Thousands of our our dogs and cats are becoming either seriously ill and in many cases dying, because the freezing conditions require the councils to act by treating the roads.
Once these conditions start. the gritters and salt spreaders are out in force, keeping our roads free for our safety. People are also topping up on antifreeze in their engines cooling system and windscreen washers.
Unfortunately, those actions can be devastating to our pets
Please Tweet or Facebook this so people are aware of the dangers.
Dogs and cats are walking through the substances left by gritters and car drivers defrosting their windscreens. Then because it irritates they lick them it of their paws. ingesting these noxious mixtures
Snow Gritter amd Spreader Could Be Fatal To DogsConsuming rock salt can cause pancreatitis, dehydration and liver failure. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, this tastes like lemonade to dogs and cats and can be fatal when ingested.
Last week I heard of a cat dying from licking antifreeze, and a couple of dogs, a Boxer and German Shepherd that died from consuming the Rock Salt added to the grit.
It is not just the paws that can get contaminated long haired breeds, or dogs playing in the snow, can get contamination through their coats.
Then when they clean themselves they ingest the poisonous chemicals.
The German Shepherd apparently came home after walking round the block and started grooming itself. I believe it was long haired.
Within a couple of hours it started salivating and drinking copious amounts of water. 36 hours later it was put down because of irreparable kidney failure
Rock Salt.Dog Walking In Snowy Conditions Antifreeze Poisoning
While dogs may consume salty foods in moderation, it is a misconception that rock salt is as safe for them as table salt.
Rock salt does contain some of the same ingredients as table salt (sodium chloride); however, it also contains chemicals, such as Magnesium that are harmful to your dog.
It can cause damage to the paws mouth and most importantly your dogs health
Symptoms of Rock Salt Poisoning
Burns to the mouth and throat and excessive salivating and drinking. Raw and sore paws. dehydration, liver and kidney failure and pancreatitis.
Clip the fur between toe pads to reduce the amount of snow that collects between toes. Wash the feet in warm soapy water when you come in. In long haired dogs have them clipped to they do not groom themselves after the fur has dragged through the snow.
If they roll in the snow that has had rock salt or antifreeze put on it, then wash them thoroughly when you get home
Why Antifreeze Is So Toxic
Once ethylene glycol (EG) is metabolized into oxalic acid and binds with calcium in the blood, it forms calcium oxalate crystals that are deposited in the kidneys.
At this point, the dog will become very, very ill. Its symptoms will include depression, vomiting, convulsions, gastric irritation (upset stomach) and extreme pain. Seizures, coma and death are common.
Symptoms of Antifreeze Poisoning.
Ingestion of antifreeze can cause a myriad of observable symptoms in dogs. The symptoms of antifreeze toxicity typically develop in three separate stages.
Stage 1 usually occurs within approximately 1 hour after the dog ingested the antifreeze and can continue for up to roughly 10 hours.
If the dog is kept primarily outdoors, the owner may not even notice the signs of Stage 1 antifreeze intoxication. When the owner does observe signs, they typically resemble signs of alcohol intoxication and include one or more of the following:
•Lack of coordination (ataxia)
•Stupor (“drunken sailor” behavior)
•Excessive thirst/intake of water (polydipsia)
•Excessive output of urination (polyuria)
•Gastrointestional irritation and discomfort; nausea
•Low body temperature (pronounced hypothermia)
•Convulsions/seizures (rare in Stage 1)
•Coma (rare in Stage 1)
•Death (rare in Stage 1)
Stage 2 of antifreeze poisoning in dogs usually occurs between 12 and 24 hours after the dog ingested the antifreeze or other substance that contained ethylene glycol. During this stage, the neurological signs of EG toxicity may wax and wane (come and go), and the dog may seem to return “back to normal.” However, unknown to the owner, during Stage 2 the dog may develop:
•Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
•Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
Without treatment, the dog will enter Stage 3 of antifreeze toxicity between 24 and 72 hours after it ingested antifreeze or another substance containing ethylene glycol. The consequences of this stage are due almost entirely to the disastrous effects of the toxic metabolites of ethylene glycol on the dog’s kidneys. By the time it reaches Stage 3 of antifreeze poisoning, the dog will be in acute and probably irreversible kidney failure. The signs of this terminal stage typically include:
•Depression – severe
•Lethargy – severe
•Weakness – severe
•Painful kidneys (severe abdominal pain)
•Decreased production of urine (oliguria)
•Absence of production of urine (anuria)
•Lack of appetite (inappetence; anorexia)
•Vomiting – profuse and continuous
•Oral ulceration and pain
•Excessive salivation (ptyalism)
•Low body temperature (hypothermia)
•Low blood pressure (hypotension)
•Abnormal eye movements (nystagmus)
Any dogs with access to antifreeze or other substances that contain ethylene glycol have an increased chance of being poisoned by ingesting those substances.
