"The Peeing Post"

Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature

Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen

This issue is retrieved from K9joy's web site

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Dear Dog Friend,

We finally got enough of the urgent moving problems solved to be able to return to "normal business life" again.

Please note that our official address and phone numbers have changed - although the toll-free number and all e-mails remain unchanged. However, we have had some transition problems with the phones, so if you have tried to connect with us and we have not returned your call no later than the next day, your message has gone lost! We would appreciate if you would call back then, as we have no way of tracking your call...

I have received several e-mails from people who were concerned about The Peeing Post "disappearing" - but there is not true reason to that fear.... (Actually, if you are in doubt whether or not your ISP censors The Peeing Post into Cyberspace's eternal oblivion, you can always check at http://k9joy.com/peeingpost/backissues.html to see if any new issues have been published that did not arrive in your mailbox. That page contains a list of all previous issues, and you can always retrieve any past issue by using the links on that page.)


If you have trouble receiving The Peeing Post...

The Peeing Post is still free.... but, in order for me to keep it that way, I need you to understand that I am not going to spend money or extra time on getting it through your ISP's "spam filters". If you cannot receive The Peeing Post, then it is because your ISP censors your mail! If you subscribe to any of those "spam guards" around, you might think it solves the problem. But it doesn't - unless YOU arrange with your own spam control service to allow The Peeing Post coming to you. (You do this by giving pre-authorization of receiving all mail from referralware.net and bizland.com)

Do not ask me to respond to your service provider's request for me to identify myself, so they can "allow my mail to be passed on to you"! Here is the problem: The Peeing Post is being sent out by the broadcasting service I subscribe to at referralware.net (the official e-mail address for The Peeing Post is peeingpost@referrelaware.net). However, I get all responses to The Peeing Post forwarded directly to my personal e-mail account - in order to make it easy for you to ask questions or make comments. So, when I try to respond to those SpamArrest or SpamGuard demands to identify myself, I can only confirm the e-mail address I am using for the response - which is my private e-mail! But that is not the address from which you receive The Peeing Post! So, in order for me to satisfy those demands, I have to create a special issue of The Peeing Post, just for you, and send it from my automatic server - which I simply cannot do technically as "response" to those identification requests.

So, what for you (and those spam controls) appear to be a simple thing for me to do is very far from simple! Besides, I have thousands of subscribers - and I literally cannot do things like this for everybody. So, since I do not want to play any favorites either, you need to make your own arrangements with your ISP and your spam control service to ensure that e-mail from referralware.net and bizland.com gets through to you. If not, you will simply not receive The Peeing Post.... And, for the record: In every single case till date where a subscriber has had difficulty receiving The Peeing Post, the problem has been censorship from the ISP's side! No exceptions ever.

Also, be aware that, in the near future, many e-mail service providers, such as hotmail, will quite likely (in accordance with their own announcements) demand from me that I pay several hundred dollars a year for having them pass on The Peeing Post to your hotmail account! Sorry, folks - that is not going to happen.... There is no way I am going to pay for your receiving The Peeing Post. I am paying for sending it out. Whatever it takes for you to receive it, is your problem, not mine. This is not said in arrogance, but out of pure necessity and principle.

This "payment for allowing e-mail through the spam filters" is nothing but mafia tactics that is aiming at killing small business people and permit only the big guys (who can afford to pay hundreds of dollars to each and every one of the big e-mail service providers) to send e-mail in big scale. But those are the ones that spam! So, be warned - hotmail is owned by Microsoft, and many of the other big guys are contemplating following suit. If/when that happens, you will need a different e-mail account in order to receive The Peeing Post. I do not give in to mafia extortion. Period.

Receiving The Peeing Post is not the only issue at hand here. There is a lot of valuable information available from people who get accused of spamming - or people who, like me, simply use the services of a business that gets accused of spamming, because that kind of problem in unavoidable when you want to do mass mailing.

