Your favorite feline deserves fresh breath
Oral health issues can occur without being immediately detected, and cause other problems. Bow & Wow, for dental treats that are nutritious and can help keep your pet's teeth clean by preventing plaque and tartar buildup. The Feline Greenies Dental …
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Your favorite feline deserves fresh breath
"But I like to keep a balanced toolbox!"
I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard or read that one. It’s undoubtedly a big number. It’s usually the end or near the end of a trainer discussion on tools or techniques, and is intended to indicate that while a trainer (at least claims) to be primarily using tools and techniques that employ positive reinforcement, they also still like to use tools and techniques that rely on positive punishment/negative reinforcement. And they make this claim to open-mindedness with a brilliant rhetorical flourish! Or at least it probably seemed brilliant the first time it was used. I’m guessing around 1986.
But hey, what’s more open than reserving the right to use a leash pop or some electrical current when the going gets tough?
But really, we shouldn’t find this shocking (heh) when we still treat each other like this:
If pointless and gratuitous physical coercion to a kid is routine family TV (he really needed to sit in that chair NOW!) than how much sympathy do you think we can get for any non-human animal?
The fact is that human society is chock full of coercion and retribution. Last week I didn’t want to veer too far off into politics and I don’t want to go off on a philosophical tangent here, but consider how we treat each other. Coercion, whether it’s physical (most often with children) or not, is a big part of our society. Rewards are for frequent customers, credit cards, and bounty hunters. So it’s quite natural that our handling of non-human animals is even worse.
I’m currently enrolled in Dr. Susan Friedman’s Living and Learning with Animals course and just two weeks in I can see how this course is going to have a tremendous impact on how I work with both humans and dogs, and with how I solve problems. From the course description:
The philosophy of behavior underlying this course is that captive and companion animals, like all learners, must have power to operate effectively on their environment, in order to live behaviorally healthy lives.
Having the science of Applied Behavior Analysis carefully explained and also seeing it applied to a variety of different species has made it clear: it works.
But let’s look at more visceral example of how much someone can get done with a "closed toolbox:"
The elephant in this video is hanging out at the edge of the pen, happily responding to cues to move into different positions. (The electronic "beep" seems to be an event marker similar to a clicker.) If you watch the whole video you’ll see him lift his leg, allow the trainer to examine his ears, and respond to a variety of different cues. These are behaviors they use to care for the elephant with some fun stuff mixed in. Let’s review the zoo’s options for handling elephants.
- Restrain the elephant and force him to submit to handling. This is often where we end up with our children and our pets. Of course it’s easier to physically restrain a child or a dog than it is an elephant. (In Asia people do restrain elephants and treat them quite badly. They generally start out when the elephant is very small.)
- Sedate the elephant. This is risky, for both the elephant and the vet staff. It’s also of limited usefulness, since moving a sedated elephant is still a, pun intended, big problem. An awake cooperative elephant is a lot easier to work with.
- Don’t provide care for the elephant that requires cooperation. There are undoubtedly zoos that still choose this option.
- Do what we see here – convince the elephant that working with the trainer is a good thing.
Some would say that comparing this activity to working with a dog isn’t fair. The elephant is in a pen with steel columns protecting the trainer! I would tend to agree. Many people restrain their dogs so they can’t flee. This elephant has a choice the entire time – he could walk away from the bars any time he wants. But he stays. The trainer gave him a reason to.
This dog doesn’t have that choice:
I see two collars and some kind of head harness. And in case you missed the irony:
Yes, we need to shock dogs to get them to hold things in their mouth. I’m sure they’d say it’s complicated and we wouldn’t understand since we’re not professionals.
How did we get here? Where does the idea that when a dog (or child, or employee, etc.) doesn’t behave the way we want that meeting it with coercion and punishment (in the colloquial sense) isn’t just correct but virtuous?
