Posts Tagged ‘behavior’

Truth or Myth #4: It’s OK to feed your dog table scraps

Many bones splinter into pieces causing serious problems…such as chicken bones.  Bones which shatter can possibly perforate the stomach or intestines…or can clog or inflame the rectum.  Knuckle bones, properly prepared, can help keep the teeth clean.  (Cook beef soup bones in boiling water with a sprinkle of salt for 1 to 1-1/2 hours…make it 2 if there’s lots of gristle)  Note:  I did not cover any aspect of feeding dogs in this book.  When you get your pup your veterinarian will provide a booklet on general health, shots, and feeding.  I happen to be a believer in a good dry food…I leave scraps on the table…and please do not allow your dog to beg, eat from your fork, or lick the plate while you are having dinner…especially if you have invited friends over.  Suspecting that you’ve done the same with their fork and plate, they may never return.  Woof!      

Dog Muzzles

In my book, 14000 Dogs Later, I have made it crystal clear how I feel regarding dogs that bite.  You can read my thoughts there.  Here’s statistics from various recent sources.

Over four and a half million people are bitten by dogs each year.  During the past ten years there has been an average of 26 deaths a year by dog bites.   It is estimated that dog bites send 44 people to the ER every hour.


ftentimes, by the time folks realize that their dog is a biter; it’s too late to turn him back in, give him up, or get your money back.  And besides that, you’ve already fallen in love.  Generally, these problem dogs are mixed breeds where the background is impossible to research, an older dog that someone is trying to find a home for, or a dog you find roaming the streets that tugs at your heart strings.  (At this point I am not including dogs breed with purposeful aggressive tendencies).



 get many calls from frantic dog owners after their dog has bitten another person or dog.  Generally, along with training I advise the use of a muzzle.  Which brings about another question:  “Where do we find a muzzle?”  Although many pet shops, and General Stores that sell pet supplies, offer muzzles, they do not provide education about that product.  So here are the two main factors that you need to know when purchasing a dog muzzle: does it provide ventilation and is it the proper size.  A mesh mussel that fits tight over a dogs mouth is okay for a short amount of time…but remember, a dog perspires through his mouth…so long term usage, especially in the summer, can cause him problems.  If you are in need of a muzzle for your dog there is an excellent site for you to review.  Go to  WOOF!      

Dog Poisoning

I have often written about dogs being poisoned…sometimes intentional, sometimes accidental, sometime because we humans don’t know our dog’s needs-versus-wants as well as we should.  This is an excellent “real-life” article written by Laurinda Morris, DVM, Danville  Veterinary Clinic, Danville  ,  OH

This is information for all of us to “digest”.

This week I had the first case history of raisin toxicity ever seen at MedVet. My patient was a 56-pound, 5 yr old male neutered lab mix that ate half a canister of raisins sometime between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM on Tuesday.  He started with vomiting, diarrhea and shaking about 1 AM on Wednesday but the owner didn’t call my emergency service until 7 AM. 

I had heard somewhere about raisins AND grapes causing acute Renal failure but hadn’t seen any formal paper on the subject. We had her bring the dog in immediately. In the meantime, I called the ER service at MedVet, and the doctor there was like me – had heard something about it, but… Anyway, we contacted the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control   Center and they said to give IV fluids at 1 & 1/2 times maintenance and watch the kidney values for the next 48-72 hours.  The dog’s BUN (blood urea nitrogen level) was already at 32 (normal less than 27) and creatinine over 5 (1.9 is the high end of normal). Both are monitors of kidney function in the bloodstream. We placed an IV catheter and started the fluids. Rechecked the renal values at 5 PM and the BUN was over 40 and creatinine over 7 with no urine production after a liter of fluids.  At that point I felt the dog was in acute renal failure and sent him on to MedVet for a urinary catheter to monitor urine output overnight as well as overnight care. 

He started vomiting again overnight at MedVet and his renal values continued to increase daily. He produced urine when given lasix as a diuretic. He was on 3 different anti-vomiting medications and they still couldn’t control his vomiting. Today his urine output decreased again, his BUN was over 120, his creatinine was at 10, his phosphorus was very elevated and his blood pressure, which had been staying around 150, skyrocketed to 220 … He continued to vomit and the owners elected to Euthanize.
 This is a very sad case – great dog, great owners who had no idea raisins could be a toxin. Please alert everyone you know who has a dog of this very serious risk.

Poison control said as few as 7 raisins or grapes could be toxic. Many people I know give their dogs grapes or raisins as treats including our ex-handler. Any exposure should give rise to immediate concern.

Onions, chocolate, cocoa, avocadoes and macadamia nuts can

be fatal, too.  Even if you don’t have a dog, you might have friends who do. This is worth passing on to them.

Dog Parks


I’d be interested in your thoughts on Dog Parks.  I have to admit, I am somewhat reserved in my opinion.  NO ONE loves dogs more than I do…that’s obvious when I make statements like, “dogs are one of the reasons I believe in God.”  I have also said, “dogs are a special gift from God, placed here because they can do for man things that man cannot do for man.”  Here’s the rub.  I continue to see dogs in our city park that are under no direct control by their owners.  Dogs bolt at other dogs, at humans, at kids on bikes, etc.  I am concerned that all dogs are not up on their shots, that all dogs have not been socialized appropriately ( I do not consider a dog park as socialization) and such parks may be a stimulation for the instincts of prey, chase, and assault.  On the other hand, properly supervised, such a facility has benefits.  Anyway, I was just wondering about your impressions of Dog Parks?  Bring ‘em on!  WOOF!