Antifreeze is thought to have a mildly sweet flavor that is interesting and tasty to domestic dogs.
Dogs that live primarily or exclusively outdoors, and those that are permitted to roam freely about the neighborhood, have an increased risk of coming into contact with antifreeze.
This is especially true in cold climates. However, it is becoming increasingly common for people to flush their radiator fluid during the summer and autumn months.
This would be a part of routine car maintenance. This has made antifreeze poisoning a year-round problem in companion animals.
Owners should contact a vet immediately if they suspect that their pet may have been in contact with these substances or if they see any warning signs or symptoms.
‘The sooner they are treated, the better their chances of surviving.’
My Thanks to PetWave for the breakdown of How Antifreeze is absorbed and the symptoms
How Often Do You Have Your Dog Vaccinated?
I have put off writing this article for some time, though my conscience told me to write it some time ago.
So why did I delay? I was concerned that the facts were not medically proven, and that all I was reading was scare stories.
I needed to be 100% certain, that I was not putting even one dog at risk by airing my concerns about annual vaccinations.
What has triggered me into this, was a report by the PDSA. It basically blamed the owner for all health problems that occurs in a dogs life.
I disagreed with that and wrote a rebuttal saying I applauded what they did, but did not agree with where they pointed the finger of blame.
This was picked up by Pet Trade Xtra and and printed in their weekly online trade information circular.
I was subsequently attacked, not by the PDSA, but by a Vet called Caroline Allen, Clinical Director at Canonbury Veterinary Practice in London.
Ms Allen stated. ” It is a shame to see individuals using this important report to play a ‘blame game’ and spread unsubstantiated scare stories.” See HERE.
The biggest Vaccine supplier in the UK is Intervet. In all probability it will be their vaccine that will be used when you visit your Vet.
Intervet clearly state, and have done for some time, that the main core vaccines should not be more than once every three years.
The BVA (British Veterinary Association, whom I contacted, wrote to me and stated:
“The duration of immunity (DOI) for each medicine or product is different and veterinary surgeons must keep up to date with this information.” In 2010 the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) wrote a letter to the two major veterinary publications Veterinary Record and Veterinary Times, explaining that recent trends in data mean that the DOIs for a number of common vaccinations (canine distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus) are now three to four years. This is information that veterinary surgeons will be aware of and will be following.” .
I am not convinced that they are following this protocol. Are you?
(10) (11) Once a year, Ronald Schultz checks the antibody levels in his dogs’ blood. Why? He says for proof that most annual vaccines are unnecessary.
Schultz, professor and chair of pathobiological sciences at School of Veterinary Medicine has been studying the effectiveness of canine vaccines since the 1970s; he’s learned that immunity can last as long as a dog’s lifetime, which suggests that our “best friends” are being over-vaccinated.
May I point out that I do not do unsubstantiated, and I certainly do not make statements without extensive research.
This is by Richard B. Ford, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVPM (Hon) Professor of Medicine, NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine. in 2005. This is just a snippet. The link can be found at the bottom of this page.
(9) “Among the most important issues facing practitioners today is that of vaccine safety. For most vaccines on the market today, it must still be assumed that the benefits of vaccination, when performed in accordance with currently published recommendations far outweigh the risk of vaccine-induced illness or disease. “
“However, recent reports have raised concerns within the profession over the relationship between vaccination and delayed adverse events, specifically vaccine-associated fibrosarcoma in cats. [REFs: 14, 15] and immune-mediated disease in dogs. [16,17] Determining which vaccines pose a risk to which animals, and when, simply cannot be determined with the information available today.”
