June 21, 2011 Issue #8 Published by Sue Skiff
A NOTE FROM SUE
Happy First Day of Summer!
Well, for the past few days I have been running into that most pervasive of blocks to the growing of my business; procrastination due to overwhelm. The most interesting thing about this is that the pattern goes like this: the more time I have, the less I get done. What’s that about? So, here I am writing this whole e-zine at the last minute, even though I have had oodles of time to work on it over the last few days.
It has been an interesting morning, so far, and it’s not even 7:30 a.m. I am not going to go into it, though, sorry. Last week, did I say that spring was finally here? Well, that was a mighty short spring. It is definitely summer here in Concord, Ca. Emma and I just got back from a long walk, which we embarked on after I finished my first arrticle for this e-zine. I am glad that we did it early, because it is getting hot, already. I am sweating, and I seriously considered a nice morning swim. However, I want to get this finished, first.
Today’s e-zine contains the first in a series of articles on dog training equipment. I thought that it was going to be one article, rather than a series, but well, you’ll understand when you see what this week’s article on the subject turned out to be about. Then, of course, I am going to discuss my opinions on what cats should be fed, having spent two weeks ranting about cat food.
This e-zine is for you, so please
send me your comments and questions.
You can even submit articles, including rebuttals, if you like. I look forward to hearing from you!
DOG TRAINING PRODUCTS –SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
I was doing research on keywords searched for related to dog training and obedience last week. It was discouraging to me to see that 19% of the keywords searched for had to do with dog training products. That’s almost 1/5 of the searches! And, even more discouraging to me, 28% of those dog-training-equipment-related keywords had to do with remote, electronic, or shock, collars. So, here I am feeling that I need to say something about dog training supplies, particularly collars.
When I think about the long relationship that humans have had with dogs (1000’s of years), during which time dogs have mainly been used as workers by humans, not as pets, I wonder what can be going through our heads that makes us think that we need specific equipment to train our dogs. After all, our ancient ancestors didn’t have access to equipment made out of metals or nylon, or that ran on batteries. In fact, they probably didn’t put any equipment on their dogs at all. Yet, dogs must have behaved for them, otherwise we wouldn’t have had that long relationship.
Still, it’s true that our ancient ancestors didn’t have to worry about taking their dogs on walks, since their dogs were getting their exercise on the job. And, humans weren’t living in large cities surrounded by sprawling suburbs. When our ancestors went out with their dogs, it was out into the bush, away from places where their dogs could impinge on other people’s property.
Today, we need to have collars and leashes for our dogs, not only for legal reasons, but to keep our dogs and our neighbors safe. But is it really necessary to put things on our dogs that are designed to cause pain? The answer is a vehement “NO!” Training through pain leads to fear and resistance. Why would we want to create resistance and fear in beings that are so closely associated with loyalty and unconditional love, and who have willingly served us for 1000’s of years? It makes no sense. The key to getting your dog to behave lies not in the specific equipment that you put on your dog, but on your ability to build a relationship with your dog where it wants to serve and please you. And, the best way to teach your dog to have a desire to serve and please is to give your dog access to things that it enjoys when it does what you want it to do, not through force.
Okay, I hope that I have given you some things to think about. Next week, I will go through the various types of collars available, both those to avoid, and those that I use, or have used.
WHAT SHOULD CATS EAT?
For the past 2 weeks, I included articles on what my research has led me to discover about cat food. Today, I am going to talk about what I think cats should eat. I do not consider myself an expert on animal nutrition, so this should be considered to be my opinion. However, I did study biochemistry and physiology in college. And, I have spent a good deal of my life researching nutrition in general, having picked up an interest in the subject from my mother (who always made sure that our dogs had fresh vegetables added to their food). Also, in my previous career as a research wildlife biologist, and in my years of observing what the wild animals at Lindsay Wildlife Museum eat, I have learned a great deal about the natural diets of animals.
