"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,
I want to ask you a favor...
Will you be the judge?
In January, I published my e-book "Don't Pull on the Leash!". Judging from the feedback, it has been a tremendous success. Some of the feedbacks we are getting are very moving - it has made so much difference in people's lives and for their relationships with their dogs that they can finally understand the nature of this pulling problem - and be able to do something about it, without resorting to unethical means.
I must say I am very pleased with the result! It is much better than I had anticipated. We have not had one single incident of the training not working, as judged from the feedback...
K9joy put on a contest among the people who acquired the book in January and February and have some results to show. We asked them to tell their story - as a "before" and "after" picture of their situation. And I would like to hear your opinion about those stories!
We received well over 100 positive feedback comments, and about a dozen "before/after" stories as entrances for this contest. The stories are gathered on http://k9joy.com/DontPullOnTheLeash/testimonials.html. Next to each of those short stories is a price tag. You fill in the number....
The stories that impress you the most deserve a higher price on their tag than those that do not mean much to you. The price you assign to each story should simply be the price you would want to pay to get a book that could give you similar results as the story! The three story tellers that get the highest price in total from all our subscribers will be given a free download of his/her choice.
But there is more.... There is a reward also for you! You will be allowed to buy "Don't Pull on the Leash!" at an extreme discount of your own higest price! So, if the higest price tag you make is, say $10, then you will be allowed to buy the book for a specific percentage of that $10. The percentage will be very low and it will be announced when you submit your vote... On top of this, the three bidders that assign an amount in total for all 10 stories that comes closest to the average total of all votes will get a free download of their own choice!
And then there will be a pleasant surprise when you submit your vote...J
So, go and cast your vote! I will announce the winners in the next issue of The Peeing Post. Deadline for voting is May 15. Votes submitted after that date are still welcome, but they will not qualify you for the benefits I just announced.
Now, it is time to return to what was left in January about breeding and ethics.... (If you need a refresher, then you can get the January 29 issue here.)
How do you tell the good ones from the bad ones?
As you can understand, there is huge potential conflict in responsible breeding. As you will understand from the discussion till now, "tender loving care" for puppies will cause a long-term deterioration of the gene pool if we apply it in accordance with our emotions... Mother Nature's approach is "survival of the fittest". Anything that smells of possible genetic weakness is left to die young. Wolf puppies have a chance of less than 40% for reaching their one-year birthday! This way, the species is kept strong and capable of surviving. The price tag is that most puppies will never make it to reproduction...
"Tough love" is so hard to practice....
Most breeders breed dogs because they love dogs and puppies. And, if they don't, you have another set of problems that aren't attractive either! You do not want a puppy that has been neglected. Never mind the diseases it can have and the vet bills you might have to pay to bring it back to the health it deserves. The real problem here is lack of Imprinting due to insufficient human contact! (This is all explained in great length in the video "The Dog's Social Behavior" and it leads into a totally different topic that goes beyond the scope of this discussion...).
On the other hand, the breeder that tries seriously to provide all possible help to the mother and to the puppies has some huge conflicts to deal with....
And yet, "just letting Nature take its course" is not the humane way of doing things....
So, you are doomed, no matter what you do! Apparently, managing such conflicts will lead to a lot of frustration and aggravation, regardless your ethics.
But it is only apparently. The problems are caused by people trying to make these important decisions without having a clear priority of their values. It really boils down to how we prioritize our values. This calls for us accepting that many things are important, but some are more important than others!
Here are some important values:
We love puppies, so we want to make sure they survive and grow up to become healthy dogs.
We care for our dogs - they are family; so the mother bitch should be taken good care of.
We want to be able to find good homes for our puppies, so we need to spend money on advertising and show, so we can connect with a big enough selection of buyers.
We are on a limited budget, so we do not want to spend a ton of money on this breeding...
We enjoy seeing "Nature at work" - having puppies and watching them grow is a blessing.
We like the fame associated with being recognized as "number one" in the shows - winning is great!
We like to be able to charge a good price for our puppies.
We are responsibe breeders, so we care about the genetic material we breed - and pass on.
That's a nice list I am sure just about everyone can agree to - and there are no problems in that. The problems come when we try to organize these values in order of importance, particularly the top ones!
Let me illustrate by emphasizing only on these three (which will be my top ones):
This breeder would accept losing a litter and never breed again, if that is what it would take to keep her bitch healthy. It also means that she would care for the puppies, no matter what the reason would be for them having trouble surviving; all puppies would be worth keeping, and raising. This is obviously a great dog lover! Nice person, eh?