We are 8 years on from that learned pronouncement. We now know far more about the effects of these vaccines, and how long their efficiency lasts. In this article I am hoping to prove the very real dangers of some of the practices regarding dog and cat vaccinations in the UK and the World. Remember these people are top of their field. They are professors and chair of Veterinary Schools of Medicine.
Robert Shultz is one of the Worlds leading professors in pathobiological sciences and immunology. Hardly a unsubstantiated source.
I believe that in some cases, Vets could be instrumental in some of the ill health and behavioural problems in our dogs. Figures show that in some veterinary practices, vaccinations make up to 40% of that practices annual earnings.
This information is not new. As long ago as 2004 the BBC reported that a group of vets had issued a Health Warning 30 prominent UK vets got together to issue a warning that said. “The present practice of marketing vaccinations for companion animals may constitute fraud by misrepresentation, fraud by silence and theft by deception”
What Are Vaccines
(3) A vaccine is one or more disease antigens that, when injected into a dog’s body, causes his immune system to produce specialised proteins known as immunoglobulins, or antibodies.
Antibodies fight infection and disease and neutralize the antigens by binding to them. The cells that created the antibodies (a form of white blood cell) have a memory of the antigen so that when the antigen is encountered again, the cells’ “memory” enables them to rapidly produce more antibodies i.e. to mount immunity against that pathogen.
The most common dog vaccination is a combination cocktail called DHLPPC which includes pathogens for:
all in a single injection. Other vaccinations often given at the same time are:
• Bordatella (Kennel Cough)
• Lyme Disease
Vaccinations are thought to sometimes over stimulate the immune system, causing it to malfunction. They are contraindicated for dogs with already suppressed immune systems. modified live Vaccine (MLVs) have the potential to revert to the virulent form of the disease.
(3) Studies have shown that most canine vaccinations provide immunity from seven years to life, if given when a dog’s immune system is mature. However, it appears that vaccinations also have considerable potential for harm.
(3) In 2002, a landmark report published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents (COBTA) stated in part, “…the practice of re-vaccinating animals annually is largely based on historic precedent supported by minimal scientific data; unnecessary stimulation of the immune system does not result in enhanced disease resistance and may expose animals to unnecessary risks…”.
Here we are, 13 years later, and we are still over-vaccinating our dogs. In my personal belief this appears unnecessary and potentially dangerous.
Have You Checked Your Vaccine Certificate?
Check your vaccine certificate now, does is say that your dog has been vaccinated for things like parvovirus, distemper, or canine hepatitis, have these be given yearly?. If so, your vet is not adhering to the recommendations of the Vaccine manufacturers and the BVA.
The Australian Veterinary Association issued guidelines in 2009 stating quite clearly that these vaccines should be administered no more than every three years. This is their protocol
Look at the BSAVA the British Small Animal Veterinary Association. This is their protocol. Notice anything? Let me point it out.
There is no visible time frame for vaccinations, and when you click on the link after “The BSAVA recommends that its members read the recent VMD position paper” the link to the VMD is dead. Beyond belief. I am sure when they read this, they will sort it out.
How often do you take your dog for vaccinations? Do you get a reminder a few weeks before your annual checkup, If so check you vaccination card and see what has actually been vaccinated.
Are you aware that the Vaccine companies state that these vaccinations should be every three years. However, their are exceptions to this, the main one being Leptospirosis, more commonly known as Weil’s disease which a far dangerous part of this disease. More about the efficiency of that later.
Leading immunologist Dr. Ronald Schultz states:“It has been common practice since the development of canine vaccines in the late 1950′s to administer them annually. The recommendation to vaccinate annually was based on the assumption that immunity would wane in some dogs, thus to ensure immunity in the population, all dogs required revaccination, since it was not practical to test each animal for antibody.
“Little or no research has been done to demonstrate that the practice of annual revaccination has any scientific value in providing greater immunity than would be present if an animal was never revaccinated, or was revaccinated at intervals longer than one year.”
“In 1978 we recommended an ideal vaccination program would be one in which dogs and cats would be revaccinated at one year of age and then every third year thereafter. That recommendation was based on a general knowledge of vaccinal immunity, especially the importance of immunologic memory and on duration of protection after natural sub clinical or clinical infections as well as on limited studies we had performed with certain canine and feline vaccines.”