Dr. Friedman refers to this phenomenon as "cultural fog.", based on a oft-cited quote from Gunnar Myrdal. The idea that rewards are "bribes" and the dogs and people should already be motivated to do the "right thing" as we define it is embedded in our culture. Dogs should work for praise. An employee’s reward for good work is more responsibility — which is corporate-speak for more work. And of course any popular artist seen taking money is a "sell-out."
So it’s not surprising that a "balanced toolbox" is seen not just as a necessity but as a badge of honor.
But I don’t accept that. If someone can convince a 15,000 pound elephant to cooperate with a physical examination without restraint or sedation, than there really is no excuse for needing coercion to get a dog to walk nicely on leash….let alone retrieve a bird.
I’ll take the smaller toolbox. Every time.
This breed of dog, also fondly called as APBT, is known for its loyalty and intelligence. The dogs with this breed make excellent companions since they are very aggressive because of their protective nature.
How, then, are they different from the Staffies? For the UKC or the United Kennel Club, Staffies and APBT are of the same breed but many disapprove of this suggestion. For instance, if the American Kennel Club has an American Staffordshire terrier, it will be registered as an American pit bull terrier by the United Kennel Club. Furthermore, many breeders noted that their lineages have been separate for a long time already for these dogs to be still considered as having the same variety.
Meanwhile, the American Kennel Club does not register a UKC-listed American pit as an American Staffie. In order to gain dual-registry, the dog must initially be recorded as an AKC American Staffie before it can be listed with the UKC as an American pit bull, and not the other way around.
The following are some of the basic facts breeders would really love to know about APTBs:
Living Environment: either outdoor or indoor
Coat: smooth, shiny, thick, and short
Colors: color varies
Height: between 18 and 22 inches
Weight: between 30 and 60 pounds
Temperament: courageous, full of energy, and loyal; should be socialized early on with other animals especially with children
Health Issues: heart murmurs and mange
Care and Exercise:
• Bathe when necessary.
• Brush their coat only occasionally using a brush with firm bristles.
• Rub down their coat with a towel or a chamois to remove hairs that are loose.
• Their physique requires a regular exercise routine which includes a daily play time and/or running along a bicycle while on a leash.
• They should be on leash while walking in public places.
The ancestors of APBT came to the US in the mid-1800s with some Irish-Boston immigrants. Like the Staffie, they were originally bred from bulldogs and terriers. Since APBT is a forerunner to the Staffie, it was also molded to be a fighting dog. However, the Americans made their variety some pounds heavier and trained them to have a more powerful head.
Bull baiting and dog baiting were prohibited in England so bull terriers were no longer bred for bouts. It is in America where the pit bull also gained its popularity for many uses and reasons like:
1. It was used to embody the country in one WW1 artwork.
2. Well-known companies like the Buster Brown Shoe Company and even RCA used the breed as mascots.
3. Petie, a pitbull, was one of the stars in, “Our Gang”, a well sought children’s TV series.
4. A mix breed called Stubby was transformed into a popular and decorated WW1 hero.
5. Pits became good companies of pioneer families on their journeys.
6. Jack, a working pit bulldog was owned by Laura Wilder of lines of books called “Little House”.
7. Popular people like Helen Keller and US President Theodore Roosevelt owned the variety.
Here is some history about the cause of dilemma regarding the registries of APBTs.
In 1898, the United Kennel Club or UKC was structured to provide fighting guidelines and registration for APBT as fighting dogs. Later, there were breeders who shun away from dog fighting so they asked the AKC to recognize their pits so they would be fit for performance events like dog shows.
In 1935, the AKC approved of their petitions but the dogs were registered as Staffordshire Terriers, naming them after the little province in England that the breed was known to have originated from. Thus, many breeders have dogs that have dual-registry.
It is interesting to note that Petie, which was one of the stars in the, “Our Gang” TV series was the first breed that was dual-registered to be Staffordshire Terrier/Pit Bull. However, the UKC later started registering other performing-type varieties and they also began holding dog shows comparable to those of the American Kennel Club.
The AKC soon sealed its studbooks to APBTs. They allocated registration to those pit breeds with lineages that are listed as Staffies. For a little time during the 1970s, the AKC disclosed the American pits to their studbooks.