As I announced earlier, I am very willing to help out. The question is really whether or not you will allow other people to decide for you what e-mails you can receive. I can supply you with an e-mail account (on one of K9joy's domains or on your own) for a very small price of only $10/year ($25 if you want your own domain). It is no big money-maker for me - but those prices will cover my cost of doing it, so I can sustain it - and it will probably be cheaper for you than most other solutions, unless you have your own web site with e-mail accounts. One important added benefit to you is that, this way, you will never have to change your e-mail address because you move or change ISP.... If you are interested, you can check out http://k9joy.com/webservices.


More on aggression and fighting...

I sure got a lot of responses to the last article on dog fights. Obviously, this is an issue that causes a lot of people a lot of problems. And it is not easy to deal with....

I cannot refer to each individual e-mail I got, but I will try to cover both the questions and comments in a way that lets everybody benefit from them - and the answers. I too think this is important to understand, so I am happy to follow up on this.

First a couple of things that were pointed out by several subscribers (and really should have been pointed out more clearly by me in the first place....):

When dogs fight in a rank dispute, the purpose is not to kill but to impress. For this, they use a lot of noise! Very fast and very loud barking - which is what Anders Hallgren calls "roaring" in "The ABC's of Dog Language". Dogs that go hunting for the purpose of killing, will kill in complete silence....

So, if you witness a dog-dog fight that sounds as if those beasts are going to blow everybody's ears off, then you can rest assured that the fighting is about rank - and hence fairy harmless. (Yes, there are some minor risks of some minor damages, but generally nothing truly serious, unless it is a plain accident. More about this in a moment.)

However, if you notice a dog attacking another dog without making any noise, but by simply launching in silence, you have a murderer at work....

The roaring noise from a fight between two males does sound terrible, and I don't blame you for feeling a bit uncomfortable about it - that's exactly what the noise is for! But, as long as both of them make a lot of noise, no harm is intended.

Another important feature of a rank dispute is that dogs have a special biting technique to avoid damage. They smack the jaws together, yes - but they don't hold the jaws together, and they do not try to rip, tear, or shake the opponent when having a piece of him in the mouth...

A rank dispute follows some very strict rituals that are heavily ingrained in the dog's natural instincts and inhibitors. Hopefully, they are still there (yet you cannot always rely on that, as we discussed earlier). But, in order for them to work, they must exist in both dogs! The classic situation of an "attack" is one dog biting towards the face of the other dog. In a wolf pack, no harm will be done, because the attacker will smack the jaws together in the air! The attack will be timed by the inhibitors to be exactly slow enough to allow the other to quickly move the head to the side and thus avoid the bite!

There is no point from Nature's side in having such a fake bite go towards the hip or anywhere else. The whole purpose is for the opponent to see it! So, it must be directed towards the face! But since the face is also the part of the body the opponent can move the fastest, things fit nicely together, as in a neat puzzle.

For many dog-dog fights, this still goes as originally intended by Nature - except when the dog that is being "attacked" has drop ears..... In that case, it will still try to avoid the fake bite by quickly turning the head to the side - but that exact action will make the ear fly out horizontally in the air - and place itself precisely where the smacking jaws of the attacker were supposed to hit nothing but air! Result: a punctured ear. For dogs with fully natural upright ears, this hardly ever happens. But for dogs with hanging ears, it happens all the time....

And then the horrible cases when a dog uses this kind of fake attack on a human: humans do not have those fast reflexes that will allow us to quickly move the head aside, as the attacker's instincts are programmed to rely on! The result is that the dog will not snap in the air, but seriously molest the human's face.... This is something that often calls for plastic surgery - and it is not necessarily because the dog per se is vicious! It is because a rank dispute was provoked in a situation that was out of the human's control.... Serious, serious stuff, though - particularly when a child is involved! However, before you sentence the dog to death, you should consider the sequence of events very carefully, because this is quite likely not an act of aggression, but exclusively a provoked rank dispute the dog had no intensions of using to hurt the child! (I know - this is extremely delicate to explain to the very upset parents, but the one that truly is responsible for this is the dog owner that left the dog alone with a child that did not know this.)

