Editorial October 2000 Issue

Both Sides Now

Health and happiness go hand in hand.

We have a dual mission, here at WDJ. First, we promote the use of anything that can make a dog healthier, whether it’s conventional medicine or alternative care; in most cases, we advocate the judicious use of both!

Second, we’re here to spread the word about positive training – building a relationship with your dog that is all pleasure, and no pain. Dog training shouldn’t make you feel like a child abuser or an Army drill Sergeant. Education should be fun for you and your dog!

We are aware that some readers come to us primarily because of our outspoken stand on positive training. At first, they might not really appreciate our articles on natural diets, herbal supplements, massage and chiropractic, etc. In contrast, other readers subscribe specifically because they have learned that they can’t find in-depth information about alternative and complementary therapies anywhere else. Often, these people don’t really pay any attention to the training articles and product reviews.

But then a funny thing happens: Over time, many of our readers realize – just as I have in the three years I have been editing WDJ – that health and happiness go hand in hand. A dog who understands and complies with his owner without a trace of anxiety or conflict will truly become a healthier animal. And dogs who have continual access to superior nutrition and health care learn faster and have fewer behavioral problems. This results in the “whole” dog we refer to in our title.

So, if you’ve come to WDJ for our training articles, for instance, to learn how to resolve behavior problems through intelligent management and to discover new, fun activities to enjoy with your dog, good for you! But keep an open mind about our articles on raw homemade diets, changing views on vaccination protocols, and hands-on methods of healing.

And if you subscribed to WDJ for the “raw” recipes, healthy food reviews, and tips on treating canine disease with conventional, alternative, and complementary medicine, thanks! But consider giving the lure/reward method of teaching your new puppy to sit and lie down, even if you’ve taught puppies to sit by pushing their little bottoms down your whole life. The speed and joy with which a positively trained dog learns will amaze you.

Dog Training Editor
I have to take a moment to thank Pat Miller for her extraordinary contributions to every issue of WDJ. Miller is a kind and devoted professional dog trainer, and how she manages to run a training business and write so prolifically and well, I don’t know. I’m simply grateful for her support and gentle direction, as she keeps WDJ positioned at the cutting edge of positive training techniques and theories.

Effective with this issue, we’ve formalized this relationship, making Pat our Training Editor, and asking her to solicit articles from other top positive trainers in addition to her own contributions. With typical competence, Pat has thrown herself into her new duties, so stay tuned for an exciting series of articles from some of the most charismatic and talented teachers and dog trainers in the country.

And, finally, a brief update on my allergy-stricken Border Collie, Rupert: He’s doing better, incrementally. His scratching is definitely decreasing, though he still is apt to chew himself when he’s alone. The bare patches where he rubbed all his hair out are growing back in, and he’s gained a couple of pounds (back up to his ideal weight). I’ll keep you posted as to whether our current regimen of a new diet, homeopathy, and occasional herbs does the trick. Thanks for your continued support!

-Nancy Kerns

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