In 1973, the American KC decided to add the word “American” with the pit’s name to discriminate it from a Staffie. At present, those dogs with mixed APTB-StaffIe parents are recognized by UKC and even the American Dog Breeders’ Association as “American pits or American pit bull terriers”.
Nowadays, the pit has employed as search and rescuers, police/armed service dogs, livestock workers, and even as therapy animals because they are good as companions and working dogs.
Moreover, the variety can even compete in dog sports such as herding, obedience, and conformation, French Ring, and Schutzhund. Breeds of this type can be very loving as pets for everyone. The physical demands and harshness of various activities developed a healthy, strong, and stable animal.
If you want to have an APBT as a pet, be sure that the puppy is handled well and properly socialized. A solid and good training will surely produce an obedient, tranquil, and good companion or even a working dog!
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Children and pet dogs make natural companions, but when children are small they often are unpredictable in their behavior, and situations may arise where a child accidentally provokes a pet dog in the wrong way and injury to the toddler can result.
Not every dog makes a good companion for children and not every child is suitable for a pet dog. The majority of problems involving pet dogs and children happen with youngsters under six years of age. If you have children under six you need to give a lot of thought before choosing a pet dog. Large dogs bred as guard dogs, or dogs who have a history of being aggressive or biting, should not be adopted into a family with small children. Large, energetic dogs can easily knock children over and are not good choices. And if you have small children you often won’t have the free time to spend hours grooming or walking a high maintenance dog.
Young puppies are usually the natural choice when bringing a new pet into a family with children. However, be prepared to devote almost as much of your time to the puppy as you do to your child. If you have decided to adopt or buy a dog because you feel it will be good for your children, or if your children begged for a pet, but you don’t really want a dog and are not committed to training and taking care of a puppy, then you should not consider adopting one. It will not be fair to either you or the dog. Dogs can help teach your child responsibility, patience, kindness, and compassion, but no young child is capable of properly training or caring for a dog, whether full-grown or puppy, so you as a parent ultimately have to take full responsibility for the animal.
Your children will have to be trained on how to treat a new dog, so plan on spending a lot of time training both the dog and your children. Children and pet dogs seem like a natural combination but without proper training, for both the dog and the child, you’re inviting trouble.
Hopefully your pet will be with you for a long time so spend the time in the beginning to avoid unwanted behavior in the future. Read books on how to train a pet dog and consider enrolling your puppy in an obedience class. Well-trained dogs are a joy to be around and are a necessity if children are part of the family.
Dogs have a unique relationship with people. Understanding and changing a dog’s behavior involves understanding dog behavior and the importance of dominance and submission in the dog’s consciousness. In a dog’s mind the family is a pack unit and everyone in that family has a certain ‘position’ in the pack. In most families, one or both of the parents are considered the pack leaders and the dog is subordinate to them. This may be obvious to the dog or it may not really matter much. However, when small children are involved, dogs almost always consider the children equal or lower in the pack hierarchy than they are, and this is where problems arise.
Because the dog considers the child a subordinate, it may refuse to obey a child’s commands or will ‘accidentally’ bump into the child and knock him or her down. It may go from bad to worse with the dog growling at a child when the child is near its food or toys. It may even bite a child who tries to play with it. You need to understand this hierarchal relationship in the minds of dogs and take precautions to prevent such problems.
When dogs bite adults it is usually out of fear or aggression. When dogs bite children it may also be from fear or aggression, but many times it is a “warning bite.” The warning bite is usually to the face or hand and while traumatic for the child, is usually not too serious.
Almost all dog bites are a result of a failure on the parents’ part to recognize and prevent potential problem situations. This does not completely take the blame away from the dog. Dogs are capable of learning to control their behavior and not bite.
The best advice is that a dog and small child should never be left alone unattended. Even the oldest, sweetest, most passive dog and the best-behaved child is no guarantee that a serious incident won’t occur in your absence..
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