I want everybody to understand that this kind of accident can happen for even the most friendly of dogs, when the circumstances for it are all in place at the same time.... So, there is no resting on the laurels of your breed's reputation as "child friendly" in this kind of situation.

So, should you put such a dog down if it bites a child like this? I don't know. I would rather put the owner down... If you have any suspicion of the accident possibly having another reason than an uncontrolled rank dispute that just "went wrong", then I am tempted to say "yes". But I also know that, by doing this, many good and perfectly mentally healthy dogs could receive a death sentence without deserving it any better than any other dog....

Besides, there could be clear medical reasons for the dog's reaction. Dogs in severe pain, dogs that have been poisoned (over-vaccination and kibble-feeding are major culprits here...), or dogs with hormonal imbalances (like thyroid problems) will often have a very low tolerance for what a child might do in terms no dog can understand. That alone can trigger "uncalled-for" biting that could cause such accidents. And the reasons behind this can most often be eliminated by treating the dog in accordance with the problem. There is no justification for killing such a dog - unless the condition cannot be cured. The problem is to obtain the information you need in order to make this judgment when your only sources are a child and a dog, none of which understands the meaning of your questions....

However, if flesh has been torn or ripped out by the dog's jaws, so the wounds are not just a bunch of puncture wounds, or the dog was seen trying to hold on to a piece of human flesh and possibly shake it or try to tear it off, then my opinion changes dramatically in favor of putting the dog down. Immediately. That dog was trying to kill. It was not an accident. And I would never dare to trust that it could be cured, because this kind of reaction is not what a sick dog will use to defend itself, no matter how irritated or grumpy it would be.


Responsibilities in regards to fighting dogs

Then I got an e-mail from Vera in Belgium.... I better show you the entire thing, as there are several lessons to learn from it:

Dear Mogens,

I just received you peeing post that contained some very disturbing information. In this edition I found out that I was being called an idiot, why?

Please read the quote below:

"...idiots that let their fighting dogs run lose and be a danger for other people and other dogs are often of a macho nature and would love the opportunity to make a fight with you!"

So, I am one of those idiots. I have an English Bull Terrier that always runs lose. I only clip him on a leash when another dogs comes by, why? Because he has been attacked by other dogs so many times that I have become very protective. We always take the other way when a dog is approaching. Not because of the fighting mind he is supposed to have, but because of all those nice labradors and goldens and their irresponsible owners who can get away with it all once a conflict between the dogs should occur, who will get blamed you think? All because of statements like the one you wrote in your email.

I bought your book and have read it. I really do respect your opinion and everything you write seems very logical and adaptable. That is why I am surprised to read something like this in your mailing. You specifically should know that one should better not form an opinion when there is no good and thorough knowledge to base it upon. Just like with the dog food.

If anyone writes that fighting dogs cannot run off leash in a park, that says that they don't know what they are talking about, or they only know a few fighting dogs that not have been raised in the right way, or have owners whose character is not strong enough to keep a dog like that. I own a bully rescue in the Netherlands and Belgium and see many dogs coming by that indeed cannot run offleash (just like many jack russells should not !). But pitbulls, bullies, any fighting dog raised in a good way, with a stable owner that respects the nature and the dignity of these kind of dogs, can run off leash in a park with many dogs, no problem ! The problem usually is the owner who does not know what kind of dog he/she has. So if you want to put blame on fighting dogs, put it on the owner and not on the dogs, because it is just not true, and I cannot understand that a dog lover like you writes any such thing. It means that you have no understanding at all about these kind of breeds.

So yes, one should be extra careful and take extra care and responsibility when owning a dog like that. But not letting a dog run offleash is cruel and abusive. Would you really suggest that these dogs should walk on a leash all their lives ? Maybe I misinterpret what you were trying to say, but I guess many other readers of you email did take it this way too.

And one more thing, fighting dogs never attack people. Only if they are trained or incited ( by the owner ) to do so. Or if they are high on drugs ( like the kid in Germany that was killed by an English bull terrier ). From the beginning that they were bred, all aggression to humans was not tolerated. All fighting dogs that showed any aggression to humans were killed instantly. They used to be chosen upon their aggression towards other dogs, not against humans.