“Since the mid 1970′s we have done a variety of studies with various canine vaccines to demonstrate their duration of immunity. From our studies it is apparent, at least to me, that the duration of immunity for the four most important canine vaccines (core vaccines) that the duration of immunity is considerably longer than one year. Furthermore, we have found that annual revaccination, with the vaccines that provide long term immunity, provides no demonstrable benefit and may increase the risk for adverse reactions.”
When Vaccination May Be Especially Dangerous
(1) Intervet, the UK’s biggest selling veterinary vaccine manufacturer warns, in its data sheets, that “immunocompetence may be compromised by a variety of factors if . ”
1. the dog is genetically defective
2. there is something wrong with the dog’s diet
3. the dog is unhealthy when vaccinated
4. the dog is stressed at time of injection
5. the dog’s immune system is incompetent
6. the dog is exposed to a virus before or immediately after vaccination
7. the dog is taking immune suppressant drugs such as steroids
8. the vet administers the vaccine inappropriately
9. the dog is incubating disease at the time of vaccination
(1) “Immunocompetence may be compromised” means that the immune system may not be functioning properly, in which case the animal will be unable to mount a defence against the vaccine challenge.
Yet Ms Allen states that this is just hearsay and unsubstantiated scare stories. Really! This is the manufacturers of the vaccines saying this. Should they not know better than just a vet?
There is NO adequate adverse reaction reporting scheme in the UK or anywhere else for that matter – not for animals, and not for humans. It is impossible to say with any degree of truth that only a ‘tiny minority’ have adverse reactions.”
Frightening. Some Vets are stating categorically that there in no adverse reaction to vaccine. Ms Allen says it. Yet there appears to be no required system in place that monitors this.
Why would there be, if the vaccinations are the cash cow I believe them to be. (1) “Vets have been trained to look for an immediate reaction – where the dog is fatally allergic to the vaccine. In the event of a massive allergic reaction – anaphylactic shock – the vet is advised to inject adrenaline into the animal to save his life.”
The human Vaccine Damage Compensation Unit has paid £millions to parents whose children were made epileptic by vaccines.
Even if the vet does suspect a link, there is no law to make him report the suspected reaction. Many vets are too busy to complete the necessary paperwork, or seek to avoid being bothered by vaccine company representatives.
In the UK, vets are asked (not compelled) to report adverse reactions if they suspect an adverse vaccine reaction. If a dog falls down having an epileptic fit within half an hour, ten days, or a month of vaccination, the vet very often fails to suspect a link – even though vaccines are known to cause epilepsy.
Possible Medical Problems
Research papers published by eminent scientists and leading immunologists show that the diseases can be caused by vaccines. How can your Vet put down vaccine reaction to illnesses that may surface later, such as:
Autoimmune haemolytic anaemia
A dreadful disease that usually kills a dog within days. Progress of the disease closely resembles the last stages of AIDS. Scientists in America published a paper during 1997, saying that there is strong evidence to link this disease with ANY vaccine.
Dr Denis W Macey was reported in an American veterinary paper as saying that up to 22,000 cats develop cancer at the site of vaccination every year in the USA. American cats are now being vaccinated in the tail or leg so that they can cut it off when it becomes cancerous.
Dr Larry Glickman at Purdue University has found that routinely vaccinated dogs develop auto-antibodies to a wide range of their own biochemicals, including DNA. The significance of this study is immense. It means that vaccines cause genetic defects.
can be caused by vaccines, and it then becomes an inheritable condition. Once a dog has underlying thyroid disease, he or she only needs a trigger – from a vaccine, an environmental pollutant, from stress, or from dietary inadequacies – to develop full-blown life-threatening autoimmune diseases.
Dr Jean Dodds, one of the world’s foremost experts in canine vaccine reactions, writes: “Recent vaccinations with single or combination modified live virus (MLV) vaccines are increasingly recognised contributors to immune-mediated blood diseases, bone marrow failure, and organ dysfunction.” (2) Dr Dodds lists leukaemia, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, diabetes, and lymphoma as diseases that can be triggered by vaccines.
yes, parvovirus was created by vaccines. This disease didn’t exist prior to the 1970s. In fact, scientists tell us it was created by vaccine manufacturers who cultured the distemper vaccine on cat kidneys that were infected with feline enteritis. This cat-enteritis-diseased distemper vaccine was then injected into dogs around the world, and parvovirus reared its ugly head around the world at the same time. A naturally occurring epidemic would spread slowly across continents. Parvovirus appeared with a big bang, in line with multi-national vaccine company distribution policies.
