"The Peeing Post"
Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature
Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen
This newsletter is brought to you by
Dear Dog Friend,
Well, somebody got upset - and many were delighted! I had a few people demonstratively demand that I unsubscribe them after sending out last issue -I don't believe they could not find out to use their mouse at the bottom of the issue to delete themselves from the subscriber list. But I never heard back from them about my question about what caused them to do that...
But thanks to all of you (I think more than a dozen!) who reported back that you liked the article about breeding! I knew it was controversial - but I seriously did not think I offended anyone by suggesting some thinking.... Whatever - if people take offense from my honesty, then we are all better off not having them on the subscriber list. Although I have no intention of insulting anybody, I also have no intention to please either - other than though provision of information you can base some decisions on for yourself....
So, the conclusion is that I will bring the continuation of that article about breeding later in this issue. J
Summer camps - so far
Ready for your real vacation? The one that matters the most? Here are the dates:
|April 30 - May 06||Western Maryland||March 01|
|June 04 - 11||Creston, BC||April 22|
The rules are still the same: Maximum 8 students per camp. That's it. If you sign up as number 9, you will not participate, but will be referred to another course - or get your money back.
You can check the details, as they are available (more will be added, particularly about accommodation possibilities and entertainment options for the family, as I get them) at http://k9joy.com/dogtraining/campcourses.php. That page is also where you sign up.
To castrate or not to castrate...
I got this letter from Marysia Greenbridge, touching on a delicate subject:
I have only just subscribed so I apologize if this subject has been covered before. I belong to several e-groups which are in sync with me in fighting the proposed Ontario Bill 132. I am bothered, however, by the fact that many opponents of this bill are suggesting mandatory spaying and castration of all breeds of companion animals as an alternative. While out of necessity I have spayed my bitches, I have been reluctant to castrate my dogs. I have read quite a few articles culled from veterinary publications linking castration to osteosarcoma, prostrate cancer (in direct contradiction to previously held conviction) as well as the already acknowledged links to hypothyroidism. I am presently in New York State but would like as soon as my finances permit to buy some acreage in B.C. perhaps near Golden where I can skijor with my dogs. Perhaps you may be prevailed upon to include in an upcoming newsletter, your opinions on castration and maybe a comparison of the various provinces as relating to dog legislation. In any case thank you for providing a refreshingly candid source of information sorely needed in a world increasingly filled with canned thought.
First off: we have not discussed castration any time recently, and I think it is a great topic to discuss! I will not conduct a comprehensive study on exactly how stupid legislation actually is around the World on this, though.... I think everybody has to find out what the law is where they live - and then take active part in the political debate before too many more stupid laws get made on this!
Before I comment further, I need to say that, before I came to Canada in 1990, I had, in my entire life, seen no more than 1 (one!) neutered male dog! And about 4 females that had their uterus removed for medical reasons. I have been heavily involved in all kinds of dog training activities for 20 years, including being chief editor of Denmark's biggest magazine for dog training... I have never heard of any health problems coming from dogs not being castrated - and I did not know anybody who did, including my good friend the Danish veterinarian Finn Smed! (The truth is the opposite: there are negative health consequences coming from removing the sexual organs....)
So, Denmark should be flooded with puppies, because dogs would breed just as they would please?
Wrong guess! Everybody knew that a bitch comes into season, and everybody knew what to do about that. All male dog owners knew it too - and everybody just took responsible care of their dogs, a little extra when the hormones went high, but nothing special to write home about! Heck, this was just the way Nature was - and people coped. Dogs are easy, compared to teenagers! The total number of dogs bred "by accident" and the total number of mutts, compared to "pure-breds" was significantly lower in Denmark back then than what I experience now in North America, where I see this problem as many times bigger, despite the common spay/neuter programs!
Obviously, those spay/neuter programs do not solve the problem they are claimed to prevent...
But how do you control an unneutered male? Isn't it terribly difficult to train?
Well, the answer is that, if you train it, it is indeed very trainable! The problem in North America is that very few dog owners engage in any meaningful training of their dogs. It is very far from the 80% of Danish dog owners who have taken their dogs to a 3-month practical obedience course, if not much more (at least, this is what the stats were in the seventies and eighties). In North America, the most organized training is show performance - and, no insult intended, but quite frankly: it does not even aim at giving you general control over the dog in public...!
I have never had a problem on my Search & Rescue dog teams with females and males mixed on the teams. Sure, the males performed better when the bitches were not in heat - but we never excluded bitches in heat from the training - we used them deliberately as a temptations for the males: an opportunity for the owners to teach their dogs a few lessons about who the pack leader is and who in this pack has mating rights.... And, I can reveal, that is was not a four-legged, furry pack member! (Just correcting a possible thought in your mind: Having rights and executing those rights are not same....!)
