Shared Article – Is This Dog Dangerous? Shelters Struggle With Live-or-Die Tests

The New York Times published an article yesterday discussing the validity of the behavioral assessments being conducted by many shelters and rescues. The article brings up many legitimate concerns about the validity of the current tests and how they are performed. I am glad to see shelters reconsidering these tests but at the same time believe it would not be good to throw caution to the wind and to abandon any level of behavioral assessment. Shelters and rescues that place dogs with a known bite history are not helping dogs, their community or themselves.

Click to read the article –

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (

Dangerous Dogs! – What Shelters, Rescues, Prospective Adopters, and Owners Need to Know

©1AUG17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Shared Blog Post – It’s Time to Put a Stop to the Mindless Over-Vaccination of Pets

Shared Blog Post – It’s Time to Put a Stop to the Mindless Over-Vaccination of Pets

In this June 25th post, veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker interviews Dr. John Robb, a Connecticut veterinarian who has become known worldwide for his fight against profiteering and over-vaccination in veterinary medicine. If you are concerned about over vaccination of your pet, shop at Pet Smart, use a Banfield Veterinary Clinic, or feed any pet food made by Mars/Waltham, you will want to watch this video or read this article. –

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (

Vaccinations–Interviews with Dr. Ron Schultz

Complementary Medicine – Tikken – Vaccines, Aggression & Homeopathy —

 Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (

Vaccinations- Why they are important, Core Vaccines & Vaccination Schedules w/Dr. Ronald Schultz (June 22nd, 2013)

Vaccinations, Titer Testing, Non-Core Vaccines and Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex with Dr. Ron Schultz (June 29th, 2013)

Vaccinations- Non-Core Vaccines for Cats and Adverse Reactions to Vaccines with Dr. Ron Schultz (July 6th, 2013)

Vaccinations – The Rabies Challenge Fund with Dr. Ron Schultz (July 13th, 2013)


©5JUL17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Shared Blog Post – Cats Domesticated Themselves, Ancient DNA Shows – from National Geographic

This June 19th article from National Geographic reports “In a new comprehensive study of the spread of domesticated cats, DNA analysis suggests that cats lived for thousands of years alongside humans before they were domesticated. During that time, their genes have changed little from those of wildcats, apart from picking up one recent tweak: the distinctive stripes and dots of the tabby cat.” –

Shared Blog Post – Should you shave your dogs this summer?

This post from Dogs Naturally Magazine discusses why you will NOT be making your long-haired dog more comfortable by shaving them in the summer. Dogs with double-coats (Alaskan Malamutes, Australian Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, Siberian Huskies, and more) need their coat to protect them from the sun and to insulate them from the heat. Shaving a dog with a double-coat can cause permanent damage. For more information on this topic read the entire article at

Shared Blog Post – Veterinary Medicine, Incorporated from Dr. Nancy Kay

Veterinary Medicine, Incorporated – In this blog post from March 27th, Dr. Nancy Kay discusses the pros and cons of the corporatization of veterinary medicine.

A serious drawback was described like this “Having nonveterinarians call the shots can be worrisome in terms of the best interest of the patients. Banfield Pet Hospital and VCA have both been criticized for tying the hands of their veterinarians, requiring that they follow strict medical protocols rather than making decisions based on the needs of individual patients and clients. In fact, a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article featured a veterinarian accusing Banfield of pushing its employees to prioritize profit over the health and safety of the animals they are treating.”

How do you feel about this as a consumer? If you dislike it, now is the time to say something.

You can read Dr. Kay’s entire post at

You can read another article from BloombergBusinessweek at


Shared Blog Post – Veterinary toxicology alert: Oils used in ‘scent training’ can harm dogs

People that know me have learned that I am a fan of using natural remedies whenever possible; however, I also always tell people that “natural” does not mean something is safe.

One of the natural remedies I have used with myself are essential oils. I have recently started studying their use with animals and in that process have learned that Birch is one of the oils that is not safe for use with pets. That caused me to take notice as I have friends who do canine nosework and it is my understanding that Birch is one of the first scents that they are trained to find. Today I asked some of those friends if they knew why Birch was selected and if they had heard anything about potential issues with Birch, and they had not.

I decided to do some research on Google and found an article on DVM360 from May of 2014 entitled “Veterinary toxicology alert: Oils used in ‘scent training’ can harm dogs.” The lead paragraph of this article states “Michigan State researchers confirm toxicity of birch oil, warn that nontoxic scents may lead pets to food sources with xylitol.”

If you use the essential oil Birch for yourself or other family members and have pets, or if you do canine nosework and use Birch, I would encourage you to read this article.

The web site lists the following essential oils as unsafe for use with dogs; Anise, Birch, Camphor, Cassia, Clove leaf and bud, Hissop, Horseradish,  Juniper Wood, Mustard, Pennyroyal, Rue, Tansy, White Thyme, Wintergreen, Yarrow, and Wormwood.

Essential oils have many wonderful health properties, but please make sure you talk to your pet’s veterinarian before using them.