There are numerous scientific studies linking arthritis with vaccination. Vaccine components have even been isolated in the bones of arthritis sufferers post vaccination.
There are many, many research papers showing a link between allergies and vaccines. Animals with a genetic predisposition to allergies (‘people’ from families with a history of irritable bowel syndrome/Crohns disease/enteritis, asthma, hay fever, eczema, attention deficit disorder, and so on), can become more allergic, or become highly sensitised, when you inject foreign proteins (serums and organ tissue contained in vaccines) into them. Flea bite allergy? Apparently that’s caused by vaccine damage.
Efficiency Of Vaccines
If true then this following information is quite frightening. (1) A study conducted by Canine Health Concern during 1997, involving 4,000 dogs, showed that 68.2% of dogs in the survey with parvovirus contracted it within three months of being vaccinated.
Similarly, 55.6% of dogs with distemper contracted it within three months of vaccination; 63.6% with hepatitis got it within three months of vaccination; 50% with parainfluenza contracted it within three months of vaccination; and every single dog with leptospirosis contracted it within that three month time-frame.
So vaccines represent – at best – only a 50/50 chance of protection. But if you doubt the validity of the CHC survey, ask around. It won’t take long to find people whose dogs contracted these diseases shortly after being vaccinated, or humans who contracted diseases right after the jab.
We are often told that leptospirosis, (the serious form of this is called Weills disease) is a virulant and common disease in this country, and that it is important to vaccinate against it yearly. I wonder if someone could explain why? All the reference material I have read have stated that this is not the case.
(4) (5) (6) Leptospirosis is actually quite rare. Apart from that, leptospirosis has a range of hundreds of bacterins; the chance of the strain in the needle matching the strain in the field is actually quite remote. The vaccine only confers protection for between three and six months, leaving vaccinated dogs ‘unprotected’ for up to six to nine months. So why are we told that we need to vaccinate annually?
In fact Caroline Allen, Clinical Director at Canonbury Veterinary Practice in London, stated that it confers immunity for 14 months. Really! I would be very interested to know where that information came from.
Eminent scientists in both the UK and America have called for the withdrawal of this vaccine, because it is ineffective to most of the strains of this disease. I that why every single dog with lepto in CHC’s survey, contracted it within three months of being vaccinated.
One of the leading professors of immunology is Dr RD Shultz, professor and chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin.
His expertise is in Immunopathogenesis of viral diseases; developmental aspects of immunity; effects of environmental factors on immune systems; Studies are ongoing on development and/or testing of various adjuvants and vaccines for numerous bacterial and viral diseases of domesticated species. Basically I am saying that he really knows what he is talking about.
He has written many papers regarding vaccinations and immune-mediated medical problems and is one of the most well respected experts in his field. He states that he never vaccinates his own dogs for leptospirosis, even though he lives in a high risk area.”
(7) According to his survey on vaccination programs, “Approximately 30% of veterinary practices do not vaccinate for leptospirosis. The responding practitioners either didn’t believe that leptospirosis was a significant problem in their area or the vaccine containing L. canicola and L. icterohaemorrhagiae serovars failed to provide protection.”
I found this research interesting from Dr. Arnold Plotnick, D.V.M. (8) “Leptospirosis is a zoonotic (potentially contagious to humans) disease that affects the kidneys and sometimes the liver. It is caused by the bacterium Leptospira interrogans. The core vaccine that contains distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza and parvovirus is also available with the leptospirosis organism”.
“However, the Leptospirosis portion of the vaccine is the most reactive fraction of the combination core vaccine, and is a common offender in causing adverse vaccination reactions in dogs. In addition, the immunity conferred by the leptospirosis portion is believed to be short-lived, probably six months or less. For these reasons, we do not recommend the leptospirosis vaccine be routinely administered to all dogs.”
Let me point out here that the vast majority of our vets are following the guidelines stated by the BVA, and the Vaccine companies themselves.
Certainly my own Vet does, and he questions why his clients want to neuter. He is against neutering for neutering sake, and does not believe dogs should be neutered before maturity. That is certainly one of the reasons he is my vet and has been for almost 30 years.
