This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of The Whole Dog Journal and is regularly re-released because its message is so important. It discusses underground fence systems that use an electric shock to your dog’s neck to hopefully keep them in the yard without the common side effects of aggression and anxiety. Learn why you never want to use one of these systems. < Click to Read >
The Shock-Free Coalition, the advocacy arm to the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) fully supports and applauds the Government of the United Kingdom’s decision to implement a nationwide ban on the use of remote control electric shock collars for the training, management, and care for pets. Further, PPG is in full agreement with the U.K. Kennel Club (2018) that “the use of electric shock collars as a training method has a long term negative welfare impact on dogs.”
There is a growing body of peer-reviewed, scientific research that shows, whether discussing dogs, humans, dolphins or elephants, that electric shock as a form of training to teach or correct a behavior is ineffective at best, and physically and psychologically damaging at worst. States renowned board-certified animal behaviorist and veterinarian, Dr. Karen Overall (2005): “There are now terrific scientific and research data that show the harm that shock collars can do behaviorally.”
It is PPG’s view that pets need to be well-socialized and mentally and physically healthy if a productive and safe relationship for all members of their family and the public at large is to be ensured. As such, PPG urges all parties involved in determining new legislation to focus first on education, operational standards and modern, humane methods. Governments have a responsibility to implement effective public health measures that increase the information available to the public and decision-makers, protect people from harm, promote health, and create environments that support healthy behaviors (Friedman, 2010).
If you have a marvelous mutt or mixed breed you need to read this – Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker discusses a recent experiment which assessed a person’s ability to identify which breeds make up a mixed-breed dog based on the dog’s appearance. The guesses made by the 10,000 study participants were then compared to DNA tests for the dogs. The guesses were accurate only 25% of the time.
It is rare that there will be witnesses to the breeding which results in mixed breed puppies. Therefore, when these puppies or adult dogs end up in a shelter or rescue, they will be labeled with a breed or mix of breeds based on their appearance. Based on this recent study, as well as other studies, it is very likely that the label will be entirely wrong. For this reason, many shelters are no longer guessing a mutts lineage and are just labeling them according to size and color. To me that makes sense, as people often have expectations about a dog’s temperament and behavior based on that breed label, and since it is wrong, may end up disappointed.
The decision of whether or not to spay or neuter a dog, and when to spay and neuter, was much simpler a few years ago. New research discussed in this article from Today’s Veterinary Practice outlines why this decision is no longer straightforward. The authors conclude “Unfortunately, there is no clear answer when deciding whether one should spay or neuter an individual dog.”
Mighty Dog Graphics ( https://www.facebook.com/mightydoggraphics/ ) is located in Dublin, Ireland. They create some excellent educational posters for pet parents and pet care professionals. They have graciously allowed us to share some of these posters with you.
Spring has finally sprung, and in case you have not noticed, your dog is probably attracted to all of the new scents in the air. Rather than let your dog’s busy nose frustrate you, why not revel and rejoice in your dog’s amazing olfactory abilities.
Sniffing is essential to your dog’s very existence. Dogs use their nose to survive and for the pure joy of discovery. Not allowing your dog to use their nose, or getting upset when they stop to take a whiff while on your walk, is like someone preventing from you doing something you find essential in your life.
If you find your dog’s need to sniff slows you down on your walk, then leave your dog at home and walk for your enjoyment. However, remember that when you get back home, you owe the dog a walk that is solely focused on their needs. Let your dog sniff and explore. Your dog will be both mentally and physically stimulated and happy.
If you take your dog to a dog park, you need to read this article. If you take your dog to a doggie daycare, you need to read this article and make sure that those supervising your dog when it plays are aware of and understand ‘predatory drift.’
Predatory drift is when play becomes predatory behavior and possibly very dangerous. For more information on predatory drift, read this article by Gail Fisher in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Gail is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, author, and a pioneer in doggie daycare. She runs All Dogs Gym & Inn in Manchester, NH.
Thanks to Facebook, I recently became aware of an article and podcast from June of 2017 entitled Meet the dogs with OCD by Shayla Love. It immediately attracted my attention because my dog Tikken displayed severe and debilitating OCD during part of her life < http://bit.ly/TikkensAggxStory >. The author discusses how research into OCD in humans and CCD in dogs has helped in the search for treatment options for both people and dogs.