that came last to the bedroom was not happy about the two good beds being occupied...)

Bruce has a very valid point also in the observation that the dogs go into those crates very happily and without any force! If it truly was detrimental to their well-being, the dogs would not do that... Sure, getting a 70 pound dog into a crate is not an easy task if it seriously does not want to ....

Everybody has experienced how many dogs hate visiting the vet. Why? Because it hurts! Those guys in white always hide a needle in the sleeve - or make a poor, scared dog to stand on a slippery metal plate way above the ground, adding more pain and insecurity to the already unpleasant experience!

And how many negative experiences like this does it take to create a severe apprehension against coming to such places?

One - or two, if the dog was too sick to notice the first time...

The whole problem is completely similar to the old (wrong) perception that "having an acreage on a farm" is just "paradise" for a dog.

Sorry - all dogs I have know who had this kind of "luxury" offered to them, would much rather be taken for a walk with their owner - on leash!

Also: big dogs in a small apartment in the city is generally a "no-no"... Why? "It's cruel"...

BS! If the owner takes the dog out for walk in the city parks two times a day, an hour and a half each time, and spends another two-three hours per day playing with the dog and teaching it tricks in the apartment, then such a "city dog" is guaranteed much happier than a "farm dog" that is free to roam acreage after acreage - alone...

We all understand that we need to feed our dogs. But when we have satisfied the dog's need for food, we do not continue feeding it! (Some ignorant/lazy people do leave food out all the time, pretending to immitate the availability of prey for a carnivore in nature, right? Sorry about the sarcasm...)

Dogs need water to drink - sure, but not 24 hours a day! I do not know of any wolves who have a well installed in their den, and they do not let their puppies roam outside the den at night! (If you want to housebreak a puppy, giving it access to water all night is not a very smart idea...)

Dogs need physical exercise - sure, and rest! Dogs get very stressed if they do not get to move and use their body - and they get extremely stressed also if they do not get a lot of sleep - typically twice as much as a human needs.

The same with all other fundamental needs. When they are satisfied, there is no point in continuing the activity that led to their satisfaction. It is not only a waste of time, but outright annoying for the dog, if not even harmful!

My point is this: it does not matter what you don't let the dog do. What matters is what you do let it do, and that you do let it do everything it needs to do to thrive. But on your time schedule! Carnivores don't control time!!!

So, restricting the dog's freedom to move does not necessarily need to conflict with the dog's fundamental needs - unless you restrict it constantly. If it doesn't conflict with any fundamental needs, then there is absolutely nothing wrong in letting it spend some resting time in a crate - and, the smaller the crate, the more cozy it will be! (Do play safe: don't make the crate so small that the dog cannot turn around or crawl inside it - you don't want the dog to get stuck!)

It only becomes a problem when/if somebody uses the crate to force the dog to calm down when it is too active - which most probably is the case if this "somebody" did not take as good care of its fundamental needs.... In such a case, the cruelty is not the crating - but the owner's lack of adequate care prior to the crating.

And justice is achieved automatically when this owner tries to get the dog to enter that crate....! J

The only real problem I can see with putting the dog in a crate when you need to travel with it is that you did not crate train it first. That can make the travel experience a nightmare of fear for the dog.

(Yes - I know. Someone just lost what he/she thought was a darn good excuse for not bringing the dog along on vacation...)


Cheers and woof,

Mogens Eliasen


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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P.S. A note also about taking dogs for a ride in an airplane...

There are examples of dogs getting pretty traumatized by this. A young puppy, less than 10 weeks old, for instance, might suffer chronic damage to its nervous system if you do not sedate it. Such a puppy has no way of feeling comfortable, alone in a crate for hours. The problem is not the flight or the confinement - but the isolation. And seriously: sedating such a young puppy is not free of severe risk.... With a young puppy, however, I would definitely prefer to bring the puppy in the cabin with me as carry-on luggage, as long as the crate fits underneath the seat. Check with your airline on their regulations on this - it is a much better solution.

Also, an older dog that never has been crated before is doomed to have a nervous break-down during the flight - unless you sedate it or are plain lucky.

I learned this "the hard way", first time I brought my dogs along by air. It was getting late in the airport, for all kinds of crazy reasons involving one tedious line-up after the other, so I asked some friends to give the dogs their "sleeping pills" and put them into the crate for me, while I dealt with a problem with the tickets.

The flight went OK, and I was sure the dogs were OK too. However, when we reunited on the other side of the ocean, I noticed that one of my white dogs was almost brown all over.... and he was terrified!

Well - while cleaning up the diarrhea and calming the dog down again, I found the two pink pills.... he did not get them.

The other dogs were OK. No pills were found in their crates.

My conclusion is that you cannot know what kind of things might happen when your dogs are out of sight and exposed to a situation they are not used to and not comfortable with. It can be a simple minor accident or simply some unintended rough handling. I don't believe the crew will deliberately tease or scare a dog in a crate, but the noise and machinery operating around an airplane can be enough for a sensitive dog. (Mind you, this dog was a well-trained Search & Rescue dog that had been along on all kinds of weird missions all over Europe and never been afraid of anything I knew of...)

So, although your dog might be trained well for crating (as mine was), I would still recommend giving it a mild sedation so it won't bother too much about what is happening around it - just in case something should happen you cannot account for in advance. Fear reactions are very difficult to get rid of later...