There is another aspect to this this vaccination problem. Boarding kennels and catteries are insisting that up to date YEARLY vaccination certificates are produced, before they will board your dogs. That is putting your pets at risk, and may actually help to spread the very diseases they are so concerned about.
Are Insurance Companies and Local Council To Blame
I have just found out why the Boarding Kennels and Catteries are insisting on annual core vaccinations. Their insurance companies and local licencing officers are forcing to insist on threr protocols.
This is against all recommendations by the BVA and the vaccination manufacturers plus the major immunology experts in the World. Why?I spoke to Cliverton, one of the insurance companies insisting on annual vaccination protocols. The lady in charge of the kennels and catteries side of Clivertons did not seem fazed or concerned.
She started to blame the local councils, saying insurance companies had to follow the councils lead. Since when do insurance companies disregard medical manufacturers and the BVA guidelines in favour of local council guidelines?
However she then stated that even if the local council did not insist on annual vaccination their policy would till be void if they did not have yearly vaccinations She stated that three Vets locally to her, all insisted on annual core vaccinations. When I pointed out they were acting against the guidelines of their governing body and manufacturers, she put the phone down saying I was raising my voice. I see that the the caring sharing Cliverton has pets best interests at heart.
Given that Clivertons are the specialist insurance cover to animal related trades I would have thought they would have known better. Apparently not!
I intend to contact all of the governing bodies that license these type of premises. These are local councils. In the meantime none of my dogs will go into boarding kennels. I always use a home boarding service. These do not insist on outdated and outmoded criteria, that could put your pet at risk of serious health issues, that could end up killing your pet.
This is a case of a severe reaction called vaccine-induced meningoencephalomyelitis, caused to a rabies booster jab that happened in January 2012 and is ongoing. Click HERE
It appears from in depth research and ongoing studies from veterinary hospitals and leading veterinary professors of immunology, that over-vaccinating can be the cause of some serious health problems, and even death in our cats and dogs. More research must be done. But who is going to fund it? The Vets, Vaccine Companies, or the BVA?. I doubt it. I do not believe it would be in their best interests
Having said that, lots of research, especially from USA points to vaccines lasting at least seven years and sometimes life. Yet we often vaccinate yearly or vaccinate for diseases that are rare. Arthritis, Allergies (both food and skin), Cancers, Thyroid Dysfunction, Behavioural Problems and Immune System Breakdowns, have been laid at the doorstep of the vaccines that are supposed to protect our pets.
Let me state clear and loud. I am not a Vet and I am not against vaccinations. I am against unnecessary vaccinations, that could be doing more harm than good. I believe that all puppies must be vaccinated and boosters should be repeated at one year old. After that I have choice of vaccinating every three or four years (BVA), or having titer tests done to check the dogs immunity.
(2) “By titering, one can assess whether a given animals humoral immune response has fallen below levels of adequate immune memory. In that event, an appropriate vaccine booster can be administered”. This is an excellent article by Dr W. Jean Dodds, DVM the World respected expert and founder of Homeopet. Click HERE
Our local council licencing offices tasked with overseeing kennels and catteries are woefully inept at picking up medical changes as are insurance companies. One would think that both of these organisations would be up to speed. Yet it is apparent that they are ignorant of the consequences of their actions. This MUST be changed immedietley. No more animals should suffer or die because of their deplorable lack of knowledge of the busines they are tasked to oversee or insure.
I have just buried our cat that died from old age and a massive stroke, she was 22 years old she was vaccinated as a kitten then a booster. I did not vaccinate again because of the risk of cancer round the site of the vaccination, and other vaccination problems. That was my choice. I am not required to vaccinate at all if I do not wish too.
I believe in vaccinations, I just do not agree with the present level of vaccinating. My experience comes from working, oberving and training dogs for over 35 years years, the last 13 years as a full time dog behaviourist and obedience trainer. I work with dogs daily. The amount I see with what I believe is vaccine induced problems is very high. This is an article in 2010 frpm the Daily Mail.
If it were possible, I would stamp the words FIRST DO NO HARM on the foreheads of every person that works with or licenses people, animals and establishments.
Stan Rawlinson 2013 February
|The Alpha Myth
Do Dogs Really Think We Are Dogs
A New Understanding
The last time I looked, I definitely did not have anal glands, fur, mobile ears, a tail, or four legs. I don’t smell like a dog or look like one, though I am sure there are people who know me that may question the last two statements.