May you ever visit the Netherlands or Belgium, I would like to invite you to come take a walk with me and my Bully, my dog might surprise you!

Keep on the good food-work.

Kind regards,

Vera van der Loop


Here is an excerpt of my response - which I believe covers quite a few general concepts that are of interest also to owners of other breeds:

I understand why you are upset, and I apologize for the misunderstanding. I specifically said "idiots that let their fighting dogs run lose and be a danger for other people and other dogs" - because I seriously do not approve of ANYONE letting their dog run around without control, and I approve even less of it when it causes danger for other people and other dogs. However, if you have you dog under control and can have it respond reliably to a recall command, ALSO when there is another dog around, them I do not see why you should be offended by my statement, because you are not included in what I talk about as "idiots" then. The idiot here is the other person with his uncontrolled Retriever that does not come when he calls it.... If you have your dog under control and he hasn't, then I don't see why you should be blamed for any damage done by your dog to the other in case of a fight.

I did NOT say that fighting dogs should not run lose. All I said was that they should not run lose AND be a danger to other people and other dogs. And I stand behind that any time. But it is not restricted to fighting dogs. ANYONE who lets his/her dog run lose without control is a culprit here, and I am just as tired as you are of people with dogs "that are just friendly".... that is NO EXCUSE for letting that dog interfere with my training of my dog, and it is NO CAUSE OF PERMISSION from my side for this dog to come and "visit" my dog, no matter how "friendly" it is.

I totally agree with you that a life on leash constantly is not what I want to give a dog, and fighting dogs are no exception to that. The darn thing about it is though that it takes a lot of extra responsibility and control from the owner's side of such a dog. But this is no standard permission either from me to accept that these dogs should be allowed to run lose if the owner does not have control. In fact, the vast majority of owners of those dogs here in North America are NOT able to get their dogs to come when they call, so - yes - a fighting dog in North America will be looking forward to a life with zero opportunity to ever enjoy life off leash. Sad for the dog, I must say - but plain reality on this continent. But that goes for about 90% of all dogs here - if not more...

I would love to accept your invitation to take a walk with you and you dog! I want to also add that I have had the pleasure of training a German Search & Rescue team that had exclusively Bull Terriers. They are great working dogs - and when the owners all were extremely strict with their control over the dogs, we never had a single fighting episode with those dogs. So, yes, it is possible, when these dogs get the right owners. Unfortunately, this is very rarely the case in North America, and that is not just for fighting dogs. It goes for ALL dogs. People here are generally IDIOTS in regards to understanding what it is to have a dog and what is required of them as owners... geez, people with macho problems also get Rottweilers and Dobermans and Wolf-hybrids and Japanese Tosos in order to impress their neighbors - and what they really need is an iron penis! (Sorry about being vulgar - but I have seen so darn many of examples that I am sick of it...)

TRAINING in North America is not a virtue, as it is in Europe, where I know you can find training associations for every 10 km... The only training that is generally offered is SHOW training - other than that, nobody cares! And the average dog owner is plain simply NOT interested in show (I certainly don't blame them...) - so there is no motivation for such dog owners to attend any training. I am serious about this: For the 10 years I lived in the Vancouver area and trained about 3,000 dog owners out of the 600,000 in the area, I NEVER saw a well-trained dog, other than those that were owned by students of mine, except for ONE.... All I judge this on is the owners ability (and desire) to call the dog when meeting another dog they do not know. That was (and still is) way beyond what the average dog owner in North America expects to be able to do with his/her dog...

When I worked with the public authorities in the Vancouver area (city councils and regional park management), I suggested a modification of the Canine Good Citizen Test to include a recall exercise, where the handler should demonstrate that he/she could indeed call the dog, also in a situation where it had to pass by other dogs on its way to the owner. I was almost lynched by the kennel clubs, because they saw this as "making it impossible for the average dog owner to pass the test"!!!!! I couldn't believe it.... but I gave up. As far as I was concerned, this had to be the main criterion for accepting dogs off leash in public parks, and that was what the mandate was for the group I worked with then. Needless to say that nothing came out of it - the authorities just did not feel comfortable with the amount of irresponsible dog owners, so they maintained the leash demand for all parks.....