Here is another way of prioritizing:
This person will do everything to save the puppies, including possibly sacrificing the bitch! So, if given a health problem during pregnancy, this breeder would not give the bitch medication that possibly could harm the puppies, even if that would put the mother's life at risk. Nice and unselfish, truly human values, right? I am sure that all anti-abortion people can agree to this. We take care of children first, then women, and men last... Same thing for our dogs.... But as you probably already sense: something is wrong here - and this kind of priority is exactly what you will find in puppy mills! Puppies represent money.... They are the highest priority. The living conditions for the breeding stock does not reflect much care for those dogs! And no assumptions are made of the puppy-buying consumers even knowing what genes are...
Then let us look at this possibility also:
This breeder is a dog lover too! His point is that if the bitch is not healthy and in good shape, then she should not be bred. His breeding ambitions are put at a lower priority than his care for the dog. That is not bad news for a puppy buyer. When this breeder also prioritizes healthy genes over mass-produced puppies, then things make a lot of sense for the person who is looking for a puppy to buy! This breeder will not raise puppies that could possibly carry unhealthy genes. He will let Mother Nature have a big say in regards to selecting puppies for survival. Only healthy puppies will be kept and raised. Those that cannot fend for themselves as they should, are being let go. If some puppies can't make it, so be it! They will not be bottled up and given all kinds of "extra care", unless the problem is clearly identified as not related to genetics (like a puppy that got injured, for instance), in which case it would be outright cruel and irresponsible to not do what is possible to help it recover - provided the chances of full recovery are reasonable. Someone has to decide how much injury is too much though - pulling a puppy through a painful ordeal that has only limited chances of success is cruel compared to simply making a quick, pain-free, and mercyful end to a traumatic life...
Did you notice that the last breeder most likely is male, not female? I am not saying that a woman could not do this - but I know that women have a much harder time with it than men! Their natural mother instincts are simply in the way and will cause them to want to prioritze differently, unless they seriously attempt to control their own emotions! Doing things despite your natural instinct to care is very, very tough - and I do not blame women for not finding this easy at all. But I believe you can see why this last type of breeder is the one you want to get your puppy from... And I think you can also understand that you won't find many of them, at least not without doing quite a lot of research...
You have to be very careful about this research. You can easily run into some huge personal conflicts with people getting seriously offended by your approach! (I speak from experience!)
Unfortunately, most breeders simply do not acknowledge that there is a problem here. They believe that when they do their very best and take good loving care of all puppies, then they are doing just fine! Like the breeder that was advertising "100% naturally reared" on her web site - but she also asked for help in a public forum for a puppy that she was bottling, as it was too weak to suck on its own! She was outright furious when I gently made her aware of her false advertising and suggested that she change it to represent the truth...
Would you buy such a puppy? You might. It could become a very nice dog. But you would be gambling. There is no way of knowing if this "loving care" in reality is masking a genetic problem. The darn thing about genetic problems is that you do not discover them until you breed... and maybe not in the first generation - it could take many generations to unveil a problem that originated in a weak puppy surviving what in Nature would have been certain death...
So, do we kill such a pup?
Not necessarily. If the puppy is capable of living an enjoyable life, there is another option: The responsible concern we should have for the genes is looked after if we keep such a puppy out of the breeding stock! Nature's only certain way of doing that is through death. But we are lucky, we have other means: diligent management and sterilization!
"Diligent management". Yes, I wish it would be as simple as it sounds - and I know it isn't. For most people, this is not easy - and way too many dog owners have way too many problems with this, mostly because of lack of information, but, unfortunately, also very often because of lack of desire to spend the time, energy, and money that is required.
Having introduced you to vasectomy and tubal litigation in the last issue, I feel quite comfortable recommending sterilization for such a puppy. It achieves Nature's goals - but without using Nature's cruelty to attain it.
Conclusion: responsible breeding does not have to be a cruel business. It should never be a business, anyway - and it certainly should be conducted with love for the dogs. And none of this conflicts with adding that respect for Nature that makes it responsible.
I am not saying it is easy. I know it isn't. But that is a serious reason for you to accept that a puppy that is bred with the best of chances of carrying healthy genes is not necessarily cheap...
I plan on continuing this long series about choosing your puppy. On my list of topics still to be covered are
If you have any additional topics that you would like to have covered also, please let me know.
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!
You can reach me by simply clicking on the peeing dog
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P.S. Did you know that polar liver contains so much vitamin A that it can kill a person who tries to eat it?
Vitamin A is vital for our health - and for the health of our dogs. Yet, as so many other essential nutrients, it is outright toxic in much-greater-than-natural amounts.
No reason to panic, though - with a normally balanced raw food diet, you cannot feed too much, not even if you supplement with cod liver oil or other fish oil for a supply of the essential fatty acid omega-3 that consistently is lacking in meat from grain-fed animals.
Based on a recent discussion in a confused newsgroup, I put a public article together about this. You can get it at http://k9joy.com/dogarticles/vitaminA.php.