What I am saying is that my dogs know I am not a dog. It does not matter how many times I eat before them, or how many times I come in and ignore them, I still cannot convince them that I am a dog.
Lets look at it in a couple of different ways: If we managed to convince a dog that we are a dog, then wouldn’t all the dogs that show aggression to other dogs be aggressive to us. We know that is clearly not the case. Do you also believe the trainers in Sea World pretend to be killer whales (Orca), or that the the Orca sees the trainer as another Orca?
I believe the killer whale sees the trainer as a vital resource a supplier of food (fish) and other resources such as mental stimulation and physical contact, remember these are a very intelligent mammals, In fact recent scientific data suggests that the dolphin and the killer whale may be more intelligent than a chimpanzee.
Therefore the Orca may use the trainer as an add on to its requirements that will allow it sustenance plus mental and physical stimulation. But I very much doubt it will ever see man as another Orca. So why do we believe the dog sees us as another dog?
In simple terms I cannot be the Alpha. Dogs are conspecific that means they can only truly pack up with their own kind. Unlike birds, dogs do not bond and lock onto the first thing they see when they are born. Dogs know when they meet another dog. When they meet humans they see us as a different species but intrinsically locked into their life as a resource of high value. But what is vitally important is dogs must be taught this.
Even if I dressed up as Scooby-Doo and ran around barking and peeing up the walls, I would not convince even the most naive of pooches. They would easily seeing through my cunning disguise and know that I am not a dog and my family and clients would probably not be overly impressed.
Why? Even in our most fevered imaginations can we believe that gesture eating, ignoring them when coming back in, or going through doorways first will be the magical formula to convince them that we are an Alpha dog and therefore leader of the pack. It is absolute rubbish.
It is my humble opinion that rank reduction programs, where we are told to act like an Alpha does not work in changing behaviour over the long term. In the short term you will see some changes in behavioural patterns, but long term there will be very little beneficial change. In reality quite the opposite can happen. By ignoring and isolating your dog for long periods you can cause confusion, distress, anxiety, and distrust, which can affect the bond and trust you have with each other.
Do Wolves Ignore Each Other or Stand In Line?
They may shun a badly behaved pack member, but that is only temporarily and never when greeting after an absence. I use this short shunning method later in this article as the “naughty step”
Do you ever see wild dogs or wolves lining up in rank order to eat? Just imagine all the timber wolves in an nice orderly queue with numbers on their backs. The Alpha male bellowing, “ come in number four it’s your turn to eat. Now what would you prefer Antelope or Buffalo?”
That’s more like a Gary Larsen farside cartoon than the reality of what happens in wolf or wild canid packs. They all just get stuck in and grab whatever they can. It may involve some snarling and ritualized aggression; however this is generally from the middle to lower end of the pack.
The problem with the people who advocate the Alpha and rank reduction route, is either they do not understand or they choose to ignore the fact that behavioural problems in dogs often has wide and differing backgrounds. Pack dynamics only involves approximately 15% of the cases that I have to treat.
These proponents of rank reduction would have us believe that pack dynamics is the answer to each and every behavioural abnormality, they are sadly and frighteningly wrong. If only it were that simple.
Scientists and biologists no longer use the term Alpha they tend to use the word “breeders” to describe the leaders of the pack. These breeders normally constitute one male and female in each group or pack which can.
The breeders are the only ones that actually breed. And both the male and female breeders cock their legs to mark their territory. The other females do not come into heat and the males do not cock their legs, unless of course they become a breeder at some later stage. This may be a form of hormonal neutering far more effective than anything that humans can come up with.
So where did all this Alpha leader of the pack nonsense come from? For that we have to look back to the study of captive Wolves by the likes of R Schenkel who started writing scientific papers just after the 2nd World war (1) and a marvelous individual called L. David Mech (pronounced Meech) and known as Dave to his friends. I do not know him personally so it would be impolite to refer to him in the familiar so I will call him Mr Mech. As one of the most senior research biologists he got to study Wolves and initially like Schenkel this was on Captive Wolves. The results seemed to bear out Schenkel’s findings and the Alpha role within the pack. And a whole way of training was born.