The fact of the matter is that dogs, like wolves and humans, do have the ability to respect social laws - and those social laws do not permit sex "ad libitum"! Just because I see an attractive woman on the street doesn't mean that I can just have sex with her right now and here, even if my spouse would permit it! And I tell you: a wolf that tries to mate the pack leader's bitch will have to either kill the pack leader - or never even think about trying it again...
I have seen the same in my dog pack. Only the pack leader has mating rights. Subordinate pack members don't. They might show some "serious interest", but they will immediately respect the pack leader's warning and at least pretend that this bitch is not in season at all... My bitches have always invited me to mate them before they showed any interest in the other males in the pack, including the four-legged, furry ones! Let me just say that I occasionally delegated my rights to my second-in-command, my selected stud - when it was appropriate. J
But what about dog fights?
Seriously, I have not noticed any big difference between Denmark and North America on that. Conclusion: neutering does not prevent it, although it might reduce some of the common reasons for it.
But the health issue - vets claim that dogs that are not spayed/neutered have a much greater tendency to get cancer?
I do not have specific references at hand, but I can assure you that they exit (I have seen several of them): The opposite is the case! Dogs that are altered change their entire hormone balance and metabolism in a fake hope of possibly coping with the serious lack of hormonal input from the removed organs. Other glands try to take over - but can't do the job. This results in all kinds of things in the metabolism now running only "sort-of OK", like a 4-cylinder engine on three cylinders. This will cause the immune system to be much less effective - and that alone is more than enough reason for explaining the elevated cancer cases in spayed/neutered dogs, compared to unspayed/unneutered dogs.
But what about all the cases of uterus cancer in unspayed bitches?
Well, amongst those bitches that are fed a raw, natural diet and not vaccinated to oblivion, those cancer cases are extremely rare. The sequence of this story is that because people destroy their dog's health with all kinds of dangerous chemistry, of course, cancer is a much greater risk. We know that from humans too. So, instead of doing something about the true reasons for those cancer problems, then we should just opt for masking the problem by removing those organs that typically will be the first ones to get attacked by the cancer? Sorry, folks, but this is some disgusting logic, based on lies and incorrect assumptions...
Let me illustrate with an example I know from Finn Smed: He has, over the last 45 years of running his dog hospital, had about 400,000 clients in total. (Remember, practically none of those dogs were spayed or neutered.) He has had 2 (two!) cases of testicle cancer. Both cases were one-sided, so he removed the one testicle that was damaged. End of story.
Another thing that I want to bring up is that Finn and I made an experiment in 1996 when he visited me and gave some public lectures at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC. I seized the opportunity to have him take a look at my students' dogs.... Just for the heck of it, we made a bet. Without letting him check any dogs from behind, he should, just from a look at the dog, its general constitution and movements, and from touching it around the head, determine if it was neutered/spayed or not. We had 41 dogs in total participating in this. Finn was wrong one single time with a dog that had been neutered about one month earlier...
What he was looking for? Typical thyroid problems and other hormone gland problems - which are inevitable results of neutering/spaying. They include obesity in a special way (the fat is distributed different from what it is on a dog that is simply over-fed and under-exercised), fatty, greasy coat, lazy movements, and dull eyes. All of which can be observed with an experienced eye, without any need for chemical analysis of blood samples or x-rays or any other sophisticated stuff...)
Generally speaking: dogs that are intact and fed a raw, natural diet and not over-vaccinated are generally much healthier than kibble-fed/over-vaccinated dogs that are neutered or spayed. But, if you want to poison your dog with kibble and multi-vaccines, then you might as well also remove some of the first pieces of evidence you will be faced with of having tampered with Nature...
Well, this was just a "warm-up". There is much more to say about this - but that will be next time... J
When good dog lovers become bad breeders...
There is another dimension to the breeding issues we discussed in the last issue that is even scarier. Let's say that a breeder has good reasons to believe that his/her breeding stock is healthy, also genetically, so a breeding is attempted. But mating does not lead to conception. The male is known to be a good stud - so what do we do with this bitch? Try again? Sure - it could be "just a bad day" or some bad timing. There are tons of possible reasons. But, here is the problem: how many times do we try, and how many studs do we use, before we realize that this bitch is not having the natural properties we want to promote in the breed, in terms of her reproduction capabilities?
