For New Whole Dog Journal Readers: What to Expect

What Whole Dog Journal is all about, what we're not.

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Whole Dog Journal editor Nancy Kerns

In any given month, we have a number of new subscribers – people who are opening the pages of WDJ for the first time. They may have heard about us from a friend, trainer, or breeder. They may have been told that we review commercial foods and discuss home-prepared diets. Or they may have heard that we’re a great source of information about dog-friendly training, and offer honest product reviews. They may have learned about WDJ when doing a web search for holistic treatments for a vexing health problem afflicting their dog. Within an issue or two or three, they should see that, indeed, we offer all that. But new readers may not realize right away what they won’t find in WDJ.

First, they won’t find articles recommending that they buy a shock collar or a choke chain, or that they should roll their dogs over and hold them down, or rub their noses in anything. We’re here to explain how you can train your dog with methods that make sense to you and to him – effective methods that will build his trust and confidence in you as his benevolent, fair leader. We won’t suggest any training techniques that are unsafe for you or your dog.

Our approach to “holistic” canine health care may be too nuanced for some dog owners. Some prefer a purely alternative approach; they distrust antibiotics and vaccines in favor of homeopathic remedies and nosodes. That’s not us. In our view, renouncing conventional veterinary medicine is ridiculous; it offers so many valuable tools! Veterinarians are critically important members of your dog’s healthcare team, as are veterinary chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists, massage practitioners, and herbalists! We endorse integrative care – the most effective, evidence-based treatments with the fewest documented side effects.

We neither promote the practice of vaccinating all dogs with the same cookie-cutter vaccination protocol, nor vaccinating all dogs for all diseases every three years – but we strongly believe that all dogs should be vaccinated for the core diseases, titer-tested to make sure they developed protective antibodies, and then re-vaccinated infrequently – if ever – again. (The rabies vaccine requires a different discussion, since it’s the only vaccination required by law. Skirting the law by skipping rabies vaccinations can have serious repercussions if the dog ever bites or is bitten.)

We’re not zealots when it comes to nutrition; while we think home-prepared diets are ideal, we understand that not all dog owners are ready, willing, or able to shop for and prepare a homemade diet for their dogs. We’ll help you learn about and find healthful foods for your dog, whether you feed commercial kibble, canned, dehydrated, or frozen diets, or make his food from scratch.

While you’re getting to know WDJ, it would be helpful if you told us a little bit about yourself! Are you a fairly new dog owner? A highly experienced one? Is your dog trained and titled in several canine sports, or are you still struggling to get him to stop pulling on leash? Are you most interested in health-related articles, product reviews, discussions of training techniques, or all of that, with equal passion? Drop us a line and let us know – and welcome!

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