So, what is the best thing to feed your cat? Well, unfortunately, it is not feasible to feed them what I consider to be the best thing to feed them. That would be, of course, small freshly killed animals. I have no problem with my cats killing the occasional mouse or rat. For the most part, the mice and rats that come into our houses, and onto our suburban and urban properties, are imports from Europe, and therefore, don’t really belong here in the U.S., anyway. However, I do have a huge problem with my cats killing the native wildlife, particularly birds. Not only are domestic cats an introduced predator, creating competition for the natural predators, but the concentrated populations of domesticated cats, in our cities and suburbs, drastically upsets the delicate predator/prey balance. If we allowed our cats to hunt and only eat their natural food, it would obviously create huge problems for our natural world
So, what do you do? I suppose that you could go down to the local feed store and buy mice to feed to your cats. I had actually never thought of that until I just wrote it. Don’t think I’m going to try it. That’s an awful lot of mice.
To me, the next best thing, then, is to feed my cats raw food. My cats have eaten raw food for most of their lives. All of them are in their teens; and they neither look, nor act, old. Their teeth have never met a toothbrush; and yet their teeth look like those of young cats. They don’t have health issues. And, when Thunder’s liver was badly impacted the one and only time I gave him flea medicine, the vets were amazed by his quick recovery. By feeding your cat raw food, you are giving your cat the closest to its natural diet that you can. You also don’t have to worry about your cat getting enough taurine. Since the food isn’t cooked, it’s not overheated, so the taurine is not destroyed. And, there is evidence that cats’ bodies deal with the ingestion of raw fat much better than they deal with cooked fat.
What do I mean by raw food? Well, you have a number of choices. The easiest, and most expensive, way to give your cat raw food is to buy commercially prepared raw cat food. Various brands of raw cat food can be purchased frozen from independent distributors, and in some feed stores, Pet Food Express stores, some health food stores such as Whole Foods, and some small independent pet supply stores. These foods have the advantage of being carefully balanced to supply optimum nutrition for your cat. But, as I said, it’s expensive to feed your cat that way.
Another option would be to buy whole (including giblets) Rock Cornish game hens, squabs, quail, etc, from a butcher, and feed them, raw, to your cat. I have never tried this option. It is, again, expensive. However, if your cat really ate every part of these purchased birds, including some, or all, of the bones, then it would get plenty of vitamins and minerals, as well as needed proteins and fats. If you supplemented this with small amounts of pureed vegetables (to simulate the partially digested stomach contents of prey), then you would be pretty close to giving your cat its natural food.
A third option, is to buy turkey and chicken necks and backs, which are pretty cheap, Believe it or not, many dog and cat guardians use this option, even to the extent of preordering 10 pound boxes of turkey necks. However, you can’t expect your cat to be healthy, if all it is eating is one part of an animal. So, you also need to buy organ meats to feed your cat. When I feed my cats this way, I grind the organ meats up, with some vegetables and fish oil, in a food processor, just to make sure that they are getting plenty of nutrients. This can be time consuming, but it is much cheaper than the commercial raw food option.
Next week: What if you don’t want to feed your cat raw food?
It’s part of life in the 21st century. You get the kids off to school, work all day, pick the kids up at daycare, make dinner, and collapse. But, what about the dog? How do you find the time to train it to be a good citizen? Maybe, you managed to get your dog into a puppy kindergarten class, and then a basic obedience class. But, you really didn’t have time to practice the way the instructor wanted you to, and now, well now, it’s all kind of fallen by the wayside.
You know that your dog can do better. Perhaps, your dog has some behavior issues. Whether or not they’re serious issues, they make your life harder, don’t they?
So, what do you do when you’re already stretched, and you know your dog needs more? The answer is “day training.” Day training starts with a meeting with me where you describe your dog training needs, and your dog’s behavior issues. I then come to your house for an hour or so, on agreed upon days, to train your dog. You get to get on with your life, while your dog gets training and attention from a professional. And, that training and attention is customized to your and your dog’s exact needs.
Maintaining what your dog learned is also built into the day training program. At the end of each week of training, I meet with you to go over what your dog has learned, as well as what you need to do to maintain the learning. After the agreed upon number of weeks has elapsed, I return for a follow-up or two, to make sure that you and your dog are on the same page, and everyone’s happy. For more information on day training, visit
my dog training website
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Silver Linings is a publication of Silver Linings Pet Services, and is published for the purpose of marketing services. The current address of Silver Linings Pet Services is:
5555 Merritt Drive