WV State Police K-9 Director


Neutral Territory

I receive this same question multiple times a year.   “I’m going to visit my friend and I’m taking my dog.  When we turn them loose together in the yard what should we do if they…growl, bite, fight, etc.”  My answer is always the same.  Introduce them on neutral territory.  Basically, neutral territory is anywhere other than the property of the home-dog, where he feels a need to protect his property by a show of dominance.   True, there’s less concern when it’s a male-female introduction.  Still, if it takes a little extra time to let them meet…on lead…at the dog park, at the mall, on that vacant piece of property about a mile across town, it is well worth the effort.  Then, when you take them to the back yard…still on lead…of the home-dog and give them another 5-minute re-introduction before turning them loose to romp, you’ll have had every indication as to whether problems are going to occur.  How will you know  if trouble is on the horizon.  Watch the tail, ears, hackles, curled lips, low growl, stand-offish attitude.  You’ll know.  I promise.  Remember the old addage…stop, look, listen and heed!  WOOF!   

Dogs running loose

While running in the park yesterday I encountered an all-to-common sight.   In this case, it was a chocolate Labrador, running like a bat from Hades, in and out of traffic as if it were the first time he had stumbled upon his freedom.  He ran, never tiring, from one lawn on the north side of the boulevard to one on the south side, never breaking stride for oncoming cars, some of which slammed brakes and skidded into one another, as others swerved over the curb.  He worked his way over a four-block area, leaving a path of disheveled automobiles, upset drivers, and onlookers expecting tragedy at any moment.  He ended up in Four Pole Creek, lounging in frigid water as if it were springtime.  He had a leather collar to which was tethered a six-foot lead line.  He was, in fact, a beautiful Labrador.   Moments later a man and woman came down both sides of the street, running and calling his name, totally oblivious to the havoc their dog had wrought.   

It is beyond me why folks do not control the behavior of their dog.  This dog was a fine specimen whose owners probably paid $300 to $400 to get him into their household.  While they worked their way in my direction, I stepped over the creek-side bank, grabbed the looped end of the lead, and pulled the dog to dry land.  He looked to be a two-year-old, and though he followed me without struggle, it was obvious he could care less about who it was that now followed his wild drive towards grey squirrels who scampered from ground to tree-top storing whatever it is they store for winter.

The owners, both huffing and puffing, thanked me graciously for capturing “Silas.”  “He’s really a good dog,” offered the Mr.  “But he runs away all the time,” said the Mrs.  “We just don’t know what to do.”

Any of this sound familiar to any of you?  It’s an all to-common scene, mostly ending in car crashes and dead dogs.  After which people generally admonish themselves, “If we’d only have spent more time training him!”          


Dogs on TV


on’t know if any of you were able to catch the 5:30 News this evening on WSAZ TV in Huntington, WV, but it was pretty cool.  Anchorman, Tim Irr, interviewed me regarding my book, 14000 Dogs Later.  I’ll post the TV clip hopefully by tomorrow.  In the meantime for those of you that happened upon the interview this evening I’ll answer the most asked question thus far. “Who were the dogs I was handling?” The black Lab is Writer, my eight year old sidekick., The long-haired German Shepherd is Trooper, a dog I trained for my church pastor.  WOOF!

Dog Behavior

Initially, I mentioned that I have trained over 14000 dogs over the past 47 years.  That covers teaching classes in four states (Ohio, WV, Ky and VA) and the Distrit of Columbia.   Most were trained in my training center in WV where classes where held 3-4 nights per week.  Additionallly, I maintained boarding facilities where dogs could be housed for various trianing periods, mostly for 30-day stints.  I have not trained any of the field dogs for field work…although that has allways been fascinating to me.  Some years ago I attended the national Border Collie Trials in Lexington or Louisville, KY and it was fabulous watching how the dogs had been trained to work.  My background, however, is in the area of bahavior management…all levels of obedience, understanding dog psychology and socializaton, and finding ways for man and dog to co-exist in a world were man craves companionship.  I believe dogs are one of God’s greatest gifts and yet we so often turn on this four-footed friend as if he is our enemy.  Dogs are incredible substitutes:  they are child substitutes, mate substitutes, empty-nest-syndrome substitutes, and on and on.  Anyway, don’t want this to be too long, however a little background should suffice.  Next week, I’ll start at the beginning…finding the right dog…or will respond to topics you want to discuss.  Peace, John  PS:  Please consider my book, 14000 Dogs Later…find it on my web site: or  You can become a fan of 14000 Dogs Later on my Face Book.

Getting Started

Blogging is new to me, so help he out here.  It’s not that I have opinions and experience in the training and handling of dogs that no one before me has ever encountered…but training and handling over 14000 dogs for the past 47 years accounts for something…and I’d like to share what I have learned with you.  The topics can be as diverse as you want…my list is long…together, then, there should be plenty to discuss.  My plan is to develope a topic of interest and post it on Sunday or Monday evenings.  I’ll not post ideas or thoughts without thorough consideration.  All aspects of dog obedience and training, psychology, socialization, and behavior.  Dogs in service to man, as friends and companions, as heros.   Is it biblically sound that dogs have an afterlife, a soul, or have they been placed here to help us get from here…to there.  Maybe too, you’ll consider my book, 14000 Dogs Later.  It’s the story of my life with dogs and what I’ve learned and can be found on Amazon or my web site,  Peace, John