Shared Blog Post – Are You Failing Your Patients in This Major Way?

This post appeared on the blog of Dr. Andy Roark. Written by, veterinarian Dawn Crandell, her opening paragraph reads “There needs to be a shift in veterinary medicine, and it can’t happen too soon.  It isn’t about the medicine.  It is about the way we view our patients.  And it is all about behavior.” While this post is geared specifically towards veterinarians and their staffs, it is applicable to any of us in the pet care services industry as well as pet owners.

Dr. Crandell concludes her post by stating “The pervasive silent influence of the dominance mindset is getting in the way of us doing our jobs, of doing the best for our patients, of being the kind and caring veterinarians our youthful selves envisioned when we submitted our application to veterinary college.  Let’s be a collective voice and kick dominance to the curb.  Maya Angelou wisely says do the best you can until you know better.  Once you know better, do better.  When I graduated more than two and a half decades ago, we did not know better.  Now we do. Let’s all of us do better.”

It is so nice to see the world coming around and moving forward with a new, informed attitude on pet behavior.

If you are a pet care professional (veterinarian, vet tech, vet assistant, dog trainer, pet care technician, groomer, or shelter worker), read this article so you can do the best possible for the pets in your care.

If you are a pet parent, read this article so that you know what to look for and what to avoid in pet care professionals. –

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (

Pet Behavior and Wellness – Pet Behavior as an Essential Component to Holistic Wellness

Dog Training – How science and reward-based training have pulled dog training out of the dark ages –

A Rescue Dogs Perspective on Dog Training –

Canine Behavior – Understanding, Identifying, and Coping with Canine Stress –

Dog Behavior – Dominance: Reality or Myth –

Dog Training: A Holistic Approach to Dog Training (Parts 1 & 2) –

Dog Training – The Four Essentials For A Great Dog – Part 1 –

Dog Training – The Four Essentials For A Great Dog – Part 2 –

Dog Training – What Is Clicker Training? –

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on Pet-Friendly, Force-Free Pet Care –

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogs –

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collars –


Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (

<Click on the title to listen to the show>

Canine Behavior: Myths and Facts

The Four Essentials to A Great Dog  

Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 1

Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 2

Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 3

The Dominance and Alpha Myth


Dog Behavior

On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals, Turid Rugaas, Dogwise Publishing, 2006, An excellent book on understanding a dog’s body language. Includes descriptions of how you can use your own body language to better communicate with your dog.

Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet, John Bradshaw, Basic Books, 2011,

The Other End of the Leash – Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs,Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D, Ballantine Books, 2002, An information-packed, immensely readable book. In it you will learn how to have a better relationship with your dog through better communications. Dr. McConnell clearly explains the manners in which dogs and their people communicate.

For the Love of A Dog Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend, Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D, Ballantine Books, 2005, 2006, A superb review of emotions in both dogs and their people and how they bring us together and can rip us apart. Once again Dr. McConnell helps us to better understand our dogs and in doing so have the best possible relationship with them.

Dogs: A new Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution, Raymond and Lorna Coppinger, University of Chicago Press, 2001, An evolutionary biologist and dog lover, Coppinger outlines the likely process which resulted in the longstanding canine-human relationship.

Stress in Dogs, Martina Scholz and Clarissa von Reinhardt, Dogwise Publishing, 2007, This book outlines the physiology of stress in dogs, signs of stress, and how to make your dog’s life less stressful. It emphasizes that more activity and involvement in dog sports is often not the answer to reducing stress in dogs but can be a major contributing factor. This book is a must read for anyone with an anxious or hyper dog.

The Culture Clash, Jean Donaldson, James & Kenneth Publishers, 2005. An exciting book by an outstanding dog trainer and one of Don’s favorites. Donaldson makes a powerful case for thinking in terms of behavior modification rather than the older and more anthropomorphic dominance models of dog training. Includes an excellent section on operant conditioning. Winner of the Dog Writer Association of America’s “Best Behavior Book” award for 1997.

Dog Training – Basic

The Power of Positive Dog Training, Pat Miller, Howell Book House, 2001. I have been reading Pat Miller’s articles in the Whole Dog Journalfor years and have loved everything she has written. She is a skilled and compassionate dog trainer who really knows how to communicate to dog owners through her writing. This book is a superb “basic dog book” for anyone with a dog, and I highly recommend it.

The Dog Whisperer, Paul Owens with Norma Eckroate, Adams Media Corp., 2007. This book emphasizes a compassionate, nonviolent approach to dog training. It offers great advice on building a relationship with your dog and shows you how to teach your dog all of the basics they need to be a great companion.

Don’t Shoot the Dog – The New Art of Teaching and Training (2ndedition), Karen Pryor, Bantam Books, 1999. A pioneering book using shaping to change behavior in animals – dogs, cats, even humans.

Cat Behavior & Training

Training Your Cat, Dr. Kersti Seksel, Hyland House Publishing, 1999. Written by an Australian veterinarian, this book is an excellent primer on cat behavior, care and training. While many people think cats cannot be trained, this book demonstrates exactly how easy training a cat can be.


©3DEC16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>