Unfortunately it was born on scientific evidence that was with hindsight somewhat incorrect, though we were unaware of that at the time. Mr Mech has since done exhaustive studies on non-captive free roaming Wolves and the results are very different from those gathered using a captive pack. (2) Mech states in his paper dated 2000 called: “Alpha Status, Dominance, and Division of Labor in Wolf Packs“In captive packs, the unacquainted wolves formed dominance hierarchies featuring alpha, beta, omega animals, etc. With such assemblages, these dominance labels were probably appropriate, for most species thrown together in captivity would usually so arrange themselves.
In nature, however, the wolf pack is not such an assemblage. Rather, it is usually a family (Murie 1944; Young and Goldman 1944; Mech 1970, 1988; Clark 1971; Haber 1977) including a breeding pair and their offspring of the previous 1-3 years, or sometimes two or three such families (Murie 1944; Haber 1977; Mech et al. 1998).”
Therefore the facts are that we were following out of date information that was gleaned from Wolves forced together in captivity, whose behaviour has now been shown to be very different from the previous studies.That and the fact that dogs are somewhat removed from their ancestors the wolf by many thousands of years, and that dogs can only pack up with their own kinds (conspecific) leads me to offer an alternative.
To be a controller you need to convince your dog that mutual respect is required, that includes your body space. I may not want to be leapt on every time I come in. Greeting is fine as long as it does not include jumping all over me or my friends, which is considered rude and inappropriate in wild dogs and wolves.
I believe we should strive more for democracy than outright autocracy, or the opposite which is totally ignoring the bad behaviour and only praising the good, which appears to be the misguided belief of the so called positive reinforcement trainers. I use operant conditioning methods. And if these trainers understood “operant conditioning” they would know there are four parts to it. Not just positive reinforcement in isolation.
How can any animal, including humans differentiate between right or wrong, if they are not shown or told?
How Do I Become a Resource Controller?
I tend to start with food and use either sausage or mild cheddar cheese, because they tend not to create crumbs. Which distracts the dog’s attention at a time when you need it to be concentrating on you.
I have designed and developed a training device called “The Jingler” which aids many training requirements including walking to heel, jumping up, recall, sit stay, mutual respect, some types of aggression and even car and bike chasing. More importantly it sets your position as a resource controller. Though you will need to purchase “The Jingler” to get the full instructions on exactly how to do this.
I would also recommend purchasing my leads, for two reasons. Firstly, the length, 5 feet 8 inches which is the perfect length for working with and training most dogs. The majority of the leads are see are too short and uncomfortable. Secondly, if you do not believe it is the most comfortable lead you have ever purchased (it is made of cushion web) then I will refund you in full less postage. Most leads are far too short to work effectively and in many cases actually cause the dog to pull.
What my techniques actually do is to realign your dog to the fact that you control vital resources. in my jingler instructions you are actually saying is this is my bone/treat, I am prepared to share it, but only when I give you permission”. You are actually training control of one of the greatest resources of all FOOD. Permissions round everything you wish to control is the key to working and training dogs successfully.
Once you have completed these exercises you will have set into your dogs mind that you are a resource controller, then all other training will become much easier. The dog will come to respect your body space and not abuse or invade it without being invited. You can then start working on the lead work, recall and many others behaviour’s you wish to overcome.
Attention on Demand:
Now we are going to effectively mimic the naughty step type of behaviour training used in rearing children. Except with a dog you have to effectively isolate them immediately the bad behaviour occurs. It is important to understand that social isolation should only ever be used for very short periods. This is nothing to with ignoring your dog when you come into the house, it is about non-reward for bad behaviour.
Keep the dog on a short lead, preferably 3ft long made of nylon, cut it down if necessary. I would only use this size and material for use as a house lead, not to walk to heel. If the dog is misbehaving such as barking. nipping, biting or other behavioural problems, simply pick up the lead with no command or visual acknowledgement and take the dog to another room. (a downstairs toilet is ideal). Place the dog in the room and shut the door trapping the lead in the door so the dog cannot move too far away from the door.
Some dogs are more stubborn, slow, control complex and pushy, therefore give the dog time to understand that non-reward is happening because of the dogs behaviour. Losing your temper or becoming aggressive will only set the learning curve back. Remember training should be little and often, always end any session on a positive note never finish on a negative.
© Stan Rawlinson January 2009
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