I don't blame you for seeking your own ways with your dog. I do the same thing - for the same reason. I simply don't want to have other people's lose dogs around me when I am walking my dogs. I don't trust them, and I have very little reason in my experience for trusting them.

And, yes, I know the selection of fighting dogs was tough on human aggression - which is one very good reason for these dogs often being very good companion dogs, at least in Europe. But this was not always the case for the American breeds and it still is not the case! There is a lot of illegal dog fighting going on in the USA, and American Bulldogs and AmStaffs are commonly used for this - and certainly still bred for it! Most European countries have made ownership of those dogs illegal - and I don't blame those governments. I wish the USA would do the same.... but I know, it is not going to solve the problem with irresponsible owners - because they can create the same mess with other breeds as well....


Anyway - nobody with fighting breeds need to be offended by my words - but I do agree that they could be misunderstood if they were read a bit too fast....

As Vera states in a later e-mail she sent me, it is almost always the owner of the fighting dog that gets the blame for his/her dog being "vicious" when accidents happen. I totally agree with her that the real culprit is the person that did not have his/her dog under full control and kept it away from the other dog. In far too many cases, this culprit is the owner of this "friendly" dog that becomes the trigger of the fight because it was not under control and it invades the privacy space of the fighting dog...

I wish I had a fast and effective solution to this, but I don't. The only way to avoid further public restrictions on all dogs is that, one day (hopefully soon and before it is too late), we will be enough dog owners that practice responsible dog ownership in public places. The unfortunate thing about this is that we, most often, have to break the bylaws of the city or county in order to do so.... (you cannot demonstrate that a leash demand is unnecessary and unreasonable - unless you take the leash of!)


On top of this, I got several e-mails from people who had problems with multiple dogs in the same household. Most often, the trouble came when another dog was adopted, typically a "rescue" with an unknown background.... Sometimes the new dog was just a puppy that grew up to something that did not match what the older dog needed. Sometimes is was about adopting an older dog into a family with a younger dog that is dominant and does not accept the newcomer....

In Nature, packs will often split when two stubborn leaders cannot agree to resolve their disputes peacefully. That's how new packs are created to replace other packs that died out. Sometimes, we need to keep this in mind - instead of insisting on keeping dogs together that literally do not get along with each other. But I will leave this till the next issue - this one has already grown beyond the size it was supposed to have... J

 

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 will get an invoice for my time...)

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---------------------------------------------------------------

P.S. Talking about all this unpleasant stuff about fighting reminds me to remind you to make sure that you have yourself legally covered, in case you should run into a problem with this.

There are two levels of this self protection against unpleasant financial/legal aftermath of dog fights:

  1. You must have a liability insurance that covers your dog. Many home owner insurance policies or tenant insurance policies will provide coverage for your dog, sometimes for an extra premium. Please make sure that you do have such an insurance, and that it does not have any clauses that make coverage exempt in certain situations where you might need it! The standard example is that you cannot let the insurance company get away with "covering" you while restricting the coverage to not be valid unless you have been "in compliance with all applicable laws and bylaws" at the time the accident started. You most probably need this kind of insurance the most when you (by accident or lack of knowledge) ended up breaking a local bylaw of some kind, so don't buy the insurance with such clauses!

  2. You should have access to immediate legal advice before you discuss the situation in any detail whatsoever with you potential opponent, particularly if third-party damage is involved (somebody got bitten, or the dog fight caused other accidents to happen...). This is one of those things that is nicely covered by a Pre-Paid Legal membership, and just one such episode can probably cost you the same in legal consultation fees as a Pre-Paid Legal membership will cost you in a year or two... (and it covers a lot more than this, for less than a dollar per day). Remember: if either doctors or insurance companies get involved, you MUST seek legal advice before you commit to anything!

Mogens