And it gets worse. Let's say we got the bitch pregnant, and now comes the time for whelping. The breeder is looking forward to this, but wants to be sure that "everything will be OK", so she takes the bitch to the vet and has an x-ray done, so she will know how many puppies there are! Now, as you will know, human doctors do not do x-rays for pregnant women, almost no matter what kind of problem we are dealing with! The reason should be well-known: x-rays are very dangerous for growing cells - they destroy their genes and severely interfere with their ability to promote healthy growth. We risk getting all kinds of genetic defects introduced into the fetus by x-raying it! Doctors are in serious liability for getting suspended if they do it without very good reason (like having no other possibilities of saving the mother's life) - but vets can do it without any fear of consequences because these laws do not pertain to dogs...
So, what if your puppy has been x-rayed while still in its mother's womb? Unfortunately, the answer is that it can have all kinds of problems developing from that - due to the damage done to the genes in the growth cells. And worse: there is no way of telling which problems, so you will not know until the puppy has lived its full doggy life, however long that will be...
But we are optimistic. Our chosen breeder does not use x-rays, but ultrasound.. Which is a much safer alternative, yet still not totally free of risk - but it is also not quite as precise when it comes to counting. Anyway, we get a nice litter of puppies after some trouble that results in the vet suggesting a Caesarian.... Oops! Now, what does this mean? Many women give birth to healthy children this way! Yes, but now we do not know if this dog passes on healthy genes for natural birth or not. If this problem was of temporary nature (like an infection or an accidental complication), then the procedure will not affect the puppies very much (except for their mother taking a day or two to start taking care of them...). But if the necessity for this procedure was due to some inherited problems, then the puppies will now carry on those genes for that problem....
Next, let's believe that we got these puppies born, and we have good reason to believe that they are genetically healthy. Now another problem arises: some of the puppies don't suck well - they do not gain weight. Or the mother does not have enough milk. What does a responsible breeder do? Most people will instantly use their own "mother instincts" and start bottle-feeding those puppies! And we all feel good about that, right?
Well, not me.... Because this means, one more time, that we will not know if these puppies have healthy genes or not. Again, if the problem is known to be caused by some external influence that does not have anything to do with the genetic inheritance, then, of course, please help those puppies fight back! But if the genetics are in a mess and these puppies simply do not have the genes they need to support their own survival, then, please, let Mother Nature take care of getting those genes out of the breeding stock! Let the vet help her - and you. No need for letting the puppies suffer a cruel death when a more humane one is an option.
But what if you don't know if these problems are genetic or not? In such case, a responsible breeder might want to take a chance - and help the puppies survive. But I sincerely ask that those puppies are excluded from future breeding, at least until this issue is definitively resolved and any buyer be warned about the possible genetic problems that can manifest themselves in any kind of later health problem.
Do you understand this ugly dilemma? This love for dogs can turn into something that absolutely is not advantageous for the future of the breed - or for a puppy buyer!
The worst part of it is that most breeders don't even think about this. To them, it is natural to take as good care as they can of the puppies - and that's exactly what poses the risk of genetic problems being masked! Being "nice" and "loving" short-term can mean destroying the breed and its genetic health long-term!
Also be careful when checking into this. Most breeders get hurt on their feelings when you confront them with this stuff. They love puppies - that's why they breed! Nothing wrong in that - but there are some consequences that need to be taken care of then. I still remember a time last year when I met a breeder on-line who was advertising in her signature file and on her web site "Naturally reared" - but she bottle-fed an entire litter! That's false advertising.... Geez, what an outcry I caused when respectfully directing her attention to the lack of ethics in this conflict!
Please note that I am not saying that it is wrong to use medical technology, drugs, veterinary assistance, surgery if necessary, bottle-feeding and all kinds of special care if this is done with full disclosure and with full acknowledgement of the risks that are masked by such care. In Nature, those puppies would die. Period. Nature cannot afford to mess with genes, so she probably kills a few more puppies than what is necessary for this purpose - if not a lot more. But that purpose is so important to her that she does not want to risk messing with it. Whenever bad genes are produced, they must get out of the breeding stock as soon as possible, and there is no room for mercy or emotions. There is a species at stake! And the species is far more important than individuals.
The good news is that we do not have to kill in order to achieve the same effect. We have have to take some serious action. Some might see spaying/neutering as "the solution" - and they are partially right.
Enough for now. Next time, we will dig into how we can tell the good ones from the bad ones. Genes, as well as breeders. J
Cheers and woof,
If you have any suggestions to contributions or contents of The Peeing Post, or some comments or questions pertaining to this issue or in to dogs in general, I will be happy to know about them. If I can find an answer for you, I will!
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P.S. If you would like to have a camp course close to you, then we can arrange it. You should check out http://k9joy.com/dogtraining/feesoot.html to find out what it takes, in terms of money, people, and facilities.
On that page, you will also see that we could do other things too - like seminars, weekend courses, etc. The only real limitation (aside from my inability to spend the same time in two different locations) is that the topic must be within what I feel competent at teaching.